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MacCallum Does Damage Control for Bush on Iraq

Reported by Judy - December 7, 2006 -

In a report on the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, Fox News on Wednesday (December 6, 2006) left the impression that the report supported George Bush's course in Iraq and concluded that the choices for the U.S. were between "getting out" and "winning." Updated with video.

The misleading report on the 'Live Desk" appeared to be part of a Fox News effort to downplay the seriousness of the report's findings regarding how poorly the Bush administration has carried out the war.

MacCallum relegated the story to the second spot in its line-up and spent substantially less time on it than she did on what she judged to be her top story, spending just three minutes on Iraq versus ten minutes on the man missing in the mountains in Oregon.

The time allotted to reporter JIm Angle allowed him a barebones description of the report's findings.

"The interesting thing here is that the group said the situation in Iraq is dire, 'grave and deteriorating' was the phrase they used, but they also said that not all options have been exhausted," Angle said.

"They did esxplicitly reject one proposal from some members of Congress that there be what they referred to as a precipitous withdrawal of troops from Iraq. They rejected that idea, saying it would lead to a blood bath in iraq and then possibly in the region, but they did call for a fundamental shift in the U.S. role from being the primary combat force to being a training force, increasing the number of trainers over the short to medium term, but by the end of, by March of 2008 they envision that would allow the U.S. to withdraw most combat troops, taking the force from abouat 140,000 to about 70,000. So they’re looking at a fundamental shift in the role there, and eventually a draw down, but not one in the near future."

MacCallum then proceeded to draw a false conclusion, saying there were only two options: "getting out" and "winning."

Angle responded that the ISG had "embraced the president's goal" and its interest was "not in simply getting out and giving up.”

Angle, however, left out the fact, reported by The Associated Press, that continuing Bush's current policies were not an option because they had failed.

Nor did the report say, as MacCallum said, that the choices were between getting out and winning. Co-Chair Lee Hamilton said there was no guarantee that different policies could stop a slide toward chaos in Iraq. That is no promise of "winning."

Angle also left out the information that the report called for a major diplomatic effort in the region that will include all of Iraq's neighbors -- even Syria and Iran -- in contrast to Bush's steadfast refusal to open a dialogue with them. This is a major slap at Bush which was concealed.