April 20, 2006

Robert Christgau reviews Walter Mosley's Fortunate Son, a serious novel about intimately connected yet diametrically opposed black and white stepbrothers.

Categories: News
Gary Younge writes that the three candidates for New Orleans mayor--two white, one black--differ little on the issues. Voters may rely on the symbolism of race, but it will take more than melanin to rebuild this city.

Categories: News
John Nichols writes that upcoming primary challenges are forcing Democratic incumbents in Congress to be more critical of Bush and to press for a plan to bring the troops home.

Categories: News
The Editors write that reality, for the moment, has trumped Bush's spin. The Rumsfeld imbroglio and the retired generals' revolt prove the President can no longer rely on disingenuous assertions to cover his failures.

Categories: News

Echoing Fox News host Brit Hume, an April 18 Washington Times editorial cited a misleading statistic to suggest that global warming might have "stopped in 1998" because of a "negligible decrease in temperature" since that year. On the April 10 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Hume cited an April 9 op-ed in The Sunday Telegraph written by global-warming skeptic Bob Carter, an adjunct professor of earth sciences at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, to suggest that global warming might "be in remission." Hume stated: "Carter notes that since 1998, average temperatures across the globe have not increased at all, and, in fact, have dropped ever so slightly." While 1998 was the hottest on record according to the Climatic Research Unit, the source of Carter's data, an examination of temperature data since 1998 undermines Carter's assertion that global warming "stopped" in that year. For example, neither Carter, the Times, nor Hume mentioned the fact that five different years since 1998 (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005) have seen warmer temperatures than any year preceding 1998, according to Climatic Research Unit figures. Nor did they explain that 2005 was the second-warmest year on record, according to the Climatic Research Unit, and the hottest year on record when analysis of warming in the Arctic is taken into account, according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

The Times editorial, which bemoaned the exclusion of global-warming skeptics from the "political discourse," acknowledged that most scientists would "dispute Carter's view." But it did not mention why that might be the case -- because Carter's view is based on a misrepresentation of recent temperature trends:

The same week California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sought to reposition himself on global warming with a proposal for new greenhouse-gas cuts, a funny thing happened: A paleoclimatologist said that global warming actually stopped in 1998.

"For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem," wrote Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia in the Daily Telegraph [sic]. "In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate [sic] Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase."

In fact, according to Mr. Carter, there appears to have been a negligible decrease in temperature over that period. Which is not to say that he disputes the notion that warming happened in the late 20th century. Rather, Mr. Carter is pointing to a recent fluctuation in the climate data which suggests that so-called "anthropogenic" warming could not be a very significant factor -- not if gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles and surging Chinese growth could fail to tip the scales toward warming. Climate seems to vary according to a number of factors, he believes, and the man-made part was probably negligible the last few years. Mr. Carter unloaded on -- among people and institutions -- the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, calling it a "gravy train" to benefit scientists who hew to preferred positions on global warming.

We bring up Mr. Carter's entry into this debate up not to endorse the scientific judgment -- we leave that to the scientists, many or even most of whom would dispute Mr. Carter's view -- but instead to observe that the political discourse often pretends that such voices do not exist.

Hume also parroted Carter's claim that "there was actually a slight decrease" in temperature between 1998 and 2005:

HUME: And could global warming be in remission? Australian geologist Bob Carter thinks so. Carter notes that since 1998, average temperatures across the globe have not increased at all, and, in fact, have dropped ever so slightly. Carter says what he calls "climate scaremongering" is merely a self-created political fiasco, as he put it, writing in the London Telegraph that global-warming devotees ignore the fact that the Earth got warmer between 1918 and 1940 before worldwide industrialization and cooled between 1940 and 1968, during the height of the growing industrial era. His conclusion: The Earth's climate changes naturally and unpredictably in cycles.

However, other data from Carter's own source contradict his assertion that recent annual temperature figures show that global warming "stopped in 1998."

A chart from a December 2005 press release from the Climatic Research Unit:


Optimally averaged temperature relative to the 1961-1990 mean





















The press release also noted that 2005 was "the second warmest year on record" at the time:

"2005 is currently the second warmest year on record and 2005 is likely to be among the warmest 4 years in the official temperature record since 1861, but final figures will not be released until February. The last 10 years (1996-2005), with the exception of 1996, are the warmest years on record."

According to a January report by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 2005 was the warmest year on record. NASA explained the difference between its findings and those of the Climatic Research Unit: "The primary difference among the analyses, according to the NASA scientists, is the inclusion of the Arctic in the NASA analysis. Although there are few weather stations in the Arctic, the available data indicate that 2005 was unusually warm in the Arctic."

Further, the Climatic Research Unit stated on its website in January 2006 that the 1990s were "the warmest decade of the millennium and the 20th century the warmest century":

The 1990s were the warmest decade in the series. The warmest year of the entire series has been 1998, with a temperature of 0.58°C above the 1961-90 mean. Nine of the ten warmest years in the series have now occurred in the past ten years (1995-2004). The only year in the last ten not among the warmest ten is 1996 (replaced in the warm list by 1990).

Analyses of over 400 proxy climate series (from trees, corals, ice cores and historical records) show that the 1990s is the warmest decade of the millennium and the 20th century the warmest century. The warmest year of the millennium was 1998, and the coldest was probably 1601.

A graph on the Climatic Research Unit website illustrates the broader context for the warming trend for the "combined global land and marine surface temperature record from 1856 to 2005":

Carter has made other inaccurate statements on climate change, which have been debunked here and here. As Media Matters for America has documented, peer-reviewed evidence that human activity is contributing to global warming is embraced by the vast majority of climate scientists.

Categories: News

During the April 19 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly stated that the woman who alleged she was raped at a party attended by members of the Duke University lacrosse team "put herself in jeopardy." O'Reilly added: "She has two young kids to support and no fathers in sight. So, in order to earn money, she chooses to go to strange places and disrobe in front of strange men. Do the math."

From the April 19 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Duke University officials knew the lacrosse team often crossed the line, drinking and acting out in immature ways. The coach was warned last year to rein the players in. Apparently, he did not or could not. The coach has now resigned.

One of the players charged, Collin Finnerty, may be a violent guy. Last November, he was allegedly involved in an assault on a man in Washington, D.C., for absolutely no reason. And he entered a diversionary program.

Fighting, drinking to excess, and generally ignoring social boundaries always leads to bad, unintended consequences. Always.

Likewise, a 27-year-old woman put herself in jeopardy. She has two young kids to support and no fathers in sight. So, in order to earn money, she chooses to go to strange places and disrobe in front of strange men. Do the math.

"Talking Points" is not accusing anyone of anything, or making any judgments at all. What I just told you is on the record -- fact. The lacrosse team operated in a loose fashion. The alleged victim had little control over her environment.

Categories: News

On the April 17 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, political analyst Monica Crowley repeatedly asserted that Iran "may already have" a nuclear weapon, despite the overwhelming consensus of international weapons experts to the contrary. During a discussion with host Joe Scarborough about the possibility that the Iranian government could provide Al Qaeda with a nuclear weapon that could be detonated in an American city -- which also featured a visual graphic representation of the death toll if such a weapon was detonated in New York City -- Crowley said that the "maniacs in Tehran" may "already have" nuclear weapons, and that Iran may "pass them off to Al Qaeda and allow Al Qaeda then to bring them into the United States and detonate them." However as Media Matters for America recently documented, The New York Times reported on March 5 that "American intelligence agencies say it will take 5 to 10 years for Iran to manufacture the fuel for its first atomic bomb." After Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that his country had enriched a small quantity of uranium and was researching technology to enhance its enrichment capabilities, the Times reported on April 17 that intelligence agencies would be forced to revise the current estimate of 5 to 10 years only in the event that Iran succeeded in implementing more advanced centrifuges.

Media Matters also documented a recent disagreement between International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials and U.S. officials over Iran's road to nuclear weapons capabilities. On March 23, Knight Ridder reported that, based on a recent IAEA briefing on Iran's nuclear progress, "U.S. officials and a foreign diplomat" expressed concern that Iran's progress on a network of 164 centrifuges indicated that Iran would be "two to three years away" from a nuclear weapon if it overcame numerous "technical hurdles." On March 25, the Associated Press reported that a senior IAEA official called the U.S. claims about the briefing "pure speculation and misinformation," and that a "diplomat in Vienna" -- where the IAEA is headquartered -- "said some U.S. administration officials were misrepresenting" the briefing. The official claimed that "[i]t comes from people who are seeking a crisis, not a solution" to the confrontation over Iran.

