Washington Post staff writer Shailagh Murray reported, in an article about Sen. Russ Feingold's censure resolution, that Democrats are "wary of polls showing that a majority of Americans side with the president on wiretapping tactics." Actually, polls consistently show that most Americans disapprove of the wiretapping tactics the administration has used -- specifically, conducting surveillance without seeking or obtaining a warrant.
In covering President's Bush's March 13 speech, the media reported that Bush effectively laid out a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq by setting a "goal of having the Iraqis control more territory than the coalition by the end of 2006" but completely ignored the numerous statements Bush and other administration officials have made denouncing timetables for withdrawal, and attacking those who propose them.
A Washington Post article on the "partisan infighting" on the Senate Intelligence Committee failed to report that, in response to calls for an investigation into President Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's (R-TN) threatened to restructure the committee "so that it is organized and operated like most Senate committees." The Senate Intelligence Committee's rules currently grant the minority party more power than on other Senate committees.
A Washington Post editorial adopted the Bush administration's false suggestion that there is no difference between Dubai Ports World (DPW) and Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (P&O). The Post, like the Bush administration, suggested that criticism of the ports deal was based on DPW's Arab ownership and was therefore discriminatory. In fact, there is a key difference as a matter of law between DPW and P&O: DPW is a state-owned company, whereas P&O was not, prior to its acquisition by DPW.
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.
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."
In an article covering the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race between Sen. Rick Santorum (R) and likely Democratic nominee Robert P. Casey Jr., The Washington Post mischaracterized issues surrounding mortgage deals each candidate made. By reporting that each candidate had received a loan from a bank whose board members had made campaign contributions to him, the Post falsely suggested that their transactions were comparable when, in fact, Santorum's deal may have violated Senate ethics rules.
In his column about the Dubai Ports World deal, in which the company is set to assume control of six major U.S. ports, Richard Cohen quoted President Bush making the false characterization of opposition to the deal: "[I]t's OK for a British company to manage some ports, but not OK for a company from a country that is a valuable ally in the war on terror." By quoting Bush without challenge, Cohen adopted the false premise at its heart: that the only difference between the British company and DPW is country of origin. In fact, DPW is owned by the government of Dubai, while the previous owner is not government-owned, a critical distinction as a matter of law.
In reporting on the Bush administration's decision to approve the takeover of the British firm that manages six U.S. ports by a state-controlled Dubai company, articles in USA Today and The Washington Post obscured or misrepresented lawmakers' objections to the deal, failing to make clear that their criticisms center on the fact that the acquiring company is owned by a foreign government with what The New York Times editorial board has referred to as a "mixed" record on fighting terrorism.
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.
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."