Thursday, July 21, 2005

Report on Progress in Iraq

Both ran AP articles on the Pentagon’s report to Congress on progress in Iraq. CNN’s is an article about the report that does not mention Secretary Rumsfeld while Fox’s story is of Rumsfeld’s preview of the report. As is often the case, the opening statements give away their respective biases. These statements are similar in content but very different in tone due to CNN’s use of the term “but” and Fox’s use of the term “even while.” CNN says there is success but the insurgents remain capable. Fox says there is success even while the insurgents continue their attacks. Here are the sentences:

CNN: The Pentagon told Congress Thursday that Iraqi insurgents are failing to derail the move toward democracy but remain "capable, adaptable and intent" on carrying out lethal attacks aided by a continuing inflow of foreign terrorists.

FOX: There has been encouraging progress toward stabilizing Iraq, even while insurgents and foreign fighters "remain effective, adaptable and intent on carrying out attacks," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Wednesday.

In response to Democratic criticism that the report does not publicly release more details about the readiness of Iraqi forces, CNN says the following:

CNN: the Pentagon said it "should not and must not" publicly disclose specific data. "The enemy's knowledge of such details would put both Iraqi and coalition forces at increased risk," the report said.

CNN notes Democratic Senator Carl Levin’s criticism and then gives a response from General Peter Pace and notes that “It was not clear how that squared with an assertion in Thursday's report …” Fox, on the other hand gives a much stronger case and an explanation from the Pentagon’s viewpoint from both Rumsfeld and Pace:

FOX: "The information we're getting is in large measure from the Iraqi security forces," he said. "It's their information. It's not for us to tell the other side, the enemy, the terrorists, that this Iraqi unit has this capability and that Iraqi unit has this capability." He said it would be "mindless" to publish information about the combat readiness of Iraqi security forces that would reveal their strengths and weaknesses.

Speaking at the same news conference, Gen. Peter Pace, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Pentagon's unwillingness to release that information publicly does not mean Congress is kept in the dark. "We do tell the Congress privately, classified, exactly what these facts are. So there is a dialogue, just not one in the public," Pace said.

Also, Fox had another article devoted to this issue.

CNN’s article has a picture of Rumsfeld and Pace at the briefing noted by Fox. However, CNN does not quote or mention Rumsfeld. CNN quotes only a memo written by Levin prior to the report being presented; no quotes from Levin at the briefing are used.

Links to the articles:,2933,163155,00.html,2933,163232,00.html

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