Washington Post Lets Lobbyists Write Its Stories

Anti-Social Security outfit does propaganda, not journalism

The Washington Post‘s publication of a “news” article written by an organization created to advance an ideological agenda is a troubling reminder of the declining ethical standards at one of the nation’s most influential newspapers. The article, headlined “Support Grows for Tackling Nation’s Debt” (12/31/09), was a product of the Fiscal Times, described in an accompanying note as “an independent digital news publication reporting on fiscal, budgetary, healthcare and international economics issues.” More accurately, it’s a propaganda outlet created and funded by Peter G. Peterson, a Wall Street billionaire and Nixon administration cabinet member who has long used his wealth […]


On Healthcare, Don’t Follow the Money

WaPo's new rule of journalism?

The Washington Post‘s Shailagh Murray (11/17/09) wrote a profile of Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D.-Ark.) as one of the Democratic senators most likely to break with the rest of the party on healthcare reform. The article seemed to invert the advice Deep Throat once gave to the Post‘s Woodward and Bernstein into a new rule: Don’t follow the money. Headlined “A Centrist in Healthcare Debate, Lincoln Hears It From All Sides,” the piece presented Lincoln’s stance as something of a puzzle: “Hundreds of thousands of Lincoln’s constituents are low-income and lack insurance, the very kind of voters expected to benefit under […]


More Hot Air from George Will

Columnist defends errors in climate change column

Syndicated Washington Post columnist George Will and the Post‘s ombud Andrew Alexander are still failing to address the majority of the inaccuracies in Will’s February 15 column on climate change. Facing down critics (including FAIR–Action Alert, 2/18/09), Will claimed in a new column (2/27/09) that his original “column contained many factual assertions but only one has been challenged.” Taking up that “one” challenge, Will continued to insist that his summary of research done by the University of Illinois’ Department of Atmospheric Sciences was correct–despite the researchers’ repudiation of Will’s argument. Of course, critics had pointed out two other inaccuracies: Will […]


Post Responds on Will’s Inaccuracies

Paper's explanation makes matters worse

George Will’s February 22 column in the Washington Post began: “A simple apology would have sufficed.” Alas, this was not a reference to Will’s error-filled column on climate change the week before (FAIR Action Alert, 2/18/09). But the paper’s new ombud did email a response to some of Will’s critics, which managed to reveal how Will easily gets away with such falsehoods. Will’s original column included three significant problems: He misrepresented scientific research in the 1970s by claiming that cooling was the prevailing concern, he misrepresented University of Illinois research on sea ice, and he claimed that U.N. climate researchers […]


Does the Post Fact-Check George Will?

Columnist's climate change denial distorts reality

Washington Post columnist George Will is among the most widely syndicated in the newspaper business–which means that his recent error-filled column about climate change will misinform the readers of hundreds of papers across the country. Will made several specious claims in his February 15 column in an attempt to argue that climate change is not a serious concern. (Will has a history of such denial–see Extra!, 5-6/07.) He started by citing newsmagazine stories from the 1970s that warned of global cooling. The prevailing scientific consensus at that time did not support such claims (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 9/08), […]


The Washington Post Undercounts Iraq Deaths

Paper's feature low-balls Iraqi casualties

The Washington Post‘s weekly Saturday feature on “Iraq War Casualties” has consistently listed a “maximum count” of Iraqi civilian deaths that is dramatically lower than the likely civilian death tolls assessed through surveys of the Iraqi public. In the most recent edition of this feature (10/25/08) which the Post has been publishing as a chart in the Saturday newspaper since August 2, the Post offers a “maximum count” of 96,719 Iraqi civilian deaths. Yet as the Post itself acknowledged in a footnote to its chart on June 15, 2007, there are studies that put the Iraqi death toll much higher: […]


Washington Post Still Stretching to Find Kerry Fibs

October 22, 2004 On September 30, a FAIR action alert urged the Associated Press and Washington Post not to exercise “false balance” in their reporting on the exaggerations and deceptions coming from the major presidential candidates. By straining to include an equal number of Bush and Kerry statements to “fact check,” news outlets give the impression that both sides are equally culpable of deceptive rhetoric. On October 20, the Washington Post put a new spin on that formula by suggesting one candidate has increased his output of inaccurate rhetoric: John Kerry. The Post‘s Howard Kurtz wrote that “Kerry has pushed […]


Reporter Hears ‘Adulation’ for Bush, Not Threats Against Protesters

George W. Bush’s June 14 commencement address at Ohio State University was a sign of a “revived” presidency, according to Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank (6/15/02). “Bush basked in the adulation of 55,000 people who treated him to waves of standing ovations in Ohio Stadium as he received an honorary doctorate,” he wrote. “If there was a protest in the stadium, it was not visible to reporters.” In contrast, Milbank reported, when Bush received an honorary degree last year from Yale University, “he was booed, heckled and greeted with a sea of protest signs.” While acknowledging that Yale and Ohio […]