Friday, July 27, 2007

Media Matters for America, July 27, 2007

O'Reilly accuses guest of lying -- but "hateful" Clinton comments he claims he removed are still on website

During the July 26 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly claimed to have "exposed" the Daily Kos blog "as a hate website" and went on to criticize the decision by some Democratic presidential candidates to attend the YearlyKos convention. In response, Fox News contributor Jane Hall said to him, "You had hateful comments on your website about [Sen.] Hillary Clinton [D-NY]." O'Reilly then claimed: "No, I didn't. We took them off." He later added, "That's a lie, and I can't let you say a lie on this broadcast." After cutting Hall's microphone, O'Reilly again asserted, "I can't let Jane lie. We don't allow hateful comments on When they come up and we find them, we take them off." In fact, as of 5 p.m. ET on July 27, several comments about Clinton that were documented by Americablog (here, here, and here) remain on O'Reilly's website, including one that has led Huffington Post blogger Lane Hudson to ask for a Secret Service investigation: Read more

Wash. Times report contradicted by another Wash. Times article

A July 27 Washington Times article on President Bush's speech in Philadelphia the day before -- in which Bush criticized Democrats in Congress for allegedly "dragging their feet" on the "12 basic spending bills that are needed to keep the government running" -- falsely reported that "the Senate has yet to pass one of the annual 12 spending bills." In fact, as The Washington Times itself reported in a separate article published in the same day's edition, the Senate passed the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for 2008 at 10:49 p.m. ET on July 26. That bill is one of the 12 annual spending bills for fiscal year 2008. Read more

Graphic on Limbaugh's website identified bin Laden as a Democrat

A graphic on the front page of radio host Rush Limbaugh's website depicted a screen shot of C-SPAN's Washington Journal doctored to show Osama bin Laden appearing as a guest identified as "Mr. Osama bin Laden, D-Afghanistan." Read more

Ignoring ABC's own poll, Stephanopoulos claimed Congress "is even more unpopular" than Bush

On the July 27 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos reported that the Bush administration is calling "just politics" the decision by the Senate Judiciary Committee to subpoena White House senior adviser Karl Rove over the administration's firings of U.S. attorneys. He added, "And they feel that's their best political ground right now because the Congress is even more unpopular than the president right now." In fact, the most recent poll conducted by Stephanopoulos' own network -- a July 18-21 Washington Post-ABC News poll -- showed President Bush with a lower approval rating than Congress. The poll found that Bush has a 33-percent approval rating and a 65-percent disapproval rating, and that Congress has ratings of 37 percent approval and 60 percent disapproval. Read more

Latching onto Republican talking point, media report "do-nothing" Congress, not GOP obstruction

Several media outlets have reported recent claims by Senate Republicans, President Bush, and members of his administration that Democrats are currently presiding, or may soon preside, over a "do-nothing Congress" without challenging the claim in any way. These claims are apparently part of a strategy laid out in a "talking-points memorandum" reportedly "circulat[ed]" by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) that advises Republicans to attack congressional Democrats for their supposed lack of legislative accomplishments. In fact, Republicans have blocked Senate action at an unprecedented rate -- apparently putting into action a strategy that Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-MS) described as "obstructionist." Read more

Blitzer failed to challenge Snow's suggestion that Mueller did not contradict Gonzales

On the July 26 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer did not challenge White House press secretary Tony Snow's claim that there was no inconsistency between testimony by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and that of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales over which surveillance program was discussed during a March 2004 confrontation in the hospital room of
then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. Gonzales, who was White House counsel at the time, and another administration official went to the hospital to try to persuade Ashcroft to overrule then-Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, who had refused to reauthorize the National Security Agency's (NSA) warrantless domestic wiretapping program. In his July 24 testimony, Gonzales told Congress that the "disagreement that occurred, and the reason for the visit to the hospital ... was about other intelligence activities. It was not about the terrorist surveillance program that the president announced to the American people." However, in a July 26 House Judiciary Committee hearing, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) asked Mueller whether the warrantless wiretapping program was discussed at the meeting, and Mueller replied that he "had an understanding" that Gonzales' hospital "discussion" with Ashcroft, which Mueller did not witness firsthand, was about an "NSA program that has been much discussed, yes." Nervertheless, after Blitzer said that Mueller was "contradicting what Alberto Gonzales says," he allowed Snow to respond, unchallenged: "Does Bob Mueller once use the phrase 'terrorist surveillance program'? I'll save you the wait. The answer is no." Read more

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