Russ Feingold Writes a Letter to CNN’s John Roberts

Brian Zick

Via Atrios, Russ Feingold writes to John Roberts (pdf). John Roberts CNN American Morning One Time Warner Center New York, NY 100019 April 18, 2007 Dear Mr. Roberts, I write to express my concern about your comments during CNN's Late Edition on April 15th. During the broadcast, you falsely implied that the Feingold-Reid Iraq redeployment bill would "cut off the funds in the middle of a war" for "troops in the field." While I certainly respect differences of opinion in the debate about the war, I strongly object to this mischaracterization of our effort. Our legislation forces the safe redeployment of troops by March 31, 2008, by prohibiting funds for continued military operations after that date, with a few narrow exceptions. Troops in the field would continue to get their salaries, food, ammunition, weapons, and other supplies as they currently do. You went on to suggest that such an approach has "never happened before." In fact, this is precisely the step Congress took in 1993 to end military operations in Somalia. I've attached an op-ed I recently wrote for Salon.com which further explains how Congress cut off funding for that misguided mission. You also stated that Senator Reid's cosponsorship of my legislation to end the war was "a real mistake," and that you had spoken to a lot of other Democrats who believed "Harry Reid overstepped himself, that he should have been more measured." While Washington insiders may be nervous about the prospect of ending funding for a war that continues with no end in sight, Senator Reid recognizes that Congress has a responsibility to take this safe and appropriate step, as do the eight cosponsors of our bill and the countless Americans who are calling for an end to this war. Finally, you also characterized our effort to end the war in Iraq as a "petty fight on the part of Democrats." Public opinion polls consistently show that Americans strongly disapprove of the President's handling ofIraq and want a timetable of when we can bring the war to an end. It isn't "petty" for Congress to acknowledge the will of the American people by proposing such a timetable. As Americans continue to closely follow the debate about the war in Iraq, I think we can agree it is critical to ensure they are receiving accurate and comprehensive analysis. Please let me know if I can provide you with any further information about the Feingold-Reid bill, and I look forward to your coverage of this issue as you take over the anchor chair on CNN's American Morning. Russ Feingold U.S. Senator CC: Wolf Blitzer Democrats need to directly confront specific reporters with their falsehoods like this, or even challenge them to actual debates - as a matter of routine. (Republicans should confront reporters who are factually wrong as well; it's the truth that matters. And reporters better be able to support their contentions.) Everyone makes mistakes, even the really good guys - whether reporters or politicians or folks in any other profession. But if reporters are going to side with falsity so egregiously and so obviously, they need to be exposed as dishonest, irresponsible, stupid, biased, or all those reasons combined. They must be singled out individually as people who cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

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