Numerous news outlets -- including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN, ABC, and Fox News -- joined President Bush in highlighting a split among Democrats on the issue of the Iraq war. But in mentioning only the Democrats' disagreements, these outlets are promoting the false impression that there are not significant divisions among Republicans regarding the Bush administration's wartime policies.
At a "Journalism Under Fire" conference, New York Times public editor Byron Calame responded to Media Matters for America readers' criticism of recent Times reporting, stating that the Times puts email from Media Matters readers "straight into a folder" because it is "just repetition" and "trying to rack up numbers, which don't impress us."
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In an article based on information from the Center for Public Integrity's recent analysis of privately funded congressional travel, Washington Post staff writer Jeffrey Birnbaum largely depicted the issue of members accepting privately funded trips as a bipartisan one. But Birnbaum omitted several pertinent findings that show greater participation by Republican lawmakers and staff than by Democrats.
In a column seemingly defending The New York Times' publication of reporter Patrick Healy's article purporting to dissect the Clintons' marriage, public editor Byron Calame concluded: "Over all, I found the article a worthwhile piece of journalism that deserved to be published in The Times." But Calame's column included several qualifiers that, coupled with an acknowledgement by Healy that undermined a central premise of the article, seem to significantly weaken Calame's apparent defense
On June 2, The New York Times compounded the distortions found in Associated Press reporter John Solomon's highly misleading May 31 follow-up article (updated June 1) to his flawed May 29 report, publishing an edited version of Solomon's June 1 article that omitted key portions near the end. In his May 31/June 1 report, Solomon falsely suggested Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid had retracted his claim that he did nothing improper in accepting "credentials" from the Nevada Athletic Commission to attend Las Vegas boxing matches.
While stating that "news" that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) "got free seats at three big Las Vegas fights hardly seems the stuff of scandal" and "doesn't prove Mr. Reid wrong," a New York Times editorial nonetheless suggested a similarity between Reid's attendance at the boxing matches as the guest of the Nevada Athletic Commission and crimes committed by former Republican congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham and former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Patrick Healy, the author of a front-page May 23 New York Times article purporting to examine the married life of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and former President Bill Clinton, acknowledged on CNN on May 31 that the time the Clintons spend together is "pretty similar" to other families that include a member of Congress.
Following President Bush's nomination of Henry M. Paulson Jr. to replace Treasury Secretary John Snow, major newspapers largely ignored a deceptive -- at best -- answer Bush gave last week about whether Snow would be leaving the administration. When asked during a May 25 press conference whether Snow "had given [Bush] any indication that he intends to leave his job any time soon," Bush responded: "No, he has not talked to me about resignation. I think he's doing a fine job." Yet press secretary Tony Snow told reporters that Bush had already selected John Snow's replacement by May 21.
In articles on the House's passage of a bill that would allow oil exploration in a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and the Associated Press overstated the amount of oil that could be produced if the bill becomes law.
In Patrick Healy's recent front-page New York Times article on the state of the Clintons' marriage, Healy noted that a "tabloid photograph" of former President Bill Clinton "was enough to fuel coverage in the gossip pages." Media Matters does not endorse the decision by elite media figures to take their cues from tabloids, but if they do so, we expect them to be consistent. As it happens, the cover of the May 29 edition of the Globe magazine contains a headline about another high-profile political couple: "BUSH MARRIAGE BREAKUP! EXCLUSIVE! SEPARATE LIVES IN THE WHITE HOUSE."
Patrick Healy, the author of a New York Times article purporting to examine the married life of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and former President Bill Clinton, wondered in a 2004 report whether Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry (MA), was "a bit kooky" and openly questioned "what kind of marriage the Kerrys have" while filing other erroneous stories on the Democratic nominee that fueled Republican attacks. By contrast, Healy has let another prominent New Yorker and possible presidential contender, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, escape similar personal probing in three recent stories.
A New York Times article about new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee radio advertisements on Social Security incorrectly stated that the ads "try to remind those who traditionally vote Republican of their party's plan to add private investment accounts" to the retirement program. In fact, President Bush did not propose adding accounts to the existing system; instead, he proposed allowing workers to divert up to 4 percent of wages (about one-third of their payroll taxes) into a private account, removing it from the money available to pay Social Security benefits for current retirees.
Following President Bush's announcement of his proposal to deploy as many as 6,000 National Guard troops to the Mexican border, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff defended the administration's plan to bolster border protection in numerous media appearances and interviews. But in their coverage, media generally failed to mention that in December 2005, Chertoff characterized the deployment of the National Guard for border protection as "a horribly overexpensive and very difficult way to manage this problem."
In reporting on Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson's claim that his account of having denied a qualified publisher a government contract because of his alleged animus towards President Bush was merely "anecdotal" and did not actually occur, The New York Times and the Associated Press did not note that Dustee Tucker, Jackson's spokeswoman, had already twice indicated that Jackson was referring to a real contract.