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.
After airing a clip of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld being questioned by an audience member at an event in Atlanta about his prewar statements regarding Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda, CNN's Wolf Blitzer went on to conduct "some quick fact-checking," noting Rumsfeld's comment on March 30, 2003: "We know where they [WMD] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." Nonetheless, Blitzer then referred to the audience member's criticism as "anti-Rumsfeld ranting."
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On CNN's The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer discussed the growing calls for Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's resignation with CNN political analysts William Bennett and Donna Brazile. But Blitzer failed to ask Bennett about his remark earlier in the day that New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau and Washington Post staff writer Dana Priest -- who won Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting on Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program and the CIA's use of secret interrogation sites -- should be jailed. "I don't think what they did was worthy of an award," Bennett said on his radio show. "I think what they did was worthy of jail."
In reporting on the scandals and issues confronting the Bush administration, various media outlets have imputed to President Bush and members of his administration comments or statements they have not actually made. These phony statements often arise as a result of reporters misinterpreting an administration official's statement or inaccurately attributing a position or statement to an administration official.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer and two Washington Post articles downplayed and even mischaracterized the loud, sustained chorus of boos that greeted Vice President Dick Cheney as he emerged from the dugout for the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals' home opener against the New York Mets and continued until he left the field.