A New York Times article on the semantic debate surrounding President Bush's expected call for a troop increase in Iraq focused entirely on "escalation" as language favored by Democrats and other opponents of the forthcoming proposal. But the article ignored the roots of the term "surge" -- which offers potential political advantage to supporters of a troop increase and has been used by Bush, the Pentagon, and various advocates of sending more troops to Iraq.
Both The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times reported President Bush's claim that his administration had achieved its goal of cutting the 2004 budget deficit in half (as a percentage of gross domestic product) by 2009. But neither newspaper noted that the 2004 deficit figure Bush claims to have halved was a possibly inflated projection that the deficit never reached. When compared to the actual 2004 deficit, the 2006 shortfall remains above the halfway point.
Several media outlets uncritically reported President Bush's claim that he delayed the release of his new "way forward in Iraq" strategy from before Christmas to until January 2007 to allow new Defense Secretary Robert Gates to join the policy discussion and visit Iraq. These media outlets did not mention that the White House scheduled Gates' swearing-in ceremony fully 12 days after his Senate confirmation in order for him to attend commencement at Texas A&M before resigning as the school's president.
A New York Times article uncritically reported Dennis Hastert's statement that the ethics committee's investigation into former Rep. Mark Foley's conduct toward congressional pages "found no evidence that anyone knew about the sexually charged instant messages that led to Mr. Foley's resignation." However, it did not report evidence found by the committee that, in 2001, a former page provided Rep. Jim Kolbe with sexually explicit IMs allegedly written by Foley.
Following other media outlets that have recently asserted that Rep. Frank Wolf pushed for the creation of the Iraq Study Group because he believed the situation in Iraq was deteriorating, The New York Times reported that Wolf urged the panel's creation after he "grew alarmed by what he saw in Iraq during a visit last year." However, shortly after his return, Wolf released an official trip report and wrote an op-ed in which he stressed that "real progress is being made [in Iraq], despite the ongoing security concerns."
Media Matters for America has identified six findings in the Iraq Study Group's report that major news outlets have largely overlooked. They include: that the Pentagon has significantly underreported the extent of violence in Iraq, that U.S. officials possess little knowledge about the sources of the ongoing attacks, and that the situation in Afghanistan has grown so dire that U.S. troops may need to be diverted there from Iraq.
On November 29, The Washington Post reported that incoming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged to work with Democrats on parts of their agenda but failed to mention the decision by congressional GOP leaders to put off work on several government spending bills for fiscal year 2007 until Democrats take control of the Congress next year. The day after, in its profile of McConnell, The New York Times followed suit.
A New York Times article that noted Sen. John McCain's recent statement that "he thought Roe v. Wade ... should be overturned" did not mention that McCain has voiced several inconsistent positions on Roe v. Wade. The Times also wrote that McCain "seemed to countenance civil unions"; in fact, McCain offered two apparently contradictory positions on civil unions.