From the April 17 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country:

SCARBOROUGH: Monica, is there any possibility that the Iranian leaders that are in charge right now would ever be so irrational as to launch a nuclear attack on cities like Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., if they got this nuclear device?

CROWLEY: Unequivocally, yes, Joe. And in fact, the hypothetical scenario that you just laid out, that hypothetic ground zero is just a few blocks from where I am sitting here tonight. So, it is an incredibly frightening scenario and absolutely within the realm of possibility given the nature of the regime we're talking about. This Tehran regime covers the terrorist trifecta. They do have weapons of mass destruction, possibly even nuclear at this point. They export terror and they do support Al Qaeda. Some observers -- there's --

SCARBOROUGH: Monica, let me ask you this. I want to show a picture of where you are. Let's go ahead and go to the live shot in New York right now. Monica, if Tehran were to launch an attack -- and we have the shot up of Times Square right now -- if they were launch an attack in Times Square, they would have to know that we would go in and obliterate Tehran and their entire country. I mean -- of course, during the Cold War, we called it mutually assured destruction.


SCARBOROUGH: They have to be logical enough to understand their country would never survive a nuclear attack against us.

CROWLEY: But Joe, you are dealing with a regime that's not logical, and it is also not rational. The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, really believes in bringing on a Muslim-led apocalypse. This is what he genuinely believes. You only have to go and look at the statements he makes pretty much on a daily basis. Look, the Tehran regime has missiles with which to deliver the weapons we're talking about. They are intermediate range, meaning they can reach Israel. They cannot yet reach the United States. But that doesn't mean that Tehran-based weapons -- and again, we may be talking about nuclear weapons that they may already have -- they would pass them off to Al Qaeda and allow Al Qaeda then to bring them into the United States and detonate them. There's no reason to suggest that the maniacs in Tehran would not give those weapons to Al Qaeda and allow Al Qaeda to go and do its dirty work for them.

Categories: News

Introducing an April 18 segment exploring whether illegal immigrants' protests for legal recognition may have "backfir[ed]," Fox News' Your World host Neil Cavuto falsely claimed that "the vast majority" of Americans "seems firmly against giving rights to people who entered America illegally." In fact, most recent national polls show just the opposite -- that most Americans support granting undocumented immigrants some form of legal status in the United States.

For example, according to an April 8-11 Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, 54 percent of those polled would support a temporary guest worker program that provides a path to permanent resident status if certain requirements are met. Twenty-one percent opposed such a program. Additionally, an April 7-9 USA Today/Gallup poll found that 63 percent of respondents favored allowing "illegal immigrants to remain in the United States and become U.S. citizens, but only if they meet certain requirements over a period of time," while 17 percent said they would favor granting temporary status to illegal workers. Eighteen percent favored deporting all illegal immigrants back to their home countries.

Media Matters for America recently documented many other polls illustrating similar results:

  • An April 6-9 Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that 63 percent of respondents said they would prefer to "[l]et immigrants who have lived here a certain number of years apply for legal status and eventually become permanent citizens if they meet specific conditions, like paying a fine and back taxes." Twenty percent said they would prefer to "[d]eclare all illegal immigrants to be felons and not allow them to work here legally," and 14 percent stated a preference for letting illegal immigrants "pay a fee and work here for a limited number of years after which they'd have to leave the country."
  • An April 6-9 CBS News poll found that 49 percent of those polled favor allowing illegal immigrants to apply for permits to stay and work in the United States; 43 percent opposed. Also, when CBS asked those polled if they would favor or oppose granting legal status to illegal immigrants who have "paid a fine, been in the U.S. for at least five years, paid any back taxes they owe, can speak English, and have no criminal record," 74 percent said they would favor allowing them to stay, while only 23 percent opposed.
  • An April 4-5 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll found that 69 percent of those asked said they would favor "[a]llowing illegal immigrants who have jobs in the United States to apply for legal, temporary-worker status," while only 25 percent opposed.
  • A March 23-30 Time poll found that 72 percent of respondents believe that the United States should let illegal immigrants "get temporary work visas," while only 25 percent believe Congress should "make illegal immigration a crime and not allow anyone who entered the country illegally to work or stay in the U.S." The Time poll also found that 72 percent of respondents "favor allowing illegal immigrants in the U.S. citizenship if they learn English, have a job and pay taxes."

From the April 18 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:

CAVUTO: Well, millions of illegals protesting in recent weeks, demanding rights, but that seems to have woken up millions of Americans who really didn't have much of a thought either way on the issue, until now. Now the vast majority seems firmly against giving rights to people who entered America illegally. So, are these protests backfiring on illegal immigrants? Let's ask Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth, author of Whatever It Takes [Regnery, January 2006]. Congressman, it does think -- it does remind folks that, up until this fuss, most people weren't giving it a fuss. Now they are, huh?

Categories: News

On the April 14 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, William A. Donohue, president of the conservative Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, claimed that certain people in the entertainment industry, such as Comedy Central's South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, are using their popular television shows to attack the Christian majority, which is "somewhat analogous to what we had in South Africa, where the majority of the people who were black were dumped on by white racists." Donohue described those parodying Christianity as "secular supremacists" who "have it out against the 85 percent of the population that is Christian."

Donohue singled out South Park because, during Easter week, the show aired a two-part episode that featured an image of Jesus defecating on President Bush and the U.S. flag. The creators of the show substituted the Jesus image in protest over Comedy Central's refusal to allow them to run an image of the Prophet Muhammad. Donohue argued that shows such as South Park "don't like the idea that liberty means the right to do what you ought to do."

As Media Matters for America has noted, Donohue frequently attacks gays, progressives, and non-Christians as a guest on Your World and other news programs.

From the April 14 edition of Your World With Neil Cavuto

CAVUTO: So, it's fair game to go after Jesus but not, virtually, any other?

DONOHUE: Well, this has been the course with so many comedians today, Penn Gillette, Bill Maher, Parker and Stone over at South Park. They continually go after Christianity and they give a pass to others. Look, I don't want to see the day when the only way you can stop the bigots is to call for beheadings. That's what would happen to these bums if they were over in some other country.

CAVUTO: But they know, as well. To be fair, let's say that Comedy Central and the parent, Viacom -- I mean, they have to be aware of the fact that the [Prophet] Muhammad cartoons caused violence and riots the likes of which they hadn't expected or seen, so, maybe, the networks are just playing it safe and protecting their own people.

DONOHUE: Why can't they do it on the basis of ethical principle? If it's wrong to insult Muslims, and it is, and Jews and Christians, shouldn't it be on the basis that insult is wrong? Why is it OK then to push the envelope with Christians who won't call for your beheading, but you're going to give Muslims a pass because they might? What kind of a statement is that? It's a statement of cowardice. They're lacking principle.

CAVUTO: But why -- but, here's another step, though. Why don't you just say that's why we did it -- because we do this, Muslims get offended, and they might kill us. We do it to Christians, they're not going to do it, because they won't.

DONOHUE: Well, I think that's exactly the point. And that's why --

CAVUTO: So, if they said that, then you'd be happier?

DONOHUE: No, I wouldn't be happier. But, I'm simply saying this: why not exercise a degree of moral restraint when it comes to Christianity? Show us some respect. You shouldn't ask for violence before you get people to act. Ultimately, these people are cowards, and they are hypocrites.

CAVUTO: Where is this all going?

DONOHUE: Well, this -- where this is going is that it's a field day on Christianity and on Catholicism in particular, because the Catholic Church believes that freedom means the freedom you should -- the right to do what you ought to do, and we live in a society with license.

CAVUTO: But you've expanded this, to be fair, way beyond just the Catholic community. You think Christians period are being targeted by groups like this that allow them to make fun of their --

DONOHUE: That's right, and, you know, it's funny because we're -- 85 percent of the population is Christian in this country. Sometimes, I feel like we have an inverse situation here, somewhat analogous to what we had in South Africa, where the majority of the people who were black were dumped on by these white racists. Here, we have a small segment of the population, I call them the "secular supremacists," and they have it out against the 85 percent of the population who's Christian, because they don't like the idea that liberty means the right to do what you ought to do. They believe in license.

CAVUTO: You're one of the few who's ranting and raving about this, and I don't hear it from the Catholic Church, I don't hear it from the Protestant Church, I don't hear it from the Baptists, I don't hear it from other groups who should be equally offended, but aren't. Is there a silence -- what's deafening here?

DONOHUE: I think there's a certain -- there are a number of good advocacy groups out there. There is a reluctance on the part of Catholic hierarchy to speak out. That's because they dirtied themselves with the scandal, and they think the way to handle this is to shut up, except when it came to immigration. Now, whatever one might think of [Los Angeles Archbishop] Cardinal [Roger] Mahony and some of the others about immigration, at least they had the moral courage to speak out. The only way the Catholic Church will get its prestige back is to address contemporary moral issues. And yes, there should be bishops speaking out about South Park.

