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.
A Washington Post article noted that President Bush has recently begun "[s]harpen[ing] his attack[s]" on Democrats by alleging that "some Democrats want to surrender" in Iraq, but did not mention the reported pullout plan for Iraq drafted by Gen. George W. Casey Jr.
Washington Post columnist David Broder asserted that President Bush finds the "resistance in the House to a permissive immigration bill" to be an "alien sentiment," for the "simple reason" that Bush is a Texan. But Broder ignored the fact that Bush's White House reportedly pushed for some of the harshest provisions in the immigration bill the House passed in December, including a provision that would make illegal presence in the country a felony.
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.
Washington Post columnist David Broder roundly dismissed "liberal bloggers," claiming that "the blogs I have scanned are heavier on vituperation of President Bush and other targets than on creative thought." But Broder has yet to comment on conservative bloggers in any way, let alone their displays of "vituperation."
Following the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the news that Karl Rove would not be indicted in the CIA leak case, and other events, media figures have declared that the Bush administration is experiencing "a surge of momentum." But such assertions ignore the White House's numerous current problems.
A June 13 Washington Post article reported Karl Rove's claim in a recent speech that Democrats are "for more spending," while Republicans support "less spending" but provided no rebuttal to the assertion. In fact, President Bush and the GOP-led Congress have joined in creating massive budget deficits by significantly increasing domestic and defense spending while cutting taxes.
The Washington Post again identified Rep. John P. Murtha as "pro-military," just as it repeatedly did following his call in November 2005 for the redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq. In doing so, the Post suggests that other Democrats are not "pro-military" and that Murtha's views on troop withdrawal are inconsistent with his "pro-military" reputation and record in Congress.
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.
During an online chat on washingtonpost.com, Post columnist David Broder was asked by a reader "When can we expect an article from you on the marriages and divorces of the top Republican contenders for the presidential race of '08?" Apparently not recognizing the reader's reference to Broder's May 25 column, in which Broder speculated on the state of the Clintons' marriage, Broder answered: "Why would I write such an article? I know of no occasion for that."
On a Washington Post Radio program, Washington Post columnist David Broder defended his public speculation on the state of the marriage of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and former President Bill Clinton. Asked whether his May 25 column "generate[d] more positive email or more negative email," Broder replied, "I'm getting killed." He explained that "the reaction was highly negative" and that readers had told him Sen. Clinton's marriage "is ... nobody else's business." But he said he disagreed.
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.
In reporting on a newly released ABC News/Washington Post poll on the favorability of presumptive 2008 presidential nominees Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. John McCain, the Post and ABC's Good Morning America focused almost entirely on numbers that indicate Clinton is "polarizing" and on the percentage of respondents who "would definitely not vote for" her in 2008. In its article, the Post also included an assertion about how people view Clinton that was contradicted by the poll results.
In articles on the House's passage of a bill that would allow oil exploration in a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and the Associated Press overstated the amount of oil that could be produced if the bill becomes law.