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Thursday, November 16, 2006
Reality-Checking the 'Reality Check'
Topic: Media Research Center

A Nov. 15 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check" by Rich Noyes lapses into Republican talking points -- not necessarily reflective of reality -- by describing Rep. John Murtha's proposal for withdrawal from Iraq as a "cut-and-run prescription" and "defeatism." Nowhere does Noyes actually state what exactly Murtha's proposal was -- to withdraw troops at the "earliest practicable date," nor does Noyes explain how withdrawal at the "earliest practicable date" equals "cut and run."

Noyes also claims that "ABC’s John Donvan, who fawned over Murtha in a January 2 Nightline interview, contended that by disagreeing with Murtha, 'the White House and its supporters set out to immediately smear Murtha’s standing as an American.' " But Noyes doesn't repeat what the White House said about Murtha's proposal, which lends credence to that description. Then-White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Murtha was "endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party" and "surrender[ing] to the terrorists."

Noyes also noted that "Karl Rove criticized Murtha and John Kerry’s defeatism" treating defeatism as an uncontested fact (as did another reference to "Murtha's defeatist rhetoric") rather than as merely Rove's opinion. Noyes also failed to repeat Rove's specific claim -- perhaps because it was false. As Time's Joe Klein noted, Rove was accusing Murtha and Kerry of wanting to "cut and run" -- the playbook from which Noyes cribbed -- adding that terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi wouldn't have been nailed if we had pulled out of Iraq. Klein adds:

Rove's assertion was scurrilous and inaccurate. Al-Zarqawi had been eliminated through terrific intelligence work and air power, neither of which required a substantial U.S. ground presence in Iraq.

Noyes' article is a "reality check" only if you consider Republican talking points to be reality.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:03 PM EST

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