Former Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is expected to be a Democratic contender in the Texas 2012 Senate race. However, when Politico's Mike Allen brought news of his probable candidacy to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday, he omitted the fact that Sanchez commanded the U.S. ground forces in Iraq while the infamous abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison took place.
Sanchez, when he retired from the Army in November of 2006, told a local paper that the Abu Ghraib scandal was "the sole reason" he was forced to retire. The scandal occurred in the summer and fall of 2003, and involved humiliations, beatings, and sexual abuse of prisoners at the hands of U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Sanchez was the commander of coalition forces in Iraq during that time.
Monday's The O'Reilly Factor, guest hosted by Laura Ingraham, showed a pre-recorded interview between FNC host Bill O'Reilly and Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, former Commander of Coalition Forces in Iraq and author of Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story. During the interview, Sanchez conveyed his disapproval at the mainstream media's coverage of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. When O'Reilly contended that the "New York Times and the liberal media" "went wild over Abu Ghraib" to "humiliate the Bush administration," Sanchez agreed: "To a large extent, you're absolutely right, because that is reflected in some of the questioning and some, obviously, in the press reports that occurred ... I believe that, in fact, we create the strategic defeat for America to a large extent by the way that we cover it in the press." (Transcript follows)
As NewsBusters previously documented, most of the mainstream media highlighted General Ricardo Sanchez’s criticism of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq War, but ignored his criticism of the media’s coverage. The one exception, of course, is Fox News.
Retired Colonel and Fox News Military Analyst David Hunt appeared on the October 17 edition of "Fox and Friends" to discuss Sanchez’s remarks. Although Hunt conceded Sanchez "is the wrong guy to be doing this" due to the Abu Ghraib scandal, he believes that "he’s right."
MRC president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell appeared on the October 15 "Hannity & Colmes" to discuss the New York Times ignoring retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez's recent complaints about shoddy, biased, and inaccurate media coverage of the war in Iraq.
Among other complaints, Sanchez hit the media for its "unwillingness to accurately and prominently correct your mistakes and your agenda-driven biases sometimes contribute to this corrosive environment."
Below is the opening exchange between Bozell and liberal co-host Alan Colmes:
The former top U.S. military commander in Iraq, Army Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, addressed the annual conference of Military Reporters and Editors on October 12. While his condemnations of what he called “a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership” have been widely reported, his criticisms of the media’s Iraq coverage has received far less attention. Here is an excerpt of Sanchez’s speech:
As all of you know I have a wide range of relationships and experiences with our nation’s military writers and editors. There are some in your ranks who I consider to be the epitome of journalistic professionalism -- Joe Galloway, Thom Shanker, Sig Christensen, and John Burns immediately come to mind. They exemplify what America should demand of our journalists -- tough reporting that relies upon integrity, objectivity and fairness to give accurate and thorough accounts that strengthen our freedom of the press and in turn our democracy.
On the other hand, unfortunately, I have issued ultimatums to some of you for unscrupulous reporting that was solely focused on supporting your agenda and preconcieved notions of what our military had done.