Following President Bush's nomination of Henry M. Paulson Jr. to replace Treasury Secretary John Snow, major newspapers largely ignored a deceptive -- at best -- answer Bush gave last week about whether Snow would be leaving the administration. When asked during a May 25 press conference whether Snow "had given [Bush] any indication that he intends to leave his job any time soon," Bush responded: "No, he has not talked to me about resignation. I think he's doing a fine job." Yet press secretary Tony Snow told reporters that Bush had already selected John Snow's replacement by May 21.
In articles on the House's passage of a bill that would allow oil exploration in a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and the Associated Press overstated the amount of oil that could be produced if the bill becomes law.
In Patrick Healy's recent front-page New York Times article on the state of the Clintons' marriage, Healy noted that a "tabloid photograph" of former President Bill Clinton "was enough to fuel coverage in the gossip pages." Media Matters does not endorse the decision by elite media figures to take their cues from tabloids, but if they do so, we expect them to be consistent. As it happens, the cover of the May 29 edition of the Globe magazine contains a headline about another high-profile political couple: "BUSH MARRIAGE BREAKUP! EXCLUSIVE! SEPARATE LIVES IN THE WHITE HOUSE."
Patrick Healy, the author of a New York Times article purporting to examine the married life of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and former President Bill Clinton, wondered in a 2004 report whether Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry (MA), was "a bit kooky" and openly questioned "what kind of marriage the Kerrys have" while filing other erroneous stories on the Democratic nominee that fueled Republican attacks. By contrast, Healy has let another prominent New Yorker and possible presidential contender, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, escape similar personal probing in three recent stories.
A New York Times article about new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee radio advertisements on Social Security incorrectly stated that the ads "try to remind those who traditionally vote Republican of their party's plan to add private investment accounts" to the retirement program. In fact, President Bush did not propose adding accounts to the existing system; instead, he proposed allowing workers to divert up to 4 percent of wages (about one-third of their payroll taxes) into a private account, removing it from the money available to pay Social Security benefits for current retirees.
Following President Bush's announcement of his proposal to deploy as many as 6,000 National Guard troops to the Mexican border, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff defended the administration's plan to bolster border protection in numerous media appearances and interviews. But in their coverage, media generally failed to mention that in December 2005, Chertoff characterized the deployment of the National Guard for border protection as "a horribly overexpensive and very difficult way to manage this problem."
In reporting on Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson's claim that his account of having denied a qualified publisher a government contract because of his alleged animus towards President Bush was merely "anecdotal" and did not actually occur, The New York Times and the Associated Press did not note that Dustee Tucker, Jackson's spokeswoman, had already twice indicated that Jackson was referring to a real contract.
Recent media coverage of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has focused largely on his presumptive bid for the 2008 Republican nomination for president. Certain media outlets, however, are seemingly reluctant to look past Giuliani's reputation as "America's mayor" and note that Giuliani's career as a political figure -- both before and after the 9-11 attacks -- has been marked by numerous controversies and incidents that, at the time, were considered politically damaging.
A New York Times article on the effect of recent immigration rights protests cited a poll taken before the first of these rallies had occurred. This survey found that only 40 percent of respondents believed that illegal immigrants "should be granted some kind of legal status that allows them to stay here," while 53 percent said they should be "required to go home." But more recent polling -- conducted in the wake of large-scale demonstrations that began in March and amid Senate deliberations over immigration reform -- has found a far larger number of Americans in favor of so-called "comprehensive" reform.
In a May 2 article, New York Times reporter Monica Davey uncritically reported anti-immigration advocates' claim that their "voices were actually more representative of the views of Americans as a whole." In fact, polling data show that a majority of Americans do not share the views expressed by these advocates.
In reporting on President Bush's announcement that he would suspend fuel deposits into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to reduce rising gasoline prices, numerous news outlets failed to note that Bush had previously criticized both the Clinton administration and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) for proposing to use the reserve to lower prices.
In an article about a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, New York Times reporter David D. Kirkpatrick, while detailing the support of many religious conservatives for the amendment, ignored significant support for same-sex marriage among other religious groups.
A New York Times article repeatedly referred to conservative Republicans' support for "stronger border enforcement," but the article failed to note that the legislation backed by many conservatives and passed by the House would designate illegal immigrants as felons.