CNN's Malveaux, GOP strategist Galen uncritically cited Wash. Post editorial to bash Pelosi


On the April 5 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, Republican strategist Rich Galen, who served as communications director for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), cited an April 5 Washington Post editorial that attacked current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) trip to Syria as "counterproductive" and "foolish," and claimed the Post is "not generally known as a mouthpiece for the Bush administration." Guest host Suzanne Malveaux did not challenge Galen's use of the Post editorial, which omitted key information reported by its own paper that undermined the editorial's attacks on Pelosi, nor did she mention the rebuttal to the editorial issued by Pelosi's office. Instead, Malveaux quipped, "Well, let me flesh that out just a little bit, because you have stolen my note cards here," and went on to quote the editorial at length, including its claim that "Ms. Pelosi's attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive; it is foolish."

As Media Matters for America noted, the Post's April 5 editorial attacked Pelosi for "misrepresent[ing] Israel's position" when she told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that Israel was ready to negotiate. An April 4 Post article on Pelosi's meeting with Assad reported that when Pelosi said "she conveyed a message" from the Israeli government that it "was ready to resume peace talks," she also said that she "reiterated U.S. demands that Syria stop the passage of insurgents across Syria into Iraq and stop supporting militant groups." On April 5, Pelosi's office released a statement in response to the editorial, which asserted that Pelosi also made clear that Israel continued to demand that Syria cut ties with extremist groups, and told Assad that "in order for Israel to engage in talks with Syria, the Syrian government must eliminate its links with extremist elements, including Hamas and Hezbollah." The weblog ThinkProgress documented additional examples of the editorial ignoring its own paper's coverage to baselessly attack Pelosi.

Malveaux failed to note Pelosi's statement or the editorial's conflict with its own paper's reporting. As Media Matters documented, Malveaux's coverage of Pelosi's Syria trip has been consistently inaccurate and incomplete.

Moreover, while Galen claimed that the Post "not generally know as a mouthpiece for the Bush administration," the Post's April 5 editorial was, in fact, just the most recent example of the Post editorial page not only agreeing with the Bush administration but advancing misinformation to bolster its case. As Media Matters documented, the Washington Post editorial page has often expressed the same views as the Wall Street Journal editorial page -- a frequent source of conservative misinformation and a staunch defender of the Bush administration. The Post consistently failed to challenge the Bush administration's justifications for the Iraq war during the lead-up to the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion, and was complicit in forwarding many of the administration's false and misleading claims attempting to justify the war retroactively. The Post editorial page forwarded false and misleading claims about the CIA leak investigation, and defended the Bush administration's conduct regarding the scandal. The Post resoundingly endorsed Bush's nomination of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and haltingly endorsed Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s nomination. The Post editorial page supported Bush's plan to partially privatize Social Security.

From the April 5 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

MALVEAUX: What's the matter with her going over there? The Iraq Study Group endorsed it. You have elder statesmen like [former Secretary of State James] Baker, who has endorsed it, many European allies who say this needs to happen, a dialogue between the United States and Syria. And, if the president isn't going to do it, what is the harm in actually having someone as powerful as the speaker perhaps start that?

GALEN: Well, I mean, The Washington Post, not generally known as a mouthpiece for the Bush administration, used the words "foolish," "counterproductive," and "ludicrous" in response to Nancy Pelosi conducting what the Post called a "shadow presidency."

I think there's a great deal of danger in misrepresenting the fact that this is sort of open to any member of Congress or senator who can get themselves invited to come over and conduct foreign policy. The U.S. has to speak with one voice. Next time, it may be somebody else's voice. But, for right now, it's --

MALVEAUX: Well, let me flesh that out just a little bit, because you have stolen my note cards here.

GALEN: I'm sorry. I was reading it upside down.


MALVEAUX: The Washington Post here -- in fact, The Washington Post editorial does say today: "Two weeks ago, Ms. Pelosi rammed legislation through the House of Representatives that would strip Mr. Bush of his authority as commander in chief to manage troop movements in Iraq. Now she is attempting to introduce a new Middle East policy that directly conflicts with that of the president. We have found much to criticize in Mr. Bush's military strategy and regional diplomacy. But Ms. Pelosi's attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive; it is foolish."

Suzanne Malveaux
The Situation Room
Attacks on Progressives, Propaganda/Noise Machine
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