Saturday, January 20, 2007

Media Matters Latest, January 20, 2007

Hume again declared Libby did not commit the "actual leak" in Plame case

On January 18, Brit Hume again asserted as fact that "Scooter" Libby did not commit the "actual leak" of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA officer. The day before, Hume had stated that Libby was "not responsible" for leaking the information. However, prosecutors allege that Libby did discuss Plame's CIA employment with Judith Miller before it was made public; Miller herself confirmed this. Read more

Beck calls Hagel "100 percent clear and consistent" in opposing war he voted for

On the January 18 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck claimed that Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) "has been 100 percent clear and consistent with his opinions" on the war in Iraq. But while contending that Hagel has "continued to throw up every red flag he can find" about the war, Beck ignored Hagel's vote for the October 2002 resolution authorizing military action against Iraq. Throughout the "Real Story" segment, on-screen text read: "Hagel's Been Consistent." Read more

Roberts echoed Balz assertion of Clinton shift from "staunch[ ] support[ ]" of Iraq war

A day after The Washington Post's Dan Balz wrote that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is "continuing her steady evolution from one of the war's staunchest supporters to one of the administration's most prominent critics," CNN's John Roberts asserted that Clinton's "language has shifted over the years from a staunch supporter of the Iraq war to now one of its fiercest critics." Read more

O'Reilly on Media Matters: "a far-left swamp pit ... that just attacks people with whom they disagree"

On the January 18 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, while discussing Missouri kidnapping victim Shawn Hornbeck, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly called Media Matters for America "a far-left swamp pit. A disgusting website that just attacks people with whom they disagree and takes things out of context all day long." O'Reilly elaborated that "they'll take an hour discussion we do here on The Radio Factor, and then they'll transcribe two minutes of it and leave out all the other stuff. ... [I]t's a cheap game. They've been doing this for years. And everybody with any intelligence knows it." As with his previous attacks on Media Matters, O'Reilly did not offer a single example of Media Matters' taking his remarks out of context. Media Matters provides transcripts, with full context, and, when available, audio or video clips of O'Reilly's remarks in items about him. Read more

CNN's Bash claimed Dems oppose troop increases to please party's "left wing"

On the January 18 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash claimed that "Democrats eyeing the White House" were making an "appeal to the powerful anti-war left wing of the party" by "saying symbolic, nonbinding resolutions are not enough" of a response to President Bush's plan to send additional troops to Iraq. In doing so, Bash suggested that support for congressional action beyond nonbinding resolutions was limited to the "anti-war left wing" of the Democratic Party. But, as Media Matters for America has noted, polling demonstrates that a substantial number of Americans -- not just the "left wing" of the Democratic Party -- favor congressional action to block the increase. Read more

Wash. Post's Solomon baselessly suggested shady Edwards land deal

In a January 19 front-page Washington Post article on former Sen. John Edwards' (D-NC) December 2006 sale of his Georgetown townhouse, former Associated Press reporter and recent Post hire John Solomon along with fellow Post staff writer Lois Romano reported that the sale price was ultimately "half a million dollars below the asking price but still $1.4 million more than the Edwardses paid four years earlier." The Post further explained that the Edwardses had owned the house for five years and "did substantial renovations" during that period. But while the article noted that they received $1.4 million more than their purchase price, the Post failed to offer readers the necessary context to evaluate this transaction. The article gave no indication of the actual profit made by the Edwardses, after the transaction costs and the presumably substantial cost of the "substantial renovation" are considered. Nor did the article give any indication whether that profit -- which, again, Solomon and Romano did not report -- was out of line for houses in that neighborhood over that time period. Read more

Media outlets respond to Morris retraction

As Media Matters for America documented, several media outlets cited or republished Fox News analyst Dick Morris' January 17 column for The Hill, despite the column's central claim -- that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) voted against a Senate ethics bill banning legislators from hiring family members to their campaign committees or political action committees -- being false. Some ran the column even after Morris acknowledged he was wrong and retracted it that day. Many of the outlets have noted Morris' retraction or have pulled Morris' column from their websites and replaced it with Morris' retraction. But others have simply pulled the column without any editorial notation. Read more

