White House: NBC News 'deceitful'

May 19, 2008 at 8:18 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 19 (UPI) -- The White House Monday accused NBC News of selectively editing U.S. President George W. Bush's comments about administration policy on Iran.

White House Counsel Ed Gillespie, in a blistering e-mail to the network, asked "NBC Nightly News" and "The Today Show" to air Bush's compete answer to a question about his Iran policy, instead of what Gillespie called "the deceptively edited version of the president's answer" that ran on the two shows.

The complete answer, Gillespie said, demonstrated that Bush's remarks before the Israeli parliament about Iran didn't differ from previous policy statement and restated the United States position against negotiating with al-Qaida, Hezbollah and Hamas, and not allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, among other things.

"NBC's selective editing of the president's response is clearly intended to give viewers the impression that he agreed with (the interviewer's) characterization of his remarks when he explicitly challenged it," the e-mail said.

"This deceitful editing to further a media-manufactured storyline is utterly misleading and irresponsible and I hereby request in the interest of fairness and accuracy that the network air the president's responses to both initial questions in full on the two programs that used the excerpts," Gillespie said.

NBC issued a statement Monday pointing out that the Bush interview "has been available, unedited, in its entirety, for the past day" on the network's Web site.

"Our reporting accurately reflects the interview," the statement said. "Just as the White House does not participate in the editorial process at the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal or USA Today, NBC News, as part of a free press in a free society, makes its own editorial decisions."

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