Networks Distort Overseas Terrorist Surveillance Into 'Domestic Spying' of 'Americans'
The January 17 CBS Evening News put “Domestic Eavesdropping” on screen as anchor Katie Couric suggested President Bush had dropped the program, not just brought it under court supervision, as she very misleadingly referred to eavesdropping on “Americans” when it could be anyone inside the United States: “In the war on terror here at home, a surprising development today. President Bush is giving up what he's long insisted is a key weapon, his program of eavesdropping without a court order on the phone calls and e-mails of Americans suspected of communicating with terrorists.” Jim Axelrod had to correct her and point out how the program continues: “We should make the point Katie, about this about-face, that the eavesdropping won't stop at all. It's just that the requests will have to now be monitored by a judge.”
The NBC Nightly News avoided the loaded and inaccurate on screen graphic, going with the more generic "Electronic Surveillance," but anchor Brian Williams contended the program targeted “U.S. citizens” when it really deals with anyone within the borders of the United States communicating with a terrorist outside the borders: "Tonight the Bush administration has reversed itself on one of the most controversial pieces of the President's anti-terror program. It involved listening in on the phone calls of U.S. citizens without a warrant."