Friday, April 01, 2005

Fake GOP Memo

Powerline sums up the evidence against the so-called GOP talking points memo on Terry Schiavo:

So it seems clear what happened. The Post originally wrote a story that explicitly claimed that the "talking points memo" was drafted and distributed by the Republican leadership. That version of the story went out over the Post's wire service and was picked up by dozens of news outlets. Before the paper went to press, however, someone at the Post apparently realized that the paper had no basis for attributing the memo to the Republicans, and the key language was deleted from the story that actually appeared in print. That story said: "An unsigned one-page memo, distributed to Republican senators, said the debate over Schiavo would appeal to the party's base, or core, supporters." And ever since, reporter Mike Allen and others at the Post have said that they never meant to imply that the memo was created or distributed by Republicans. This position seems disingenuous. The Post apparently did distribute a version of the story that explicitly attributed the memo to the GOP's leadership. And even in the revised version that appeared in print, the implication that the "talking points memo" was a Republican strategy document is clear. That is how everyone understood it. And, as we have pointed out in our prior posts, the Republican party has taken a giant PR hit as a result of the popular belief, fueled by news reports on the fake memo, that the party pursued the Schiavo case out of political calculation rather than principle. Both the Post and ABC now claim that they never meant to accuse the Republicans of authoring or distributing the notorious memo. But neither has printed a retraction, clarification or correction. The Post has done nothing to correct or retract the version of its story that apparently went out on the evening of March 19. And to our knowledge, not a single one of the dozens of newspapers and other news outlets that printed the false claim that the memo was circulated by the Republican leadership has retracted or corrected that defamatory claim.

UPDATE: A couple of important updates on the Schiavo memo at powerline here and here.

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