In a New York Times article, Jim Rutenberg characterized the White House's ploy of using flatly false, straw-man arguments and the Democrats' reaction to it as a difference of perception, rather than as Democrats accurately accusing the Bush administration of misrepresenting their arguments. Additionally, Rutenberg forwarded a second Republican rhetorical deception -- distancing the party from terminology it coined, "stay the course," later found to be troublesome.
At a White House press conference, President Bush described Americans who think the Iraq war has made the country less safe as "naïve" and rebutted claims that the conflict has contributed to the growing terrorist threat by repeating his illogical argument that "[w]e weren't in Iraq when we got attacked on September the 11th." But reporters failed to challenge his non-responsive remarks, and several print outlets uncritically reported them shortly thereafter.
The New York Times and The Washington Post highlighted President Bush's recent attack on the Clinton administration's tax increases and his touting of the tax cuts he passed in his first term, but did not compare the effects of these policies. In fact, after President Bill Clinton's 1993 tax bill passed, deficits declined and budgets were in surplus within five years, while the federal budgets approved under Bush have produced record deficits.
A New York Times article contrasted anti-war Democrats' "pragmati[c]" decision to "spare" Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) -- despite her support of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq -- with the recent defeat of Sen. Joseph Lieberman in the Democratic Senate primary in Connecticut. But the Times overlooked key differences between the two races: Unlike Cantwell, Lieberman has attacked Democrats for criticizing the administration in its conduct of the war and opposed Democratic legislation calling for the United States to begin redeploying troops out of Iraq.
In reports on the Meet the Press debate between Sen. George Allen and Democratic challenger Jim Webb, the Associated Press and The New York Times noted Tim Russert's questioning of Webb about his position in 1979 that "[t]here is a place for women in the military, but not in combat." However, both failed to mention that Allen also faced questions about his far more recent statements opposing the presence of women in combat.
Numerous print and television outlets uncritically reported President Bush's response to a reporter's question about a letter by former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, in which Powell argued that "[t]he world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism." Bush stated: "If there's any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it's flawed logic. I simply can't accept that." In fact, neither the question nor Powell's letter made any such comparison.
On The New York Times' weblog The Caucus, Kate Phillips wrote that "swift-boating became a verb for negative ads" during the 2004 presidential election. However, the group behind the ads, the Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth, did much more than just run "negative ads" -- they launched a widespread smear campaign against Sen. John Kerry based on lies, factual distortions, and baseless attacks on Kerry's Vietnam War record and personal life.
In their coverage of President Bush's commemoration of 9-11, The New York Times and The Washington Post suggested it was Democrats who undermined efforts to re-create the national sense of unity that initially followed the attacks, even though reports have noted the White House's strategy for extracting political gain from the 9-11 anniversary.
A New York Times article attributed growing criticism over ABC's "docudrama" The Path to 9/11 exclusively to members of the Clinton administration and Democratic officials. In fact, criticism of the film's factually inaccurate and misleading portrayal of the Clinton administration's handling of the terrorist threat is coming from across the political spectrum.
New York Times and Associated Press reports about ABC's miniseries The Path to 9/11 described former New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean, chairman of the 9-11 Commission, as a "senior consultant" for the film. But while both articles noted that Kean has defended the miniseries from those who have criticized its reported falsehoods, neither addressed whether Kean has been paid in his role as a consultant and promoter of the film.
A New York Times report suggested that President Bush had willingly spent Labor Day away from political campaigning while visiting a union facility in Maryland. However, The Washington Post reported that two Republican candidates in Maryland, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich and Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, had declined to attend the event with Bush.
Numerous media figures have asserted that a recent report purportedly identifying former deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage as Robert Novak's original source for Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative prove that Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were not involved in the leak of her identity. However, Armitage's role as Novak's first source is not inconsistent with Rove's and Libby's involvements in the leak -- both were original sources of the information for two other reporters.
New York Times reporter Anne E. Kornblut asserted that President Bush "did not emphasize signs of progress in Iraq as he had in the past" during an August 30 speech. In fact, Bush repeatedly touted the "amazing progress" on display in Iraq and the "amazing things" occurring there.
In a New York Times article, Jennifer Medina wrote that "it was not clear" what Sen. Daniel Inouye was referring to when he issued a statement saying he "was most disappointed and unhappy when Senator [Joe] Lieberman remarked that the Democratic Party no longer represented the mainstream of America, and that the Democratic Party had lost its values" -- even though Medina had previously reported that Lieberman had pledged to "bring the Democratic Party back ... to the mainstream."