The Times Falsely Blames GOP for Denying Troop Debate

"...Republicans were able to deny opponents of the troop increase a debate on a resolution challenging Mr. Bush." But which party is really trying to stop a full debate on Bush's plan for more troops in Iraq?

Precisely which political party is "blocking debate" on a resolution rebuking Bush for sending more troops to Iraq - Republicans or Democrats?

The Times continued to mislead in its Tuesday political wrap-up by reporter Jeff Zeleny, "But Wait, Senator, About the War..."

"A coalition opposed to President Bush's troop buildup plan says it is organizing 300 events across the country this week, trying to persuade, or pester, members of Congress.

"The most important targets are Republican senators who last week voted against holding a full debate on a symbolic resolution rebuking Mr. Bush for the troop increase."

As Times Watch has " target="_self">pointed out ">before, the Times has consistently mischaracterized the actual state of affairs in the Senate.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will not allow votes on two Republican alternatives that would probably pass the Senate with the 60 votes required. It's Reid, not the Republicans, "blocking" a fuller debate on Iraq.

Zeleny gave a left-wing anti-war coalition some positive press: "The group, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, has compiled an exhaustive schedule of town-hall-style meetings and public appearances. Organizers have sent the list to local supporters, urging them to attend the events. In an e-mail alert, the group also urged activists to 'pummel' lawmakers with phone calls."

The Times has apparently yet to mention the Victory Caucus, which is similarly targeting backsliding Republicans in Congress against sending more troops to Iraq.

Back to Republicans allegedly "blocking debate." Sunday's lead story by Carl Hulse and Zeleny came with another bad headline, " " target="_self">Senate ">Rejects Renewed Effort To Debate Iraq."

"The 56-to-34 vote in a rare Saturday session was the second time Republicans were able to deny opponents of the troop increase a debate on a resolution challenging Mr. Bush, and it came just a day after the House formally opposed his plan to increase the military presence in Iraq."

Later the Times painted the truth of the matter - it's the Democrats who have prevented a full debate on the Senate - as merely a GOP talking point: "Republicans continued to try to make the case that Democrats were shutting down a full-fledged Senate review of Mr. Bush's Iraq strategy by refusing the Republicans a chance to offer an alternative that would place the Senate on record against cutting off money for armed forces in the field."

In other words, the Democrats are trying to limit debate, but the Times refuses to phrase it in that unflattering way, while letting the Democratic spin take hold.

Hulse and Zeleny even offered political excuses for the Democrats: "Democrats were leery of the Republican plan, written by Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, because of its potential to attract the most Senate votes and to overshadow Senate action criticizing the troop increase. Some lawmakers also believed that Congress might be asked to restrict military spending, and they did not want their hands tied by an earlier vote on a more symbolic resolution."

The most popular Senate plan is being blocked by the Democratic leadership - yet the Times still claims Republicans are trying to deny opponents a debate.