Media Blog

Murtha Controversy

Did the Sun-Sentinal cave to liberal groups even though its story was essentially correct? Kevin Aylward has the tape:

Previously we noted a controversial speech by Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) at a town hall meeting in Miami, FL, June 24, 2006. Elizabeth Baier, the reporter on the story, was forced by her editors at the Sun-Sentinel to do a hatchet job (or it was done for her) on the story in the face of an organized effort led by well funded liberal groups like Media Matters and Think Progress, and Murtha’s office that he was misquoted.
Here is the retracted first paragraph, as originally reported.

MIAMI — American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said to an audience of more than 200 in North Miami Saturday afternoon.

Well we now have the video tape from the event, and Murtha’s words can speak for themselves. Going into the clip (transcript below), Murtha was discussing Abu Ghraib and the McCain torture legislation.

Read the transcript and decide for yourselves whether Murtha was misquoted. True, the reporter should have mentioned that Murtha was citing “world opinion” when he said that the American presence in Iraq is more dangerous than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran. But it’s clear that he was using that statistic to support his own position on Iraq.
If Murtha disagrees with “world opinion” on this issue, yet goes around citing it to support his position on Iraq, well… that’s pretty disingenuous, isn’t it?


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