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Friday, April 6, 2007
McCarthy Misrepresents Pizzey's Criticism
Topic: NewsBusters

In an April 5 NewsBusters post, Justin McCarthy misportrays the comments of CBS correspondent Allen Pizzey as criticizing "John McCain’s optimistic statements on Iraqi progress." In fact, it's clear from the interview segment that McCarthy added to his post -- but doesn't otherwise acknowledge -- Pizzey was pointing out that during McCain's recent visit to Iraq while making such statements, he was part of "a large convoy of heavily armed vehicles." Pizzey added:

The last one had a sign on it saying "Keep back 100 yards. Deadly force authorized." Every single car that they approached or passed pulled over and stopped, because that's the way it is. When one of those security details goes by, every ordinary person gets the hell out of the way, in case they get shot. If he did walk around that market, and I didn't see him do it, and he didn't announce he was going to do it, you can bet your life there were an awful lot of soldiers deployed to make sure that nobody came near that place. He's talking rubbish. And he should not get away with it. 

In further claiming that Pizzey "completely ignored some positive signs in Iraq in his grim report last month," McCarthy linked to a March 19 post noting a report by Pizzey in which, McCarthy asserted, "Pizzey did not bother to mention reports that insurgent attacks dropped 80 percent since President Bush announced the surge."  McCarthy's source for this claim: Anonymous sources at, a website that's a side project of Washington Times official Robert Morton. (As Morton's bio reads: "He also organized the re-launch of Insight on the News in November 2005." And we know a credible source of reporting Insight is.) In fact, according to a March 13 UPI article: 

The Pentagon said sectarian violence between Baghdad's Sunnis and Shiites has decreased in recent weeks but bombings and other attacks carried out by Sunni insurgents have not slowed.

Yes, UPI is also part of the Washington Times empire, so its reporting is a bit suspect. But a March 30 Pentagon briefing notes that while sectarian violence has decreased -- albeit not by 80 percent, the claim that McCarthy clings to -- "attack levels against coalition forces have remained constant." So it appears that the evidence is lacking to fully support the claim that McCarthy made.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT

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