Four of six major papers left out prescient warnings in coverage of 2002 Iraq war vote





Summary: A December 4 Washington Post article pointed out that the newspaper's own reporting from October 2002 on the House's passage of the Iraq war resolution failed to quote a single Democrat expressing concerns about "postwar challenges," though many had done so. Media Matters found that contemporaneous articles from three other major print outlets also left out any mention of such warnings.

In a December 4 article, Washington Post staff writer Walter Pincus highlighted the congressional Democrats who voted against the October 2002 Iraq war resolution and who predicted at the time that the Bush administration was not prepared for certain "postwar challenges" -- warnings that, in Pincus' words, "turned out to be correct." He further pointed out that the Post, in its two October 11, 2002, articles on the resolution's passage in the House, failed to quote a single Democrat voicing these prescient concerns.

Expanding on Pincus' critique, Media Matters for America reviewed the coverage by five other major print outlets -- The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Associated Press. Our survey found that some did better than others in their coverage of the Democratic opposition to the resolution. But like the Post, three of these five outlets failed to mention the numerous Democrats who warned of "postwar challenges" during the congressional debate on the resolution.

From Pincus' December 4 article, headlined "Democrats Who Opposed War Move Into Key Positions":
Although given little public credit at the time, or since, many of the 126 House Democrats who spoke out and voted against the October 2002 resolution that gave President Bush authority to wage war against Iraq have turned out to be correct in their warnings about the problems a war would create.


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