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!

1 comment:

Mick Wright said...

It is odd that MRC has nothing on this, and that National Review is silent. It's as if MRC and Accuracy in Media are having a turf war, and there's a similar one between National Review and the Weekly Standard.

There are at least seven possibilities here: 1. turf wars (like I said), 2. they haven't noticed, 3. they've noticed but have been too busy with more important matters, 4. for some reason they don't consider this story important, 5. they feel like they've been outdone by Powerline and the Weekly Standard and can't possibly add anything to existing coverage (but why no link?), 6. they're working on very in-depth, original articles, or 7. they know something we don't, perhaps something embarrasing to the GOP.

I'm not very comfortable with any of those options.