In reporting on the Bush administration's allegations about Iran's role in Iraq, media outlets have covered the matter in a muddled, incomplete manner, omitting any skeptical or critical analysis of these allegations, which suggests, in the words of washingtonpost.com's Dan Froomkin, that "the lessons we should have learned from Iraq may not have been learned at all."
Reporting on allegations by anonymous U.S. military officials that Iran is supplying explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) to Shiite fighters in Iraq, neither CBS' David Martin nor Fox News' Bret Baier mentioned that Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has reportedly said that he has seen no evidence directly linking the Iranian government to the EFPs in Iraq.
In their January 17 coverage of the Bush administration's "innovative" new approach to domestic surveillance, numerous television outlets called the development a "major change," a "sharp reversal," and an "about-face," but not one noted that the administration's explanations of its new approach have been highly ambiguous, leaving significant questions about the extent to which the administration is actually ceding authority to the courts.
On the CBS Evening News, Sharyl Attkisson uncritically aired former House Rules Committee chairman David Dreier's complaint that he is "very disappointed" that House Democrats planned to pass their "100 Hours" legislative agenda without Republican input, but she did not mention Dreier's remarks in 2003 justifying the Republicans' restrictive rules on amendments to legislation as "what it took to govern."
Major papers and the broadcast news networks have either ignored or downplayed the "personal and political baggage" identified by the staff of former New York City mayor and presumptive 2008 Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani in a document that lays out his plan for a "bid for the White House."
CBS national security correspondent David Martin reported that Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham "were in Baghdad ... warning it will take more than [20,000 additional troops] to save Iraq," but Martin did not mention Gen. John Abizaid's assessment that such an increase would likely not improve the situation in Iraq.
Several media outlets have reported that if Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), who recently had brain surgery, were "incapacitated" or "unable to serve in any way," that South Dakota's Republican governor would be responsible for selecting his replacement. However, the U.S. Constitution does not provide for circumstances in which an "incapacitated" senator can be replaced.
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.
CBS' Bob Schieffer baselessly claimed that many of the freshman Democratic House members are "conservative"; Tucker Carlson called newly elected Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler "more conservative than most Republicans in the House." In fact, the Democratic candidates who won Republican-held seats in the November 7 midterm elections, including Shuler, have said they support central issues in the Democratic platform.