Although Washington Post, New York Times, and Reuters reports on President Bush's signing of the Military Commissions Act included general criticism of the legislation, they were all silent on its most controversial provision: allowing the president to detain noncitizens in the United States or abroad for any reason, indefinitely.
In a Washington Post article, staff writer Jonathan Weisman purported to equate the controversy surrounding a land deal involving Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid with another involving Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert. But Weisman ignored a key difference between the two: While there are allegations that Hastert used his office to increase the value of his real estate, there is no similar evidence about Reid's transaction.
The Washington Post uncritically reported Rep. Chris Shays's (R-CT) purported explanation for his reference to Chappaquiddick, claiming that he made his comment in the context of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's appearance with Shays's opponent, Diane Farrell, whose calls for Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's resignation over the Mark Foley scandal, Shays said, were made before the evidence of Hastert's "serious mishandling" of the scandal had come out. But Shays himself was one of the first Republicans to comment on evidence that the House leadership knew of some of Foley's alleged communications with pages. He was quoted in The New York Times on October 1 -- two days after the scandal broke -- saying that if any House leaders "knew or should have known the extent of this problem, they should not serve in leadership."
The Washington Post reported in an article by Jim VandeHei that "Democrats are targeting the personal lives of Republicans in numerous key House races as part of a campaign to capitalize on voter disgust" stemming from the scandal surrounding Rep. Mark Foley. But it made no mention of the numerous GOP-produced negative ads currently in circulation -- despite the fact that VandeHei co-wrote a Post article a month earlier about Republicans' pre-election strategy of "attacking Democratic House and Senate candidates over personal issues and local controversies."
CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight and the Washington Post editorial board devoted significant attention to "serious questions" surrounding a land deal involving Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, but both treated with relative nonchalance reports that Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert made almost $2 million on the sale of land in Illinois after taking an active role in the passage of a transportation bill that included an earmark for a highway project near the property.
The Washington Post, NBC, and ABC all uncritically covered Sen. John McCain's attack on the Clinton administration's North Korea policy, in which he argued that the 1994 Agreed Framework between the United States and North Korea had been a "failure." All of these outlets ignored the fact, however, that the Clinton White House successfully prevented North Korea from producing any plutonium for eight years.
The scandal surrounding the sexually explicit electronic communications former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) allegedly sent to underage former congressional pages -- and the House Republican leadership's alleged cover-up of Foley's behavior -- have produced a wave of misinformation. To aid members of the media in covering the scandal, Media Matters for America has compiled a list of the top myths, falsehoods, and baseless assertions surrounding the controversy.
A Washington Post article uncritically quoted former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie assailing Democratic leaders' handling of the 1983 sex scandal surrounding then-Rep. Gerry Studds, which Gillespie contrasted with the Republican leadership's handling of Foley.
Newspaper editorial boards have responded with a variety of opinions to the Mark Foley scandal, from calling for -- or opposing -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert's resignation to noting the "rank hypocrisy" of Republican leaders to referring to the Republicans' attempt to use a "gay scapegoat."
The News York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN uncritically reported Republican claims that the scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley has had little effect on potential voters. None of the three noted that recent, nonpartisan, publicly available polls contradict Republican claims that voters do not appear concerned about the scandal.
Numerous print media outlets reported Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert's most recent explanation of when he learned that former Rep. Mark Foley had engaged in inappropriate email correspondences with former congressional pages. But these outlets ignored the shifts in Hastert's account since the story broke, as well as House Majority Leader John Boehner's conflicting statements regarding whether he discussed the problem with Hastert.
In a Washington Post article, Charles Babington and Jonathan Weisman claimed that former Rep. Mark Foley was told to "leave pages alone" after Rep. Rodney Alexander reportedly revealed to House leadership that a former page on Alexander's staff had received "over-friendly" emails from Foley. In fact, the same reporters had reported the previous day that Foley had been told only to leave the page who complained alone and "to treat all pages respectfully," suggesting that House leaders expected Foley would have further contact with pages.
In their coverage of the Clinton-Wallace interview, the media largely ignored the substance of former President Clinton's criticism of the Bush administration's efforts to combat terrorism, instead focusing on Clinton's behavior during the interview or the possibility that his reaction was motivated by politics.
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.
Washington Post staff writer Peter Baker wrote that while President Bush's "public persona gives little sense that he dwells on the costs of war ... the private Bush comes across differently in the accounts of aides, friends, relatives and military family members who have met with him." However, Baker did not mention instances in which Bush has publicly made dismissive comments about U.S. involvement in Iraq.