Friday, January 16, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 01-16-09

Wash. Post uncritically quoted Bush assertion that "there can be little debate" his policies kept us safe

The Washington Post uncritically reported President Bush's assertion, in his final address, that "there can be little debate" his administration's policies of detention, interrogation, and surveillance were "central to keeping Americans safe." But the Post did not mention a 2008 GAO report that found that the U.S. "has not met its national security goals to destroy terrorist threats and close the safe haven" in Pakistan, nor that many CIA analysts reportedly believe Al Qaeda leaders have declined to attack the U.S. again for strategic reasons, not due to the Bush administration's counterterrorism policies. Read More

WSJ falsely claimed that FISA court approved "warrantless wiretapping program" exposed in 2005

A Wall Street Journal editorial claimed that, in a recently released decision, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review affirmed the legality of the Bush administration's "warrantless wiretapping program" that "was exposed in 2005." In fact, the decision applies only to surveillance conducted pursuant to a 2007 congressional statute and does not say anything about the legality of the warrantless wiretapping program exposed in 2005. Read More

WSJ editorial falsely asserted "[n]ot a single man, woman or child has been killed by terrorists on U.S. soil since the morning of September 11"

A Wall Street Journal editorial asserted that "[n]ot a single man, woman or child has been killed by terrorists on U.S. soil since the morning of September 11." In fact, shortly after September 11, 2001, letters laced with anthrax were mailed through the U.S. Postal Service, which, as the Journal previously reported, "killed five people, sickened 17 others and crippled mail delivery for months." Read More

Rove again falsely suggested inconsistency by Obama on stimulus spending

On The Live Desk, Karl Rove advanced a falsehood he put forth in a recent Wall Street Journal column by suggesting that President-elect Barack Obama had "trashed the [Bush] administration" for supporting a 2008 stimulus bill. In fact, in remarks that Rove misrepresented in the column, Obama criticized the Bush administration for funding "[a] trillion dollar war in Iraq" with "deficit spending" and for exhibiting "[a] complete disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting," but he did not criticize the administration for supporting the 2008 stimulus bill. Read More

"Little debate" indeed: Media uncritically quote Bush's claim his policies kept us safe

Numerous media outlets have uncritically quoted President Bush asserting, regarding the controversial measures adopted by his administration in the name of national security: "There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions. But there can be little debate about the results." But these outlets have failed to note that questions have, in fact, been raised about the importance of Bush administration policies and actions to the obstruction of terror threats. Read More

On Bush legacy tour, media often just along for the ride

In recent weeks, the media have repeatedly indulged President Bush and Vice President Cheney through various interview stops on their Bush legacy tour, utterly failing to push back against statements that were demonstrably false or highly disputable. Media Matters has reviewed interviews given by Bush and Cheney since the November 4 election and has identified numerous instances in which interviewers have failed to challenge false or debatable statements; these failures span a variety of issues, including Hurricane Katrina, prewar Iraq intelligence, national security, and the economy. Read More

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