Cal Thomas is the latest conservative figure to use the TV show 24 to forecast a nuclear attack on the United States. Conservatives have also looked to the TV series for justification of aggressive interrogation procedures.
On January 17, InsightMag.com posted a story stating that Sen. Barack Obama attended a madrassa as a boy and that this information had originated from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's camp. With the aid of the conservative media, InsightMag.com's anonymously sourced report turned into 11 days of baseless accusations against two leading contenders for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
According to an ABCNews.com report, Fox News vice president Bill Shine defended John Gibson's reporting on the discredited accusation that Sen. Barack Obama attended a madrassa in his youth. But a statement from Shine, as quoted by the ABCNews.com report, never addressed Gibson's charges that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was behind the smear.
Melanie Morgan, Lee Rodgers, Rush Limbaugh, and John Gibson all forwarded the accusation made by a website controlled by Rev. Sun Myung Moon that Sen. Hillary Clinton was responsible for spreading information linking Sen. Barack Obama to a madrassa, or Muslim school. None of the four cited any evidence, other than the article, that Clinton was responsible for promoting the madrassa story, and the article cited no one by name.
Fox News host John Gibson claimed that Sen. Barack Obama's "dirty little secret" is that he is a cigarette smoker, despite the fact that Obama's cigarette use was, in fact, known during his 2004 Senate campaign. Guest John H. McWhorter claimed that that the reason Obama is "considered such a big deal is simply because he's black." McWhorter added that "if you took away the color of his skin, nobody right now would be paying him any attention."
On Fox News, Republican strategist Mary Matalin asserted that "the message of [the 2006] election ... wasn't to withdraw" from Iraq, and Rep. John Boehner claimed that "bring[ing] the troops home" is not "what the American people want." In fact, the national exit poll conducted for the leading news organizations in 2006 found that a majority of "the American public" was in favor of withdrawing troops from Iraq, and recent polls demonstrate that most Americans favor some type of troop withdrawal from Iraq -- facts that Fox News hosts failed to mention in their discussions with Matalin and Boehner.
On The Big Story, Fox News' Megyn Kendall reported that, during a speech, Sen. Patrick Leahy criticized the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, even though, she later claimed, he "doesn't know that much about" it. She later falsely suggested that "those who have been briefed on the program don't see any problem" with it. In fact, several members of the House and Senate committees have criticized the program.
Brett Baier reported that President Bush had "praised the report and the members on the Iraq Study Group [ISG] for tying any withdrawal to commanders' assessment of the conditions on the ground in Iraq." In fact, the ISG's recommendations run counter to Bush's policies and assumptions regarding U.S. troop presence in Iraq.
John Gibson hosted a discussion about Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's effort to allow state police to detain illegal immigrants, but no one on the show mentioned a recent report saying Romney used a landscaping company that relies heavily on illegal immigrants.