CAVUTO: Thank you.

Categories: News

In his April 19 profile of Fox News anchor and Washington bureau managing editor Brit Hume, Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz quoted Hume saying: "Sure, I'm a conservative, no doubt about it. ... But I would ask people to look at the work." But instead of presenting an analysis of that work, Kurtz presented Hume as the "Low-Key Voice of Conservatism on Fox News" who rarely -- if ever -- runs afoul of the facts on his nightly news program, Special Report with Brit Hume. Kurtz largely ignored the numerous false and misleading statements Hume has made during his tenure as a Fox News host and commentator, and even presented some of Hume's falsehoods as the truth.

Kurtz wrote:

Despite an aura of self-confidence bordering on cockiness, Hume shies away from self-promotion. The day that he scooped the world with [Vice President Dick] Cheney's first account of his accidental shooting of a hunting companion, the former ABC newsman declined an invitation from "Good Morning America," saying he had time only to appear on Fox's morning show.

Cheney's choice of Hume was widely mocked, although most journalists acknowledged that the interview, while polite, was thorough. Hume, like his network, has clearly become a lightning rod in a polarized media environment. Hume is almost evangelical in his belief that he is fair and balanced while most of the media are not, an argument challenged by several studies showing that his program leans to the right.

Kurtz did not identify or quote any of the "journalists" who deemed Hume's interview with Cheney "thorough" (although he apparently agrees). As Media Matters for America noted, however, Hume did not ask Cheney a number of questions that -- at the time -- were quite relevant to the controversy surrounding Cheney's hunting accident. For example, Cheney, during the interview, appeared to accept responsibility for shooting his hunting partner, Texas lawyer Harry Whittington, in the face. Hume, however, failed to ask why Cheney allowed his surrogates -- without challenging or correcting them -- to publicly blame Whittington for the accident. Also, following Cheney's admission to having had a beer prior to the accident, Hume did not ask about statements by Katharine Armstrong -- the owner of the ranch where the incident occurred and Cheney's designated spokesperson -- that appeared to conflict with Cheney's admission. Hume did ask Cheney, however, whether he hit the quail he was aiming for when he shot Whittington.

Additionally, rather than "sh[y] away from self-promotion," Hume spoke approvingly of his own performance in the Cheney interview four days after it happened. From the February 19 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:

HUME: The last thing in the world that Dick Cheney needed on that day was a soft interview, because he was trying to get this thing over with. And the only way to get it over with was to answer every question that anybody might have, within reason.


But my job was simply to sit there and walk through this episode with him and ask all the relevant questions, because he was ready to answer them and needed to answer them. That's why, you know, there's no problem about asking about the drinking, no problem about any of it.

Kurtz went on to write:

But Hume is well aware that some people, particularly on the left, view him as a conservative hack and Bush apologist.

"It bothers me a little bit," he says. "I think we look conservative to people who are not. ... I knew the rap on us from Day One was going to be that we were a right-wing news outlet." But, he says, "I believed if we tried that, it would never work."

Hume and Fox News were among the first to jump on the charges by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth about Sen. John Kerry's Vietnam record, with Hume pushing the controversy day after day.

As the lead panelist on "Fox News Sunday," Hume said in August 2004 that the book by the Swift Boat Veterans "is a remarkably well-done document. It is full of detail. It is full of specifics. The charges that are being made of Kerry, of irresponsible and indeed in some cases mendacious conduct in his service in Vietnam, are made by people who were there."

In fact -- contrary to Hume's characterization of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's book, Unfit for Command Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry (Regnery, 2004), as "remarkably well done," which Kurtz cited uncritically -- many of the book's allegations and the Swift Boat Veterans' accusations were false, discredited by the official record, as Hume had reason to know even as he was touting their misinformation. Hume also falsely claimed that "major news organizations," with the exception of Fox News, ignored the Swift Boat Veterans.

Kurtz continued:

More recently, Hume said the press corps "behaved badly . . . like a pack of jackals" during the Cheney hunting accident furor. He also criticized an erroneous Associated Press report that said Bush had been warned that the New Orleans levees might be breached, when the word that a weather official used was "overtopped." "Much of the rest of the media fell for it hook, line and sinker," Hume said.

Kurtz, however, is the one who appears to have swallowed a falsehood -- Hume's -- "hook, line, and sinker." Hume was referring to the AP's March 3 clarification to an article from two days earlier that reported, "[F]ederal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees." This report appeared to prove false Bush's assertion, made two days after Katrina hit, that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." The AP's correction read, in part: "The story should have made clear that Bush was warned about floodwaters overrunning the levees, rather than the levees breaking." But, as Media Matters noted at the time, the clarification echoed the Bush administration's explanation of why the AP report did not contradict Bush's claim about not anticipating a breach of the levees, and ignored key facts that indicate the White House was, in fact, warned of potential levee breaches prior to the storm's arrival. For example, in the early morning of August 29, 2005, just before Katrina hit land, the Department of Homeland Security warned the White House that Katrina, based on a 2004 Federal Emergency Management Agency hurricane planning exercise, could cause levee breaches as well as overtopping.

Nevertheless, Hume seized upon the AP's correction to claim on the March 5 edition of Fox News Sunday that Bush "received no such warning," and that the whole controversy "ended up turning out to be totally bogus." Kurtz, who is described by CNN as "the nation's premier media critic," failed to note any of this.

Hume's pattern of misinformation extends far beyond these examples:

  • He sought to dismiss criticism of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld from retired generals by falsely claiming none of the generals have been "critical of what's happening now" in Iraq.
  • He falsely claimed that the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post rarely express common views.
  • He and Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer misrepresented polling data to falsely claim Americans "overwhelmingly" support the administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program.
  • He falsely claimed Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV) "never said that he wasn't fully briefed" on the warrantless domestic surveillance program.
  • He was quick to denounce a February 28 CBS News poll showing Bush's approval rating at it lowest ever for "wildly oversampl[ing] Democrats" but was conspicuously silent when a March 13 poll showed the same approval rating for Bush, despite having sampled more Republicans and fewer Democrats than the previous poll.
  • He falsely claimed President George H.W. Bush never criticized the Clinton administration while it was in power (a falsehood that he later corrected).
  • He famously -- and falsely -- claimed that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wanted privatization of Social Security.
  • He joined the White House in falsely spinning White House senior adviser Karl Rove's June 2005 statement, "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9-11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9-11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," as a comparison of two "philosophies," and not two political parties.
Categories: News

Commenting on White House press secretary Scott McClellan's April 19 announcement that he will resign, CNN senior national correspondent John Roberts -- after acknowledging that he would likely get "in trouble in the liberal blogs" for saying it -- said of McClellan: "I think that he is a truth-teller." This is the second time Roberts has praised McClellan as a "truth-teller." As Media Matters for America documented, Roberts -- then with CBS -- described him using that exact term in November 2005.

From the April 19 edition of CNN International's Your World Today:

ROBERTS: Scott McClellan is always everybody's favorite punching bag. And here's something that's gotten me in trouble in the liberal blogs before, but I'll say it again: He is a decent person, I think that he is a truth-teller -- you know, that whole thing with, you know, did [White House senior adviser] Karl Rove tell him the truth and did [former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis"] "Scooter" Libby tell him the truth a few years ago? You know, I think that, basically, Scott was the victim of that.

Roberts was again referring to McClellan's October 7, 2003, claim that Rove and Libby were "not involved" in the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. Both Rove and Libby were later found to have been intimately involved in the leak -- Rove was the source for Plame's identity for Time reporter Matt Cooper and nationally syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak, and Libby was indicted for allegedly lying to federal investigators about his role in the leak. A variety of media outlets, such as The Washington Post, simply asserted that Rove and Libby gave McClellan false information -- implicitly rejecting the other possibility, that McClellan knew at the time that what he was saying wasn't true -- but providing no evidence to support this claim. And McClellan, when confronted to explain why his 2003 statement was wrong, would refuse to answer, claiming that he was not able to comment on an ongoing investigation.

When court papers, released on April 6, pertaining to the investigation into Libby indicated that President Bush authorized Libby to disclose to the media selected portions of the classified 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq's alleged weapons programs, reporters questioned McClellan as to when the NIE was actually declassified. According to the court papers, Bush authorized its partial disclosure on July 8, 2003. McClellan, however, claimed on July 18, 2003, that the NIE was "officially declassified today." When challenged by a reporter at an April 7, 2006, press briefing, McClellan claimed that it was officially declassified on July 18, 2003, then claimed he could not discuss the "timing of when the information may have been declassified," and then claimed again that it was officially declassified on July 18 -- seemingly drawing a distinction between "officially declassified" and "declassified," which he did not explain:

QUESTION: Then why are you saying you won't back off anything you said before if, in fact, we have transcripts here where you say that's when it was officially declassified? Are you still saying that's when it was officially declassified [July 18, 2003]?

