Many major media outlets that covered the controversy surrounding MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" ad have yet to cover the bipartisan outcry over Rush Limbaugh's remarks characterizing service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as "phony soldiers."
On September 22, the Politico reported that Mitt Romney "has remained mum on the alleged killing of 11 Iraqis by a company where one of his top advisers serves as vice chairman, even as the case has led to an uproar in Baghdad and Washington. ... The top counterterrorism and national security adviser to Romney's presidential campaign is Cofer Black, vice chairman of Blackwater USA." But despite prominent reports by the five major newspapers and the three networks on the Iraqi Interior Ministry revoking Blackwater USA's license, none of those outlets has reported on Romney's connection to Blackwater or his refusal to comment on the matter.
In reports on President Bush's latest threat to veto legislation increasing funding by $35 billion for a health plan for poor children, neither NBC's Nightly News, ABC's World News, nor the CBS Evening News noted that Bush's alternative proposal -- a $5 billion expansion over five years -- would, according to the Congressional Budget Office, underfund the program by approximately $9* billion.
The September 19 editions of ABC's World News and NBC's Nightly News both reported on Senate Republicans' blocking of a Democratic amendment stipulating that U.S. troops could be redeployed only after receiving home leave equal in duration to their most recent combat deployment, but that evening's edition of the CBS Evening News did not.
CBSNews.com misleadingly headlined a Politico article on Senate campaign contributions from Oscar Wyatt, "Clinton Keeping Controversial Donor's Cash," even though the article reported only that Clinton's "spokesman did not respond to questions about whether her Senate campaign would return the contributions."
News reports on Iraq's Interior Ministry ordering security firm Blackwater USA to leave the country following the deaths of at least eight Iraqi civilians have continued to ignore Blackwater USA vice chairman Cofer Black's role as chairman of Mitt Romney's counterterrorism policy advisory group.
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In an interview with Gen. David Petraeus, Katie Couric noted that Petraeus has recommended reducing the number of U.S. troops serving in Iraq, but not his concession that a drawdown of troops would be necessary to avoid further strain on the U.S. Armed Forces.
Supporters of the Iraq war -- rather than waiting for testimony by Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker on the effect of President Bush's troop increase in Iraq -- have engaged in a campaign to convince the media and public that progress is being made in Iraq and that the "surge" is "working." Media Matters has compiled some of the most pervasive myths and falsehoods advanced by opponents of withdrawal in service of the "surge is working" message, which many in the media have been complicit in perpetuating.
On the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric introduced a report on the Iraqi military's "first-class special operations force" by saying that "a panel of retired military officers recommended the U.S. cut troop levels significantly next year to give Iraqi forces more control" and that "the panel admitted the Iraqis won't be able to fully control their country anytime soon, not in the next 18 months." However, Couric did not report that the panel recommended that the Iraqi National Police "should be disbanded and reorganized."
Katie Couric did not challenge Gen. David Petraeus' assertion during an interview that "if you look at the country as a whole ... the number of ethno-sectarian deaths, you name it, the number of incidents has been reduced dramatically" in Iraq. Couric failed to note the conclusion reached by a recent progress report by the Government Accountability Office on Iraqi benchmarks that "[i]t is unclear whether sectarian violence in Iraq has decreased;" the report also stated that "the average number of daily attacks against civilians remained about the same over the last six months."
ABC's World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC's Nightly News reported that the death toll for U.S. service members in Iraq was down in July. But none of the programs noted at the time that U.S. troop death numbers for July, while lower than previous months, meant that this July was the deadliest July of the war. And none of the programs have reported the fact that the current number of troops killed in Iraq for the months of June, July, and August makes the summer of 2007 the bloodiest summer of the war for American soldiers.
In reporting on Sen. Larry Craig's guilty plea on disorderly conduct charges, the nightly network news broadcasts and The New York Times all ignored Craig's positions on legislation concerning gay and lesbian rights, including voting against legislation to ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
On Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer claimed that Sen. Hillary Clinton is "saying it looks like ... maybe the surge is working in the sense that there is less violence there." But as Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, Clinton actually said: "We've begun to change tactics in Iraq, and in some areas, particularly in Al Anbar province, it's working. ... We're just years too late changing our tactics. We can't ever let that happen again."
In reports on President Bush's speech arguing that withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq would "lead to widespread death and suffering as it did in Southeast Asia" following the Vietnam War, numerous media outlets failed to point out Bush's previous statements disavowing parallels between Iraq and Vietnam, while other reports did not note any criticism of the speech.