Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Schiavo Memo Scandal: The Dam Bursts!

NOTE: As of 4/1, new updates can now be found HERE.

Kurtz Responds, Bloggers React!

The Washington Post's own Howard Kurtz, who earlier this week refused to respond to numerous inquiries about his newspaper's role in the "GOP" Schiavo Talking Points Memo scandal during an on-line Q&A session, finally published an article addressing the matter Wednesday. Many of the bloggers leading the crusade for answers and accountability in the matter were less than impressed with his efforts. I urge you all to take a few moments now and read the article for yourself.

John Hinderaker responds at Powerline in a post labeled "Talking Points Story Goes up in Smoke." (Scroll down.)

The bottom line: both ABC News and the Washington Post are now disavowing any claim that the alleged "talking points memo" was authored by a Republican, let alone that it was some kind of official Republican strategy memo.

...Both on the web and on television, it was specifically described as a "GOP talking points memo." That characterization has been picked up and repeated by countless other news organizations and columnists, and ABC's belated recantation is highly unlikely to be similarly publicized.

NOTE: Hinderaker admits to an error on a minor detail of an earlier assertion in the post "Confusion and Its Sources."

Michelle Malkin is also unimpressed with WaPo's & ABC's excuses.

Bottom line: We still don't know who wrote the memo. We still don't know who distributed it. still hasn't retracted its unsubstantiated characterization of the memo as "GOP Talking Points." ABC still has not acknowledged that Kate Snow misspoke. The Post still hasn't acknowledged that it wrongly implied that the memo was written and/or distributed by Republicans.

And all the other editorial writers, columnists, and pundits, from Chris Matthews to Cynthia Tucker to the Boston Globe editorial board, who stated explicitly that Republicans distributed the memo, still have not noted that the two news outlets that broke the story--ABC News and the Post--no longer say the memo was circulated by Republicans.

Accuracy in Media has issued a new press release calling Kurtz's article a "Whitewash."

In a case that is coming to resemble the CBS "Memogate" scandal, Kurtz mounts a defense by quoting Post reporter Mike Allen and various anonymous sources as now saying that the document was "unofficial" and "a sheet of paper" and that a Democratic Party Senate official even refused to "publicly" discuss its origin. "It looks more and more like the memo originated from the Democratic side of the aisle," said Kincaid. "The Post has been caught in a new 'Memogate' scandal and it refuses to admit or recognize it."

The Washington Post and other media outlets who reported on this bogus memo need to admit their error.

Then there's this from

Like I said ad nauseum during Memogate, there is no hard evidence that the memo is real, either. Given the media's job to report the facts, doesn't that by default make the memo fake until proven accurate?

An excellent point, indeed!

"Captain Ed" Morrissey weighs in at Captain's Quarters:

Howard Kurtz can talk about how "carefully worded" the reports were, but the fact is that they clearly meant to associate the memo -- the unprofessionally typed, factually deficient, and improperly formatted memo -- with the GOP. If they didn't, then Kurtz by implication must condemn the rest of the press corps for a type of functional illiteracy for not getting the nuance of their careful wording correct. And for all the care that Kurtz says the two media outlets put into the wording to avoid that characterization, he never asks about how the ABC headline got onto the story, nor does he mention any steps either organization have taken to correct the impression their articles have obviously left with fellow journalists in the Exempt Media.

The Anchoress has her own observations:

...Seems to me, this memo's origins need to be factually determined, and whoever wrote up the thing, no matter WHICH party that person belongs to, should face censure at the very least. Not even for the content as much as the damn sloppiness and the cowardly way it was put out there...

...Someone KNOWS where this thing came from. It's time to find out, once and for all.

As usual, here's the latest from Fishkite (along with a post you may have missed from yesterday), and In the Agora.

Meanwhile, In the Agora's Joshua Claybourn does a mea culpa over this report, in which he fell into the same trap as the MSM, publishing unsubstantiated allegations from unnamed sources regarding the origin of the memo.

I'm disturbed and upset, both with those who anonymously made the accusation and myself for posting it without more judicious restraint. Inevitably someone will accuse me of hypocrisy and that's a fair criticism. But I have retracted the sloppy reporting on my part and am willing to note the errors; that is much more than ABC or the Washington Post can say.

He ends with a clear challenge for the powers that be:

I publicly apologize for posting unfounded accusations, and I hope ABC News and the Washington Post follow my lead.

Michelle Malkin, who had criticized Claybourn's earlier post, responds.

LaShawn Barber also has some comments on the matter.

The memo story gets some play on Laura Ingraham's homepage after a John Hinderaker appearance Tuesday morning, which I, most regrettably, missed. [Does anyone happen to know where I can find and possibly link to a transcript?]