McCLELLAN: That's when it was made available to the public. So it's officially --

QUESTION: When was it officially declassified?

McCLELLAN: -- so it's officially declassified at that point. I think we're talking past each other a little bit. I'll have to go back and look at the specific transcript -- and I'll be glad to do that -- and we can talk about it further later.

QUESTION: OK. When was it officially declassified?

McCLELLAN: Again, in terms of the timing of when information may have been declassified, that gets into a question relating to the legal proceeding in a filing that was made by Mr. Fitzgerald earlier this week.

QUESTION: What were you referring to on July 18th, then? Was that the official release, or official declassification?

McCLELLAN: Well, that's what I'll have to check. I'll have to go back and look. But my sense is, and my recollection is -- while we're sitting here talking about it is -- I was referring to the fact that was when it was officially declassified for the public.

As recently as April 12, McClellan, rather then telling "the truth," told the White House press corps nothing regarding reports that Bush may have been aware that trailers discovered in Iraq were not mobile biological weapons labs prior to describing them as such in 2003. When asked when the president was aware that U.S. intelligence officials determined the trailers were not for weapons production, McClellan replied: "I'm looking into that matter." When pressed by ABC News White House correspondent Jessica Yellin on whether Bush was aware of the intelligence report, McClellan went to great lengths not to answer her questions -- including attacking her for ABC's coverage of the controversy and demanding an apology from her:

YELLIN: So was the president made aware of the fact --

McCLELLAN: And are you all going to apologize?

YELLIN: Was the president made aware of the faxed field report?

McCLELLAN: Are you all going to apologize for that?

YELLIN: Was the president aware of the faxed field report?

McCLELLAN: Is that a correct statement?

YELLIN: Scott, was the president made aware of the field report that was faxed?

McCLELLAN: Jessica, I just told you, I've asked the intelligence community what they based this paper on. I can't tell you what they based their paper on. You have to. We're not an intelligence-gathering agency.

YELLIN: No, but was the field report faxed --

McCLELLAN: The president made his comments based on this white paper that was publicly released by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, which is the arm of the -- which is an arm of the Pentagon --

YELLIN: -- the question is, was he aware of this report on May 27?

McCLELLAN: I just told you -- you shouldn't make any assumptions, but you should go and ask the intelligence community what was this based on. I can't tell you what they based that on. They're the intelligence-gathering agency.

YELLIN: You can tell us if the president had this information. Did he have this information?

McCLELLAN: Jessica, this -- I just saw this report. I'll come back with more information if there is. But this is reckless reporting. And for you all to go on the air this morning and make such a charge is irresponsible --


McCLELLAN: Hang on. Are you saying that the president went out there and said something that he knew was not true? That's what you said on ABC News --

YELLIN: I didn't say anything on ABC News --

McCLELLAN: ABC News said that this morning. And is ABC News going to apologize for making that assertion?

YELLIN: My question is, are you denying that there was --

McCLELLAN: You haven't answered my question. Are you going to apologize for that?

YELLIN: -- contrary information?

McCLELLAN: I just did, Jessica. I just answered that very question.

Categories: News

Introducing a report on illegal immigration on the April 18 edition Fox News' Special Report, Washington managing editor Brit Hume told viewers that "some unintended consequences" had arisen from "President Bush's proposal to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship." Bush, however, has offered no such proposal and has refused to say whether he would support "earned citizenship" plans with bipartisan backing in the Senate.

In January 2004, the White House outlined a set a "principles of immigration reform" along with a proposal for a "temporary worker program" that would let illegal immigrants apply for temporary legal status that would last for up to six years. The proposal did not include any plan to offer permanent legal status or citizenship to most illegal immigrants.

As the Los Angeles Times reported in a January 9, 2004, article, Bush's plan would instead allow illegal immigrants to apply for permanent legal status "through existing channels, with no special advantages." The Times noted that "while there are an estimated 8 million to 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, the government awards only 140,000 employment-related green cards a year -- just 5,000 to low-skilled workers." The Times further noted that "most" of the Democratic candidates for president at the time "voiced strong opposition" to Bush's plan and that Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA) hoped "to institute an earned legalization program, with citizenship contingent upon residency, employment and a background check."

A March 24 Los Angeles Times article reported that Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), along with "many Democrats and Latino organizations," had criticized Bush's plan:

Bush's framework for immigration reform -- a set of principles, not a detailed plan -- "only takes us about 5% of the way," said Hagel, coauthor of a bipartisan bill that would cap the number of guest workers but would allow more illegal immigrants already in the United States to get on the path to citizenship.

The president has called for a guest-worker program that would allow Mexicans and other immigrants to hold jobs in the United States for a limited number of years and then return to their home countries with their savings. Undocumented immigrants already here would be eligible for legal temporary worker visas. But those wishing to become permanent residents and citizens would have to apply separately, with no guarantees.

"Immigration reform is going require the president's leadership," Hagel said.


Many Democrats and Latino organizations say the plan does not do enough to help longtime undocumented residents become citizens.

On March 27, the White House released a "fact sheet" outlining Bush's "Proposal For Comprehensive Immigration Reform." The proposal included Bush's temporary worker plan but did not include any new provision for granting current illegal immigrants permanent legal status or a path to citizenship.

Also on March 27, the Senate Judiciary Committee -- with the support of all eight Democrats and four of the committee's Republicans -- approved the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006," introduced in the Senate as S.A. 3192. In contrast to Bush's proposal, the Judiciary Committee bill would "legalize the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants and ultimately ... grant them citizenship, provided that they hold jobs, pass criminal background checks, learn English and pay fines and back taxes," as The New York Times noted. The Washington Post reported that the bill was "largely patterned on the measure sponsored by" Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ). As the Post reported on April 7, Kennedy and McCain subsequently embraced a compromise bill that would offer legal status and earned citizenship to "most of the nation's 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants."

Bush has not supported these earned citizenship proposals. Instead, the White House has issued a series of ambiguous statements rejecting "amnesty," "automatic citizenship," and an "automatic path to citizenship" without defining those terms.

From the White House's November 28, 2005, "fact sheet" titled "Securing America Through Immigration Reform":

A Temporary Worker Program Would Not Provide Amnesty. The program does not create an automatic path to citizenship or provide amnesty. The President opposes amnesty because rewarding those who break the law would encourage more illegal entrants and increase pressure on the border. A Temporary Worker Program, by contrast, would promote legal immigration and decrease pressure on the border. The President supports increasing the annual number of green cards, but for the sake of justice and security, the President will not sign an immigration bill that includes amnesty.

From Bush's April 5 statement at the White House:

BUSH: I urge the senators to continue to work toward getting a comprehensive bill; a bill that will help us secure our borders; a bill that will cause the people in the interior of this country to recognize and enforce the law; and a bill that will include a guest worker provision that will enable us to more secure the border, will recognize that there are people here working hard for jobs Americans won't do, and a guest worker provision that is not amnesty, one that provides for automatic citizenship.

From Bush's April 8 radio address:

BUSH: A new temporary worker program should not provide amnesty. Granting amnesty would be unfair to those who follow the rules and obey the laws. Amnesty would also be unwise, because it would encourage others to break the law and create new waves of illegal immigration. We must ensure that those who break our laws are not granted an automatic path to citizenship. We should also conduct the debate on immigration reform in a manner worthy of our nation's best traditions.

Following Hume's false claim on Special Report, Fox News correspondent William La Jeunesse correctly reported: "President Bush said the United States needed an immigration policy that permitted guest workers to perform the jobs Americans would not do. Then came Senate proposals to legalize immigrants already here."

From the April 18 edition Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

HUME: The debate over immigration reform and President Bush's proposal to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship appears to have had some unintended consequences along the Mexican border. Fox News Correspondent William La Jeunesse reports the number of attempts to enter the country illegally has increased.

LA JEUNESSE: Border watchers say they noticed the change last year after President Bush said the United States needed an immigration policy that permitted guest workers to perform the jobs Americans would not do. Then came Senate proposals to legalize immigrants already here. Those factors, they say, coupled with plans to increase enforcement have illegal immigrants making a run for the border.

