LA Times reported that Republicans boosted port security funding, but not that they killed Democratic proposals to increase it further
Research ››› ››› JOSH KALVEN
The Los Angeles Times reported on March 17 that "Republicans added nearly $1 billion to tighten security at seaports," but did not note that GOP senators voted down a separate Democratic proposal to boost port-related funding by an additional $1.7 billion. The article also made no mention of House Republicans' March 16 rejection of a Democratic amendment to increase port security funding by $1.2 billion.
In an article covering the Senate budget resolution passed on March 16, Los Angeles Times staff writers Richard Simon and Joel Havemann reported that "Republicans added nearly $1 billion to tighten security at seaports," characterizing this effort as a "response" to the recent port controversy. But Simon and Havemann also did not report that Republican senators voted down a separate Democratic proposal to boost port-related funding by an additional $1.7 billion. Further, the article made no mention of House Republicans' March 16 rejection of a Democratic amendment to increase port security funding by $1.2 billion.
On March 15, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proposed an amendment to the Senate budget resolution to increase port security funding by $978 million. The measure received bipartisan support and passed by a vote of 90-8. The following day, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) introduced an amendment to increase port security and U.S. Coast Guard funding by an additional $1.7 billion, but the proposal failed by a 53-43 vote. Fifty-two of the 53 members who voted against the measure were Republicans.
In their March 17 Times article, however, Simon and Havemann ignored the Republicans' rejection of the Lieberman amendment, while reporting that they had "added nearly $1 billion" in port security funding:
Republicans added nearly $1 billion to tighten security at seaports, a response to the political flap over an Arab company's ill-fated attempt to take over operations at port terminals in six U.S. cities.
The article also did not mention that House Republicans had voted down a similar Democratic amendment to the emergency supplemental bill passed on March 16. The measure, proposed by Rep. Martin O. Sabo (D-MN), would have increased port security funding by $825 million and disaster preparedness funding by $400 million, but failed 210-208. Only Republicans voted against the measure. In contrast to the Times, both The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reported the House's rejection of the amendment in their March 17 coverage of the spending proposals moving through Congress.
During the recent controversy over the Bush administration's approval of a deal to transfer operations at six U.S. ports to Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the government of Dubai, Media Matters for America noted the repeated failure on the part of the news media to report the stark contrast between Republicans' and the Democrats' respective track records on port security.