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.
In reporting on the Justice Department's probe into the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program, the Associated Press left out the fact that President Bush had effectively shut down a previous probe -- by the department's Office of Professional Responsibility -- by denying investigators the necessary security clearances.
An Associated Press article asserted that the incoming Democratic Congress will face an uphill battle in its drive to implement all of the 9-11 Commission's recommendations because "[m]uch of what the commission proposed has been accomplished" and "there are no still-lingering proposals that can easily be enacted into law." But there are several "still-lingering" recommendations that members of the commission -- none of whom were quoted in the article -- say could be implemented by the Democratic Congress.
Of the several print outlets that reported on the controversy surrounding Larry Hanauer, the Democratic House intelligence committee staffer who was suspended by Rep. Peter Hoekstra for allegedly leaking portions of an April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate, only The Washington Post has reported on his reinstatement.
Since the Democratic Party won control of both the House and the Senate, the media have focused on such issues as Pelosi's choice of attire and whether being female will affect her ability to lead. MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer wondered if Pelosi's "personal feelings [were] getting in the way of effective leadership" -- a problem she suggested would not surface in "men-run leadership posts" -- and whether men were "more capable of taking personality clashes."
The Associated Press relayed an accusation of hypocrisy by Wal-Mart against Wal-Mart critic John Edwards after a volunteer member of Edwards' staff contacted a Wal-Mart store in an attempt to acquire a PlayStation 3 system for Edwards' family. AP ran the story despite Edwards' denial of knowledge of the volunteer's action, and without any mention of the substantive criticisms Edwards has leveled against Wal-Mart.
Contrary to Karl Rove's pre-election assertions -- which the media accorded significance despited his presumable responsibility to express optimism -- Democrats won control of both houses of Congress. This raises the question of whether the media were wrong in treating Rove's optimistic predictions as anything more than a job requirement.
Media figures have attributed Democratic gains in the House and Senate in the midterm elections to the number of wins by conservative or moderate Democratic challengers and have suggested that because the party's victory in the House was purportedly "built on the back of more centrist candidates," the incoming Democratic majority will be sharply divided. However, a Media Matters for America survey of the policy positions of 27 victorious House candidates found that they all agree on a core set of issues, including raising the minimum wage and protecting Social Security.
In their coverage of Saddam Hussein's November 5 guilty verdict, several print news outlets reported U.S. officials' assertions that the announcement had not been timed to coincide with the midterm elections but ignored reporting that conflicts with these denials -- in particular, the fact that the full verdict in Saddam's trial is not set to be released until November 9.
In a November 4 Associated Press article, reporter Liz Sidoti uncritically reported GOP attacks against Democrats, including that if Democrats win control of Congress next week, they will "let the terrorists win," institute "bigger government and higher taxes," and stand "on the border with open arms welcoming people across." Sidoti did not include any responses or rebuttals from Democrats.
Numerous media outlets reported without challenge President Bush's assertion that the "ultimate accountability" for the Iraq war "rests with me" -- some even asserting that he "took full responsibility for the war." But these reports ignored Bush's consistent pattern of deflecting questions regarding his judgments on Iraq by stating that he defers to others, including top generals, the intelligence community, and the Iraqi government, in making such decisions.
In an interview on CBS' The Early Show, White House senior adviser Dan Bartlett stated that the Bush administration's Iraq policy has "never been a 'stay the course' strategy" -- a claim that the Associated Press reported immediately after. But neither the CBS interview nor the AP article made any mention of previous, repeated assertions by President Bush that the United States "will stay the course in Iraq."
The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Associated Press have reported Rep. Curt Weldon's statements blaming an FBI investigation of him on Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) but failed to include any response from CREW or point out that the FBI is a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, which is part of the Bush administration and headed by a Bush confidante.