The Canonist Senate office roll call of who got the memo continues...

As of Tuesday, 3/29 at 11:00 AM: 19 offices deny receiving it, 0 acknowledge receiving it, 2 are unaware.

RightPundit deserves some recognition for his dogged pursuit of this story as well. He has numerous posts available. As they say, just keep scrolling!

Finally, on the lighter side, there's this gem from DUmmie FUnnies, a website which monitors, reposts and comments on the idiocy from some of the mentally ill conspiracy kooks who hang out at the Democratic Underground. Seems they have their own unique opinions about this memo matter, too!

My earlier posts on this subject are located here:

I Suppose Karl Rove Wrote THIS, Too!

The Schiavo Memo Scandal Continues...

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Schiavo Memo Scandal Continues...

NOTE: As of 3/30, new updates can now be found HERE.

Happy (belated) Easter!

Weekend Wrapup:

John Hinderaker of Power Line, who, unsurprisingly, has been the lead hound on the trail of this story from the start, wrote this must-read article for the Daily Standard, which is the best summation of the incident that I have read to date. An excerpt:

To sum up, then: (1) The memo itself conveys no information about its source. (2) It is very poorly done, containing a number of typographical errors, failing to get the number of the Senate bill correct, and using points cribbed word-for-word from an advocacy group's website. (3) The politically controversial statements are out of place in a talking points memo, and seem, on the contrary, ideally framed to create talking points for the Democrats. (4) Somewhat bizarrely, after the contents of the memo had been reported, someone corrected those typographical errors--but only those errors that had been pointed out by ABC. (5) No one has reported seeing any Republican distributing the suspect memo; the only people confirmed to have passed out the memo were Democratic staffers.

A REASONABLE CONCLUSION would be that the "talking points memo" might be a fake, created by Democrats to cast aspersions on the motives of the Republican leadership. Every Republican who has been asked about the memo has denied knowing anything about it. Unless someone talks--at a minimum, identifying the Democratic aides who distributed the memo on March 17--we likely will never know who, exactly, created it.

But the fact that the memo is suspect (at best) has not prevented Democrats in the media from relying on it to attack congressional Republicans...

Michelle Malkin is troubled by the lack of attention this scandal is getting in the MSM, finding only two sources where the questions raised about the memo's authenticity have even been mentioned, while finding a number of examples of columnists still slamming the GOP for their "talking points!" Unreal! Meanwhile, Michelle reports that WaPo's Howie Kurtz will be participating in an on-line chat on Monday at 12:00pm EST. She has some interesting questions for him. As for me, I doubt he has the guts to even acknowledge them, or her! But maybe some of you would like to submit your own, just in case...

Cliff Kincaid has another excellent article available at Accuracy in Media. An excerpt:

Their obvious problem in this case is that too many journalists fell for it. If there were just one or two offenders, it would be relatively easy for the rest of the media to expose their transgressions and throw them over the side. An additional problem is that this controversy comes much too soon after the original CBS Memogate scandal. If they admit that this document is fake, it will mean that the major media didn't learn any lessons at all, and that the abysmal standards at CBS News are common in the journalism business.

There was some debate over the weekend about this post by Joshua Claybourn at In the Agora, in which he reported that some unnamed Republican staffers were pointing fingers at an aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), named Nathan Ackerman, as the possible source of the phony memo. Michelle Malkin took issue with the report, due, in part to the anonymous sources, but John Hinderaker came to Claybourn's defense [scroll down to the post labelled "Fishy and Fishier (and Update)"] on several other points.

[NOTE: Joshua Claybourn has since printed a retraction to his report HERE.] has, not surprisingly, been all over this story! I should have checked in on them earlier, but quite frankly (and sadly) didn't think of it until late Saturday night! Just keep scrolling, there's oodles of great material, including this:

Once again, the questions and concerns of the American people are being ignored by a media that apparently didn’t learn diddlysquat from Rathergate. Once again, the media closes is curtains and all but tells its consumers that the almighty press doesn’t have to answer to the commoners. And once again, their ratings and approval will slip further downward next year, and of course, they will wonder why. Well, no one ever accused the media of being intelligent.

and this:

In a nutshell, the MSM is asking us to believe the authenticity of a memo that:

1) Came with no cover sheet, letterhead or other identifier.
2) The MSM cannot trace.
3) Was riddled with spelling errors.
4) Contains “talking points” that any Republican Senator with half a brain would never say out loud.
5) Gets the number of the Schiavo bill wrong.
6) Was plagiarized, much of it word for word, from a conservative activist site.

