7News reported Republicans' calls for troop withdrawal, didn't note similar Democratic efforts

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

KMGH 7News co-anchor Mike Landess reported on June 28 that Republicans "now believe troops should start coming home" and that some GOP members "are calling for a revival of the Iraq Study Group [ISG] to look at new options for Iraq." Landess, however, did not mention that Democrats have called for the implementation of the ISG's recommendations -- including troop redeployment -- since the group released its report in December 2006 and have introduced legislation to make the recommendations U.S. policy.

In a June 28 segment about Republicans who "are calling for a revival of the Iraq Study Group [ISG]," KMGH 7News at 10 p.m. co-anchor Mike Landess reported that "Republicans ... now believe troops should start coming home, and soon." However, 7News failed to report that Democrats have been calling for the implementation of the ISG's recommendations, including a drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq, since the release of the ISG report in December 2006. Moreover, 7News did not report that two Democratic members of Colorado's congressional delegation, Sen. Ken Salazar and Rep. Mark Udall, each recently introduced legislation "that would make most of the study group's 79 recommendations official U.S. policy," as the Associated Press reported June 5.

From the June 28 broadcast of KMGH's 7News at 10 p.m.:

LANDESS: National security adviser Stephen Hadley met with Republicans today on Capitol Hill -- Republicans who now believe troops should start coming home, and soon. Some are calling for a revival of the Iraq Study Group to look at new options for Iraq.

In reporting that Republicans "are calling for a revival of the Iraq Study Group," Landess failed to note that a similar proposal to reconstitute the ISG to "again review U.S. policy and offer new recommendations" passed the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on June 21 by a 355-69 vote, according to a June 22 Washington Post article.

Moreover, the 7News report did not mention Democrats' calls for the implementation of ISG recommendations -- including the redeployment of troops -- dating back to the release of the ISG report on December 6, 2006. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued a press release the same day stating that "House and Senate Democratic leaders" had called months earlier for implementing "one of the Study Group's chief recommendations" on changing the mission in Iraq, which would "enable the redeployment of U.S. forces":

"The bipartisan Iraq Study Group has concluded that the President's Iraq policy has failed and must be changed. As the November elections clearly demonstrated, that is an assessment shared by the American people.

"Months ago, House and Senate Democratic leaders suggested to the President that he implement one of the Study Group's chief recommendations -- to change the primary mission of U.S. troops in Iraq from combat to training and support, which would enable the redeployment of U.S. forces to begin. Now that the Study Group has endorsed this proposal, I hope that the President will recognize that he must take our policy in Iraq in a new direction.

"If the President is serious about the need for change in Iraq, he will find Democrats ready to work with him in a bipartisan fashion to find a way to end the war as quickly as possible. We are committed to ensuring that the ideas of the Iraq Study Group, as well as the ideas of other thoughtful people inside and outside of government, are given full consideration in that process."

More recently, both Udall and Salazar sponsored legislation "that would make most of the study group's 79 recommendations official U.S. policy." According to the June 5 AP article:

[Sen. Lamar] Alexander [R-TN] and Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., introduced legislation that would make most of the study group's 79 recommendations official U.S. policy. At least six other senators, including three Republicans, signed on as co-sponsors.

[...]

An identical bill in the House was introduced by Democratic Reps. Mark Udall of Colorado and Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, and GOP Reps. Frank Wolf of Virginia and Michael McCaul of Texas. That bill had more than 40 other co-sponsors, including some 22 Republicans.

The blue-ribbon study group -- co-chaired by Republican James Baker and Democrat Lee Hamilton -- said U.S. troops' primary mission should evolve to supporting Iraqi security forces. The group also said the U.S. should reduce political, military or economic support for Iraq if the government in Baghdad cannot make substantial progress.

Udall stated in a May 25 press release that he "supported the Iraq Study Group's recommendations when they were released":

"Even though it comes many months later than it should have, I am heartened by news reports that President Bush may finally be ready to endorse the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group for a path toward ending the war in Iraq. As one who supported the Iraq Study Group's recommendations when they were released at the start of the year, I welcome this belated change of direction from the Bush Administration which has been so tone-deaf in responding to the American people's desire for a successful withdrawal plan in Iraq.

[...]

So, when Congress reconvenes after the Memorial Day recess I will introduce legislation making the Iraq Study Group's recommendations our national policy."

On June 5, Salazar issued a press release noting that he and seven other senators "introduced legislation that would make the Iraq Study Group recommendations the basis for future U.S. strategy in Iraq."

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