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.
Wolf Blitzer and CNN national news correspondent Jeanne Moos noted that "pundits, politicians, comics, and radio talk show hosts" have begun to talk of World War III in the wake of the onset of conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. While Moos's segment included clips from programs that satirized the trend of conservatives referring to World War III or World War IV, both Moos and Blitzer stated that the question of whether World War III had begun was "serious."
On CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer allowed Human Events Online editor Terence P. Jeffrey to repeat Robert Novak's claim that the Bush administration official who originally disclosed former CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to Novak "had done it inadvertently." In fact, Novak has been inconsistent about the motivations of his sources and the explanation for the inconsistency.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman's false attacks on Democrats over the Iraq war and immigration policy.
On June 18, The Washington Post published a cable sent from the U.S. Embassy in Iraq that detailed the deteriorating conditions observed in Baghdad in recent months. Despite the clear significance of the document, the media have almost entirely ignored its publication.
Following the publication of a New York Times article on the purported state of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and former President Bill Clinton's marriage, numerous news outlets ran reports and aired discussions on the story. The 2,000-word article by Times reporter Patrick Healy was based on the accounts of "some 50 people," "many" of whom "were granted anonymity to discuss a relationship for which the Clintons have long sought a zone of privacy."
While discussing immigration on CNN's Larry King Live, a group of the cable channel's political reporters and contributors, which host Larry King called "the best political team on television," touted President Bush's support for the bipartisan Senate bill that would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and suggested falsely that his position on immigration has been consistent. In fact, before Bush came out in support of the Senate bill, he had praised a competing House bill and, according to the House bill's author, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, pushed for the inclusion of some of its most controversial provisions, including one making it a felony to be in the United States illegally and another making it a felony to provide assistance to illegal immigrants.