The Washington Post once again reported as fact the Bush administration's misleading claim that "29 million Americans have enrolled" in the Medicare prescription drug program. But while the Post suggested that the 29 million enrollees joined the program voluntarily, more than two-thirds were, in fact, enrolled automatically.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer and two Washington Post articles downplayed and even mischaracterized the loud, sustained chorus of boos that greeted Vice President Dick Cheney as he emerged from the dugout for the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals' home opener against the New York Mets and continued until he left the field.
Responding to readers' comments on The Washington Post's falsehood-laden April 9 editorial on President Bush's authorization of intelligence leaks, Post media writer Howard Kurtz -- instead of reporting on the editorial's numerous falsehoods -- stated: "I don't care what Post editorials say, except as a reader."
Media Matters for America presents a side-by-side comparison of the claims put forth by an April 9 Washington Post editorial that repeated numerous falsehoods in defense of President Bush's reported authorization of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to disclose the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, the corresponding falsehoods forwarded by conservatives and Republicans in the media, and the Post's own reporting -- some of it appearing in the same edition of the paper as the editorial -- that debunks these falsehoods.
An April 5 Washington Post editorial asserted that Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) departure from Congress will make it "much tougher for Democrats to flog their 'culture of corruption' message," offering only a quote from DeLay in support of the assertion -- but a Post article published the same day quoted a Democratic leader saying the opposite. The editorial then went on to undermine its own argument by noting that the political culture fostered by DeLay -- rather than the man himself -- represented the Republicans' "real problem."
In keeping with a pattern at The Washington Post, Shailagh Murray and Howard Kurtz dismissed suggestions that the Post should follow up on a National Journal article on an internal Bush administration review, which found that President Bush had been specifically advised that claims he made during his 2003 State of the Union address about Iraq's nuclear program might not be true. Despite the Post's failure to report on the revelation, Murray suggested readers already knew "that Bush had some indication" the intelligence he cited "was faulty."
CNN Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz noted that Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll, released on March 30 by Iraqi insurgents who had held her for 82 days, had "been criticized and had her motives questioned by skeptics, critics, and conspiracy theorists here at home." But Kurtz seemed to have forgotten that he had joined numerous right-wing media figures in questioning the motives behind her statements.
The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, and Knight Ridder uncritically reported Republican criticism of the Democratic national security proposal, including a claim by Vice President Dick Cheney that the proposal was "totally inconsistent" with the Democrats' past behavior.
In a column that referred to the contents of a recently disclosed memorandum about a meeting between President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair six weeks before the invasion of Iraq, Richard Cohen wrote that "nothing so far proved that Bush knew he was making a false case" on Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction. But despite Cohen's description of Bush as "determined to make war almost no matter what," Cohen overlooked a different "false case" made by Bush: The memo indicates that all of Bush's statements suggesting that every effort was being made to avoid war with Iraq were apparently false.
In his March 27 column, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz asked, "Have the media declared war on the war [in Iraq]?" -- apparently ignoring the response CBS News' Lara Logan gave to a similar question he asked on the March 26 edition of his CNN program, Reliable Sources. In a detailed response, Logan flatly rebutted accusations repeated by Kurtz that the media have overemphasized the violence in Iraq.
Since a March 27 New York Times article confirmed that a leaked British memo appears to contradict President Bush's repeated claim prior to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that he wanted to avoid war, media have failed to note the full significance of the document and in some cases ignored the story altogether.
Responding to the widespread criticism of the launch of washingtonpost.com's Red America weblog by Republican operative Ben Domenech, Howard Kurtz defended the Washington Post's actions by mischaracterizing the criticism of Domenech and minimizing the widespread accusations of plagiarism levied against Domenech. Those same accusations led to Domenech's resignation from washingtonpost.com on March 24.
Responding to readers inquiring about the controversy surrounding washingtonpost.com's recently resigned Republican activist blogger Ben Domenech, Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell refused to comment on the matter, claiming that the Post and washingtonpost.com are separate entities "under totally different management." But in December 2005, Howell did comment on washingtonpost.com, characterizing blogger Dan Froomkin's online-only "White House Briefing" column as "highly opinionated and liberal." Further, if Howell's jurisdiction as the Post's ombudsman does not encompass the Washington Post website, as she suggests, then who is the ombudsman for washingtonpost.com?
During a March 21 press conference, the White House press corps failed to challenge President Bush after he offered a misleading and evasive answer about his reasons for invading Iraq in response to a question asked by Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas.