Posted by: al66888 | July 12, 2007

The slanted news delivers the ‘facts’ again

Today at 1030am EST, President Bush held a press conference about Iraq and the benchmarks that have been set for the Iraqi government.  Today, they listed the progress of 18 benchmarks.  But what I find to be hilarious is the positioning of the papers and the politcal parties prior to today.  We’ve heard it all week long – “Iraq has failed to meet any of its benchmarks!”   Ohh, the failure!   Well, now we get to look at it, and it ALL is really a stretch.  From everything that I’ve read, it actually appears to be 1/2.

Half.  That’s right – half.  8 benchmarks hit, 8 benchmarks missed, and 2 that are getting mixed reviews.  That 50% is a lot better than our current Congress.  What I found to be funny is the way that the papers portray this incident.  It just goes to show you, that you’re not actually getting news, but you are getting opinion based on what’s happening.   Let’s take a look at 3 headlines from 3 of the biggest news sites.

Fox News

Headline: US Official: Iraq Progress Good on 8 of 18 Benchmarks

Overall feel to the story: Positive.  The go on to say how this is a step in the right direction and how things will continue to progress in the war in Iraq

Officials say the report shows that more satisfactory evaluations were given on the security benchmarks as opposed to the political ones, which was to be expected because the strategy was designed to emphasize security first.

You can read fox’s take here


Headline: White House gives Iraq mixed review

Overall feel to the story:  Negative.  Of course they open up with the Headline saying it’s the White House, and not us in the paper saying that there are mixed reviews. To MSNBC there is no progress and no hope

WASHINGTON – The Iraqi government has made mixed progress in meeting political and security goals, U.S. officials said Thursday citing a report that may add to rising calls for a change of course in the unpopular war.

Note the use of ‘rising calls for change’ and ‘unpopular war’

Read MSNBC’s take here


Headline: Iraq progress report shows mixed result

Overall feel of the story: It starts pretty 50/50 and appears to be a real news story.  They say how there is some good, and how there is some bad.  But of course, CNN cannot keep their liberal bias under wraps and then goes on to quote all those opposed to the war.

Administration officials were calling the interim report a snapshot of the Iraqi situation.

War critic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a Democrat who recently returned from Iraq, said the report seems to correspond with his observations during his trip. Although “the Iraqi army has made some progress, the Iraqi police are still really confused, disorganized and riddled with sectarian infiltration,” Reed told CNN’s “American Morning” Thursday. “And then the government itself, in terms of delivering services to the people, seems to be quite dysfunctional.”

From Reed to Pelosi

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said the pending vote will give every member of the House “an opportunity to vote to set a new direction in Iraq.” But House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, blasted the move as “egregious and opportunistic partisanship at the expense of our national security.”

And let’s finish by trying to show how the Republicans are split- though we’ve voted on this Iraq resolution 10xs and can’t get all the Dems on board without offering bribes in the form of pork.

Meanwhile, three Republican senators have signed on to the Reed-Levin amendment. The White House has vowed to veto the measure.

Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Gordon Smith of Oregon have co-sponsored that amendment.

Next time someone tells you the news isn’t biased, just laugh. That is why you should go to all sources, get everyone’s take, and draw your own conclussions. It’s also the reason why our TV and newspaper industries have a lower rating than the President.  If it weren’t so sad, it would be funny.

If you want to see those polling numbers, take a look at an older post that I wrote here


  1. Apparently in the time since you posted and when I followed your link MSNBC had changed their headline to “Bush sees ’cause for optimism’ in Iraq.” They may have even changed the whole story because I got the overall opinion that things were going very well with the Iraq benchmarks from their version.

    In terms of balance a lot more has to be weighted on where certain commentary is made. That is, the view of the source paper (news site) is usually located in earlier paragraphs knowing that reader attention declines exponentially paragraph by paragraph. The fact that the first surge mention was in terms of its “only having just begun” is actually a positive comment. The “cause for optimism” in the headline is, of course, overwhelmingly positive.

  2. Wow, who knew my blog wielded so much power! (just kidding) Probably changed after the press conference was over and they went in and updated it.

    I never really looked at it that way in terms of content placement in the actually article. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

    I personally think the news should be positive. The bench marks that have been hit are more security issues, and those missed are more politics issues. I don’t think our Congress, with it’s abysmal approval rating, should be talking down to any other forming government.

  3. I haven’t read the report yet but I’ve printed it out and I’m ready to go. I don’t expect to find too much negative in there…I mean…I wouldn’t expect the president to submit a report to congress that casts him or his policies in a bad light. I wonder how many of the “mixed” reviews commentary just came from the press conference and how much of it came from pre-released drafts.

  4. Jim, did you get a chance to go through the full report? I didn’t have the time last night.

  5. Unfortunately I have not. I had a friend come in from out of town and it threw a monkeywrench into my normal week(end). I’ll get to it today, though.

  6. […] American’s say- Media Leans Left We’ve shown countless times the way news is delivered based on agenda rather than as an information source.  We even pointed out in an article that you could take 3 separate news sources, look at the same exact story, and see it portrayed 3 different ways.   Now, since I wrote that post, 1 of the articles has since been changed, but you can take a look at it here.  […]

  7. I finally read it and I don’t think it looks very good for Bush. I should have supposed that going in…if the press says that Bush’s people were saying 50/50 the natural inclination is to edge toward the lighter shades of gray which means that real numbers would reveal something less that 50/50. (In an effort to honor the theme of your site, since most of the following review is negative I will put the positive stuff first).

    Bush is right in emphasizing that this mid-term assessment is probably too early. The effect of the surge is going to help push progress in Iraq, at least some, but we won’t see the effects for awhile. Other indicators in the assessment will also prove lagging indicators. If there is improvement in them, we are likely not going to see it until after September even. I guess that isn’t a positive thing, but it does help explain why some of the report card looks so bad.

    That said, there seems to have been an ample improvement in Baghdad and some improvement made with the workings of the government apparatus, two important first steps. But that makes a good segue into the criticisms.

    Most of the successes were in Baghdad while broader security concerns fell in the “unsatisfactory” camp. Similarly there were some successes in superficial measurements while underlying causes went unaddressed and the benchmarks that measured success in those underlying causes came up “unsatisfactory.”

    In terms of strengthening the government in general, the only successes were the creation (and implementation) of the constitutional review and the creation of the election commission. But the oil bill, the amnesty legislation, de-baathification, equitability of services, equitable application of the law, and creation of autonomous regions all received unsatisfactories.

    Even the two “mixed review” benchmarks weren’t that mixed. They were clearly unsatisfactories. The only “mixing” in the “review” was the White House’s wish that those weren’t benchmark they had to report on.

    I review the assessment report at my website but what I put there was more left than what I put here (although not as left as what I’ve read elsewhere). … but it’s basically the same info.

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