May 20, 2005

The silence is deafening.

The media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting says that stories about the 'Downing Street memo' have been almost entirely absent from US nightly news programs. That previously secret memo, you'll recall, contains new evidence that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence to justify invading Iraq.

While the memo has begun to get wider coverage in print, broadcasters have maintained a near silence on the issue. The story has turned up in a few short CNN segments (Crossfire, 5/13/05; Live Sunday, 5/15/05; Wolf Blitzer Reports, 5/16/05), but the only mention of the memo FAIR found on the major broadcast networks came on ABC's Sunday morning show This Week (5/15/05), in which host George Stephanopoulos questioned Sen. John McCain about its contents. When McCain declared that he didn't "agree with it" and defended the Bush administration's decision to go to war, Stephanopoulos didn't question him further. A look at the nightly news reveals not a single story aired about the memo and its implications.

When finally questioned by CNN (5/16/05), White House press secretary Scott McClellan claimed he hadn't seen the memo, but that "the reports" about it were "flat-out wrong." British government officials, however, did not dispute the contents of the memo?which can be read in full online at ?and a former senior American official called it "an absolutely accurate description of what transpired" (Knight Ridder, 5/6/05).

FAIR suggests that polite phone calls and emails to network newscast editors could change things. So go to it!

ABC World News Tonight
Phone: 212-456-4040

CBS Evening News
Phone: 212-975-3691

NBC Nightly News
Phone: 212-664-4971

PBS: NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
Phone: 703-739-5000

FAIR's main web page is here.

Posted by Magpie at May 20, 2005 03:45 PM | Media | Technorati links |