Networks Punt on Report U.S. Intelligence on State of ISIS Fight May Have Been Altered

A story that the networks would have almost assuredly covered if George W. Bush was still President, the major broadcast networks failed to cover on Wednesday a front-page New York Times report that a Pentagon inspector general is investigating the possibility that intelligence assessments on the U.S. fight against ISIS may have be altered to reflect a better picture than reality allowed.

As per the pattern when ABC, CBS, and NBC refuse to acknowledge a story, the Fox News Channel’s Special Report usually does the exact opposite in coming through for their viewers with a news brief or full segment (the latter in this case).

Anchor Bret Baier posed this premise to viewers in the lead-in to White House correspondent Kevin Corke’s story: “Is someone cooking the books to make the war on ISIS appear to be going better than it really is? That's the charge tonight.”

Corke began with a soundbite of White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest maintaining that President Obama depends on “accurate, honest, [and] candid analysis,” but quickly raised the idea that “that candor is being called into question” with the Times report: 

The New York Times reports a Pentagon inspector general is reviewing some of the intelligence assessments on the war against ISIS amid new concerns that some of the conclusions given to the President may have been reworked in an effort to show more progress than what's actually happening. 

Commenting on the situation, Corke read a portion of a statement from Colonel Patrick Rider with CENTCOM: “The I.G. has a responsibility to investigate all allegations made, and we welcome and support their independent oversight.”

At the end of his report, Corke explained a method in which intelligence officials can raise red flags about possible acts of impropriety: 

Under federal law, intelligence officials are able to bring claims of wrongdoing to an inspector general and if those claims prove to be credible, they're then required to report them to House and Senate Intelligence Committees, thus the ongoing investigation right now.

As this writer raised at the top, here’s an exit question for readers (following in the common practice of posts by NewsBusters contributing writer P.J. Gladnick): What would the network coverage have been like on the Wednesday morning and evening newscasts if the Bush administration (or any Republican one, for that matter) were in the White House?

The relevant portions of the transcript from FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier on August 26 can be found below.

FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier
August 26, 2015
6:23 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Questionable Assessment]

BRET BAIER: Is someone cooking the books to make the war on ISIS appear to be going better than it really is? That's the charge tonight. Correspondent Kevin Corke breaks it down for us from the White House. 

WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST: The President's relying on accurate, honest, candid, analysis and assessments from his national security team when making those decisions.

KEVIN CORKE: But that candor is being called into question. The New York Times reports a Pentagon inspector general is reviewing some of the intelligence assessments on the war against ISIS amid new concerns that some of the conclusions given to the President may have been reworked in an effort to show more progress than what's actually happening. In a statement, Colonel Patrick Rider of CENTCOM said “[t]he I.G. has a responsibility to investigate all allegations made, and we welcome and support their independent oversight.”

EARNEST: The President does have confidence that that's what he's receiving and one of the reasons is that the intelligence community has placed a priority in trying to get a variety of viewpoints when offering up their analysis of what's exactly happening on the ground. 

CORKE: A variety of viewpoints perhaps, but is what's being reported to the President faulty or even misleading?

FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST K.T. MCFARLAND: If the military is saying what they think the White House wants to hear, that we're succeeding in the war against ISIS when in fact the opposite is true, then not only are they lying but they're putting American lives at risk. 

(....)

CORKE: While some in the Pentagon have called the battle against ISIS a stalemate, intelligence assessments have been more dire with many reflecting a strong ISIS insurgency despite thousands of U.S.-led coalition air strikes over the past year. 

(....)

CORKE: Under federal law, intelligence officials are able to bring claims of wrongdoing to an inspector general and if those claims prove to be credible, they're then required to report them to House and Senate Intelligence Committees, thus the ongoing investigation right now.

NB Daily Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Double Standards Military War on Terrorism ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Fox News Channel Special Report New York Times Video Government & Press Pentagon Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS Bret Baier Josh Earnest
Curtis Houck's picture


Sponsored Links