CNN's Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge White House homeland security adviser Frances Townsend's claims that "there's no question that terrorism was a priority" in the Bush administration before 9-11 and that the Bush administration was unaware of the "comprehensive strategy to proceed with the war on terror" former President Clinton said he left with the incoming administration, despite the fact that the 9-11 Commission offered claims to the contrary.
Wolf Blitzer continued to tout his September 20 interview with President Bush, during which Blitzer failed to point out the contradiction between 1) Bush's assertion during the interview that he would "absolutely" send military forces into Pakistan to capture or eliminate Osama bin Laden if intelligence revealed that he was there, and 2) Bush's assertion at a press conference on September 15 that Pakistan is a sovereign nation and the United States would have to be invited in. Moreover, at no point during any of three segments touting the interview did Blitzer note this contradiction or Bush's myriad statements on the priority his administration placed on capturing bin Laden.
Many television news outlets touted a USA Today/Gallup poll putting President Bush's job approval rating at 44 percent as a success for Bush, asserting that his rating is "the highest it's been in a year." But four days earlier, the same news organizations ignored a Pew Research Center poll showing Bush's approval rating at 37 percent.
Wolf Blitzer left unchallenged John Bolton's claim that "the Europeans have been saying, the Security Council has said, the International Atomic Energy Agency has said" that Iran must suspend its enrichment of uranium as "the precondition" for negotiations on its nuclear capability. But moments earlier, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux had reported that U.S. officials "will allow the Europeans to continue to talk with the Iranians."
In his recent interview with President Bush, Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Bush on his statement that he "[a]bsolutely" would give the order to pursue Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. In a previous press conference, Bush had asserted that the United States could not send troops into Pakistan to hunt for bin Laden unless it was "invited" to do so, because Pakistan is a "sovereign nation."
Hosts on CNN, ABC, and Fox News failed to raise key issues while interviewing Thomas H. Kean about his role as a senior consultant to the ABC's The Path to 9/11 -- specifically, the terms of his arrangement with ABC and the possible benefit of Kean's high-profile promotion of the conservative-skewed miniseries to the campaign of his namesake son, who is running as a Republican for a Senate seat in New Jersey.
Despite Sen. John McCain's numerous flip-flops, reversals, backtracks, and inconsistencies, the media continue to describe him with words such as "honest" and "authentic." Is there anything John McCain could do that would cause the media to stop portraying him as a "straight talker"?
On The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Ken Mehlman's false claim that the American public is opposed to setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The two polls taken in August that asked about a timetable found that a majority of Americans support the idea.
Reporting on Sen. John McCain's press release restating his "determination not to leave Iraq," CNN's Wolf Blitzer completely ignored McCain's backtracking on his earlier criticism of the Bush administration's public statements about the Iraq war.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Bill Bennett's assertion that the recent arrests of terrorism suspects in the United Kingdom "helps the president." In fact, national polling conducted after the alleged terror plot was exposed indicates that President Bush has received no appreciable boost in public support.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Lou Dobbs, and Kelli Arena characterized a judge's ruling that the Bush administration's warrantless domestic spying program is unconstitutional as a serious blow to the administration's efforts to combat terrorists. But it's not at all clear that the administration must violate the law to protect the country or that warrantless domestic wiretapping has been effective in combating terrorists.
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.
On CNN's The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Bay Buchanan's assertion that the public would not back Democrats if they pushed for a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq. An August 3 CNN poll found that 57 percent of Americans backed a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.