Right-wing media figures claim Clinton behind Obama/Muslim smears

Melanie Morgan, Lee Rodgers, Rush Limbaugh, and John Gibson all forwarded the accusation made by a website controlled by Rev. Sun Myung Moon that Sen. Hillary Clinton was responsible for spreading information linking Sen. Barack Obama to a madrassa, or Muslim school. None of the four cited any evidence, other than the article, that Clinton was responsible for promoting the madrassa story, and the article cited no one by name. Read more

Disputed even by a Republican, Blitzer persisted in suggesting that Dems' "100 Hours" agenda was a "stunt"

On the January 18 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer persisted in suggesting that the Democratic "100 Hours" legislative agenda was "merely a stunt," even after former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK), CNN's conservative voice in its "Strategy Session" debates, had previously told Blitzer: "I don't think it's a publicity stunt." Blitzer asked CNN congressional correspondent Andrea Koppel if the then-expected passage of all the items on the agenda was "a success" or "merely a stunt." While discussing the first bill in the 100 Hours agenda on January 9, Koppel asserted that there was "a political calculation involved in the timing of all of this." But on January 18, when Blitzer again suggested the agenda was a "stunt," Koppel replied that it was not, saying "it was definitely a success." On-screen graphics throughout Koppel's report and afterward continued to ask: "100 Hours: Success or Stunt?" Read more

CNN uncritically reported Gonzales' defense of sending suspect to country that tortured him

On the January 18 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena uncritically reported Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' defense of the Bush administration's decision to send Canadian-Syrian citizen Maher Arar to Syria, where he was tortured and falsely confessed to terrorist affiliations, according to the findings in a Canadian judicial report that was released on September 18, 2006. During her report on Gonzales' January 18 appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Arena reported that "Gonzales and other U.S. officials have said that they got assurances from Syria that Arar would not be tortured." Arena did not challenge or question Gonzales' assertion; she made no mention of Syria's reputation -- documented in the State Department's Human Rights reports -- for using torture in interrogations or that the Canadian inquiry noted such assurances often have little credibility. Read more

O'Reilly agreed that illegal immigrants' "third-world value system ... can corrupt the education system"

On the January 16 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Bill O'Reilly agreed with a caller's assertion that illegal immigrants "bring corrupting influences" to the United States, including "a third-world value system" that "can corrupt the education system." O'Reilly replied: "Absolutely. And that's why the dropout rate is so high." Read more

Olbermann on O'Reilly: "Why does [he] still have a job?"

On the January 18 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann attacked Fox News host Bill O'Reilly for comments he made regarding the kidnapping of Shawn Hornbeck -- who was abducted in October 2002, held for four years, and recently found in Missouri. As Media Matters for America documented, on the January 15 edition of his television show, O'Reilly said: "The situation here for this kid looks to me to be a lot more fun than what he had under his old parents. He didn't have to go to school. He could run around and do whatever he wanted," later stating, "There was an element here that this kid liked about his circumstances." The following day, as Media Matters also noted, O'Reilly addressed the criticism surrounding his comments by saying: "I made no awful remarks ... just asked questions." Read more

Savage: British "soccer thug[s]" who defeated Hitler have been "beaten down by the lesbian/homosexual mafia"

On the January 18 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, while playing the song "Living on a Thin Line" by the Kinks, Michael Savage claimed that "there's no England now" because "[t]he soccer thug[s]" who defeated Hitler "[are] gone." Savage asserted: "The soccer thug has been beaten down by the lesbian/homosexual mafia in England." Savage added: "The very men who could defend the lesbians and homosexuals have been beaten down by them in the West, all part of the gigantic global psychosis." Read more

Dietl tells imam "the facts of life": "If you're on a plane with me ... you'll be looked at a little ... more carefully than me"

On the January 17 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto featured private investigator Richard "Bo" Dietl, a former detective with the New York City Police Department, and Imam Sayed Hassan al-Qazwini, leader of the Islamic Center of America, to discuss a recent case in which a group of 40 American Muslims, including al-Qazwini, were barred from boarding a Michigan-bound plane in Frankfurt, Germany. Al-Qazwini said that the incident was "a matter of discrimination," to which Dietl replied, "The fact of the matter is -- I mean, you don't watch 24 on Fox TV? [The terrorists are] out there. They're out there." Dietl then told al-Qazwini: "[I]f you're on a plane with me ... and you're sitting next to me, you'll be looked at a little ... more carefully than me. That's the facts of life. That's what we're living with today. I'm sorry to say, 9-11 changed our whole life." Read more

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