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...

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