Friday, February 9, 2007

MSM keeps making anti-Bush mistakes

Two giant mistakes/slurs at the very top levels of the national news media occurred within the last week and both, predictably, were attacks on President Bush.

Most amazing to me was a front page Washington Post story today quoting from an inspector general's report saying that a top Defense Department official and punching bag of the left, Douglas Feith, misstated intelligence leading up to the Iraq War.

Instead of quoting from the report, the reporters quoted from a harsher report issued by far left Democratic U.S. Senator Carl Levin of Michigan. Here is the online correction just posted by the Post.

A Feb. 9 front-page article about the Pentagon inspector general's report regarding the office of former undersecretary of defense Douglas J. Feith incorrectly attributed quotations to that report. References to Feith's office producing "reporting of dubious quality or reliability" and that the office "was predisposed to finding a significant relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda" were from a report issued by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) in Oct. 2004. Similarly, the quotes stating that Feith's office drew on "both reliable and unreliable reporting" to produce a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq "that was much stronger than that assessed by the IC [Intelligence Community] and more in accord with the policy views of senior officials in the Administration" were also from Levin's report. The article also stated that the intelligence provided by Feith's office supported the political views of senior administration officials, a conclusion that the inspector general's report did not draw.The two reports employ similar language to characterize the activities of Feith's office: Levin's report refers to an "alternative intelligence assessment process" developed in that office, while the inspector general's report states that the office "developed, produced, and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al Qaida relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community, to senior decision-makers." The inspector general's report further states that Feith's briefing to the White House in 2002 "undercuts the Intelligence Community" and "did draw conclusions that were not fully supported by the available intelligence."
That's a whopper. Veteran reporters are not supposed to make mistakes like that. The more damning language was picked up by wire services and cable outlets all day, so the mistaken language had considerable reach.

Earlier this week, Dennis Byrne wrote an excellent column about another partisan Washington report the originated from a left wing group that purported to show that scientists within the federal government "felt pressured" to express skepticism about man-made global warming.

Byrne's column is worth reading in full, but in summary he notes the entire survey is a fraud because of a ridiculously small sample size and nakedly unfair grouping of answers.

Yet, because the report was showcased in a congressional committee run by liberal bomb-thrower Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA, it was treated as a legitimate story. It wasn't difficult to find the phoniness in the report but the MSM was not interested in that angle.

And if anything makes Bush look bad, some in the media will show up. Like NBC's Brian Williams, for example, who intoned on his nightly newscast: "The question in Washington was this: did the Bush administration...try to cook the books on the topic of global warming?"
What do both stories have in common? They were both harsh attacks on President Bush. Yes, journalists can make mistakes, but why are they always to the detriment of Bush?

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