More fine investigative reporting from the Media Research Council:

Short, dismissive shrift to Cheney. CNN’s NewsNight, which two weeks ago relayed a false Internet story about how a CIA “consultant directly told the President that this African uranium deal was bogus,” a fraudulent tale the show has yet to correct, on Thursday night skipped Vice President Cheney’s address about how the pre-war National Intelligence Estimate warned that “if left unchecked, it [Iraq] probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade.” But anchor Anderson Cooper did make time for a look at how Times Square now has a Red Lobster restaurant.

ABC, CBS and NBC all reported on Cheney’s July 24 address to a group at the American Enterprise Institute in which he outlined how the consensus of the intelligence community was that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons, but all three denigrated and dismissed Cheney’s assessment of the late 2002 intelligence report.

CBS’s John Roberts, for instance, gave Cheney a sentence before contending that “Cheney avoided other intelligence in that same paper, the now discredited reference to Iraq’s desires for uranium.” Roberts added that former CIA Director John Deutch “said the entire case about Iraq’s weapons is beginning to look like a ‘massive intelligence failure.'”

Over on the NBC Nightly News, David Gregory scolded the Vice President: “But Cheney failed to mention doubts within the intelligence community about” claims Iraq was pursuing nuclear weapons, noting how the State Department “dissented.” But, Gregory did not note, that dissent only appeared in an appendix.

ABC’s Peter Jennings didn’t even give Cheney a syllable of a soundbite, holding World News Tonight coverage to this short item in which Jennings undermined Cheney’s credibility by highlighting how he “has been accused” of “pressuring agencies to come up with information that would justify an attack on Iraq.” …

…NewsNight has yet to correct regular anchor Aaron Brown’s picking up of a rumor on July 9. He asked reporter David Ensor to comment on “a story that’s been circulating on the Web today that there was at some point a conversation between the President and a CIA consultant where the consultant directly told the President that this African uranium deal was bogus.” Brown’s raising of such an uncorroborated story befuddled Ensor, who speaking slowly as he fumbled for words, told Brown: “I have no way to confirm that story and it is somewhat suspect I would say…”

Brown didn’t cite his source, but he was quoting from a posting on But they, it turns out, retracted their one-source story at about 6pm EDT, four hours before Brown went on the air. Publisher Doug Thompson discovered that his source, one Terrance Wilkinson, who identified himself as a CIA and FBI consultant, was a fraud.

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