MSNBC and Fox News uncritically reported claims by the Bush administration, including that "wages for the average middle-class American today are actually higher than they were just a couple of years ago," ignoring a report alleging that the median hourly real wage has "declined 2 percent since 2003."
Fox News host Neil Cavuto stated that an October 23 report in Barron's that predicted the GOP would retain control of both houses of Congress in the midterm elections was "a possible reason for the uptick" in the stock market that day while not challenging Barron's Washington bureau chief Jim McTague -- who declared, "[T]he numbers don't lie" -- about the false suggestion in the Barron's report that it has used a consistent methodology in predicting Republican victories in 2002, 2004, and now in 2006.
Fox News' Neil Cavuto did not challenge Tony Snow's false claim that "since the president cut taxes in 2003, the Dow Jones is up 60 percent. The Nasdaq is up 80 percent." But even under the most favorable criteria, Snow's statistics are plainly wrong. And when adjusted for inflation, the value of both stock indices has decreased since President Bush's first major tax cut package in June 2001.
The Republican National Committee's (RNC) new political ad -- featuring clips of Osama bin Laden and other terrorists making threats against the United States and clips of explosions -- has not yet aired as a paid advertisement, but broadcast and cable news networks have already played portions of it several times as part of their news programming -- essentially giving the RNC the opportunity to fearmonger on their airwaves free of charge.
On Your World, Neil Cavuto falsely claimed that "most Americans, when they're polled on the likability of this president, he polls highly in that regard." In fact, recent surveys demonstrate that more people -- over 50 percent in major October polls -- give Bush an unfavorable rating.
Fox News programs in recent weeks have aired false and misleading Republican campaign advertisements attacking Democrats or Democratic congressional candidates and have hosted guests to defend the attacks, smears, and falsehoods put forth in the ads. But in all but one of the segments about the ads, Fox News failed to air a counter-ad by a Democratic candidate or host any progressive or Democrat to respond to the smears in the advertisements; the other aired only part of a Democratic ad and did so without sound.
Neil Cavuto did not challenge Ken Mehlman's false claim that Rep. Charlie Rangel has said that "you would get across-the-board tax increases" if Democrats regain control of the House. In fact, during an interview with Cavuto less than two weeks earlier, Rangel stated: "The president has -- had allowed these things to expire in 2010 ... and I would not advocate or support a retroactive increase in taxes."
As evidence that the American people are not in what he called the Democrats' "cut-and-run camp," Neil Cavuto cited a recent poll's finding that 67 percent of respondents believe "Democrats in Congress" do not "have a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq." But he failed to note that the same poll also found that 61 percent of respondents believe President Bush does not have "a clear plan" for handling Iraq.
Neil Cavuto allowed Sen. George Allen to echo the false suggestion that the "record" of his opponent, James Webb, consists of only "10 months" in the Reagan administration and to baselessly claim that Webb had run a "misrepresentative" campaign ad that featured former President Ronald Reagan. In fact, Webb served in the Reagan administration for nearly four years, and Webb's ad simply uses a recording of Reagan's own words praising Webb's past military service.
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.