In a column titled "So Not Funny," Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen declared that comedian Stephen Colbert's scathing routine at the White House Correspondents Association dinner was "rude" and "insulting," and added that Colbert was "a bully." However, Cohen offered no criticism of Bush when, in a pre-taped skit at the 60th annual dinner of the Radio and Television Correspondents Association (RTCA) in 2004, he made light of the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Washington Post staff writers Jim VandeHei and Michael A. Fletcher quoted several White House aides who characterized the appointment of Tony Snow as press secretary as "proof that he [Bush] is open to dissenting opinions," recognition on the part of the president that "he needs to do a better job communicating," and an effort to "wipe the slate clean." But despite the chorus of criticism from Democrats and others in response to Bush's choice, VandeHei and Fletcher presented no contrasting opinions.
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank described a Republican-sponsored amendment to reduce the charge for unlawful presence in the United States from a felony to a misdemeanor as "an effort to soften" the enforcement-only House immigration reform bill. In fact, Republicans sought to downgrade the criminal penalty in order to facilitate prosecution.
On C-SPAN's Q&A, Washington Post staff writer Susan Schmidt -- one of three Post reporters to be awarded a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for investigating the influence-peddling schemes of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- repeated the false claim that Abramoff gave "a lot of money to Democrats." In fact, as Media Matters has noted repeatedly, no Democrats received contributions from Abramoff directly.
Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz presented Fox News' Brit Hume as the "Low-Key Voice of Conservatism on Fox News" who rarely -- if ever -- runs afoul of the facts on his nightly news program. Kurtz's profile of Hume largely ignored the numerous false and misleading statements Hume has made during his tenure as a Fox News host and commentator, and even presented some of Hume's falsehoods as the truth.
A Washington Post editorial drew a false comparison between the recent calls by several retired generals for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to resign and the "pushback of uniformed military against President Bill Clinton's attempt to allow gays to serve." The generals who have publicly called for Rumsfeld's resignation are retired; conversely, a March 13, 1993, Post article described active-duty troops' hatred for Clinton's intention to lift the ban on gays in the military.
In reporting on the scandals and issues confronting the Bush administration, various media outlets have imputed to President Bush and members of his administration comments or statements they have not actually made. These phony statements often arise as a result of reporters misinterpreting an administration official's statement or inaccurately attributing a position or statement to an administration official.
In a column purportedly explaining the inconsistencies between The Washington Post's April 9 editorial titled "A Good Leak" and an article published the same day by staff writers Barton Gellman and Dafna Linzer, Post ombudsman Deborah Howell suggested the principal reason for the differences in the two pieces was that reporters and editorial writers "can see things quite differently." But the editorial did not merely advocate a position; it did so with numerous false statements.
In an April 13 Washington Post op-ed, Vets for Freedom executive director Wade Zirkle criticized Reps. Jim Moran and John P. Murtha for their treatment of former Sgt. Mark Seavey, who chided the Democratic legislators at a January 5 town hall meeting in Virginia for saying that they "have talked to the troops and the troops are demoralized." Zirkle failed to note, however, that Seavey is one of the co-founders of Zirkle's organization.
Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, in an article in the Washington City Paper, was quoted reiterating the Post's defense of President Bush in an April 9 editorial: that President Bush's authorization to leak classified portions of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) to the media was intended to make clear the administration's reasons for going to war. But Hiatt's statement, like the April 9 editorial, is based on a false assumption -- that the administration's leak of the NIE presented an accurate and complete picture of the intelligence.
In an April 12 editorial asking if President Bush's "presidency can be saved," The Washington Post attacked Democrats, who -- the paper asserted -- are "united in their desire to see Bush fail." The editorial offered Bush "some advice on a fresh start," suggesting several "initiatives" that would not "require radical cooperation across the aisle." But the Post failed to inform readers that each of its proposals has been supported and even advocated by Democrats in Congress.
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."