'Wait Wait!': NPR Quiz Show - and the AP - Miss the Fact Benchmark
In the July 14, 2007, episode of NPR's humorous quiz show, "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!," host Peter Sagal claimed, "The Bush Administration reported this week that Iraq hadn't quite met any of the 18 benchmarks set out for them" (emphasis mine).
Not quite, Peter. The newly released report (pdf file, released 7/12/07) stated that Iraq has achieved satisfactory progress for eight of the 18 benchmarks. President Bush had been required by law to "submit an initial report to Congress, not later than July 15, 2007, assessing the status of each of the specific benchmarks ... and declaring, in his judgment, whether satisfactory progress toward meeting these benchmarks is, or is not, being achieved" (emphasis mine). A second report is due from Gen. David Petraeus in September.
Also ... A couple of days before the report was released, the Associated Press' Anne Flaherty and Anne Gearan authored a story with the headline, "Official: Iraq Gov't Missed All Targets" (7/9/07, 9:45pm ET). "Missed all targets"? The story claimed that the Iraq government "has not met any of its targets" for reform (emphasis mine). The writers cited a U.S. official "speaking on condition of anonymity." Oops. The dim-sounding AP story was then picked up by several media outlets, including ABC News (here).
In other words, the AP story was simply wrong in reporting what the report would finally say. (A couple of days later (7/12/07), when the report was finally released, the AP's Flaherty, this time co-writing with Lolita C. Baldor, acknowledged that Iraq "has made mixed progress toward fulfilling goals.")
To the AP: What gives, guys?
To NPR: A correction next week, maybe?