Friday, June 17, 2005

Good and bad reporting on the Downing Street Minutes meeting

The New York Times has a good article describing the meeting yesterday (I've posted on the meeting here, here, and here), and while the article is light on the details of all the statements made at the meeting, it fairly summarizes the issues. The Guardian has another good article (by David Paul Kuhn, from Salon), that describes in detail the troubles Democrats had in holding the meeting.

In contrast, the Washington Post has a truly awful article by Dana Milbank. Milbank's article is filled with quote mining, irrelevant points, misinformation, and outright lies; Rep. Conyers has already written a letter (on DailyKos) debunking Milbank's article thoroughly. Here's just a snippet:
"To administer his coup-de-grace, Milbank literally makes up another cheap shot that I "was having so much fun that [I] ignored aides' entreaties to end the session." This did not occur. None of my aides offered entreaties to end the session and I have no idea where Milbank gets that information. The hearing certainly ran longer than expected, but that was because so many Members of Congress persevered under very difficult circumstances to attend, and I thought - given that - the least I could do was allow them to say their piece. That is called courtesy, not "fun."

"By the way, the 'Downing Street Memo' is actually the minutes of a British cabinet meeting. In the meeting, British officials - having just met with their American counterparts - describe their discussions with such counterparts. I mention this because that basic piece of context, a simple description of the memo, is found nowhere in Milbank's article.
[Update: I've found two more good articles on the hearing. One is on CNN, and the other is in the Chicago Tribune; the Chichago Tribune article discusses both the Downing Street Minutes meeting and the recent proposal by Representatives Jones, Paul, Kucinich, and Abercrombie to mandate that President Bush create a plan to withdraw troops from Iraq.]

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