The New Republic's cover story on the problems facing the Washington Post covers significant ground, including the paper's problems in adjusting to the digital age, assorted internal squabbling, as well as questionable ethical lapses (including the recent joint collaboration with a conservative billionaire without appropriate disclosure) but the piece never touches on an issue that surely has contributed to the paper's loss of public trust: its reporting on the Iraq war.
Some examples: In the summer and fall of 2002, the paper failed to record promptly the doubts of then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey. When Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser to George H.W. Bush, wrote a cautionary op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, it apparently didn't strike anyone at the Post as news. ...The testimony of three retired four-star generals warning against an attack before the Senate Armed Services Committee was not covered at all. Speeches by Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator Robert Byrd that seem prescient today were not covered.
The list goes on. Large anti-war rallies in London and Rome went unreported the day after. In October, when more than 100,000 gathered in Washington to protest the war, the story went in the Metro section because the Post underestimated its size.
Here at Media Matters we've also documented the Post falling down on the job with regard to reporting on the war. Surely, it is a difficult time for newspapers all around, but that's no excuse for the Post's failure on this issue when so many lives have been at stake.
For many years, Media Matters and others have documented the mainstream media regularly substituting false balance in news stories in lieu of doing actual reporting. In a story on the Obama administration's policy towards Osama Bin Laden, ABC News' Huma Khan elevates a wild conspiracy theory to just one side of a story.
Some conspiracy theorists have said the U.S. government created the most recent bin Laden tapes. Others have dismissed his tapes as fake, but no one has been able to say with certainty if the world's most-wanted terrorist is still alive.
The idea the the U.S. government faked tapes with Osama Bin Laden is a pretty serious charge that, if true, would have amazingly complex implications for every single American citizen, and the world. The problem is, it is a conspiracy theory in the same class as faked moon landings and alien abductions. There is no actual, factual evidence to back up such an assertion. ABC elevates these claims by making it just one competing narrative in a "fair and balanced" news story that leaves us all less informed.
The NY Post seems to be following in the factually challenged footsteps of corporate sibling Fox News. At 10:19am EST today the NY Times Media Decoder blog noted that in a disclosure in the middle of a news story, the NY Post identified itself as the corporate parent of News Corp. Of course, the opposite is true: News Corp is the parent of the NY Post.
Six hours later (as of 4:38pm EST), the error remains.
Even better, the error is in the Post's "Media Ink" column.
In defending cable news and talk radio from PBS host Jim Lehrer's statement that they offer relatively shallow approaches to health care coverage, Newsbusters' Tim Graham asks:
Does Lehrer think Rush Limbaugh doesn't get into the nitty-gritty of a health-care bill?
Here's some recent "nitty-gritty" from Limbaugh on health care:
Rush Limbaugh's coverage of health care reform, like most issues Rush Limbaugh covers, is error-riddled, misleading and offensive. In the eyes of conservative media critics like MRC's Newsbusters, this is getting into the "nitty-gritty". Heaven help us.
The conservative Examiner newspaper is hyping a new poll from pollster John Zogby that purportedly shows that 43% of respondents would support the re-election of President Obama. The poll was commissioned by Brad O'Leary (author of an anti-Obama book called "The Audacity of Deceit"), who has previously comissioned misleading polls to push an anti-Obama agenda.
Zogby was recently caught pushing a racially charged poll question asking if the FCC should ask "good white people" to step aside for African-Americans and gays.
In February, Zogby pushed out an anti-stimulus poll with some extremely loaded language.
With that kind of track record and pedigree, Zogby's work should probably be treated with healthy skepticism.
It seems like Mr. Murdoch is on a tear, last week he went after President Obama with an invented quote, and now he's made some tasteless remarks about NY governor David Paterson who became legally blind after an ear infection he suffered as an infant.
From the Huffington Post:
At Tuesday's Wall Street Journal's CEO Council, Murdoch was asked about the state of civil discourse, but he wanted to speak about the problems in American politics. In doing so, he trashed New York Governor David Paterson by describing him as "a very nice, honest man who's blind and can't read braille and doesn't really know what's going on."
They were more pessimistic about the direction of the country. They disapproved of Obama's handling of the economy a bit more than before. And, perhaps most striking for this novice commander in chief, more people have lost confidence in Obama on Iraq and Afghanistan over the last month. (emphasis added)
Perhaps the AP's Liz Sidoti can tell us about all those other Presidents who, in their first year in the presidency, were veterans at being commander in chief? As most people know, in the first year it's impossible to be a veteran commander in chief, because in order to be commander in chief you have to be elected to the presidency. They're all rookies in their first year.
Last April it was noted that Sidoti presented Republican presidential candidate John McCain a "treat" of donuts... with sprinkles.
The Chicago Tribune, on its Swampland blog, has a story today claiming that the White House contacted a Democratic "strategist" and told him or her not to appear on Fox News. The strategist is unnamed, and the White House has vehemently denied the charge. The one voice in the Swampland piece bolstering the claim is Pat Caddell, former pollster for Jimmy Carter. Caddell is a Fox News contributor, and despite his work for President Carter has a documented history of furthering conservative misinformation.
Since his affiliation with Carter, Caddell has attacked the Clinton administration, Janet Reno, and the Democratic party itself. Caddell was recently featured on The Glenn Beck Show decrying what he described as the "gangster politics" of the Obama administration.
So, maybe not the best person to back up an anonymous claim showing a Democratic administration in a negative light.
Earlier today, a hospitalized Glenn Beck tweeted in praise of the "AMAZING drs/nurses" who have cared for him since the emergency removal of his inflamed appendix yesterday afternoon.
The quality of care he is receiving should not have come as a surprise. When Beck complained of acute abdominal pain during his radio program on Wednesday, he was rushed to a nearby hospital. The security-conscious Beck has not disclosed the name of the facility, but it's a safe bet that it is staffed by proud members of a storied union: New York's Local 1199, aka United Healthcare Workers East, which belongs to the Service Employees International Union. The SEIU has organized all of Manhattan's major hospitals, including every facility to which Beck could have conceivably been sent.
While he's lying on his back, Beck should take advantage of his illness to begin his self-education. He might ask his "amazing" nurses what they think about their wages and benefits, which are some of the best in the country. He should ask them to talk about the relationship between those wages and their yellow and purple union cards. He might learn that they enjoy some of the highest standards for healthcare jobs in the country, not because of the "free market," but because generations of 1199 members fought for them.
The quality of care Beck is receiving is directly connected to the proud history of New York's Local 1199. To pick just one study out of many, research by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows that heart attack victims sent to unionized hospitals enjoy higher survival rates over those sent to non-unionized hospitals by between seven and 11 percent.
As Media Matters has repeatedly documented, Glenn Beck has waged an almost non-stop smear campaign versus SEIU over the last year.
A new poll from NBC and the Wall Street Journal indicates that there has been an uptick in support for the public option in upcoming health care reform legislation. As Media Matters has shown, support for the public option has always been pretty high despite the media's ignorance. But what's great is how Noel Sheppard of Newsbusters has created a conspiracy theory that this poll result has been timed out between NBC/WSJ and Senator Reid. Here is Sheppard's evidence:
Isn't THAT convenient?!?
See? He used two question marks. And an exclamation point. No actual evidence of any sort, but why do you need that for a pretty incendiary accusation when you have two question marks? I'm convinced.