Or more fairly, the headline writer lies and the reporter tries to by putting the people that agree with her first. The headline was quite dramatic: "Troops echo frustration over war in Iraq". The story was about troops returning home to Rep. John Murtha's district. The reporter writes, "In Murtha's southwest Pennsylvania district, however, many share the war critic's views." She then quotes one soldier who agrees with Murtha that troops should be withdrawn (but not, I think, for the same reasons as Murtha), one soldier who said he liked Murtha but not that he agreed with him, and later quotes the wife of a sergeant just returned from Iraq, but not the sergeant himself, and the mother of a returning soldier but not the actual soldier. Thus, the article succeeds in finding one "troops" who agrees with Murtha's conclusion, but does not necessarily "echo" Murtha.
The main basis for the claim that "troops echo" Murtha is a Quinnipac poll showing 25% of the people in Murtha's area 38% in Pittsburgh support withdrawal. I don't know how that can be considered an overwhelming indicator of support for Murtha; it looks like an election day loser with those numbers. Murtha's prospects are also not encouraged by the fact that he is facing a Republican challenger, Diana Irey, in the fall while in 2004 he ran unopposed.
The reporter even manages to reference the Deer Hunter, noting that the movie takes place in the area. There is no other inference to draw from this reference then that she wants us to think the soldiers returning home are about to go crazy with grief over the war; I don't see how a special reference to that particular movie could have any other purpose.
The most newsworthy thing in the story comes in the closing paragraphs. The reporter writes:
A banner proclaiming, "Welcome Home Soldiers: Got-R-Done," greeted the troops when they returned. Many of the soldiers declined to be interviewed. Or, when asked about Murtha, said they didn't know enough to have an opinion.
The headline should have read: "Most troops refuse to talk to AP reporter, but let's pretend they all agree with the one that does."
Also at Blue Crab Boulevard, who provides a link to Diana Irey's website. Unfortunately, Ms. Irey faces an uphill battle, but not because of Murtha's moral fiber. Her battle is uphill thanks to Murtha's taste for pork:
Murtha remains popular in his district, in large part because of the federal dollars he has delivered. The homecoming ceremony this week was at an armory on a hillside dubbed "Fort Murtha" because of that largesse. Next to the armory is the John P. Murtha Airport, which is a few miles from the John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute.
UPDATE: Betsy's Page has a link to a Washington Times story about Murtha's backroom dealings. Suffice to say, the pork listed above is not his only contribution to "culture of corruption" in Washington:
Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported how the ranking member on the defense appropriations subcommittee has a brother, Robert Murtha, whose lobbying firm represents 10 companies that received more than $20 million from last year's defense spending bill. "Clients of the lobbying firm KSA Consulting -- whose top officials also include former congressional aide Carmen V. Scialabba, who worked for Rep. Murtha as a congressional aide for 27 years -- received a total of $20.8 million from the bill," the L.A. Times reported.
In early 2004, according to Roll Call, Mr. Murtha "reportedly leaned on U.S. Navy officials to sign a contract to transfer the Hunters Point Shipyard to the city of San Francisco." Laurence Pelosi, nephew of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, at the time was an executive of the company which owned the rights to the land. The same article also reported how Mr. Murtha has been behind millions of dollars worth of earmarks in defense appropriations bills that went to companies owned by the children of fellow Pennsylvania Democrat, Rep. Paul Kanjorski. Meanwhile, the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan campaign-finance watchdog group, lists Mr. Murtha as the top recipient of defense industry dollars in the current 2006 election cycle.
As Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican, has said, "If there is a potential pattern where Congressman Murtha has helped other Democrats secure appropriations that also benefited relatives of those members, I believe this would be something that merits further review by the ethics committee."
Betsy writes: "You just know that, in those multitudinous appearances all over the media that Jack Murtha has been making, reporters would be asking him about these stories from the L.A. Times and Roll Call (no conservative lapdogs) if Murtha were a Republican. Instead, these questions never seem to arise. It is time for the media to stop giving Murtha a pass."
If only they would.
UPDATE 2: California Conservative has refutations of all of Murtha's deceitful claims about the Iraq war. It is not a short post.
UPDATE 3: Via Betsy's Page, here's a link to a revealing Bob Novak column on Murtha. Here's the key revelation:
Murtha got into politics in 1968 as a 36-year-old highly decorated Marine and in 1974 became the first Vietnam War veteran elected to Congress. By 1980, Murtha was a lieutenant of Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill and was moving to the top in the House when the FBI named him as one of eight members of Congress videotaped being offered bribes by a phony Arab sheik.