The only “proof” that the MSM has, it cannot divulge. Mike Allen of The Washington Post sounds like nice enough of a guy, but he said he cannot divulge the anonymous sources that ensured that the memo is real. Likewise, ABC News has said that it has numerous asuch (sic) sources that all vouch for the memo’s authenticity.

Not good enough. Sorry, guys, as a journalist I understand the pickle you’re in, but this is not good enough. I don’t believe the memo is real, and I don’t believe any of you.

Curiously, however, I have found nothing yet on the matter from Brent Bozell & Co. over at Media Research Center. I e-mailed them about this several days ago, but received no response and have yet to see any mention of it on their site! Come on, guys... we're waiting!

Mick Wright at Fishkite remains on the case.

UPDATE: LaShawn Barber weighs in.

To be continued...


Uh-oh, it's getting awfully quiet out there! Are we just going to let the media and the Dems get away with this? Luckily, some of the leading figures in the hunt for the truth are still grinding away for answers.

John Hinderaker announces he will appear on Laura Ingraham's radio program around 9:15-9:20 CST on Tuesday Morning to discuss the latest memo flap. reports (as do Michelle Malkin & Joshua Claybourn) that Howie Kurtz failed to address a single question regarding the dubious Schiavo memo during his online chat today, despite receiving numerous queries. Why am I not the least bit surprised? Why fight the battle on a losing issue on which you haven't got a leg to stand when you can just hide from it and hope it goes away? Real class, Howie. Real class.

As usual, here are the latest posts from Joshua Claybourn and Mick Wright.

Steven I. Weiss of Canonist updates his list of GOP Senate offices responding to his inquiries about who received this "memo." 19 responses so far: 18 say no, 0 say yes, 1 is "unaware."

Don't give up the fight! Get the truth out!


My original post on this subject, covering 3/22-3/25, is located here:

I Suppose Karl Rove Wrote THIS, Too!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I Suppose Karl Rove Wrote THIS, Too!

NOTE: As of 3/27, new updates can now be found HERE.

As unbelievable as it may sound, it looks like it is happening AGAIN! A reader at Power Line has pointed out something that makes it plain as day that the "talking points memo" being referred to all over the MSM, especially at WaPo & ABC News, about the GOP using the Schiavo case to score political points is a FAKE!!!

Will they ever learn???

Okay, folks: Who wrote the memo? Who gave it to Mike Allen, the reporter from the Washington Post? Who slipped it to ABC News? Who, from either one of these "respected" news sources, vetted it? Why did no one check something as simple as the bill (S.529) it refers to being relevant to the memo's context? How DOES the MSM keep stepping in dog-doo like this? Will anyone actually admit an error this time, or are we in for more stonewalling and denial ala SEE-BS?

I'd love a few answers here, but I won't hold my breath!

UPDATE: More at GOP Bloggers.

UPDATE: Lorie Byrd weighs in at PoliPundit.

UPDATE: Article available at Mens' News Daily.

UPDATE: Power Line points to this excellent detailed timeline post at Fishkite.

3/23: This story is breaking out!

UPDATE: Power Line has more.

[NOTE: Power Line's Permalinks bring up several days worth of posts, and you will need to scroll down to find the ones related to this story. The relevant posts are, in the order they first appeared: "Is This the Biggest Hoax Since the Sixty Minutes Story?" (3/21); "Show Us the Memo" & "So: Where Did It Come From?" (3/22); and the latest is "Show Us the Source" (3/23).]

UPDATE:Jim Geraghty of TKS at National Review Online is on it.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has more!

UPDATE: Power Line now has a fifth post at the link above titled "A Fishy Story Gets Fishier." It includes this rather startling passage:

"That won't stop the Democrats from trying to make political hay out of it, however. The same left-wing site that published the memo now says:

Hoping to determine who distributed talking points to GOP senators on how they could capitalize on the Schiavo tragedy, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) will send a letter to the Rules Committee today calling for an investigation. Reports suggest the points could have been circulated on the Senate floor, violating Senate Rules....

Are the Democrats moving to capitalize on their own hoax?"

UPDATE: Joshua Claybourn at In the Agora has been doing excellent work on this subject as well!

UPDATE: Power Line is up with a sixth post (see above link): "'Talking Points' Story Imploding?" Which quotes a GOP Senate staffer extensively and casts a great deal more doubt on the authenticity of the memo. Is it time to coin a new name for this scandal yet?

UPDATE: More from Lorie at PoliPundit

3/24: The pot is really starting to boil!

UPDATE: I really should have had this link here a long time ago, sorry... A scan of the document in question is available at The Raw Story.

