March 30, 2005
Another Fake Memo? Part 3
It looks like the Washington Post and ABC learned most, but not all, the right lessons from CBS. They did not stonewall or insult the people who criticized their reporting. When they realized that the supposed GOP memo could be fake they were fairly honest about it. But as Hindrocket at Powerline writes,
Of course, the fact that the memo was distributed to some Republicans, just as it was distributed to some Democrats and some reporters, was never in doubt. The questions are: 1) where did it come from, and 2) was it distributed by Democrats as a dirty trick? On these points, ABC now professes complete agnosticism.
In fact, however, ABC did not report the memo as claimed by Schneider. 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.
ABC needs to be more straight forward about how they screwed up here. Ed at Captains Quarters writes,
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.
It is hard to admit (especially for smart and talented people) that you make mistakes. But part of the process of learning and getting better at stuff is admitting it when you make a mistake so that next time you will not make the same mistake again. Hopefully ABC and the Wahington Post have learned from this.
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Posted by Pete at March 30, 2005 11:30 AM
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After the media reported on the talking points memo and pretty much said that it was from the GOP, they're now backtracking... kinda. While they called it a GOP talking points memo that was distributed by and to Republicans, they never directly said ... [Read More]
Tracked on March 30, 2005 02:02 PM