In their coverage of President Bush's recent veto of embryonic stem cell legislation, The New York Times and CNN reported that Bush also signed a bill that day banning "fetal farming" -- creating embryos or fetuses specifically for use as a source of cells or tissue. But neither noted that "fetal farming" is neither being carried out, nor is it "under serious scientific consideration," as National Public Radio's Julie Rovner reported.
In a July 18 article, New York Times staff writer Kate Zernike reported that Sen. Lindsey Graham is trying "to resist the White House when it comes to defining the treatment of people accused of being terrorists." But Zernike ignored Graham's controversial efforts to strip habeas corpus rights from the detainees held at Guantánamo Bay -- efforts that included an act of legislative deception that was specifically noted by the Supreme Court majority opinion in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.
In a July 16 New York Times article, reporter Anne Kornblut falsely reported that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton accused her fellow congressional Democrats of "wasting time" by focusing on "issues that arouse conservatives and turn out Republican voters rather than finding consensus on mainstream subjects." Despite the fact that numerous websites, including Media Matters for America, have noted that Clinton was actually criticizing the Republican-led Congress, the Times has yet to issue a correction.
In a July 16 article, New York Times reporter Anne E. Kornblut falsely reported that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized her fellow congressional Democrats "for taking on issues that arouse conservatives and turn out Republican voters rather than finding consensus on mainstream subjects."
Few media reports on new, lower federal budget deficit projections by the Bush administration pointed out that critics have accused the administration of inflating its original deficit predictions to be able to later tout the actual, less dire, figures.
A New York Times profile of House Judiciary Committee chairman F. James Sensenbrenner ignored criticism leveled at Sensenbrenner by numerous Democratic committee members, who have accused him of "squelching the minority" as chairman and assailed him for "hostile acts steeped in partisan politics."
The New York Times reported that President Bush recently "signal[ed] a new willingness to negotiate with House Republicans" on tackling immigration, adding that "[t]he shift is significant because Mr. Bush has repeatedly said he favors legislation like the Senate's immigration bill." But the Times made no mention of the fact that the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee accused the White House of abandoning its original support of some of the harshest provisions in the House bill on immigration, including a provision that would make undocumented presence in the country a crime.
A Media Matters analysis of the media coverage of the Iraq war debate shows that the favored Republican talking points on Iraq have gone largely unchallenged in the media and have even been adopted as truths by some media outlets and figures.
An article in The Washington Post reported the claim that the June 23 report by The New York Times on a Treasury Department program designed to monitor terrorists' international financial transactions "undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails." But the article at no point mentioned the numerous instances in which administration officials have publicly touted their efforts to track terrorist finances. Nor did it note reports that terrorists were increasingly using alternate means of transferring money to elude detection.
Several news outlets missed a key point in their reporting on the Senate's defeat of two Democratic amendments calling for U.S. redeployment from Iraq: The Democrats' claim that their position reflects public opinion is backed by polling data showing that a majority of Americans support some form of withdrawal.
In their coverage of the postponement of congressional negotiations on immigration reform, several major print media outlets failed to note that legislation passed by House Republicans would designate as felons the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States.
In articles on Senate Democrats' efforts to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, numerous print outlets focused on differences between two Democratic proposals on the issue and highlighted Republicans' dismissals of the measures as "cutting and running." But these outlets failed to note that recent polls show a majority of Americans support some form of withdrawal from Iraq.
A June 15 New York Times article misrepresented the White House's 2003 denials of Karl Rove's involvement in the disclosure of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative. In doing so, the Times lent support to Rove's defenders, who were quoted anonymously in the article claiming that Rove did not mislead his White House colleagues about his role in the leak.
Numerous news outlets -- including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN, ABC, and Fox News -- joined President Bush in highlighting a split among Democrats on the issue of the Iraq war. But in mentioning only the Democrats' disagreements, these outlets are promoting the false impression that there are not significant divisions among Republicans regarding the Bush administration's wartime policies.
At a "Journalism Under Fire" conference, New York Times public editor Byron Calame responded to Media Matters for America readers' criticism of recent Times reporting, stating that the Times puts email from Media Matters readers "straight into a folder" because it is "just repetition" and "trying to rack up numbers, which don't impress us."
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