Reporting on President Bush's announcement of Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, media outlets, with few exceptions, have avoided characterizing Bush's assertion the previous week that he wanted Rumsfeld to stay on as a "lie" or intentional misrepresentation -- this, despite Bush's own admission of a deliberate deception. Some outlets even failed to acknowledge Bush's previous statement that Rumsfeld would stay on as defense secretary until the end of his presidency.
Loading the player leg...
Fox News' John Gibson repeatedly asserted -- falsely -- that because The New York Times reported that the United States had posted Iraqi documents related to constructing an atomic bomb, the Times "said today Saddam had nukes." Similarly, conservative radio host Pat Campbell falsely suggested that the Times reported Iraq was "a year away from making the atomic bomb" at the time of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. In fact, Iraq did not have nuclear weapons in 2003 or at any time -- including prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War -- and Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program in 2003.
During Tony Snow's recent series of appearances on cable news channels, interviewers on CNN and Fox News left unchallenged a number of false, misleading, and baseless Republican talking points on a variety of issues. After allowing Snow to misrepresent the Democratic position on the surveillance and detention of suspected terrorists, CNN host Wolf Blitzer told Snow that he is "a straight shooter."
On Fox News, Ann Coulter asserted that Democrats "ought to be picking up 60 or 70 seats" in the House of Representatives in this November's midterm elections or "they may as well go away as a party." Coulter based her assertion about Democratic gains on her false claim that "[t]he average of the midterm election pickup since World War II is about 40 seats." In fact, since World War II, the average gain in the House after a midterm election has been about 25 seats.
MSNBC and Fox News uncritically reported claims by the Bush administration, including that "wages for the average middle-class American today are actually higher than they were just a couple of years ago," ignoring a report alleging that the median hourly real wage has "declined 2 percent since 2003."
CNN's Lou Dobbs and Fox News' Bret Baier reported on President Bush's visit to Pennsylvania to campaign for Rep. Don Sherwood and noted that Sherwood has acknowledged having an "extramarital affair." But neither Dobbs nor Baier mentioned allegations that Sherwood had "repeatedly chok[ed]" and "attempt[ed] to strangle" his former mistress.
Fox News programs in recent weeks have aired false and misleading Republican campaign advertisements attacking Democrats or Democratic congressional candidates and have hosted guests to defend the attacks, smears, and falsehoods put forth in the ads. But in all but one of the segments about the ads, Fox News failed to air a counter-ad by a Democratic candidate or host any progressive or Democrat to respond to the smears in the advertisements; the other aired only part of a Democratic ad and did so without sound.
On MSNBC and Fox News, Amanda Carpenter touted the purportedly damaging charge in her new book that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will use "foreign money" made by her husband to mount a potential presidential campaign for 2008. Carpenter asserted that it is "alarming ... that there are millions of dollars in foreign money available to fund Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign as we speak."
Fox News host John Gibson falsely claimed that former Clinton administration National Security Adviser Sandy Berger -- in a previous interview with Gibson -- "admitted that he and his cohorts were wrong" in reaching a 1994 agreement with North Korea known as the Agreed Framework. In fact, Berger praised the Agreed Framework, noting that "[n]o plutonium was made during the Clinton administration" and that the "agreement fell apart during Bush II."
Seeking to minimize the extent to which the House Republican leadership can be blamed for the scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley, several congressional Republicans, media figures, and conservatives have posited various conspiracy theories and placed blame on just about everyone and everything else -- including liberals, Democrats, the media, "politically correct culture," gays in Congress, and congressional pages.
In deflecting blame from House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) for apparently failing to properly address inappropriate emails allegedly sent by former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) to an underage male congressional page, Bill Kristol said that "the voters in Florida" shared the blame for what Fox News host John Gibson called "the exposure that Republicans now have" due to the scandal, adding, "Maybe they should have known better."
Loading the player leg...
Discussing negative campaign ads on The Big Story, John Gibson aired a clip by Sen. Rick Santorum's campaign attacking his Democratic opponent, Bob Casey Jr., without including an ad or even a response from the Casey campaign.