Categories: News

In an April 18 editorial, The Washington Post drew a false comparison between the recent calls by several retired generals for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to resign and the "pushback of uniformed military against President Bill Clinton's attempt to allow gays to serve." The current controversy differs in at least one crucial respect from the military's criticism of Clinton and his proposal on gays in the military: All of the generals who have publicly called for Rumsfeld's resignation are retired; conversely, a March 13, 1993, Post article described active-duty -- not retired -- troops' overt hatred for Clinton's intention to lift the ban on gays in the military.

On April 18, the Post's editorial board wrote that the generals' "analysis strikes us as solid"; but the Post called the "rebellion" "problematic" because "[i]t threatens the essential democratic principle of military subordination to civilian control -- the more so because a couple of the officers claim they are speaking for some still on active duty." The Post continued, "Anyone who protested the pushback of uniformed military against President Bill Clinton's attempt to allow gays to serve ought to also object to generals who criticize the decisions of a president and his defense secretary in wartime."

However, unlike with the current controversy, many of Clinton's public critics were, as the Post noted, "uniformed military." The Post's 1993 editorial described the situation then as an "open conflict between the military and the president."

A March 13, 1993, Post article described troops' hatred for Clinton's intention to lift the ban on gays in the military:

In the military world, perhaps even more than in the civilian one, a president is the most distinguished of all possible Distinguished Visitors, and the 6,000 sailors and Marines were never less than polite. Many said they were glad to see President Clinton aboard.

But there were Hillary jokes and Chelsea jokes. There was the one about the protester who threw a beer at the president. (Not to worry: It was a draft beer. Clinton dodged it.)

While preparing a weapons display for Clinton's visit, one Marine sniper donned a shredded burlap wig and began mincing around the deck. Another sniper wrapped him in an embrace. What with Clinton's visit, they said mockingly, they were thinking of declaring their love.

It has been a long time since a president had so rocky a start with his armed services. The troops hated Jimmy Carter's amnesty for Vietnam draft evaders, but not the way they hate Clinton's intention to lift the ban on homosexuals in the military. Carter at least had served in uniform.

"Maybe we can call this his military service," said Cmdr. Bill Gortney, executive officer of one of the Roosevelt's strike fighter squadrons, alluding icily to Clinton's brief visit here. "Three hours is more than he had before."

Another March 13, 1993, Post article reported Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan Vaught's comments:

The trip supplied television footage of Clinton in a green flight jacket watching fighter jets catapult off the carrier, of Clinton saluting a guided missile destroyer as it sailed by, of Clinton in a USS Theodore Roosevelt cap addressing the crew on the hangar deck. It also gave the White House a chance to blunt persistent and repeatedly denied rumors about the allegedly anti-military feelings of Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But one part of Clinton's tour -- viewing the triple-decker berths in the crew's sleeping quarters -- was shielded from reporters' view. "Hope he learns something from it," said Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan Vaught. "It wouldn't be good, not out here," he said of Clinton's plan to lift the ban on homosexuals in the military.

Vaught, describing the "sacrifice" he was about to make in spending the next six months at sea, was sarcastic when he talked about Clinton. "It's a sacrifice he's never made before to his country," he said. But, camera in hand, he also expressed some admiration for Clinton's willingness to brave such reaction. "I didn't personally think he would ever do something like this," he said.

In addition, on June 8, 1993, the Post reported that Maj. Gen. Harold N. Campbell was being "investigated on charges that he ridiculed President Clinton as a 'gay-loving,' 'pot-smoking,' 'draft-dodging' and 'womanizing' commander in chief at a [May 24, 1993] banquet for U.S. Air Force personnel in the Netherlands." According to a July 8, 1993, Associated Press article, Campbell "retired after he was reprimanded and fined about $7,000 ... for his comments about Clinton." The Air Force investigation's report, according to the AP, also concluded that Campbell had "planned the remarks."

By contrast, while -- as the April 18 Post editorial noted -- some of the generals have said they are also speaking for people on active duty, all of them who have gone on the public record calling for Rumsfeld's resignation were themselves already retired:

GENERAL (Retirement Date)



Gen. Anthony Zinni (2000)


Meet the Press

Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton (1/1/06)


The New York Times

Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack Jr. (2004)



Maj. Gen. John Batiste (2005)



Maj. Gen. John Riggs (2004)



Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold (2002)


Time (4/17)

Lt. Gen. Paul K. Van Riper (by 2003)


The Washington Post

Gen. Wesley Clark (by 2003)



From the April 18 Washington Post editorial titled "The Generals' Revolt":

The president's signal failure to hold his defense chief accountable no doubt has helped to produce the extraordinary -- and troubling -- eruption of public discontent from the retired generals. A couple of those who have spoken out, including retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, former head of U.S. Central Command, opposed the war all along, but three others served in top positions in Iraq. Much of their analysis strikes us as solid -- but the rebellion is problematic nonetheless. It threatens the essential democratic principle of military subordination to civilian control -- the more so because a couple of the officers claim they are speaking for some still on active duty. Anyone who protested the pushback of uniformed military against President Bill Clinton's attempt to allow gays to serve ought to also object to generals who criticize the decisions of a president and his defense secretary in wartime. If they are successful in forcing Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation, they will set an ugly precedent. Will future defense secretaries have to worry about potential rebellions by their brass, and will they start to choose commanders according to calculations of political loyalty?

In our view Mr. Rumsfeld's failures should have led to his departure long ago. But he should not be driven out by a revolt of generals, retired or not.

From the April 4, 1993, Washington Post editorial titled "The Commander in Chief":

AMONG the American military's many honorable traditions, the finest is its devotion to democratic civilian control. Despite the many reports of tension between President Clinton and the armed forces, we do not believe that principle is in any danger. But things are not as they should be between the military and the president.

This is not an easy time to be in any branch of the services. The world is changing, and the American military is being asked to make more adjustments than most institutions. Its budget is being slashed, career patterns are being disrupted, the United States' mission in a post-Cold War world is under sharp and necessary debate.

These changes would have challenged the military under any president. But there is no doubt that some in the military harbor less than friendly personal feelings toward their new commander in chief. Many in the ranks resent the fact that Mr. Clinton avoided military service during the Vietnam War. They are troubled by Mr. Clinton's famous declaration in his letter to an ROTC commander that he had some sympathy for those who found themselves "loving their country but loathing the military."


It is equally wrong to say that previous military service is a requirement of those who would be commander in chief. Neither Woodrow Wilson nor Franklin Roosevelt, each of whom led the country in a world war, ever wore their country's uniform. The selection of commander in chief is rightly a matter for the voters, not the military, to decide.

Many of today's worries about the military's attitude toward the president arose from a visit Mr. Clinton made to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Enlisted men and women on that ship were remarkably open and candid in mocking Mr. Clinton and his lack of military experience.

In one sense, Americans ought to celebrate the fact that the men and women in uniform enjoy free speech rights and use them, as Maj. David S. Jonas and Capt. Hagen W. Frank rightly argue on the opposite page. They are also right in asserting that leaders of the military not only can but should give the president advice contrary to his own views if they believe the commander in chief is wrong. Mr. Clinton is not the first president to have disagreements with his generals and admirals.

But the issue here is neither about free speech nor about asking the military leadership to behave like automatons. It is about the respect that the American military owes its elected civilian leader and the recognition that questions such as the status of gays in the military are matters to be debated and resolved through the instruments of democracy. The military does not decide when we go to war, nor did it have the right to block the racial integration of the armed forces after World War II, which is what many in the military wanted to do.

If military leaders oppose Mr. Clinton's position on gays, they have a right to say so. What they cannot do is act publicly in ways that even appear to deny the president's legitimate authority or suggest that decisions such as this one should be reserved to the military. This sends the wrong message, especially to the rank and file who may one day be asked by their commander in chief to risk their lives.

Gen. Colin Powell, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, seems to understand that the open conflict between the military and the president at the beginning of Mr. Clinton's term served neither the interest of national security nor that of democracy. He and others at the top of the armed forces have been sending signals recently of their respect for Mr. Clinton. We think that the highest service Gen. Powell could do his country now is to speak out clearly and openly about the military's duty to serve and respect civilian leadership. Gen. Powell has been placed at the helm during a difficult transition period. His task is to lead his troops through it.

Categories: News

The White House is reportedly considering Fox News' Tony Snow to replace outgoing White House press secretary Scott McClellan. White House officials recently spoke with Snow "to see if he would be interested in the job," according to The New York Times. Snow is the host of Fox News Radio's The Tony Snow Show, a regular commentator and guest host on Fox News, and a former speechwriter to President George H.W. Bush.

