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Spinning the summit cancellation on O'Reilly Factor

Reported by Chrish - December 1, 2006 -

MediaMatters has pointed out that The Washington Post and the LA Times framed the cancellation of the planned U.S.-Jordan-Iraq summit as a mutual decision, even as The New York Times reported that Iraq's PM al-Maliki had decided at the last minute to skip the summit, preferring to meet privately with Bush.

Other sources say

"However, senior Iraqi legislator Redha Jawad Taqi said yesterday's meeting was cancelled at the request of the Iraqis after al-Maliki learned that the Jordanian monarch planned to broaden the discussion to include the Arab-Israeli conflict."

and yet another wrote

AMMAN, Jordan -- A U.S.-Jordan-Iraq summit that had been scheduled for Wednesday night was cancelled at the request of the Iraqis, who did not want the Jordanian king present for talks between U.S. President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a top Iraqi legislator said.

Redha Jawad Taqi, a senior aide of top Shiite politician Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim who also was in Amman, said the Iraqis balked at the three-way meeting after learning that King Abdullah wanted to broaden the talks to include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Two senior officials travelling with al-Maliki, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, said the prime minister had been reluctant to travel to Jordan in the first place and decided, once in Amman, that he did not want “a third party” involved in talks about subjects specific to the U.S.-Iraqi relationship.

“We insisted that the meeting be cancelled,” said one of the officials. “Iraq does not need a third party to be involved.”

The American AP was a little more circumspect, hedging their bets:

The abrupt cancellation was an almost unheard-of development in the high-level diplomatic circles of a U.S. president, a king and a prime minister. There was confusion - and conflicting explanations - about what happened.

The last-minute cancellation was not announced until Bush had already come to Raghadan Palace and posed for photographs alone with the king.

White House counselor Dan Bartlett denied that the delay was a snub by al-Maliki directed at Bush or was related to the leak of a memo written by White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley questioning the prime minister's capacity for controlling violence in Iraq.

A senior administration official, who spoke with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, basically echoed Bartlett's account.

The Jordanians and the Iraqis jointly decided it was not the best use of time because they both would be seeing the president separately, said the official.

However, Redha Jawad Taqi, a senior aide of top Shiite politician Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim who also was in Amman, said the Iraqis balked at the three-way meeting after learning the king wanted to broaden the talks to include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Two senior officials traveling with al-Maliki, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, said the prime minister had been reluctant to travel to Jordan in the first place and decided, once in Amman, that he did not want "a third party" involved in talks about subjects specific to the U.S.-Iraqi relationship.

With Maliki already gone from the palace, Bush had an abbreviated meeting and dinner with the king before heading early to his hotel.

So how did FOX's Bill O'Reilly report the cancellation? Why, it was all Bush's idea, of course:

We had a report on the Iraq situation on the rundown this evening. But when President Bush postponed his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, we postponed the segment, as well.

There's no question that critical mass is being reached in Iraq. And because so much is at stake, we want to be very careful here in our reportage. No speculation: no could have, would have, should have. FOX News military analysts are keeping a close eye on the situation in Iraq. So are we. When we have something definitive to report, we will do it.

And that's not ridiculous. That's responsible. Unlike some other news organizations.


He can't let viewers think for a minute that anyone could treat Bush as anything less than Supreme, and the other media? Irresponsible for pulling back the curtain on the great and terrible leader.