MSNBC and Fox covered for Bush over leaked Myers report on diminished military capability

››› ››› NICOLE CASTA

While many news outlets noted that an assessment of current U.S. military capabilities by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard B. Myers, which was recently leaked to The New York Times, undermines President Bush's recent assurance that Myers believes the Iraq war has not weakened U.S. military capabilities, Fox News reporter Mike Emanuel and MSNBC host Ron Reagan glossed over the inconsistency.

At his April 28 press conference, Bush described a recent conversation with Myers: "I say, 'Do you feel that we've limited our capacity to deal with other problems because of our troop levels in Iraq?' And the answer is no, he doesn't feel we're limited. He feels like we've got plenty of capacity."

But Myers' classified report to Congress stated that future military campaigns "may result in significantly extended campaign timelines, and achieving campaign objectives may result in higher casualties and collateral damage," according to a May 3 article in The New York Times. In comments to reporters the same day, Myers chose a different emphasis:

The message I'm sending to Congress is that the United States military can fulfill its tasks under the Nation Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy and the National Military Strategy, and we will be successful and prevail in anything that our nation asks us to do under those strategies and that's the bottom line.

On Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, general assignment reporter Mike Emanuel mentioned the findings in the classified report only briefly, stating that "armed conflict in other parts of the world might take longer or more resources than one might expect." Emanuel showed the clip of Myers' comments, but he did not note that Myers spoke only after accounts of the leaked report appeared in the Times earlier that day, nor did he note that Myers' assessment of military readiness in the classified report appeared to conflict with what Bush described at his April 28 press conference as Myers's assessment.

From the May 3 edition of Fox News' Special Report:

EMANUEL: Now, with U.S. forces committed in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, the military risk assessment is that armed conflict in other parts of the world might take longer or more resources than one might expect. That assessment from Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in what was part of a classified report to Congress. Gen. Myers talked about that assessment this afternoon outside of the Pentagon.

MYERS [clip]: The message we're sending to Congress is that the United States military can fulfill its tasks under the Nation Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy and the National Military Strategy and we will be successful and prevail in anything that our nation asks us to do under those strategies, that's the bottom line.

EMANUEL: Gen. Myers was also asked a hypothetical about what happens if North Korea invades South Korea. And Myers insists the U.S. would be successful.

On MSNBC's Connected Coast to Coast, host Ron Reagan failed to note that the leaked report to Congress was written by Myers himself. Airing the same post-leak statement from Myers that Emanuel showed, Reagan stated that the document "alleges the U.S. military would not be capable of winning a new war, because of strained resources and manpower," but "the general [Myers] does not agree."

From the May 3 edition of MSNBC's Connected Coast to Coast:

MYERS [clip]: The message we're sending to Congress is that the United States military can fulfill its tasks under the Nation Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy and the National Military Strategy and we will be successful and prevail in anything that our nation asks us to do under those strategies, that's the bottom line.

REAGAN: Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, responding not long ago to a classified congressional report in this morning's New York Times. According to the paper, the document alleges the U.S. military would not be capable of winning a new war, because of strained resources and manpower. The general does not agree, but the numbers may tell a different story. Army recruitment is down again for the third month in a row. Last month, the Army fell short of its monthly goal by 6,600 recruits. In March, there was a 32 percent shortfall. In February, the Army missed its goal by some 27 percent.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Stories/Interests
American Military Capability
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