From his statement that evolutionary theory is a "hypothesis" to his defense of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Media Matters for America has documented numerous false and misleading claims advanced by Snow as a Fox News commentator:

  • Snow falsely asserted that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV said his wife, Valerie Plame, "wasn't covert for six years" before she was exposed as a CIA operative by syndicated columnist Robert Novak.
  • Snow put forward numerous falsehoods to argue that "[e]volutionary theory, like ID [intelligent design], isn't verifiable or testable. It's pure hypothesis."
  • Snow claimed that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the "most liberal justice in American history," despite evidence to the contrary.
  • Snow peddled the baseless Republican National Committee talking point that 2004 presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) had blamed U.S. troops for the explosives looted from the Al Qaqaa military installation following the invasion of Iraq. Snow said, "[T]he Kerry campaign is not criticizing the president here. They're criticizing our troops."
  • Following President Bush's lead, Snow distorted Kerry's stated desire to reduce terrorism to a "horrible nuisance." Snow claimed Kerry had "called terrorists a nuisance."
  • Snow backed Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's attacks on Kerry, falsely claiming, "[T]here has been no documentary contradiction of the Swift Boat stuff."
  • Snow falsely defended Bush from probing questions regarding his National Guard service.
Categories: News

During an interview on the April 18 edition of CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, "conservative activist" Thomas D. Kuiper acknowledged that he "can't verify" that the quotes contained in his newly released book of quotations he attributes to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) are "100 percent true." Kuiper also acknowledged "a legitimate criticism that the book at times comes off as almost mean-spirited." As Media Matters for America previously noted, the quotations in Kuiper's book -- "I've Always Been a Yankees Fan": Hillary Clinton in Her Own Words (World Ahead Publishing, April 2006) -- are, in many cases, based on hearsay and sourced to discredited books written by conservative authors. Kuiper's acknowledgement came during a report on the book by CNN national news correspondent Jeanne Moos, who noted: "Many of the quotes are unverifiable, coming from books attacking the Clintons." Moos also pointed out that while the book's cover features Clinton wearing a Chicago Cubs baseball cap, seemingly contradicting her statement that she is a New York Yankees fan, "she's already explained she's been a fan of both teams."

In her report, Moos also debunked comparisons between Kuiper's book and the popular "Bushisms" series, compiled by Slate editor Jacob Weisberg, which contain on-the-record, verifiable quotes of President Bush. In an interview for the segment, Weisberg characterized Kuiper's book as "kind of a Hillary-hater's fantasy of what Hillary sounds like in private." As Media Matters noted, in an April 16 article, New York Times reporter Anne Kornblut equated Kuiper's book with other collections of quotes, such as the "Bushisms" series and a book that turns on-the-record statements by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld into poems. But while Kornblut acknowledged, near the end of the article, that many of the quotes in Kuiper's book "have been culled from disputed sources or unverifiable private conversations," the article rested on the premise -- as indicated by its headline, "For Politicians, Yadda, Yadda May Become Gotcha" -- that the quotation collections are all part of the same trend: Public figures having their quotations captured and highlighted for the public's amusement.

Moos also pointed out that one of the quotes attributed to Clinton reportedly originated in a Talk magazine interview, according to the BBC, but the quote never appeared in that interview. Following Moos's report, Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer asked CNN anchor Jack Cafferty for his thoughts on the book. Cafferty replied by comparing Kuiper to James Frey, the author of the discredited memoir A Million Little Pieces (Nan A. Talese, April 2003), pointing out that "at least," Kuiper "came up out front and said some of this stuff may not be true."

From the April 18 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: Tonight, Senator Hillary Clinton has something in common with President Bush. She's the subject of a new book about her most memorable and often most embarrassing verbal slip-ups. It's more proof that she's a political lightning rod and a leading presidential contender, but are the quotes in this book all real? CNN's Jeanne Moos has more on Hillary-isms.

MOOS: There's practically a cottage industry in Bushisms -- presidential sentence mangling that turns phrases like "trade barriers" and "tarrifs" into --

BUSH [video clip]: Terriers and bariffs.

MOOS: But Hillary-isms? Quotable quotes from Hillary Clinton?

CLINTON [video clip]: I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had tea.

MOOS: She may wish she had stayed home after she sees the new book, "I've Always Been a Yankees Fan," featuring Hillary wearing a Cubs cap, no matter that she's already explained she's been a fan of both teams.

CLINTON [video clip]: I needed an American League team that could win.

MOOS: "Hillary Clinton in her own words," says the cover, though even the author seems to hedge.

KUIPER [video clip]: Everything in the book is -- I believe it to be true, but since I wasn't there, I can't verify that it's 100 percent true.

MOOS: Which is what makes it different from, say, the book of Donald Rumsfeld comments turned into poetry, and even turned into song.

RUMSFELD [video clip]: The world thinks all these things happen. They never happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): They never happened, never happened.

MOOS: The Rumsfeld quotes tend to be on the record, same for the five "Bushisms" books. The president himself held up a copy.

BUSH: Then there is my most famous statement: "Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"

MOOS: The editor of Slate, who collected the Bushisms, wasn't so amused with the Hillary book.

WEISBERG [video clip]: I'm just looking at this thing. Every single quote has the F-word in it. This is kind of a Hillary-hater's fantasy of what Hillary sounds like in private.

MOOS: Many of the quotes are unverifiable, coming from books attacking the Clintons. The Republican paralegal who compiled the quotes says he's proud of the book, but --

KUIPER [video clip]: I do think it's a legitimate criticism that the book at times comes off as almost mean-spirited. I had so many sources of her using the profanity, that's just the way it kind of came about.

MOOS: But if you ask someone who works for Hillary Clinton if this sounds like the Hillary they know, they say no way. She just doesn't talk like that. At least one remark Hillary allegedly made about her husband -- "He's a hard dog to keep on the porch" -- never appeared in the Talk magazine interview that BBC Online said it came from. Some quotes are indisputable.

CLINTON [video clip]: I'm not sitting here as some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.

MOOS: Question is: Who's going to stand by these quotes? Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

BLITZER: That would be Jack Cafferty. Jack, you got "The Cafferty File"? Hillary-isms, what do you make of that?

CAFFERTY: Now, you know, I -- the guy was, at least -- what was that book -- A Million Little Pieces -- that was such a bestseller and now, it turned out half of it was all made up stuff? At least this guy came up out front and said some of this stuff may not be true. If you want to buy it, buy it.

Categories: News

On April 17, nationally syndicated radio host Michael Savage called for "kill[ing] 100 million" Muslims and referred to the woman who alleged she was raped by members of Duke University's lacrosse team as a "drunken slut stripping whore."

On his radio show, Savage told listeners that "intelligent people, wealthy people ... are very depressed by the weakness that America is showing to these psychotics in the Muslim world. They say, 'Oh, there's a billion of them.' " Savage continued: "I said, 'So, kill 100 million of them, then there'd be 900 million of them.' I mean ... would you rather us die than them?" Savage added: "Would you rather we disappear or we die? Or would you rather they disappear and they die? Because you're going to have to make that choice sooner rather than later."

Savage also referred to the alleged Duke rape victim as "a drunken slut stripping whore accusing men of raping her when there is absolutely no evidence of such a rape other than what comes out of that filthy mouth of hers." He later asked: "What kind of system do we have that anyone can scream rape and not have to show her face?" adding, "This is all the product of the out-of-control lesbian feminist movement." Echoing previous comments he has made about the alleged rape victim, Savage said, "The Durham dirt-bag case disgusts me to my core."

Savage has also previously referred to the alleged victim as a "dirty, verminous black stripper."

From the April 17 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Savage Nation:

SAVAGE: There are too many RDDBs [red-diaper doper babies, Savage's term for people supposedly raised by Marxist parents] in high places and in the media and in the courts for us to stand up to this fanatical enemy. And so unless the RDDB is reined in somehow or taken out of power, we're going to die as a nation. I swear to God that's what people are saying to me. And these are intelligent people, wealthy people. They are very depressed by the weakness that America is showing to these psychotics in the Muslim world. They say, "Oh, there's a billion of them." I said, "So, kill 100 million of them, then there'll be 900 million of them." I mean, would you rather die -- would you rather us die than them? I mean, what is it going to take for you people to wake up? Would you rather we disappear or we die? Or would you rather they disappear and they die? Because you're going to have to make that choice sooner rather than later.


SAVAGE: Now, we got the Durham dirt-bag case. The Durham dirt-bag case disgusts me to my core. Here, you have a drunken slut stripping whore accusing men of raping her when there is absolutely no evidence of such a rape other than what comes out of that filthy mouth of hers. And what really gets to me, here, is not only the piling on by the vermin in the media -- the spineless eunuchs in the media who are taking the side of an unknown accuser without ever having to ask her one question. What kind of system do we have that anyone can scream rape and not have to show her face, not answer to the public. And, yet, those she accuses are suddenly guilty until they're proven innocent. This is all the product of the out-of-control lesbian feminist movement.

