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.
On November 29, The Washington Post reported that incoming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged to work with Democrats on parts of their agenda but failed to mention the decision by congressional GOP leaders to put off work on several government spending bills for fiscal year 2007 until Democrats take control of the Congress next year. The day after, in its profile of McConnell, The New York Times followed suit.
A New York Times article that noted Sen. John McCain's recent statement that "he thought Roe v. Wade ... should be overturned" did not mention that McCain has voiced several inconsistent positions on Roe v. Wade. The Times also wrote that McCain "seemed to countenance civil unions"; in fact, McCain offered two apparently contradictory positions on civil unions.
Of the several print outlets that reported on the controversy surrounding Larry Hanauer, the Democratic House intelligence committee staffer who was suspended by Rep. Peter Hoekstra for allegedly leaking portions of an April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate, only The Washington Post has reported on his reinstatement.
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.