Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell again conflated objections to factual errors and differences of opinion to dismiss readers' complaints against a Post editorial about the Valerie Plame case. The editorial contained demonstrable falsehoods previously exposed by the Post's own reporting, as Media Matters for America documented.
Washington Post staff writer Jonathan Weisman reported that the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a GOP bill that would essentially codify the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program. But Weisman ignored a bipartisan bill passed by the same committee that would reaffirm the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires court approval for all domestic eavesdropping for foreign intelligence purposes.
In their coverage of President Bush's commemoration of 9-11, The New York Times and The Washington Post suggested it was Democrats who undermined efforts to re-create the national sense of unity that initially followed the attacks, even though reports have noted the White House's strategy for extracting political gain from the 9-11 anniversary.
Following the disclosure by Newsweek that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was columnist Robert Novak's original source for Valerie Plame's identity, a Washington Post editorial asserted that this revelation proved "untrue" the notion that White House officials disclosed Plame's identity to reporters in an effort to "ruin [Plame's] career" and "punish" her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.
In a September 1 article, The Washington Post qualified its earlier characterization of recent comments by Donald Rumsfeld, reporting that Democrats had "interpreted" his August 29 speech as "equating critics of the war in Iraq to appeasers of Adolf Hitler." In previous articles on Rumsfeld's speech, the Post had unequivocally reported that Rumsfeld had "accus[ed] the opposition of aiming to appease terrorists" and that he had drawn "parallels to efforts by some nations to appease Adolf Hitler before World War II."
Several media figures have recently claimed, or let Republicans claim, that the White House "rejects" the policy that the United States should "stay the course" in Iraq, even though President Bush and White House spokesman Tony Snow have continued to use that term to describe the administration's Iraq policy.
The Washington Post reported that Republican activist and discredited former congressional staffer David Bossie had "earned a reputation as a relentless sleuth -- or right-wing hit man, depending on one's political persuasion." CNN host Kitty Pilgrim interviewed Bossie but made no mention of his highly controversial past.
A Washington Post article misrepresented polling to state that the public is "evenly split" on withdrawing from Iraq. Similarly, National Review Washington editor Kate O'Beirne falsely claimed on NBC's Meet the Press that the public does "not support leaving prematurely, and a timetable to do so."
In an August 26 Washington Post article exploring the political effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Bush administration, Jonathan Weisman and Michael Abramowitz uncritically reported the GOP claim that public opinion of Bush's handling of the crisis has rebounded over the past year, ignoring recent polling showing otherwise. Further, they repeated the White House assertion that Bush now has a "strong story to tell" about his recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast but failed to quote a single Democrat in response.
Several media outlets, in their reporting on a response President Bush gave in his August 21 press conference to a question on Iraq, either excised or omitted Bush's admission that "sometimes I'm happy" when hearing about the situation there.
Various media outlets ignored President Bush's statement during an August 21 press conference that the United States will not withdraw its forces from Iraq as long as he is president. Those outlets simply reported that Bush pledged to keep U.S. forces in Iraq until "the mission is complete," and offered no indication that Bush pledged to keep troops there for the remainder of his term.
In reporting on Sen. George Allen's use of the racially derogatory word "macaca" to refer to one of his opponent's campaign volunteers and his claim not to know what the term means or why he used it, the majority of media outlets left out a fact that might shed light on the claim's veracity -- Allen's mother was born and raised in Tunisia, a former French colony in North Africa, as Allen has repeatedly noted in the past.
In an August 13 Associated Press article, Nedra Pickler suggested that the controversial aspect of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program is that it is secret, rather than that it bypasses the law requiring court warrants for such surveillance. The Washington Post's Josh White similarly referred to "secretly wiretapping [terrorism] suspects" as one of several "controversial Bush administration programs," without noting the specific nature of the controversy.
When asked in an online discussion why Vice President Dick Cheney "saying basically that people who exercised their constitutional right to vote for change (ie: Conn. primary) are helping terrorists" was "not the headline of a story," Washington Post staff writer Jonathan Weisman responded: "The vice president also said the insurgency in Iraq is in its death throes, and that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators. I'm afraid to say his utterances are losing their news value."