Categories: News

In recent days, right-wing activist David Horowitz, president of Students for Academic Freedom, has repeatedly attacked Media Matters for America for noting -- contrary to Horowitz's denial on the April 6 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes -- that his recent book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America (Regnery, January 2006) contains numerous instances in which Horowitz cited the purported extracurricular activities of the professors he criticized in the book. Horowitz conceded in an April 13 blog post that there is a "sliver of truth in the Media Matters statement" that documented his inconsistencies, but he downplayed this, claiming that "my book is a series of profiles of 101 professors" that includes "general perspectives, [that] may or may not be expressed outside the classroom."

However, a more detailed Media Matters study of The Professors shows that even Horowitz's revised suggestion -- that his book does not rely heavily on professors' activities and speech outside of the classroom, but rather merely mentions extracurricular activities as part of a broader profile of each academic's "general perspectives" -- is false. The study found that of the 100 professors profiled (not 101 as the book's title indicates), Horowitz noted the outside-the-classroom speech and activities of 94 professors in seeking to support his assertions that they are America's "most dangerous academics"; in other words, contrary to his claims on the April 6 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Horowitz criticized only six professors exclusively for their in-class activities (including their speech in class, course titles and/or texts used). Furthermore, in most cases (52 out of 100), Horowitz listed only out-of-class activities, apparently basing his entire claim that a professor is "dangerous" on events that occurred outside the classroom, without mention of anything that went on inside the classroom.

Even when Horowitz did bring up classroom activities, his evidence was thin. Many of his accounts of a professor's classroom activities are based on unverified student descriptions gleaned from such sources as In other instances, his entire case that a professor is "dangerous" in the classroom consisted of the title of a course or a book assigned by the professor.

As he continues to contest the merits of our criticism, Horowitz has continued to attack Media Matters, which he has labeled a "smear site" and falsely accused of calling his April 6 statement a "lie." Most recently, in a column dated April 19 on, Horowitz attacked Media Matters and Media Matters research fellow Max Blumenthal, although he did not identify Blumenthal's affiliation with Media Matters. Horowitz wrote that Blumenthal's father, author and former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal, has "no decency" for not exercising "his paternal instincts [that] might have led him to caution his son before embarking so early on a bottom-feeding career," adding that "Max is an accomplished mud-slinger" and noting that Horowitz himself had previously referred to Blumenthal as "scuzzy."

Below is a list of the professors profiled in Horowitz's book. Media Matters analyzed each profile, categorizing how Horowitz described each professor: 1) included only in-class activities/speech or texts/courses; 2) included in-class activities/speech or texts/courses and activities/speech outside of the classroom; 3) included only activities/speech outside of the classroom.

Category legend



Inclusion of ONLY in-class activities/speech or texts/courses



Inclusion of in-class activities/speech or texts/courses AND activities/speech outside of the classroom



Inclusion of ONLY activities/speech outside of the classroom


Chart 1

Chart 2



Page Numbers






Ali al-Mazrui




Alison Jaggar




Aminah Beverly McCloud




Amiri Baraka




Anatole Anton




Angela Davis




Armando Navarro




bell hooks (Gloria Watkins)




Bernardine Dohrn




Bettina Aptheker





Bill Ayers




Caroline Higgins





Dana Cloud




David Barash





David Cole





Dean Saitta




Derrick Bell




Dessima Williams





Elizabeth M. Brumfiel





Emma Perez




Eric Foner




Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick




Frederic Jameson





Gayle Rubin




George Wolfe





Gil Anidjar





Gordon Fellman




Gover Furr





Greg Thomas





Gregory Dawes





H. Bruce Franklin




Hamid Algar




Hamid Dabashi





Harry Targ





Hatem Bazian





Haunani-Kay Trask




Howard Zinn




Ishan Bagby




James Holstun





Jerry Lembcke




Joe Feagin




Joel Beinin





John Bellamy Foster





John Esposito




Jose Angel Gutierrez




Joseph Massad





Juan Cole




Kathleen Cleaver




Larry Estrada





Laurie Brand




Leighton Armitage




Leonard Jeffries





Lewis Gordon





Lisa Anderson




M. Shahid Alam




Manning Marable




Marc Becker





Marc Ellis




Mari Matsuda





Mark Ensalaco





Mark LeVine




Marvin Berlowitz





Mary Frances Berry




Matthew Evangelista





Melissa Gilbert





Michael Berube





Michael Eric Dyson




Michael Schwartz





Michael Vocino




Michael Warner





Miriam Cooke




Nicholas De Genova




Noam Chomsky




Norman Finkelstein




Oneida Meranto




Orvill Schell




Patrick Coy




Paul Ehrlich




Peter Kirstein





Priya Parmar





Regina Austin





Richard Falk




Rick Eckstein





Robert Dunkley




Robert Jensen





Robert McChesney




Ron (Maulana) Karnega




Sam Richards




Sami al-Arian




Sasan Fayazmanesh





Stanley Aronowitz





Suzanne Toton





Thomas Castellano




Timothy Shortell




Todd Gitlin





Tom Hayden





Victor Navasky




Vinay Lal





Warren Haffar




Yvonne Haddad





From the April 19 article on

The successes of the academic freedom campaign and the publication of The Professors have produced a rash of websites and a phalanx of pundits devoted to attacking them. Their assaults deploy the unsavory weapons of the character assassin trade -- distortion, smears and concocted tales, and a reflexive pouncing on every intellectual disagreement or error honestly made or innocent confusion and treating them as if they were unambiguous, calculated and malicious "lies" by the adversary target. The assumption is that if such tactics are repeated often enough, the enemy will find himself buried under such a pile of sludge that his arguments will simply disappear.

There is nothing new in such tactics. Since the days of Stalin (and Lenin and Marx before) the left has thrived on scorching hatred for its opponents and an attitude of no quarter on the political battlefield. In the free fire zones of the wars they fight, no one can oppose a leftist position on reasonable grounds or for reasonable concerns. The purity of the leftist cause can only be doubted by "fascists," "racists," "homophobes," "enemies of humanity" and "liars." Opponents of the left are sickening specimens of the race -- indecent and unworthy of common respect. To dignify their arguments is a crime against humanity and its aspirations for a better life. They need to be eliminated from the discussion once and for all.

Among the the [sic] websites driven by these passions is, which is financed by the teacher unions, and Media Matters and Campus Progress, which are funded by George Soros and the billionaires behind his operations to unseat President Bush. And one of the attack dogs of the campaign is the son of Sidney Blumenthal, the White House operative who Clinton assigned to destroy the character and credibility Monica Lewinsky and other of his female victims who showed a readiness to defend themselves and fight back.


If Max's father had a sense of decency, his paternal instincts might have led him to caution his son before embarking so early on a bottom-feeding career. But Sidney Blumenthal has no such decency and would not even know how to perform this paternal function if it occurred to him to do so.


Max's malice was also on display in the "interview" he conducted with me after the Churchill debate. I put the word "interview" in quotes since he did not reveal to me who he was until the interview was over. Moreover, he had arranged to have half of it conducted by an agent posing as a journalist unrelated to him. The deception was easy since the "interview" took place among a crowd of onlookers and reporters present who had gathered around the FoxNewsChannel camera to watch the Hannity & Colmes segment that was televised immediately after the debate.

For all I know the journalist pretender was actually a journalist, although Max's article describes him as merely "a friend." The friend asked me what I thought of Max's attack in The Nation on the Madison Center at Princeton, a conservative speaker's program set up by conservative philosophy professor Robert George. I said the attack displayed the totalitarian mind-set of the Blumenthal left. Princeton is a typical campus featuring multiple ideologically leftwing departments and programs and the Madison Center is a lone and very modest conservative effort to bring intellectuals to Princeton who could not get a faculty position at Princeton because of the existing blacklist. The Madison Center is not even a department or a curriculum at Princeton, and yet it was already too much intellectual diversity for leftists like Max. One modest program and Max and The Nation felt the need to stamp it out as a threat.

When I had finished answering, the imposter journalist then asked me what I thought of Max Blumenthal. Still unaware that he was standing next to me, I said "He's a chip off the scuzzy old block." The plant asked me how I spelled "scuzzy." S-C-U-Z-Z-Y. Then he said: "That's Max Blumenthal," who glared hard at me and vanished.

