The MRC@25: The Worst Media Bias of 2003
For the past two weeks, the MRC has been showcasing the most egregious bias we have uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala September 27.
If you’ve missed a previous blog, recounting the worst of 1988 through 2002, they are here. Today, the worst bias of 2003: The New York Times compares the U.S. bombing of Baghdad to the horror of September 11; Peter Arnett goes on Iraqi state TV to propagandize against the U.S.; and we find out what a “comfort” Ted Kennedy’s liberal policies would have been to Mary Jo Kopechne, “if she had lived.”
“To many New Yorkers, the scenes of a city under siege were achingly familiar. New Yorkers watching the televised bombing of Baghdad yesterday said they were riveted by the raw and uninterrupted display of American military might. But for some, the bombing brought back particularly visceral and chilling memories. They could not help thinking about Sept. 11, and how New York, too, was once under assault from the skies.”
— New York Times reporter David Chen in a March 22, 2003 news story headlined “Baghdad Bombing Brings Back Memories of 9/11.”
“This week we were surprised to see several hundred artists and writers walking through the streets of Baghdad to say thank you to Saddam Hussein. He had just increased their monthly financial support. Cynical, you could argue at this particular time, but the state has always supported the arts, and some of the most creative people in the Arab world have always been Iraqis. And whatever they think about Saddam Hussein in the privacy of their homes, on this occasion they were praising his defense of the homeland in the face of American threats.”
— ABC’s Peter Jennings in Baghdad, concluding the January 21, 2003 World News Tonight.
“Within the United States, there is growing challenge to President Bush about the conduct of the war and also opposition to the war. So our reports about civilian casualties here....help those who oppose the war.
“Clearly, the American war planners misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces....And I personally do not understand how that happened, because I’ve been here many times and in my commentaries on television I would tell the Americans about the determination of the Iraqi forces, the determination of the government, and the willingness to fight for their country. But me, and others who felt the same way, were not listened to by the Bush administration.
“Now America is re-appraising the battlefield, delaying the war, maybe a week, and re-writing the war plan. The first war plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance; now they are trying to write another war plan.”
— Then-NBC/MSNBC/National Geographic Explorer correspondent Peter Arnett’s comments on Iraq’s state-controlled television network, March 30, 2003, shown by C-SPAN.
“If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.”
— Charles Pierce in a January 5, 2003 Boston Globe Magazine article. Kopechne drowned while trapped in Kennedy’s submerged car off Chappaquiddick Island in July 1969, an accident Kennedy did not report for several hours.
Check back each morning for more classic bias quotes, or visit our “25th Anniversary” section for the entire collection.