Media Matters for America has identified six findings in the Iraq Study Group's report that major news outlets have largely overlooked. They include: that the Pentagon has significantly underreported the extent of violence in Iraq, that U.S. officials possess little knowledge about the sources of the ongoing attacks, and that the situation in Afghanistan has grown so dire that U.S. troops may need to be diverted there from Iraq.
NBC's Brian Williams said that Rep. Frank Wolf "came up with the idea for the Iraq Study Group after ... returning from his third trip to Iraq after having seen how much the situation there had deteriorated and how violent Iraq had become." In fact, a September 2005 op-ed by Wolf written after that trip stressed that "real progress is being made [in Iraq]" and claimed the media were not giving sufficient attention to it -- a very different picture from the dire conditions described in the ISG's final report.
Wolf Blitzer has raised the topic of Sen. John McCain's plan to send more troops to Iraq in interviews or in panels at least once on each of the last three editions of Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer and on seven of the 12 editions of The Situation Room on which he appeared between November 13 and December 5; on the December 5 edition of The Situation Room, Blitzer asked all three of his interviewees about McCain's plan. At no point during any of these appearances did Blitzer note that questions have been raised about the plan's feasibility.
In introducing her interview with Rep. Frank Wolf, National Public Radio's Deborah Amos stated that, after his 2005 trip to Iraq, Wolf "decided the [Iraq] war was not going well," and "came up with the idea for an independent panel to analyze U.S. policy," which "became the Baker-Hamilton Study Group." In fact, shortly after his return, Wolf wrote an official trip report and an op-ed in which he stressed that "real progress is being made [in Iraq], despite the ongoing security concerns."
In reporting on Sunday talk-show appearances by national security adviser Stephen Hadley, several media outlets reported Hadley's characterization of a classified memo from Donald Rumsfeld as simply a "laundry list of ideas" about the U.S. presence in Iraq, and "not a proposal for a new course of action." However, Rumsfeld wrote in the memo, "In my view it is time for a major adjustment"; in the memo, Rumsfeld also created a category of preferred options, with "modest troop withdrawals" among them.
A December 4 Washington Post article pointed out that the newspaper's own reporting from October 2002 on the House's passage of the Iraq war resolution failed to quote a single Democrat expressing concerns about "postwar challenges," though many had done so. Media Matters found that contemporaneous articles from three other major print outlets also left out any mention of such warnings.