Thursday, June 30

Media Matters on Bush Speech

How well did the media cover and analyze President Bush's recent Iraq War Address?

According to Media Matters for America, the view is considerably dim.

Matthews' panel problem: Conservatives saturated MSNBC's coverage of presidential address
In post-speech coverage of President Bush's June 28 address, MSNBC presented a panel and guest roster dominated by Republican officials, commentators and activists. Between 8:30 and 10 p.m. ET, six of the 10 guests who appeared on the special edition of MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews expressed support for Bush's speech. Only two guests criticized the president's address. Of the remaining two -- both journalists -- Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham lauded Bush's speech with florid language, while noting that skeptics might not have been persuaded.

CNN cited meaningless poll, failed to note heavy Republican slant
CNN anchor Kyra Phillips touted a meaningless Gallup "flash poll" in coverage of reactions to President Bush's June 28 speech on Iraq, failing to inform viewers that the poll questioned far more Republicans than Democrats. Phillips only hinted at this sampling problem by noting that "presidential speech viewers are a much more partisan group than the general public."


NBC noted Bush speech's references to 9-11, didn't mention that Bush previously admitted Saddam wasn't involved

In its prime-time coverage of President Bush's June 28 speech at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, NBC News anchors Brian Williams and Tim Russert noted that Bush referenced the September 11 terrorist attacks several times in his speech, but they failed to mention Bush's own previous admission that there was "no evidence" of a link between Saddam Hussein and the attacks.
CNN, MSNBC failed to note that applause at Bush speech was prompted by Bush staffers

After President Bush's June 28 speech at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, reporters on ABC, NBC and Fox News noted that the only round of applause during the speech was initiated by Bush staffers. But CNN and MSNBC made no mention of the staffers' role, instead attributing the outbreak of applause to the troops. CBS' brief post-speech coverage made no mention of the applause.


CNN poll played into White House spin on Iraq, war on terror

A recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll asked respondents to respond "yes" or "no" to the question: "Is the War in Iraq part of the War on Terrorism?" But by asking respondents simply whether the statement is true, the poll, conducted June 24-26, ignored the circumstances that make it true. The Bush administration promoted Iraq's purported connection to terrorism as a rationale for the March 2003 invasion, and as a reason for the continued U.S. military presence in the region. But Iraq became a center of global terrorism only after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq sparked a terrorist insurgency, according to the CIA.


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