In reporting that the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs rejected a proposal to create an independent Office of Public Integrity to investigate ethics violations by members of Congress, March 3 articles by The New York Times and The Washington Post ignored Democratic support on the committee for the measure. In fact, more Democrats on the committee voted for the proposal than against it, while only one Republican supported it.
On the second day after the release of videos showing President Bush was warned of possible catastrophic flooding in New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal published no news articles following up on the controversy.
In a flawed correction and a new report, The New York Times continued to misrepresent congressional proposals on port security in the wake of a proposed agreement that would allow a company owned by the government of Dubai to control port terminals in six major U.S. cities.
Faced with widespread criticism in recent weeks, the Bush administration and some of its supporters have promoted numerous false and misleading claims intended to downplay the approval of a deal that would turn over control of terminal operations at six U.S. ports to Dubai Ports World (DPW) -- a company owned by the government of Dubai, a member state of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- and cast critics of the transaction as racist, politically opportunistic, or both. The media, in turn, have often repeated these claims without challenge or correction.
In recent days, numerous pundits have summarily dismissed concerns about the takeover of operations at six U.S. ports by a company owned by the government of Dubai, a member state of the United Arab Emirates, despite the fact that the Bush administration opted not to conduct the 45-day investigation into the deal's national security implications provided for -- and, critics argue, required -- by federal law.
Most major print and broadcast media outlets offered no coverage of House Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King's March 1 claim that there was "no investigation into terrorism whatsoever" during the Bush administration's initial review of the proposed deal that would allow Dubai Ports World (DPW) to assume control of terminal operations at six major U.S. ports.
On March 2, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today reported on newly released video footage and transcripts documenting how, on the day before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, President Bush was warned -- and expressed concern -- about the possibility that the levees in New Orleans would be breached by the storm. But none of these reports mentioned that these new tapes further contradict the claim Bush made on ABC's Good Morning America several days after the storm hit that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
Ignoring the bipartisan argument that the law requires it, both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported that Dubai Ports World (DPW) requested that the Bush administration conduct an extended 45-day security review of a deal through which the company would take over port operations in six U.S. cities.
February 28 articles in The New York Times and The Boston Globe falsely reported that a bill introduced by Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Robert Menendez, and other Democratic senators would bar "foreign-owned companies" from controlling operations at U.S. ports. In fact, the bill would prohibit companies owned by foreign governments -- not all foreign-owned companies -- from controlling U.S. port operations.
An article in The New York Times misrepresented the reasons cited by "Democrats and some Republicans" for criticizing the recent agreement to transfer control of terminals at ports in six U.S. cities to Dubai Ports World. In fact, members of Congress from both parties have accused the administration of flouting the law, which requires a 45-day investigation when the acquiring company is owned by a foreign government and the deal could affect national security.
A Washington Post editorial adopted several claims that the Bush administration has made in defense of its agreement to let a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) manage six U.S. ports, even though those claims are contradicted by the Post's own news reporting. News reports in the Post and The New York Times also cited without challenge the administration claims about the length of the review, even though their own previous reporting directly contradicted the claims.
A New York Times article on renewable energy misrepresented the division over the required use of ethanol as partisan, when, in fact, it is driven more by regional concerns than party affiliation.
In detailing the evaluation process the Bush administration purportedly undertook before agreeing to permit a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to manage port terminals in six major U.S. cities, several media outlets reported that the administration approved of the deal only after a thorough review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). But none of the reports noted the glaring inconsistency in the administration's account: that Donald Rumsfeld, a key member of CFIUS, acknowledged in a February 21 press conference that he possessed "minimal information" about the deal because he had "just heard about this over the weekend."
Vice President Dick Cheney's recent hunting accident offered yet another example of an unmistakable pattern with the Bush administration, which few in the media have noted. When faced with potential political damage stemming from its actions or decisions, the Bush White House attacks those fomenting the criticism; Cheney or President Bush then take to the airwaves and appear to temper the debate -- while benefiting from whatever discrediting their surrogates' smears brought on their targets.
Despite multiple reports on the subject, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Associated Press have ignored several important issues concerning a proposal by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) to resolve any potential legal problems involving the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program by crafting legislation that would exempt the program from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.