Previously, I had written an entire piece about [Jared] Taylor [editor of American Renaissance magazine] and why his views were deplorable and should be rejected. I did so not only because that is my view, but because the attempt to pin Taylor's views on me was already part of a leftwing campaign to slander and discredit me as a racist. Max is an accomplished mud-slinger in this effort, having written an article about Christopher Hitchens and me attempting to link us to neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers.

Categories: News

Just weeks after radio host Rush Limbaugh called the woman who alleged she was raped by members of Duke University's lacrosse team a "ho[]," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld appeared on the April 17 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show to discuss the growing number of retired U.S. military generals who are calling for his resignation over his handling of the situation in Iraq.

During the interview, Rumsfeld told Limbaugh that calls for his resignation "would pass," and that "the sharper the criticism comes, sometimes the sharper the defense comes from people who don't agree with the critics." The interview marked at least the third appearance by Rumsfeld, who was also on the show on May 16, 2002, and December 16, 2005. Vice President Dick Cheney and President Bush have also appeared on Limbaugh's show, Cheney several times in recent years, despite Limbaugh's consistent use of his program as a vehicle for spreading extreme, hateful speech and falsehoods, as Media Matters for America has documented.

Limbaugh's interviews with Bush administration officials are also re-broadcast by other outlets. ABC's World News Tonight, for example, aired portions of Rumsfeld's April 17 interview on that night's broadcast -- without noting the controversial comments Limbaugh is known for. In addition, government websites routinely post transcripts of Limbaugh's radio interviews, further legitimizing his broadcast for visitors to the White House's and Defense Department's websites.

Recent Limbaugh comments that Media Matters has documented include the following:

  • On March 31, Limbaugh called alleged Duke rape victim a "ho[]."
  • On March 3, in assessing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) presidential chances, Limbaugh stated that she "sounds like a screeching ex-wife."
  • On March 23, Limbaugh blasted three members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, who were rescued in Iraq in a British-led military operation, stating that "these self-absorbed, self-inflated, self-important people have made this all about them." When the activists' kidnapping was first reported, Limbaugh had said: "I like any time a bunch of leftist feel-good hand-wringers are shown reality. ... I'm telling you, folks, there's a part of me that likes this."

In addition, Limbaugh has made a series of controversial comments about the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, frequently downplaying it as "hazing" and "an out-of-control fraternity prank."

Limbaugh has also consistently smeared Democrats and others with whom he disagrees politically:

  • On July 11, 2005, Limbaugh repeatedly called Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) "Obama Osama" and "Osama Obama." In criticizing a July 10 speech by Obama in Eatonville, Florida, Limbaugh added "Osama" to the senator's name seven times. Limbaugh justified his use of the phrase by explaining that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) had once done so (mistakenly).
  • On September 26, 2005, Limbaugh attacked the motivations of Cindy Sheehan in engaging in anti-war activities, stating that she is being "inculcated" and "manipulated." Limbaugh added that Sheehan "doesn't have the sense to come in out of the rain" and "doesn't have the IQ of a pencil eraser."
  • During his November 21, 2005, broadcast, Limbaugh asserted that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) -- who had called for the immediate redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq -- was "just the useful idiot of the moment."

From the April 17 broadcast of ABC's World News Tonight:

ELIZABETH VARGAS (host): The Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld responded today to the unprecedented chorus of retired generals publicly calling for his resignation. The generals, at least six so far, are sharply critical of how Rumsfeld's handled the war in Iraq. Rumsfeld spoke out on Rush Limbaugh's radio program.

[begin audio]

LIMBAUGH: What does it feel like to you to go through these ups and downs and to have practically the entire media jump on the case of these six generals demanding your ouster?

RUMSFELD: Well, you know, this too will pass. I think about it, and I must say, there's always two sides to these things, and the sharper the criticism comes, sometimes the sharper the defense comes from people who don't agree with the critics.

[end audio]

Categories: News

On the April 18 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host 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 at no point in the so-called "Strategy Session" did Blitzer take the opportunity 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 on April 17 -- should be jailed. "I don't think what they did is worthy of an award," Bennett said on the April 18 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show. "I think what they did is worthy of jail."

Risen and Lichtblau won a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program. Priest's Pulitzer was for a November 2, 2005, article revealing the CIA's use of secret interrogation sites located around the world.

As blogger and attorney Glenn Greenwald noted, Bennett derided Risen, Lichtblau, and Priest for publishing leaked classified information "against the wishes of the president." He further argued that, rather than given awards, they should be arrested for violation of the Espionage Act.

From the April 18 broadcast of Salem Radio Network's Bill Bennett's Morning in America:

BENNETT: Here's what happened. We had reporters from The New York Times -- Risen and Lichtblau -- and a reporter from The Washington Post, Dana Priest -- took classified information, secret information, published it in their newspapers, against the wishes of the president, against the request of the president and others, that they not release it. They not only released it, they publicized it. They put it on the front page, and it damaged us, it hurt us. How do we know it damaged us? Well, it revealed the existence of the surveillance program, so people are going to stop making calls. Since they are now aware of this, they're going to adjust their behavior.

On the secret sites, the CIA sites, we embarrassed our allies, who were hospitable enough to offer up their countries for these sites. We probably closed up other possibilities for doing this in other places. And by her own admission, Dana Priest said the story is boomeranging around Europe. And so, it hurt us there and, of course, led more and more people to condemn the CIA -- makes it harder for them to do their work. As a result, are they punished? Are they in shame? Are they embarrassed? Are they arrested? No, they win Pulitzer Prizes. They win Pulitzer Prizes. I don't think what they did is worthy of an award. I think what they did is worthy of jail, and I think this investigation needs to -- needs to go forward.

Now, just to show you, I am not opposed to Pulitzer Prizes. I'm not opposed to Pulitzer Prizes to liberals. I'm not opposed to Pulitzer Prizes to liberals at The New York Times. They gave a Pulitzer Prize to [New York Times columnist] Nick Kristof for his reporting on Darfur, Sudan. You know what I think of that? Well deserved. Well deserved. I'll have him on this daggone show. He's a liberal, I'll have him on the daggone show. Because he deserves it, because he's done a great job on this. But these people who reveal our secrets, who hurt our war effort, who hurt the effort of our CIA, Porter Goss, who hurt the efforts of the president's people -- they shouldn't be given prizes and awards for this. They shouldn't be given prizes and awards for this. They should be looked into -- the Espionage Act, investigation of these leaks. I'm telling you, I'm hot.

Following Greenwald's original blog post on Bennett's claim that these reporters deserve to be jailed, Editor & Publisher issued an article highlighting the comment. Yet, when Bennett appeared on CNN several hours later, Blitzer failed to ask him a single question about it.

In September 2005, Media Matters for America questioned CNN's decision to hire Bennett as a commentator, noting his history of controversial statements, including his September 28, 2005, comment that "it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime ... you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."

Categories: News

On the April 17 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto presented a segment dedicated to a forthcoming album by singer/songwriter Neil Young, that features a song reportedly called "Impeach the President." Noting that Young is Canadian, Cavuto asked Canadian lawyer and political analyst Patrice Brunet: "[H]ow would the people of Canada feel if an American artist devoted an entire record to telling the world what a bad place Canada is?" Brunet replied: "[P]eople, they laugh at Canadians all the time, so we're used to it. I guess it's your turn on this one." But Cavuto didn't mention that Canada has already had its "turn" to be publicly criticized by an American "Neil" -- Cavuto himself.

For example, Media Matters for America previously noted that in a December 2005 discussion with Brunet, Cavuto responded to former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin's criticism of U.S. global environmental policies by wondering: "[H]ave the Canadians gotten a little bit too big for their britches?" Cavuto also suggested that "our neighbors to the north" could "soon become our enemies." He asked Brunet: "Do the Canadian people hate America as much as your politicians seem to?"

On April 14, Young confirmed rumors that he will soon release an album titled Living with War, which features songs about President Bush and the war in Iraq.

From the April 17 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:

CAVUTO: Well, have you heard the fuss over rocker Neil Young's latest album? On it, he bashes America's president, American government, and the American war in Iraq. One song is even called "Impeach the President." And Neil Young, in case you didn't know, is a Canadian citizen, though he lives in the United States. So, we ask, how would the people of Canada feel if an American artist devoted an entire record to telling the world what a bad place Canada is? With us now from Québec is Patrice Brunet, he's a Canadian political activist. Patrice, A), what do you think of this whole album fuss?

BRUNET: Well, I mean, Neil, people, they laugh at Canadians all the time, so we're used to it. It's -- I guess it's your turn on this one. But, you know, we're used to getting shots at having, you know, we have moose walking down the street, we live in igloos, we live in a permanent permafrost. So, you know, it's just an artist expressing his views.

Categories: News