Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Classified CIA report on Iraq

A story about a classified report from the CIA about Iraq received different coverage by CNN and Fox.

CNN reported on a New York Times report. Fox has an AP article which mentions the New York Times report but uses an anonymous U.S. official as a source. There is a big difference in headlines:

CNN: “Report: CIA chief paints bleak picture in Iraq

Fox: “Outgoing CIA Chief Gives Iraq Assessment”

CNN’s first sentence says, “The situation in Iraq is unlikely to improve anytime soon.” That is followed by a second sentence which notes, “The assessments are more pessimistic than the Bush administration's portrayal of the situation to the public, …”

The Fox AP article’s first sentence says the CIA chief wrote that “a stronger government and economy are necessary to avoid descent into wider violence …” Later, it specifically mentions “the good” in the report and “the bad.”

Why did CNN choose a more negative headline? Did Fox soft-pedal the story? Was the classified report written by the CIA chief because of the bad situation and to address that specifically (as the CNN article could lead one to believe) OR was the report a routine assessment written by the chief at the end of his tour of duty that included both good and bad news (as you could get from the Fox story) OR none of the above?

The article links:

http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/12/07/iraq.cia/index.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,140830,00.html

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