NBC’s Brian Williams Corrects Laura Bush on Media Coverage of Iraq

On Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams highlighted how, earlier in the day, First Lady Laura Bush “placed the blame squarely on the news media" for why so few support the President on Iraq. But instead of addressing her contention about how “there are a lot of good things that are happening that aren't covered and I think the drumbeat in the country from the media...is discouraging" as she hoped for “more balanced coverage” in the future, Williams applied a non sequitur to dismiss her assessment of the news media. He noted how “the recent report from the Iraq Study Group, however, specifically found that there has been significant under-reporting of the violence in Iraq." But that’s about the accuracy of U.S. military data collection and categorization, not the accuracy of news media coverage of the situation in Iraq. (Transcript follows)

From the December 14 NBC Nightly News:
Brian Williams: “First Lady Laura Bush had something to say about Iraq today. It was during an appearance on MSNBC. Mrs. Bush was asked by Norah O'Donnell why she thinks only two out of ten Americans, in our latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, said they approved of the President's handing in the war in Iraq. Mrs. Bush placed the blame squarely on the news media.”

First Lady Laura Bush, at the White House, on MSNBC: “I do know that there are a lot of good things that are happening that aren't covered and I think the drumbeat in the country from the media, from the only way people know what's happening unless they happen to have a loved one deployed there, is discouraging.”

Williams: “Mrs. Bush went on to say she hopes for what she called ‘more balanced coverage’ in the future. The recent report from the Iraq Study Group, however, specifically found that there has been significant under-reporting of the violence in Iraq.”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center