The lead paragraph of an August 3 front-page New York Times article, by reporters Richard W. Stevenson and Philip Shenon, differed in significant ways from other items in the same edition of the paper on the issue of whether President Bush has embraced the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission.
Under the headline "Bush Endorses Naming a Chief on Intelligence" and the subheadline "Backs Ideas of 9/11 Panel," Stevenson and Shenon's article opened as follows:
President Bush on Monday generally endorsed the two main recommendations of the 9/11 commission, saying he would support creation of a potentially powerful post, national intelligence director, and the establishment of a counterterrorism center to coordinate intelligence analysis and efforts to thwart attacks.
But as Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller noted in a "news analysis" published in the same edition of the Times, "White House officials left vague the authority that the new director would wield over personnel and spending, raising doubts among some experts about the real power of the new position."
And the Times' own editorial page that day expressed a view of the Bush plan that was almost the opposite of Stevenson and Shenon's take. Under the headline "Mr. Bush's Wrong Solution," the Times wrote that the president "wanted to appear to be embracing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, but he actually rejected the panel's most significant ideas." The editorial said the Bush plan falls especially short in its provisions for a new national intelligence director.
Even Stevenson and Shenon's article later discussed the ways in which the Bush plan differs from the commission's recommendations, but readers would have to scan down four full paragraphs to learn that "Mr. Bush declined to embrace some of the detailed proposals the commission had said would ensure that the new post and the counterterrorism center would have real power and not just create another layer of bureaucracy."