Since the Democratic Party won control of both the House and the Senate, the media have focused on such issues as Pelosi's choice of attire and whether being female will affect her ability to lead. MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer wondered if Pelosi's "personal feelings [were] getting in the way of effective leadership" -- a problem she suggested would not surface in "men-run leadership posts" -- and whether men were "more capable of taking personality clashes."
In recent post-election articles, The New York Times has portrayed Democratic Party leaders as plagued by "recriminations, finger-pointing and infighting" that have "cast a cloud over the party's post-election celebration" but has ignored or downplayed recent divisions among Republicans.
In an article reporting that a number of former military officers and foreign policy experts are opposed to near-term phased withdrawal from Iraq, New York Times reporter Michael R. Gordon did not mention the numerous retired U.S. generals, former diplomats, and foreign policy experts who have also called for some form of withdrawal.
A New York Times article on Sen. John McCain's proposal to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq ignored a key question: whether the strategy is even feasible, given that McCain has asserted that the fate of the U.S. effort in Iraq will be decided in a matter of months and yet acknowledged that sending 20,000 more soldiers into the region would require increasing active forces by 100,000. CNN's Wolf Blitzer similarly ignored the question of whether the plan is achievable.
In their reports on Sen. Mel Martinez's decision to take over as chairman of the Republican National Committee, The New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Fox News' Jim Angle made no reference to Martinez's admission that his office authored a controversial memo in the Terri Schiavo case and also did not mention the controversy surrounding Martinez's campaign tactics in 2004.
New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny purported to show that "bills for catering, flowers and photography" elevated campaign expenses for Sen. Hillary Clinton, contrasting them with more mundane expenses by Sen. Rick Santorum's campaign. But Zeleny ignored Santorum's more costly expenses; in fact, Santorum's campaign spent more money in the third quarter of 2006 than Clinton's did.
A New York Times article uncritically reported White House press secretary Tony Snow's assertion that it is "preposterous" to suggest that the verdict in the trial of Saddam Hussein "was timed to coincide with this week's elections in the United States," despite the U.S. government's heavy influence on the tribunal that tried Saddam and the Bush administration's history of reportedly timing Iraq- or terrorism-related actions to the U.S. political calendar.
In a recent column, David Brooks wrote that if Sen. Rick Santorum loses his Pennsylvania Senate seat, it's "probably good news in Pennsylvania's bobo suburbs" but "certainly bad for poor people around the world." Brooks, however, did not mention the controversy surrounding Santorum's own charity, or his attacks on prominent international humanitarian groups.
In a New York Times profile of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Jennifer Steinhauer described her as favoring "schools without prayer and death with taxes." In fact, Pelosi has never stated that students should not be allowed to pray in school. Rather, she has voted against federal legislation mandating times of prayer during the school day; as for the estate tax, Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues in Congress have noted that it currently affects only the wealthiest Americans.
In an article about Sen. George Allen's attack on James Webb's novels, The New York Times quoted Chris LaCivita and identified him simply as "a consultant for the Allen campaign." In doing so, the Times ignored LaCivita's connections to several controversial Republican front groups, including Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth.
The New York Times' Patrick Healy reported that Sen. Hillary Clinton had said she "would support a gay marriage law in New York" and suggested that she had changed her position from her previous opposition to same-sex marriage -- an account that MSNBC's Chris Jansing echoed. Healy later amended his report to say that Clinton had said she "would not stand against a gay marriage law" and appeared on MSNBC to "correct the record." But he failed to acknowledge that his own flawed original reporting may have led to MSNBC's inaccurate report.