Last night I was listening to what I think must have been the BBC news feed on the local NPR station. (At first I was remembering it as the Canadian show "As It Happens", which is on just before it, but I just listened to the end of their show online, and it's not there. So it must have been the beginning of the BBC news.) They were reporting what they seemed to consider Secretary of Defense nominee pulling a fast one on President Bush. They reported him as having said that we are not winning in Iraq in response to a question from a senator on the Armed Services Committee. I remember wondering if that amounted to an admission that we were losing, because I thought someone could think exactly that without thinking that we were losing. In fact that seems to me to be the most honest view of the situation at the moment. But they immediately changed the subject without addressing the issue. (It also struck me as a rather gleeful announcement of something that can't by any morally healthy person be judged as a good thing.)
This morning NPR was reporting on the same event. They reported it a little differently, however. They said the same thing, pretty much, but then they added something that I think is pretty crucial to honest reporting (given what I now know because of the NPR report). Without pausing, the reporter followed with something like "but immediately added that he did not think we were losing either". I mentioned this to Sam, and she said the BBC feed that NPR was playing last night had at least three times repeated that clip about not winning without even bothering to mention that Gates didn't think we weren't losing either. This is three times repeated in just an hour-long broadcast. This is also despite their obviously being aware of his full statement, since they have it on their website.
But then I guess this is just the more balanced news media that you get outside the U.S. where the media aren't beholden to the Bush Administration the way a lot of the lefty blogs are telling us the U.S. media are. I guess if you're not beholden to the Bush Administration, you can ignore any facts that are inconvenient to report. I'm having trouble thinking of any excusable reason, never mind a justifiable one, not to report such an important qualification by the nominee. It strikes me pretty obvious evidence of an agenda in news reporting. It was just this kind of thing on CNN (as compared with MSNBC and Fox News) during the original Iraq invasion that led me to stop watching that network. They would report American soldiers shooting on civilians without reporting that most of those disguised as civilians at roadblocks were getting up to the roadblock and then blowing up their vehicles. They so clearly wanted to show anything bad about the war and refused to report facts that both the other networks were including that would mitigate the negative appearance.