The New York Times reported that President Bush recently "signal[ed] a new willingness to negotiate with House Republicans" on tackling immigration, adding that "[t]he shift is significant because Mr. Bush has repeatedly said he favors legislation like the Senate's immigration bill." But the Times made no mention of the fact that the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee accused the White House of abandoning its original support of some of the harshest provisions in the House bill on immigration, including a provision that would make undocumented presence in the country a crime.
A Media Matters analysis of the media coverage of the Iraq war debate shows that the favored Republican talking points on Iraq have gone largely unchallenged in the media and have even been adopted as truths by some media outlets and figures.
An article in The Washington Post reported the claim that the June 23 report by The New York Times on a Treasury Department program designed to monitor terrorists' international financial transactions "undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails." But the article at no point mentioned the numerous instances in which administration officials have publicly touted their efforts to track terrorist finances. Nor did it note reports that terrorists were increasingly using alternate means of transferring money to elude detection.
Several news outlets missed a key point in their reporting on the Senate's defeat of two Democratic amendments calling for U.S. redeployment from Iraq: The Democrats' claim that their position reflects public opinion is backed by polling data showing that a majority of Americans support some form of withdrawal.
In their coverage of the postponement of congressional negotiations on immigration reform, several major print media outlets failed to note that legislation passed by House Republicans would designate as felons the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States.
In articles on Senate Democrats' efforts to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, numerous print outlets focused on differences between two Democratic proposals on the issue and highlighted Republicans' dismissals of the measures as "cutting and running." But these outlets failed to note that recent polls show a majority of Americans support some form of withdrawal from Iraq.
A June 15 New York Times article misrepresented the White House's 2003 denials of Karl Rove's involvement in the disclosure of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative. In doing so, the Times lent support to Rove's defenders, who were quoted anonymously in the article claiming that Rove did not mislead his White House colleagues about his role in the leak.
Numerous news outlets -- including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN, ABC, and Fox News -- joined President Bush in highlighting a split among Democrats on the issue of the Iraq war. But in mentioning only the Democrats' disagreements, these outlets are promoting the false impression that there are not significant divisions among Republicans regarding the Bush administration's wartime policies.
At a "Journalism Under Fire" conference, New York Times public editor Byron Calame responded to Media Matters for America readers' criticism of recent Times reporting, stating that the Times puts email from Media Matters readers "straight into a folder" because it is "just repetition" and "trying to rack up numbers, which don't impress us."
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In an article based on information from the Center for Public Integrity's recent analysis of privately funded congressional travel, Washington Post staff writer Jeffrey Birnbaum largely depicted the issue of members accepting privately funded trips as a bipartisan one. But Birnbaum omitted several pertinent findings that show greater participation by Republican lawmakers and staff than by Democrats.
In a column seemingly defending The New York Times' publication of reporter Patrick Healy's article purporting to dissect the Clintons' marriage, public editor Byron Calame concluded: "Over all, I found the article a worthwhile piece of journalism that deserved to be published in The Times." But Calame's column included several qualifiers that, coupled with an acknowledgement by Healy that undermined a central premise of the article, seem to significantly weaken Calame's apparent defense
On June 2, The New York Times compounded the distortions found in Associated Press reporter John Solomon's highly misleading May 31 follow-up article (updated June 1) to his flawed May 29 report, publishing an edited version of Solomon's June 1 article that omitted key portions near the end. In his May 31/June 1 report, Solomon falsely suggested Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid had retracted his claim that he did nothing improper in accepting "credentials" from the Nevada Athletic Commission to attend Las Vegas boxing matches.
While stating that "news" that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) "got free seats at three big Las Vegas fights hardly seems the stuff of scandal" and "doesn't prove Mr. Reid wrong," a New York Times editorial nonetheless suggested a similarity between Reid's attendance at the boxing matches as the guest of the Nevada Athletic Commission and crimes committed by former Republican congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham and former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Patrick Healy, the author of a front-page May 23 New York Times article purporting to examine the married life of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and former President Bill Clinton, acknowledged on CNN on May 31 that the time the Clintons spend together is "pretty similar" to other families that include a member of Congress.
Following President Bush's nomination of Henry M. Paulson Jr. to replace Treasury Secretary John Snow, major newspapers largely ignored a deceptive -- at best -- answer Bush gave last week about whether Snow would be leaving the administration. When asked during a May 25 press conference whether Snow "had given [Bush] any indication that he intends to leave his job any time soon," Bush responded: "No, he has not talked to me about resignation. I think he's doing a fine job." Yet press secretary Tony Snow told reporters that Bush had already selected John Snow's replacement by May 21.