Schiavo Memo Hysteria: A Retrospective

So the latest, albeit terribly unsurprising, revelation is that the Schiavo memo is indeed very real, came from Sen. Mel Martinez’s office, and was handed over to Sen. Tom Harkin as “some talking points.” But there is still one question left. How long will it take for the conservatives, who quickly named this Memogate, to retract their statements? It might never happen. But here are just some of their more classic, premature rantings:

The American Spectator: “It’s Rathergate all over again, and the same vigilant entities that brought about to the collapse of CBS News could now also cause heads to roll…and further shame multiple news organizations that would appear to have fallen for another document hoax[T]here is no evidence that the talking points were a Martinez staff product.”

Powerline, Time Magazine’s Blog of the Year: “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: “The memo may have been written by some Republican somewhere. But there’s no independent evidence at this point that it was authorized by a Republican Senator or written by a top Republican staffer. If the media are confident that the memo is real, let them produce an actual copy and describe in detail how they verified it. There’s no reason we should accept their claims about this memo at face value. Didn’t we learn anything from Memogate?”

A post on the FreeRepublic: “Here we go again. Another fake memo story is handled quite well by new media types John Hinderaker and Cliff Kincaid and along comes the defender of all things old media Howard Kurtz to set the record straight. Kurtz is again put in the uncomfortable position of trying to spin another one of his employers and the rest of the old media out of a poor decision. This time the implication is that the GOP was willing to politicize the Terri Schiavo case. To get to that point, the proof the old media cited was a poorly worded, rambling note that was unsigned and was being distributed by Democrats to Republicans. They called it ‘talking points’ and imply that the ‘memo’ was written by the GOP. The defense is comical.”

SecureLiberty: “I doubted the memo because nobody is stupid enough to put statements like that in such a memo, it’s politically naive and idiotic. So is the memo real or fake? The verdict is still out, but rest assured, it is a distinction with a difference. Ascribing improper motives to your opponent is par for the course, proving them is much different thing.”

Michelle Malkin: “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.”

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