The Washington Post has hired Michael Gerson -- who as President Bush's chief speechwriter from 2001-2005 crafted the false and misleading rhetoric the Bush administration used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq -- to be an op-ed columnist. The Post editorial board repeated without question some of that false and misleading rhetoric in its support of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and has passed up several opportunities to re-examine its support of the Bush administration's push for war.
In recent reports on President Bush's September 20 statement that he "[a]bsolutely" would order U.S. troops into Pakistan to capture Osama bin Laden, Bloomberg News and Reuters joined CNN in ignoring Bush's contradictory statement that the United States could send troops into Pakistan to hunt for bin Laden unless it was "invited" to do so, because Pakistan is a "sovereign nation."
Chris Matthews complained that the news media "sucks lately in covering the Iraq war," later asserting, "I have been a voice out there against this bullshit war from the beginning." But Media Matters has documented numerous instances during the past three years in which Matthews lauded President Bush's handling of the war, advanced false and misleading claims about the war, and attacked Democratic critics of the war.
Bill O'Reilly's claim to be on an Al Qaeda "death list" has reportedly been disputed by an FBI official and a "correspondent" at Fox News.
Brit Hume uncritically reported Alberto Gonzales's defense of the Bush administration's alleged decision to send a Canadian-Syrian citizen to Syria, where he was tortured and falsely confessed to terrorist affiliations, as documented in a recently released Canadian judicial report. Hume failed to note that Syria reportedly has a history of using torture.
Wolf Blitzer left unchallenged John Bolton's claim that "the Europeans have been saying, the Security Council has said, the International Atomic Energy Agency has said" that Iran must suspend its enrichment of uranium as "the precondition" for negotiations on its nuclear capability. But moments earlier, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux had reported that U.S. officials "will allow the Europeans to continue to talk with the Iranians."
Less than two weeks after it was revealed that The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes had been chosen to write an official biography of Dick Cheney, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a postwar report on Iraq's weapons programs and its purported links to terrorism that thoroughly debunked the claim -- repeatedly advanced by Hayes -- that there existed a connection between the government of Saddam Hussein, Al Qaeda, and 9-11.
In his recent interview with President Bush, Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Bush on his statement that he "[a]bsolutely" would give the order to pursue Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. In a previous press conference, Bush had asserted that the United States could not send troops into Pakistan to hunt for bin Laden unless it was "invited" to do so, because Pakistan is a "sovereign nation."
On Fox News, Morton M. Kondracke asserted that "you would figure that the enemy" would "help President Bush's adversaries" by "hav[ing] much more upsurges of violence in Iraq to try to focus people's attention back on Iraq." Shortly before the 2004 presidential election, Kondracke similarly claimed that, "for all I know," the growing insurgency in Iraq was "designed ... to help elect John Kerry."
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In separate interviews with Condoleezza Rice, Matt Lauer and Robin Roberts failed to question Rice about President Bush's contradictory statements on the search for Osama bin Laden, as well as a recent report that the administration hired individuals to rebuild Iraq based on their "loyalty to the Bush administration."
A New York Times article contrasted anti-war Democrats' "pragmati[c]" decision to "spare" Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) -- despite her support of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq -- with the recent defeat of Sen. Joseph Lieberman in the Democratic Senate primary in Connecticut. But the Times overlooked key differences between the two races: Unlike Cantwell, Lieberman has attacked Democrats for criticizing the administration in its conduct of the war and opposed Democratic legislation calling for the United States to begin redeploying troops out of Iraq.
A Media Matters for America review of cable and broadcast networks and major newspapers showed no coverage of a September 17 front-page Washington Post report by Rajiv Chandrasekaran detailing the process by which many individuals who "lacked vital skills and experience" were assigned to positions in the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq based on their "loyalty to the Bush administration."
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote that Sen. John McCain "embodies a quality for which the country yearns: integrity," suggesting that this quality gives McCain greater "stature" than the presumptive 2008 Democratic presidential candidates. But in lauding McCain's "integrity" and ability to restore public faith in government, Cohen apparently ignored the senator's flip-flops, backtracks, and inconsistencies on a variety of issues.
PBS' NewsHour host Jim Lehrer allowed Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to mischaracterize a letter to Congress by five top uniformed military lawyers. Frist suggested that the letter supports the Bush administration's proposed legislation regarding the interrogation and trial of terrorism suspects. However, Lehrer did not mention that the letter addresses only certain provisions of Bush's plan, not the entire bill, and that the military lawyers reportedly refused to sign a letter endorsing Bush's entire bill. Lehrer also allowed Frist to misrepresent comments Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid made in a NewsHour interview the previous night.
After examining The Washington Post's coverage of prewar intelligence on Iraq, executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. admitted that the newspaper did not give "proper play" to stories that could have been seen as challenging the Bush administration's pro-war arguments. Despite this admission, it appears the Post is following the same pattern in its coverage of intelligence on Iran's nuclear capability.