On April 17, numerous news outlets -- including NBC, CBS, NPR, and Fox News -- covering former Illinois governor George Ryan's conviction on corruption charges failed to mention that he is a Republican. Time magazine went a step further, omitting Ryan's Republican affiliation while reporting that "the current administration of Democrat Rod Blagojevich is also being investigated."
In reporting on the scandals and issues confronting the Bush administration, various media outlets have imputed to President Bush and members of his administration comments or statements they have not actually made. These phony statements often arise as a result of reporters misinterpreting an administration official's statement or inaccurately attributing a position or statement to an administration official.
CNN's David Ensor adamantly defended President Bush against allegations that Bush may have been aware of contradictory evidence at the time of his May 29, 2003, statement that the United States had discovered biological weapons labs in Iraq, stating that the information could not feasibly have made it to the president's desk in time. But Ensor's claim that Bush could not have seen the conflicting intelligence is one that not even the White House has made in responding to questions about the issue.
CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported that White House press secretary Scott McClellan had said "very clearly" during an April 12 briefing that President Bush did not see a May 27, 2003, intelligence report that contradicted his declaration two days later that the United States had discovered biological weapons labs in Iraq. In fact, McClellan said no such thing during the briefing.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer and two Washington Post articles downplayed and even mischaracterized the loud, sustained chorus of boos that greeted Vice President Dick Cheney as he emerged from the dugout for the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals' home opener against the New York Mets and continued until he left the field.
Just days after the Democratic Party released a national security plan, CNN host Wolf Blitzer and NBC Today host Matt Lauer simply ignored the release and allowed -- and even encouraged -- Republican guests to suggest the Democrats have no "agenda." This continues patterns by CNN and Today of largely ignoring the Democrats' security plan, despite repeatedly reporting or commenting on the Democratic Party's purported lack of clear alternatives to the Republicans.
Following recent demonstrations in which protesters marched against proposed legislation that would criminalize undocumented workers, some in the media have criticized the demonstrators for carrying Mexican flags. But these same media figures have not complained about people waving other nations' flags, such as Irish flags at St. Patrick's Day events, Italian flags at Columbus Day events, or Israeli flags at Israel Day events.
Over the past year, CNN hosts, anchors, and reporters have repeatedly commented on the Democratic Party's purported lack of a clear plan or concrete set of alternatives on issues ranging from Social Security to the war in Iraq. When a large coalition of Democrats stood together on March 29 to unveil a unified national security platform, CNN largely ignored the news.
The campaign against purportedly biased reporting on the Iraq war -- forwarded by President Bush, White House officials, and array of conservative media figures -- has continued on the airwaves and in print.
CNN correspondent Candy Crowley and anchor Heidi Collins uncritically reported Republican rhetoric on President Bush's March 21 press conference, with Crowley stating that "[t]he White House says the president is best in these public forums," and Collins asking, "Is the president getting his political groove back?"
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In an interview with Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, CNN's Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Gonzales's dubious claim that "if the need were not there for the United States of America to detain people that we catch on the battlefield, then we would not be having to operate" the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Blitzer could have noted recent news reports pointing out that many -- if not a majority -- were not caught by American soldiers on the battlefield but turned over to the U.S. by third parties.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer said that when President Bush "puts his mind to something, he usually gets his way, at least over these past five years." In fact, while Bush has threatened to veto legislation he opposed during his five years in office, he has never actually done so. Additionally, he has reversed course in cases where he initially vowed to see his agenda realized despite any opposition and has rebuked Congress only to change his stance later.
Numerous media outlets and commentators have gone to great lengths to avoid using some version of the simplest construction to describe Vice President Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of a hunting partner, Harry Whittington: Cheney shot Whittington. Instead, the media have come up with alternative formulations that have the effect of distancing Cheney from the incident.
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