USA Today uncritically reported President Bush's denial, during a March 20 appearance in Cleveland, Ohio, that his administration had ever claimed a direct connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9-11 terrorist attacks in making the case for war with Iraq. In addition, the article neglected to report that, in his response to an audience member's question, Bush created a straw-man argument by misrepresenting the substance of the question the attacks. In fact, Bush did claim such a connection existed, often generally and specifically in a letter to Congress at the start of the war.
In recent days, numerous pundits have summarily dismissed concerns about the takeover of operations at six U.S. ports by a company owned by the government of Dubai, a member state of the United Arab Emirates, despite the fact that the Bush administration opted not to conduct the 45-day investigation into the deal's national security implications provided for -- and, critics argue, required -- by federal law.
Most major print and broadcast media outlets offered no coverage of House Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King's March 1 claim that there was "no investigation into terrorism whatsoever" during the Bush administration's initial review of the proposed deal that would allow Dubai Ports World (DPW) to assume control of terminal operations at six major U.S. ports.
On March 2, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today reported on newly released video footage and transcripts documenting how, on the day before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, President Bush was warned -- and expressed concern -- about the possibility that the levees in New Orleans would be breached by the storm. But none of these reports mentioned that these new tapes further contradict the claim Bush made on ABC's Good Morning America several days after the storm hit that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
In reporting on the Bush administration's decision to approve the takeover of the British firm that manages six U.S. ports by a state-controlled Dubai company, articles in USA Today and The Washington Post obscured or misrepresented lawmakers' objections to the deal, failing to make clear that their criticisms center on the fact that the acquiring company is owned by a foreign government with what The New York Times editorial board has referred to as a "mixed" record on fighting terrorism.
Vice President Dick Cheney's recent hunting accident offered yet another example of an unmistakable pattern with the Bush administration, which few in the media have noted. When faced with potential political damage stemming from its actions or decisions, the Bush White House attacks those fomenting the criticism; Cheney or President Bush then take to the airwaves and appear to temper the debate -- while benefiting from whatever discrediting their surrogates' smears brought on their targets.
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.
Following Vice President Dick Cheney's exclusive February 15 interview with Fox News' Brit Hume, the media widely reported that he took "full responsibility" for accidentally shooting Harry Whittington while hunting. But numerous news outlets have ignored that Cheney's acceptance of responsibility contradicts his friends' prior statements that Whittington was to blame.
Reporting on Vice President Dick Cheney's admission that he had consumed "a beer at lunch" prior to accidentally shooting a hunting companion, numerous media outlets failed to report that Cheney's admission contradicted earlier statements by Katharine and Anne Armstrong, co-owners of the ranch where the accident occurred, who had said that Dr. Pepper was served with lunch and "heavily implied," according to The New York Times, that "no alcohol was served at all."
Reporting on President Bush's February 9 account of how the government successfully thwarted a 2002 Al Qaeda plot to crash a hijacked airplane into a Los Angeles skyscraper, numerous media outlets -- including The New York Times, Associated Press, and USA Today -- ignored doubts among counterterrorism officials that the proposed attack ever advanced beyond the initial planning stages and ever posed a serious threat.
USA Today reported that the Bush administration "has briefed congressional leaders on the details" of its warrantless domestic surveillance program, but it did not report that many Democrats who said they had been informed about the program also say that they were not told about its actual nature or extent.
Most major news outlets did not report the dispute over Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter's refusal to swear in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the committee's hearing on the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program.
Numerous media outlets repeated without challenge White House senior adviser Karl Rove's defense of President Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program, in which Rove falsely claimed that "some important Democrats clearly disagree" with the proposition that "if Al Qaeda is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they're calling and why." In fact, no leading Democrat has said that it is not in our interest to monitor Al Qaeda's communications.
News outlets reported that the Republican-sponsored ethics reform package would ban lobbyist-paid travel. But the proposed reform measure would still allow lobbyist-paid meals and trips as long as they were offered as campaign fundraising activities.