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Tuesday, February 19, 2008
CNS Follows GOP Marching Orders

Looks like got its marching orders from the Repubicans regarding the House's failure to pass an extension or permanent approval of the Protect America Act: Portray Democrats as in the grip of trial lawyers since they oppose granting retroactive immunity for phone companies who permitted the government to wiretap suspects without a warrant in apparent contravention of law.

Thus armed, CNS not only hurled columns by Robert Novak and Rich Galen advancing the meme on Feb. 18, a "news" article by Susan Jones pushed it as well. Jones merely uncritically repeated Republicans' Dem-bashing without letting an actual Democrat respond (indeed, only one paragraph of the 20-paragraph article actually quotes a Democrat); House Minority Leader John Boehner is quoted as saying that Democrats are "paying off trial lawyer campaign contributors." 

Jones also ignores errors and contradictions made by those she quoted.

While Jones notes that "Democrats say the intelligence community can still go to a FISA court to get warrants," she then paraphrases President Bush making the contradictory claim that "the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will be stripped of their power to authorize new surveillance against terrorist threats abroad." Further, Jones paraphrases Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell as saying that going to a FISA court to get a warrant "reduces speed and agility in gathering information on America's enemies," but she doesn't note that FISA provides for obtaining warrants after surveillance has already begun.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EST

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