[3/27 - NOTE: I failed to mention previously that the link posted above is to a left-wing blog site and that the copy of the memo posted there has been "cleaned up" (i.e. corrected for a number of grammar and spelling errors present in the original). Curious, don't you think?]

UPDATE: Seventh post now available at Power Line "ABC Checks Out."

UPDATE: Mick Wright at Fishkite has a new post available, too.

BREAKING NEWS - POTENTIAL BOMBSHELL: Must read article on the Schiavo memo scandal is up at The American Spectator!

Very quietly, Senate Republican leadership aides to both Sen. Rick Santorum and Sen. Mitch McConnell, as well as the Senate Republican Policy Committee, have been using the Senate recess break to reconstruct the purported distribution of a document that media outlets, including ABC News, the New York Times and a number of regional newspapers, identified as Senate "GOP talking points" on the Terri Schiavo fight that unfolded over the weekend...

...However, Republican leadership staffers now believe the document was generated out of the Democratic opposition research office set up recently by Sen. Harry Reid, and distributed to some Democratic Senate staffers claiming it was a GOP document, in the hope -- or more likely expectation -- that it would then be leaked by those Democrats to reporters. In fact, the New York Times stated that it was Democratic staffers who were distributing the "talking points" document.

This could be HUGE if it turns out to be accurate! Stay tuned...

UPDATE: Will Franklin at checks in with an extensive composite of the story to date.


Sorry all, I was away most of today.

Let's get you up to speed on the latest memo fiasco...

The story has now officially broken wide open!

I actually heard Rush Limbaugh mention the article in The American Spectator on his show. (I had a feeling he would, Rush loves the American Spectator!) Transcript here! Excerpt:

RUSH: Apparently the explanation is it was forged! The memo was made up by Democrat staffers. Even though it's forged it's probably still true so what difference does it make, just like Dan Rather's excuse for the Bill Burkett documents and so forth. You know, it is (Laughing.) You would think that after the CBS incident and somebody starts handing you documents that purport to be a talking points memo from Senate staffers, you would think to go ask the Republicans about it and check it out instead of just running with it given what all happened.

Pinch me! Michelle Malkin has a link to moi in her latest update! Thanks! I hope I can live up to all this added attention...

Meanwhile, only one new short post added to the pile so far today at Power Line. It is titled "Slow Learners." (Just scroll down to it.)

Ankle Biting Pundits held a Name That Scandal contest earlier today. Their winner? "Schiavo-quiddick!" Be sure to check out some of the other entries. My idea? WaPo/TaPo-gate. I know, not the greatest... that's why it lost!

Polls are still open, seemingly, at PoliPundit, where Lorie Byrd is also hosting a naming contest.

Ace of Spades has his own ideas for some new Republican Talking Points. (Raw language alert!) [Hat-tip to Lorie Byrd on this one.]

Humorist Scott Ott over at Scrappleface chimes in with GOP Memo: Schiavo Was Recruited to Win Pro-Life Vote. [Hat-tip to Razor at Bennelli Brothers.]

Joshua Claybourn of In the Agora was scheduled to be on Hugh Hewitt's radio show tonight. More later, if warranted.

John Hinderaker of Power Line appeared on Kudlow & Company on CNBC earlier today, along with Hugh Hewitt and InstaPundit's Glenn Reynolds, to discuss the Schiavo case. Radioblogger has the transcript. Here is the portion of the discussion relative to the memo matter:

LK: I don't want to lose this. I've got to get John Hinderaker in here, and then I'm going to come back to Hugh Hewitt on this. Obviously, we have time limits. But look, John Hinderaker, there's a political angle that kind of smells here. Was there a Democrat dirty tricks attempt to foray a memo that ABC and the Washington Post picked up? So called talking points that never existed?

JH: I think there may have been, Larry. There's a memo which was being touted as the GOP talking points memo, talking about the Schiavo case that ostensibly was distributed in the Senate last Thursday night. And it says things like the pro-life base will be excited by this, and this is a great political issue for us. And the Democrats have been touting this as showing that the Republicans are trying to politicize the Schiavo case. But we've been looking into this on Powerline, and there is no evidence that this memo came from the Republicans at all. There's no name on it. There's no letterhead. There's nothing to indicate a source. The New York Times has reported that Democratic aides were seen passing it out, claiming that it was a Republican memo, but there's no evidence of that.

LK: Does this have a Rathergate feel to it? Trying to smear George W. Bush with memos that never existed?

JH: I think to some degree, it does. I mean obviously we're not in the middle of a presidential campaign, but the memo on it's face, sort of like those Texas Air National Guard memos, doesn't make any sense. It's supposedly a talking points memo, and most of the body of the memo is literally cut and pasted from the website of the Traditional Values Coalition.

