Leading up to the presidential election, conservatives in the media attempted to downplay and undermine an October 25 New York Times report that hundreds of tons of high-powered explosives went missing from the Al Qaqaa military installation in Iraq after the U.S. invasion in 2003. But following President George W. Bush's November 2 reelection, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter, Wall Street Journal contributing editor Peggy Noonan, and author and FOX News Channel political analyst Dick Morris went even further, denying the truth of the Al Qaqaa news reports altogether.
Media Matters for America has previously documented numerous reports setting out clear evidence that large quantities of the high-grade explosives HMX and RDX were present at Al Qaqaa when American forces arrived at the site in early April 2003 and were looted by Iraqis soon after. And a November 4 Los Angeles Times article, titled "Soldiers Describe Looting of Explosives," provides further evidence that Al Qaqaa was looted after American forces arrived at the site. Four soldiers from the 317th Support Center and the 258th Rear Area Operations Center told the Times that they witnessed the looting of explosives from Al Qaqaa by Iraqis over a period of several weeks from late April and early May and said that they were unable to prevent much of the looting because the Iraqis outnumbered the American forces at the site.
From Coulter's November 3 nationally syndicated column:
The media campaigned heavily for Kerry with endless Abu Ghraib coverage, phony National Guard documents and, days before the election, false news reports that hundreds of tons of munitions had been looted in Iraq.
From Noonan's November 4 Wall Street Journal op-ed column:
But I do think the biggest loser [in the November 2 election] was the mainstream media, the famous MSM, the initials that became popular in this election cycle. Every time the big networks and big broadsheet national newspapers tried to pull off a bit of pro-liberal mischief -- CBS and the fabricated Bush National Guard documents, the New York Times and bombgate, CBS's "60 Minutes" attempting to coordinate the breaking of bombgate on the Sunday before the election -- the yeomen of the blogosphere and AM radio and the Internet took them down.
From the November 4 edition of Morris's weekly "The Political Life" column for The Hill:
Next to the forged documents that sent CBS on a jihad against Bush's National Guard service and the planned "60 Minutes" ambush over the so-called missing explosives two days before the polls opened, the possibility of biased exit polling, deliberately manipulated to try to chill the Bush turnout, must be seriously considered.