Thursday, May 17, 2007

Noam Levey Bias Shows In Reporting On Senate Vote

The Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times show sharply varying approaches today in reporting on yesterday's vote in the U.S. Senate, 67-29, to reject the Feingold-Reid proposal to cut off funding for the Iraq war on March 31, 2008, with Noam Levey's story in the Los Angeles Times being the most prejudiced and irresponsible.

Levey for weeks now has showed antiwar emotion, reporting with near slobbering admiration every step taken by antiwar Democrats that would force a U.S. surrender. Levey even gave special attention in a separate article to three California members of the House who wanted to go much further than the House Democratic leadership in terminating U.S. involvement in the war immediately.

So perhaps it should have come as no shock to me to find that this morning, Levey writes a grossly misleading lead, ignoring the main news of the day, and grasps for every straw in hoping against hope that the war will end as soon as possible with a U.S. defeat. But, I confess, I'm always shocked when reporters in Washington fail to do their duty to the public in such a blatant way.

Both the Washington Post and New York Times stories are clear about what happened yesterday in the Senate, the Post the clearest.

The Post lead, by Shailagh Murray, is, "The Senate yesterday soundly rejected a symbolic bid to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq within a year, underscoring the lingering divisions within the Democratic party on how hard to push President Bush to end the war.

"Despite heavy public opposition to the conflict, 19 Democrats broke with their party's antiwar leadership to oppose cutting off funding by March 31, 2008, joining 47 Republicans and one independent in the 67 to 29 vote."

Although the New York Times played this vital story below the fold on Page 14, its story, by Carl Hulse and Jeff Zeleny, was still honest. Its lead said:

"Congressional Democratic leaders signaled on Wednesday that they were ready to give ground to end an impasse with President Bush over war spending after the Senate soundly rejected a Democratic plan to block money for major combat operations in Iraq beginning next spring.

"The 67-to-29 vote against the proposal demonstrated that a significant majority of Senators remained unwilling to demand a withdrawal of forces despite their own misgivings and public unease over the war."

Levey's lead in in the Los Angeles Times was deplorably misleading, missing the central point of the day completely under an innocuous headline far back in Section one of the paper.

The lead here was, "Forty-four Republican senators backed a plan Wednesday to tie continued economic aid to Iraq to the performance of its government, the strongest demonstration yet of GOP willingness ro impose limits on President Bush's management of the war.

"And in an indication of growing Democratic resolve to force an end to the war, a majority of Democratic senators supported a second measure to cut off funding for most combat operations in Iraq by the end of March."

The Levey story never even mentions that 19 Democratic senators voted with the crushing majority against the antiwar plan. If it had been written by Al-Qaeda propaganda in Quetta, Pakistan, it could not have been more biased.

When something like this happens, of course, it is not the responsibility of a lone reporter. The Los Angeles Times' Washington bureau chief, Doyle McManus, assigned Levey to this story and bears some of the responsibility, as does the National desk in Los Angeles.

There will, I predict, be a day of reckoning in this war in which those who opted for an American surrender, such as a Los Angeles Times editorial did last week, will regret that they ever took their positions, no matter how sincere they are today.

But Levey, I daresay, is insincere.


In order for President Bush to successfully persevere in the war, he is going to have to be sure his administration is in order. In this vein, it seems to me it would be wisest for the President to tell both his attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, and the head of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, that they must resign.

Both men are caught up in embarrassing scandals in which they have done neither an honest nor a skillful job in defending their positions. This blog first called for Gonzales' resignation on March 13. It has taken both men too long to go, and President Bush too long to require that they do so.

Later in the day, Wolfowitz did resign, saying he would be gone by June 30. He ouight to go sooner than that, but this is a step forward. Now, it's Gonzales' turn.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

your boy bush and his corrupt cronies should be tried before an international war crimes tribunal for cooking the books in order to this country into a needless war in Iraq which had nothing to do with 9/ll. Surrender? We shouldn't have gone there in the first place and the sooner you admit that this was a tragic mistake,costing untold lives and treaure, then maybe you'll become a more honest commentator instead of the rightwing propagrandist critizing working journalists.

5/17/2007 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your track record as a journalist isn't clean enough to be coming down on Levey. Don't tempt me to bring up Warren Buffet's $4 BILLION investment in the state's quake re-insurance fund. That was your beat, right Ken?

And as the previous post points out, the U.S. had NO BUSINESS invading a soveriegn nation and overthrowing the government. The evidence was sorely lacking of any justification. And if human rights were supposedly reason enough, then there are several instances in which this nation has stood idley by and watched the slaughter.

5/17/2007 8:51 PM  

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