On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume falsely characterized the Iraq Study Group's report as a "stay-the-course document" that "did not reject the president's policy on Iraq." In fact, the ISG report specifically states that "[c]urrent U.S. policy is not working, as the level of violence in Iraq is rising and the government is not advancing national reconciliation."
CNN's Ed Henry's description of President Bush being "in listening mode right now" regarding his strategy for the Iraq war ignored that Bush's "listening mode" apparently does not include asking questions of the Iraq Study Group or receptivity to some of the ISG's key recommendations.
Following a confrontation between Tony Snow and NBC's David Gregory, numerous conservative media figures attacked Gregory, calling him "angry," "partisan," "grouchy," and "ignorant," and claiming that he is "doing this for personal gain."
Conservative media figures, including Bill Kristol, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, have attacked both the members of the Iraq Study Group and its report: Kristol has called the report "an evasion" and "not a serious document"; Limbaugh asserted that ISG members are "doing everything they can to unite the American people" in "defeat" and "surrender"; while Beck has called the ISG report "Operation White Flag."
Following other media outlets that have recently asserted that Rep. Frank Wolf pushed for the creation of the Iraq Study Group because he believed the situation in Iraq was deteriorating, The New York Times reported that Wolf urged the panel's creation after he "grew alarmed by what he saw in Iraq during a visit last year." However, shortly after his return, Wolf released an official trip report and wrote an op-ed in which he stressed that "real progress is being made [in Iraq], despite the ongoing security concerns."
Brett Baier reported that President Bush had "praised the report and the members on the Iraq Study Group [ISG] for tying any withdrawal to commanders' assessment of the conditions on the ground in Iraq." In fact, the ISG's recommendations run counter to Bush's policies and assumptions regarding U.S. troop presence in Iraq.
Media Matters for America has identified six findings in the Iraq Study Group's report that major news outlets have largely overlooked. They include: that the Pentagon has significantly underreported the extent of violence in Iraq, that U.S. officials possess little knowledge about the sources of the ongoing attacks, and that the situation in Afghanistan has grown so dire that U.S. troops may need to be diverted there from Iraq.
NBC's Brian Williams said that Rep. Frank Wolf "came up with the idea for the Iraq Study Group after ... returning from his third trip to Iraq after having seen how much the situation there had deteriorated and how violent Iraq had become." In fact, a September 2005 op-ed by Wolf written after that trip stressed that "real progress is being made [in Iraq]" and claimed the media were not giving sufficient attention to it -- a very different picture from the dire conditions described in the ISG's final report.
Wolf Blitzer has raised the topic of Sen. John McCain's plan to send more troops to Iraq in interviews or in panels at least once on each of the last three editions of Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer and on seven of the 12 editions of The Situation Room on which he appeared between November 13 and December 5; on the December 5 edition of The Situation Room, Blitzer asked all three of his interviewees about McCain's plan. At no point during any of these appearances did Blitzer note that questions have been raised about the plan's feasibility.