LK: Really.

JH: And it makes certain points on the substance on the issue of the Schiavo case. But then it adds, whoever did this memo added these political comments. Those don't make any sense as talking points. No Republicans are going to say those to a ...

LK: And I thought for a minute there we could actually have a clean discussion of religion and morality and life with them, but there we go. Little dirty tricks...

UPDATE: Just checked my e-mail. Steven I. Weiss of the blog Canonist has contacted the offices of all the Republican Senators asking if they had ever received the supposed GOP talking points memo in question and is posting any responses here as he receives them. As you can probably imagine, not one Senator has acknowledged receiving this "GOP memo," at least none of those that have responded thus far (11:33pm CST). Interesting...

UPDATE: Yikes! I've been so busy chasing this trail, I completely missed the fact that CJ, who, like me, frequents PoliPundit and Jayson Javitz's excellent blog Political Vice Squad, was also all over this one from the beginning at his blog VRWC #1 Member, which I have neglected to check for awhile! All apologies, CJ. Everyone else, please check out the relevant posts: here, here, here, here and here. [That last one includes an excerpt from a John Fund article at WSJ's Opinion Journal.]

Will stay on the trail. Next update is likely to be late tomorrow.

3/25 ROUNDUP (I warned you this would be late):

Fred Barnes has the article of the day on the matter at The Weekly Standard.

Michelle Malkin has another must read today as she rips apart WaPo's smarmy Howie Kurtz, who tried to slam Power Line's John Hinderaker over the memo flap. Two more relative posts from Michelle are here and here.

Not surprisingly, the lastest from Power Line is entitled "Kurtz Swings, Misses." (Just press the link and scroll down.)

Accuracy in Media issues a must read press release. An excerpt:

"Shame on the media" for reporting the dubious memo, said Lafferty. "Unless they've got another source they haven't told us about, what they've reported is unquestioning acceptance of a piece of paper. As CBS learned recently, you cannot trust a piece of paper without verifying what's on it."

Amen to that!

H-Bomb at Ankle Biting Pundits finds a columnist from the Baltimore Sun still hammering the GOP for its agenda as exposed in the Schiavo Talking Points Memo. Huh??? The memo's a fake, you idiot! God, these people irk me! What next? Another diatribe on how the TANG Memos unearthed by Dan Rather on 60 Minutes II prove Bush was AWOL??? While you're at it lady, how about an article on the Hitler Diaries? Sheeesh! What a maroon!

Joshua Claybourn's latest updates at In the Agora have moved to a new thread.

So have Mick Wright's at Fishkite.

More from Lorie Byrd with some great comments from PoliPundit readers (as usual).

On the lighter side, Ace of Spades completes his Top Ten Exposed "Republican Talking Points".

More to come...


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Wictory Wednesday: March 16, 2005

Today we are blogging in support of another fine U.S. Senate Candidate, Minnesota Congressman Mark Kennedy (RPI = 176).

Republicans have a unique opportunity to pick-up a Senate seat in Minnesota in 2006 with the retirement of sitting Democrat Senator Mark Dayton. Rep. Mark Kennedy has solid conservative credentials and his name recognition and experience as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives make him an excellent choice for the GOP nomination in this key swing state.

Please visit his online donor site and give whatever you can to help turn this tremendous opportunity into a Republican triumph!


Today is Wictory Wednesday. Every Wednesday, hundreds of bloggers ask their readers to donate to an important Republican campaign.

If you're a blogger, you can join Wictory Wednesdays by e-mailing PoliPundit at He'll add you to the Wictory Wednesday blogroll. He'll also send you a reminder e-mail every Wednesday, explaining which candidate to support that day.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Wictory Wednesday: March 9, 2005

Today we are blogging in support of Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (RPI = 164).

Senator Santorum is one of the most reliable and steadfast conservatives in the United States Senate, but his path to re-election could be a difficult one this time around due to the recent announcement that Pennsylvania State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr., son of the popular former Governor, is running for the Democratic nomination and is very likely to get it. Early polling puts Casey ahead of Santorum and the Democrats are poised to make this race their biggest push to oust a sitting Republican in 2006!

Don't let Senator Santorum down! Please visit his online donor site and give whatever you can to help keep a good man in Washington!


Today is Wictory Wednesday . Every Wednesday, hundreds of bloggers ask their readers to donate to an important Republican campaign.

If you’re a blogger, you can join Wictory Wednesdays by e-mailing PoliPundit at He’ll add you to the Wictory Wednesday blogroll. He’ll also send you a reminder e-mail every Wednesday, explaining which candidate to support that day.