Below is what the top conservatives (I've expanded it beyond bloggers since so many of those on the right made total asses of themselves) had to say about the now-proven-real Schiavo memo:
Tucker Carlson on Chris Matthews' show:
"Last week a memo surfaced, reportedly written by the Republican members of Congress explaining how to make hay with the Terri Schiavo case, the Talking Points Memo, Ah, I think within a week or two it will become clear that that memo was a forgery, possibly written by Democrats on the hill in an effort to discredit Republicans. Bloggers are saying that now and it sounds like they may be right."The Washington Times: Story dated yesterday entitled "Was the Schiavo memo a fake?"
Sen. Robert F. Bennett, Utah Republican, said the issue "stinks" of a news fabrication similar to the one that engulfed CBS anchorman Dan Rather during the 2004 presidential campaign, after he reported that President Bush did not fulfill his duties while in the National Guard, citing documents that CBS later admitted could not be authenticated.Fred Barnes via the Washington Times (I think that's a two-fer):
"I've never seen it, and nobody ever gave it to me," Mr. Bennett said of the purported Schiavo memo, adding: "As far as I'm concerned, it is an invention of the press."....
Sen. Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican and chairman of the rules committee, said yesterday that he would look into who, how and when the document was produced, although he is skeptical of the Democratic charges.
"We have not been able to find the source and I was on the floor the whole time until 10 o'clock that night and I never saw it," Mr. Lott said....
"Senator Martinez has never seen the memo and condemns its sentiments," spokeswoman Kerry Feehery said. "No one in our office has seen it, nor had anything to do with its creation."
"There wasn't a hint in these reports the memo could have any other source but Republicans. Yet there was no evidence it had come from Republicans. It was unsigned and had no letterhead or date. Nothing indicated it came from the Republican leadership or the House or Senate campaign committee or from the Republican National Committee or even from a stray Republican staffer," Mr. Barnes said.Newsmax:
"The only evidence was of a dirty trick -- and there wasn't much evidence of that. Powerline, the influential blog, found a version of the memo with typos cleaned up on left-wing Web sites.
"The only basis for blaming Republicans was the unsubstantiated allegation that the memo was spread among Republican senators. Yet no senator stepped forward and said, 'Yes, I got that memo.' Now consider what would have happened if a damning memo had been distributed to Democratic senators, saying the Schiavo issue could be used politically against Republicans. Would anyone in the mainstream media have jumped on it? I doubt it. Only right-wing bloggers would have.
"So rather than an example of aggressive reporting, the memo story turns out to be yet another instance of crude liberal bias, in this case against both Republicans and those who fought to have Schiavo's feeding tube restored. Naturally, the memo had a second life when the story was picked up by other news outlets, pundits, and columnists. How did ABC and others get wind of the memo in the first place? It came from 'Democratic aides,' according to the New York Times, who 'said it had been distributed to Senate Republicans.' Not exactly a disinterested source."
In the midst of the buildup to the Palm Sunday congressional action to save Schiavo, the media were abuzz with a story about alleged "Republican talking points" in the case. The memo supposedly circulated on the Senate floor. The public was led to believe that Republicans were giddy at the prospect of using the tragedy as a political issue.Rush Limbaugh (not a blogger, but I had to add this blowhard):
Here was the chance for the liberal media to publicize this and cause a backlash.
There was just one problem: Closer examination by The American Spectator, talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, The Weekly Standard, and Accuracy in Media (AIM) indicates that the memo is a fraud – a political dirty trick, if you will, specifically aimed at causing public revulsion at Republicans.
"Truth Detector: Supposed GOP Schiavo Memo Forged by Democrats."Michelle Malkin:
I suspect that no one at the Post or ABC News still believes the amateurish, unsigned, misspelled memo was circulated by Republican Party leaders..... Will ABC News officials continue to stonewall, as Dan Rather et al. so famously did just a few months ago? Or will they come clean and promptly issue a correction? What about the Washington Post, which strongly implied in this article that Republicans were responsible for the memo? And what about all the other pundits, from Chris Matthews to Cynthia Tucker, who stated explicitly that Republicans distributed the memo--a statement that an anonymous ABC News official now says ABC News never reported? You would think the MSM learned something from RatherGate. Apparently not.Powerline blog:
We have written extensively about the fake "talking points memo" on the Schaivo case that ABC News and the Washington Post publicized, beginning on March 18. We have pointed out, most comprehensively in the Weekly Standard, that there is no reason whatsoever to believe that the memo originated with the Republicans, and considerable reason to think it may be a Democratic dirty trick....Accuracy in Media:
There is a story here, if our media wanted to pursue it. The memo in question is a pathetic piece of work. Any competent person could look at it and see that it is not a product of the Republican leadership. It is on a blank piece of paper; no letterhead, no signature, no identification. Anyone in the world could have typed it. It is incompetently produced: it gets the Senate bill number wrong, misspells Terri Schiavo's name, and is full of typographical errors. The only people reported to have distributed it (by the New York Times) were Democratic staffers. And--most fundamentally--it is absurd to think that the Republican leadership would produce a "talking points" memo discussing what great politics the Schiavo case was for Republicans. Those aren't talking points; not for Republicans, anyway. The memo benefited the only party that it could possibly have benefited: the Democrats.
If there were investigative reporters working for the Washington Post, ABC, the New York Times, or any other major news organization, they might want to try to find out where the memo came from. Circumstantially, it seems extremely likely that it was produced by Democrats as a political dirty trick. But such investigation seems to be beyond the capability--more important, beyond the ambition--of our mainstream press. Only bloggers look critically at documents that cast disrepute on Republicans. Mainstream reporters accept them uncritically, at face value, no matter how inept they may be. Why is this?
Sunday morning, I'll be on Howard Kurtz's CNN television program, "Reliable Sources," to discuss the "talking points memo." It will be interesting to see whether Kurtz tries to defend his paper's handling of the issue.
UPDATE: A reader points out that the Post's original story on the fake memo, which went out, apparently, on March 19, also included this paragraph:
Republican officials declared, in a memo that was supposed to be seen only by senators, that they believe the Schiavo case "is a great political issue" that could pay dividends with Christian conservatives, whose support is essential in midterm elections such as those coming up in 2006.
Someone at the Post swallowed the fake memo hook, line, and sinker--Mike Allen, I assume. Someone else at the Post apparently realized that the paper lacked facts to back up its accusations. I've written Allen to see what he has to say about these events.
Accuracy in Media today questioned the authenticity of the much-publicized "GOP Talking Points" memo on the Terri Schiavo case. The document has been seized upon by ABC news, the Washington Post, CBS News and other media to accuse Republicans of having partisan motives in trying to save Terri Schiavo. Cliff Kincaid, editor of AIM, said that the major media should explain how they verified the document and why they believe it is authentic. He said evidence suggests that the memo may have been manufactured as part of an effort to make Republicans look bad.....
The Martinez March 8 release had been posted on the web site of the Traditional Values Coalition, where it could have been easily copied and then altered. James Lafferty, a consultant to the group, believes that a liberal political operative took parts of the Martinez release, added the political references, and then pawned it off to the media as an official GOP Senate document. "I see it as a dirty trick," Lafferty told AIM.... "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."