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AP’s Deb Riechmann Sidesteps Questions About Her Antiwar Bias

Associated Press reporter Deb Riechmann doesn’t want to talk to me. I left messages and sent emails. I have several questions she should answer. In my last two columns, (November 14 and November 9), I made a strong argument that Riechmann’s “news” coverage of the president is riddled with antiwar bias.

I’ve said:

1) She has no business issuing dispatches for the Associated Press.

2) She failed to get the what and why correct in her November 11 story.

3) She failed to get the when and where correct in her October 25 story.

4) She interjects liberal spin into her stories.

5) Her August 6 story juxtaposed with her October 13 story shows stunning hypocrisy.

6) She actively promoted the antiwar talking points and diminished great news from Iraq in her October 25 story.

7) She is not an objective reporter.

8) Her biased reporting is partly responsible for the drop in the President’s poll numbers.

I wanted to ask her:

1) Do you support or oppose the War?

2) Why, on the first day of the Crawford protest, did you neglect to report that Cindy Sheehan had already met with the President?

3) Why did you neglect to tell the truth that Cindy Sheehan was a prominent antiwar protester and instead package her as an angry mother who just wants to ask George Bush “why did my son die”?

4) Why do you think the death toll reaching 2,000 is more important than the Iraqis approval of their constitution?

5) Why do you insist on quoting Kennedy, Durbin and Sheehan in a story about the President’s message regarding the War on Terror?

6) Do you feel anyway responsible that most of the American people do not understand the basic points of the President’s message regarding the war, but they can recite the antiwar talking points by rote?

I wanted to give her the same treatment that the press gives the President. Perhaps she wanted to give me the same treatment the President gives the press and not answer my stupid questions. Anyway, it gives me another chance to call her a hypocrite. Just look at the President’s remarks on November 4 and her dispatch from the same day. Her justification for filing yet another story containing antiwar talking points is explained in the headline — "President Bush Sidesteps Questions About CIA Leak" — of the dispatch. The formula: Ask questions you know will not be answered then promote your biased argument about the president under the umbrella he will not answer inappropriate questions.

She is happy to write and make a living taking the stance that questions need to be answered, but only if she is on the side doing the asking. The truth is she doesn’t have the intellectual honesty to answer my questions. Nobody can poke holes in my argument. She is blatantly biased, period. Her dispatches have no business being pawned off as news, period.

The saddest part of my last couple of days is that the people who print Deb Riechmann’s drivel don’t care that she is not objective. Once again, people who make their livings printing answers to questions brushed me away and refused to comment or go on the record. They are completely indifferent. Editors of our nation’s newspapers do not care they are misinforming their readers. They don’t seem to understand that it might be a problem if nobody even knows what the President is saying about the war in his speeches.

I contacted more than 40 newspaper editors and asked them what they thought of the argument I made in my first two columns. All but one blew me off. None of them wanted to comment or even look at the problem of media bias. They didn’t care to read the columns I sent them. They said:

  • Washington D.C.: “I’m going to have to pass on commenting.”
  • New Jersey: “If you have a beef with the AP, take it up with the AP.”
  • Oklahoma: “Not going to comment on it. I don’t want to get involved in it. You should take it up with the AP.”
  • Houston: “Not in the business of critiquing.”
  • Newspaper Association of America: “[We will] not comment for your column — NAA is focused on the business side of the newspaper industry — readership, circulation, marketing — and we do not comment on the editorial side of the industry, such as media bias.”

So that’s the story of media bias. The Associated Press gets to decide what is and what isn’t news. They allow liberals and Democrats to completely set the agenda, control the spin, attack their opponents and dominate the mainstream news media. Nobody can stop them. Newspaper editors are not motivated to hold the Associated Press accountable. Newspaper editors do not care the Associated Press is not objective and has actively joined the antiwar movement.

Our enemy is on record saying, “more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media.” Bias from the Associated Press, printed in all of the nation’s newspapers is a huge problem. If you think I’m wrong, ask someone who has put his life on the line for us in Iraq what he thinks of our media’s coverage of the war.

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Todd Manzi is a frequent contributor to Human Events. He lives in Mosinee Wisconsin and writes most passionately about media bias, the Constitution, education, supply-side economics and out-of-control Congressional Spending. He can be contacted through his website (www.toddmanzi.com).

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