In a weblog post, ABC News' Jake Tapper reported that two Republican senators told Sen. Joseph Biden that they plan to "break with the White House Iraq strategy," but only after the midterm elections. Only three other media outlets have reported the disclosure.
Tim Russert and George Stephanopoulos advanced the baseless claim that Democrats are behind the scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), asking their Democratic guests to respond to the accusations despite ample evidence that they are false.
A Media Matters review of major media outlets found that only The Washington Post highlighted the major differences between remarks by Republican Sens. John McCain and Bill Frist on separate Sunday morning news shows on August 24. While McCain stated that "waterboarding and other extreme measures such as extreme deprivation -- sleep deprivation, hypothermia, and others" could be illegal under new rules for U.S. interrogations of terrorism suspects, Frist asserted that "no responsible person" is going to "comment on individual techniques" that would or would not be permitted under the new law, because doing so "helps the terrorists."
On ABC's This Week, George Will misrepresented a reported scientific breakthrough that would allow scientists to grow embryonic stem-cell lines without destroying the embryo. Will dismissed the finding, stating, "[I]n fact, it isn't true. All 16 embryos involved in this were destroyed." However, in making the assertion, Will conflated two issues: whether embryonic cells can be removed without destroying the embryo and whether stem-cell lines could be created from those cells. The first is well established; it was the second that ACT announced.
Media outlets have uncritically reported the comments of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, who, during interviews, have asserted that U.S. laws on detaining suspected terrorists should be modeled after British laws that allow the United Kingdom to detain a suspected terrorist for up to 28 days without charges. However, none of the media outlets noted the administration's expanded use of material witness warrants to detain people for indefinite periods.
In the wake of the recent thwarting of an alleged terrorist plot in Britain, numerous media outlets have posed the question of whether news of the event would benefit President Bush, often letting conservatives or Republican officials spin the news in favor of the administration. Many of the reports neglected to consider whether the news could actually hurt Bush politically.
On NBC's Meet the Press, David Gregory failed to question Michael Chertoff about an August 12 report by Gregory's own network that, while British officials had intended to continue surveillance on the suspects of the foiled British terror plot, U.S. authorities had pressured them to arrest the suspected plotters sooner. ABC News' George Stephanopoulos noted this report, but left the false impression that the allegations were the product of the "blogosphere."
On ABC's This Week, Martha Raddatz argued that Democrats "don't want" to call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq because "the lesson from Vietnam ... was you have to support the troops or there's tremendous backlash." This is not the first time the media have suggested that opposition to the Iraq war and support for U.S. troops are mutually exclusive positions.
Members of the media, including Tucker Carlson, Fred Barnes, Juan Williams, and George Stephanopoulos, have continued to suggest that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's criticism of Donald Rumsfeld during a recent Senate committee hearing was motivated solely by politics.
On ABC's This Week, Cokie Roberts asserted that it would be "a disaster for the Democratic Party" and would lead to "chaos" if businessman Ned Lamont were to defeat Sen. Joseph Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary on August 8, thereby "pushing the party to the left" and sending a message to other senators that "[t]he only smart thing to do here is play to your base." However, as Sam Donaldson noted, opposition to the war is not simply playing to the base, "it's playing to the country," since the majority of the American public opposes the war in Iraq.
In Media Matters' third examination of guest appearances on ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation, and NBC's Meet the Press, research demonstrated that Republicans and conservatives outnumbered Democrats and progressives from April to June of 2006.
On This Week, ABC News' Claire Shipman said of former Vice President Al Gore, "[J]ust look at his face. I don't think any of us watching your interview could take him at his word." Host George Stephanopoulos, who had interviewed Gore earlier, asked Shipman whether journalists should "take [Gore] at [his] word" about his statement, "I have no plans to be a candidate for president again."
In airing an interview with former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), ABC's This Week omitted a key segment in which Edwards provided context for remarks he made in the 2004 vice-presidential debate. During the debate, Edwards commended Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne Cheney, for their response to their daughter Mary Cheney's coming out as a lesbian.
Neither Fox News' Chris Wallace nor ABC News' George Stephanopoulos corrected a claim by first lady Laura Bush that when President Bush's poll numbers were high, the press did not put them "on the front page." Nor did the Associated Press or Reuters challenge Laura Bush's claim in articles reporting it.
On ABC's This Week, host George Stephanopoulos failed to correct a series of misleading statements by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) concerning the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and potential sources of oil off the coastal United States.