Couric Astounded Rumsfeld's Resignation Letter Omitted Words 'Iraq' and 'War'

Katie Couric found it newsworthy Wednesday night that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's resignation letter from nine months ago did not include the words “war” or “Iraq.” Picking up on a story from the Associated Press on how “the deadly and much-criticized conflict that eventually drummed him out of office comes up only in vague references” in the November 6, 2006 letter the AP obtained by filing Freedom of Information Act requests, Couric failed to credit the AP as she relayed this brief item on the CBS Evening News:

“There's news tonight involving the former Pentagon chief. Donald Rumsfeld's resignation letter has surfaced and it's notable for what it doesn't contain. Rumsfeld refers to 'a critical time in our history' and a 'challenging time for our country,' but the two words he doesn't use? 'War' or 'Iraq.'”

The August 15 AP dispatch, “Rumsfeld resignation letter omits 'Iraq,'” did, however, note a portion Couric skipped over: Rumsfeld cited “the privilege of working so closely with the truly amazing young men and women in uniform.”

AP reporter Lolita C. Baldor's lead closely matches Couric's delivery:

“The word 'Iraq' doesn't appear in former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation letter. Neither does the word 'war.' In fact, the deadly and much-criticized conflict that eventually drummed him out of office, comes up only in vague references, such as 'a critical time in our history' and 'challenging time for our country,' in the four-paragraph, 148-word letter he wrote to President Bush a day before the Nov. 7, 2006 election.”

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, not surprisingly, on Wednesday's Countdown also highlighted Rumsfeld's missing words.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center