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.
A December 4 Washington Post article pointed out that the newspaper's own reporting from October 2002 on the House's passage of the Iraq war resolution failed to quote a single Democrat expressing concerns about "postwar challenges," though many had done so. Media Matters found that contemporaneous articles from three other major print outlets also left out any mention of such warnings.
The Washington Post, in citing Post columnist George F. Will in a news article claiming that an "icy exchange between President Bush and Virginia Sen.-elect James Webb" has "angered conservatives," failed to note that Will, in his column on the incident, left out a key part of an earlier Post account of the conversation between Bush and Webb in order to assert that Webb showed "calculated rudeness."
In his latest column, George F. Will distorted his own newspaper's reporting by leaving out a key part of an exchange between President Bush and Sen.-elect James Webb in order to attack Webb's "calculated rudeness toward another human being."
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.
In his Washington Post column, David Ignatius asserted that if Sen. Chuck Hagel decides to run for president in 2008, "he can claim to have been right about Iraq and other key issues earlier than almost any national politician, Republican or Democratic." However, Ignatius' claim is undermined by the fact that Hagel voted to authorize military action against Iraq in October 2002, which numerous Democrats vocally opposed at the time.
The Washington Post reported that incoming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell "[s]ound[ed] a conciliatory note" and "vowed ... to work with Democrats" when they take control of Congress next year. But the article made no mention of the Senate Republican leadership's reported decision not to deal with several government spending bills for fiscal year 2007 in the lame-duck session, placing the burden on Democrats to finish them.
The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal all asserted that it may be difficult for congressional Democrats to deliver on their pledge to reform the Medicare drug plan over the opposition of the Bush administration, congressional Republicans, and the pharmaceutical industry, but did not report an internal drug company memo that warned of bills that would allow imported drugs and force price competition.
Washington Post staff writer Peter Baker wrote that President Bush's "opening message since the election has been one of conciliation." But Baker did not mention Bush's renomination of several controversial candidates for high-ranking offices, nor did he note Bush's push for legislation authorizing warrantless domestic wiretapping.
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."