Sunday, January 6, 2013

Latest, Greatest, Biased Reporting on Hagel

The Huffington Post published an article about how it looks like Chuck Hagel is going to be the next Secretary of Defense, according to reports from news sources. However, I noticed some informative choice of biased reporting in the article by Huffington Post reporter Luke Johnson. Check out how they covered the section about Israel:
Hagel had come under intense criticism from pro-Israel interest groups for past comments. Drawing particular fire was a quote from his 2008 book, wherein he said, "I'm not an Israeli senator. I'm a United States senator." He added, "I support Israel, but my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States, not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel. If I go run for Senate in Israel, I’ll do that."
As someone pointed out in the comments thread, that's not a particularly controversial point of view (depending on the context) so why did the Huffington Post choose that one as its area of focus? Therefore, I decided to go right to the source, the Politico article that Johnson linked to. Here's a snippet:
"Advocates for Israel have a variety of policy disagreements with Hagel, but one of their biggest concerns may be his frank and unflattering public assessments of their work and role in Washington. “The political reality is … that the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” Hagel told former Mideast peace negotiator Aaron David Miller in a 2006 interview. “I have always argued against some of the dumb things they do because I don’t think it’s in the interest of Israel. I just don’t think it’s smart for Israel.”
That sounds like the quote that would "draw particular fire," don't you think? Now let's check out the "senator" quote that Luke Johnson focused on above:
"Hagel has also been blunt in dismissing those who think he’s not sufficiently supportive of Israel. “I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator,” the Nebraska Republican told Miller for his book"
Not much editorializing there, do you think?

Now, why would the Huffington Post decide to ignore the "Jewish lobby" comment and spotlight the "senator" comment, even though it deceives their readership into thinking the truth is something very different from what the Politico article reported it to be? Could it be that they knew their readership would be offended (or at least more understanding of why others would be offended) by a comment about the "Jewish lobby?"

I can't help but feel that because the Huffington Post wants Hagel to be nominated, they are downplaying everything that might be controversial about him as much as they can, while misinterpreting the viewpoints of Hagel's critics (at least, the pro-Israel ones). On the other hand, there at least was a brief comment about how he has also drawn fire from the LGBT community for his "aggressively gay" remarks.

The Huffington Post readership reacted with all the maturity we have come to expect of the far left:

Just another day on the Huffington Post.


  1. I just discovered you guys. This is just what we need. Now, is there a similar site to put a check on Mediamatters, DailyKos, etc?

  2. you may be a bit paranoid . I've been reading LOTS of blogs about Hagel and The Huffington stood out to me as inexplicably anti Hagel in most blogs. I say ''inexplicably'' because I expected left wing papers to be pro or at least neutral towards Hagel. I put the ''anti'' Hagel slant down to the high number of Jewish bloggers. So... we tend to find what we are looking for. Its like all conspiracy theories..if you know the answer you want then the evidence for it is always easy to find. And if the answer you want simply upsets you then it is really a waste of time to go around looking to confirm it because you always will. Likewise with DailyKos..much less enthusiasm for Hagel than you'd expect from lefties.


Hey guys we've started to employ a slight comment policy. We used to have completely open comments but then people abused it. So our comment policy is such: No obvious trolling or spamming. And be warned: unlike the Huffington Post we actually enforce our comment policy.