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Tuesday, November 11, 2008
NewsBusters Falsely Portrays Reported Statements as Reporters' Opinion
Topic: NewsBusters

Kristen Fyfe writes in a Nov. 10 NewsBusters post:

"Controversial." "Onerous." "Ideologically offensive."  These are the words used by Washington Post reporters Ceci Connolly and R. Jeffrey Smith to describe the pro-life policies of President George W. Bush.  The liberal slam came in an article about some of the early actions President-elect Obama will take when he is inaugurated next year.

"Obama Positioned to Quickly Reverse Bush Actions" was carried in the November 9 edition of the Post.  The story revealed that Obama is "now consulting with liberal advocacy groups" in order to create a hit list of "the most onerous or ideologically offensive" regulatory and policy initiatives of the Bush administration.

In fact, the Post itself stated no such thing. From the Post article:

A team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration. The team is now consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize those they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive, said a top transition official who was not permitted to speak on the record about the inner workings of the transition.


Obama himself has signaled, for example, that he intends to reverse Bush's controversial limit on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, a decision that scientists say has restrained research into some of the most promising avenues for defeating a wide array of diseases, such as Parkinson's.

In fact, the Post didn't call Bush's "pro-life" executive orders -- or any other specific executive order -- "onerous" or "ideologically offensive"; a "top transition official" made that claim about executive orders in general, and the Post simply reported it. And the executive order regarding embryonic stem cell research is described as "controversial" because, well, it was. Fyfe offers no evidence that it wasn't; nevertheless, she baselessly asserted that the story "left no doubt as to the reporters' feelings on pro-life initiatives."

As we've previously reported, MRC writers have a problem with falsely ascribing the views of the people the Post writes about to the Post itself.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 AM EST

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