Numerous conservative pundits offered highly optimistic predictions about the U.S. invasion of Iraq regarding the conflict's duration, difficulty, and human and financial costs -- nearly all of which have proven to be wrong. But rather than hold these "Pollyanna pundits" accountable for their past misjudgments, the media have again provided a platform for their views about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. And echoing their rhetoric on Iraq, these conservative pundits have advocated further military action by the United States and its allies.
A Washington Post article by staff writer Dan Balz uncritically reported RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt's misleading claim in support of President Bush's economic record: that "5.4 million jobs have been created in the last three years alone," leaving the impression that job growth had also occurred earlier in Bush's presidency. In fact, Bush presided over a net loss of 2.6 million jobs, from the beginning of his presidency through July 2003.
A June 20 Washington Post article reported that a Republican Party fundraiser featuring a speech by President Bush the day before had raised $27 million to be given to the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. But recently filed campaign finance reports show that by the end of June, the committees could not have possibly received as much as the Post had claimed they raised at the event. Will the Post investigate the discrepancy?
In a July 21 article on President Bush's first-ever speech as president before the NAACP, The Washington Post's Darryl Fears reported that Bush received "thunderous applause" after he "acknowledged that his political party wrote off the black vote." In fact, the audience responded much more energetically to Bush's preceding assertion: his acknowledgment that many "African-Americans distrust" the Republican Party. The response to that comment appeared not to be approval for Bush's acknowledgment, but, rather agreement that many African-Americans do indeed "distrust" the Republican Party.
A Washington Post editorial baselessly asserted that the Bush administration's policy on embryonic stem cell research was a "compromise" that "made sense" at the time but has since "proved unduly restrictive." In fact, concerns among the research community that the White House policy would be overly restrictive were widely reported in 2001, and the Post editorial board noted some of these concerns in an editorial at the time.
Few media reports on new, lower federal budget deficit projections by the Bush administration pointed out that critics have accused the administration of inflating its original deficit predictions to be able to later tout the actual, less dire, figures.
A Washington Post article sought out Democrats and independents expressing the "evidence of unease" about the potential presidential candidacy of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, following up on a poll conducted by the newspaper in May that found 54 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of Clinton and that 57 percent would definitely vote for her or consider voting for her in 2008. Media Matters asks: Will the Post also seek out Republicans and independents expressing unease about another potential 2008 candidate, Sen. John McCain?
In a Washington Post article, staff writers Dan Balz and Richard Morin cited the results of a misleading poll question to assert that a majority of Americans "oppose a deadline for getting out of Iraq." But the poll set up a false dichotomy between two Republican talking points -- that proponents of withdrawing troops from Iraq only wish to do so "in order to avoid further casualties," and that "pull[ing] out would only encourage the anti-government insurgents."
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.