OT: Media Reponsiblity and Fairness


RexA wrote on 6/9/2005, 1:11 AM

Just an aside:

You have always impressed me as one of the sharpest and funniest posters on this forum. This thread has shown me you have a depth of knowledge I never would have guessed.

I have been following most of this topic but I have nothing substantive to add, so have stayed out of it. Not to mention how dangerous it could be but how civilized it has remained.

This is mostly a vigorous handshake or backslap kind of post, so I would have done it offline but you don't have email enabled on your ID. If you feel so inclined, click my ID and email me. I'll give you more details why I think you are a good denizen of this forum or whatever.
James Green wrote on 6/9/2005, 8:03 AM
I'm back!
Just a quick interjection about something brought up earlier...(I plan to write more but I'm still digesting a ton if new info...)

This concerns Bush's flight status.
First, yes basic flight training does still apply in the miitary but some DoD regulations don't just permit a person to just strap in and go! I know that's not what Coursedesign said, but understand that it does take time as the DoD is much more stringent and requires much more familiarzation with aircraft than a private pilot looking to get a new rating.

Second, (and speaking from experience since I held naval flight status), flight status throughout the Department of Defense is purely voluntary. At anytime, anyone may request to be grounded but this does not mean flight status is automatically revoked. There is also not necessarily going to be a paper trail if someone requests to be grounded aside from anything administratively that says that a pilot or aircrewman did not mee their required 4 hours flight time per month. A request not to fly can be done verbally and one requesting cannot be subject to punative action. I'm sure no one would want to coerce someone unsafe or uncomfortable behing the stick of a jet fighter...imagine the ramifications if the situation went bad. This is why this policy is in place. Like I said earlier though, this does not preclude a person returning to flight status on a later date. In most cases, documentation of a lapse in flight status occurs when one flight physical expires but if one has requested to be grounded, this becomes a moot issue.

I'm not saying this is what happened in Bush's case but it's certainly a possibility. getting out of flight status is not a difficult or mysterious undertaking if you've been on the inside. And contrary to what a lot of people might think, every little thing does not get documented.

James Green
craftech wrote on 6/9/2005, 9:58 AM
The quote about Kerry and the possible manipulation of military records came from www.powerlineblog.com, a very popular and influential blog. Sorry for the delay in response; it's hard to have a career and read all these interesting Vegas comments at the same time!
Look at what you are reading. That website is run by John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson who (from their website) both "are fellows of the Claremont Institute. Their articles have appeared in National Review, The American Enterprise, American Experiment Quarterly" The Claremont Institute gave their statesmanship award to Rush Limbaugh last year. In terms of The American Enterprise Institute to which they belong has a list of scholars and fellows which includes: Lynne Cheney, David Frum, Newt Gingrich, Jean Kirkpatrick, James Lilly, Richard Perle, etc. Their articles appear in The National Review, The Weekly Standard (that helped pre-plan the current Bush invasion of Iraq back in the nineties along with those who are now running the white house and the defense department), The Washington Times (owned by cult leader Reverend Sung Myung Moon), and various other right wing tabloids.
Since Hinderaker was one of the bloggers that helped the media in diverting attention away from the uncontested evidence (that I documented above) and onto the unverifyable Dan Rather story, the media loved him for getting them off the hook.

Having grown a swell head from the Rathergate "fame" Hinderaker started a right wing smear campaign falsely stating that Democrats secretly authored a "talking points" memo that described the Terri Schiavo case as a "great political issue" for Senate Republicans.

Here is how that went down:

Hinderaker decided that the memo was "unsigned" and not on official Senate stationary. In another posting on March 22, PowerLine suggested that the memo was "suspicious" because it "mixed political strategy points...with talking points for Senatorial argument."
Right Wing pundit Michelle Malkin repeated the so-called "evidence" touted by Power Line, and suggested that spelling errors in the memo also raised questions about its authenticity.
The next day, the National Review got in on the act and added that "creepy phrases" in the memo indicate that the memo was written by a dumb GOP operative or a "Democratic dirty trickster."
The day after that Washington Prowler repeated the lie and added "It's Rathergate all over again."
The March 29 story by Hinderaker, who has an Op-Ed in The Weekly Standard just to show you his inane assumptions

"To sum up, then: (1) The memo itself conveys no information about its source. (2) It is very poorly done, containing a number of typographical errors, failing to get the number of the Senate bill correct, and using points cribbed word-for-word from an advocacy group's website. (3) The politically controversial statements are out of place in a talking points memo, and seem, on the contrary, ideally framed to create talking points for the Democrats. (4) Somewhat bizarrely, after the contents of the memo had been reported, someone corrected those typographical errors--but only those errors that had been pointed out by ABC. (5) No one has reported seeing any Republican distributing the suspect memo; the only people confirmed to have passed out the memo were Democratic staffers.

A reasonable conclusion would be that the "talking points memo" might be a fake, created by Democrats to cast aspersions on the motives of the Republican leadership. Every Republican who has been asked about the memo has denied knowing anything about it. Unless someone talks--at a minimum, identifying the Democratic aides who distributed the memo on March 17 -- we likely will never know who, exactly, created it. "

Then on March 30 conservative pundit Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post "reported" the controversy surrounding the memo. Kurtz apparently relied on the so-called "evidence" put forth by Power Line and the Spectator to reach the conclusion that "there are several strange things about" the memo. Nothing new for Kurtz to do that.
Kurtz failed to indicate why it was "strange" that part of the memo was lifted from a press release by the senator who had co-sponsored the Schiavo legislation and took a leadership role in its passage.
Then on April 6 Rev Moon's tabloid, The Washington Times, publiched a front page spread titled "Was the Schiavo memo a fake?" that used a formal survey of Senate offices as "evidence" for questioning the authenticity of the Schiavo memo.
Then the garbage really spread:
suggest that the Schiavo memo was, in fact, a Democratic dirty trick. Syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh pointed to a Democratic "opposition research office" and stated: "Apparently the explanation is it was forged! The memo was made up by Democrat staffers." On NBC's The Chris Matthews Show, Tucker Carlson stated: "I think within a week or two it will become clear that it -- that memo -- was a forgery, possibly written by Democrats on the Hill in an effort to discredit Republicans." CNN and Fox News gave credibility to the story as well with their "investigative" reporting that relied on the chain reaction fabrications started by powerline. Executive editor Fred Barnes even wrote in the Weekly Standard that this was another case of liberal media bias:

Well after all that "NEWS" guess what?

Senator Mel Martinez (R - FLA) admitted he wrote the memo.
"The legal counsel to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) admitted yesterday that he was the author of a memo citing the political advantage to Republicans of intervening in the case of Terri Schiavo, the senator said in an interview last night. "
It was reported by several sources. In some cases they reported that his aide wrote it, but that isn't the point. The chain reaction flow of misinformation started by "popular and influential blogs" such as powerline is the point. It's all part of the dumbing down of America.


Matt_Iserman wrote on 6/9/2005, 11:07 AM

First, your response does not address the point made. You are deflecting to a completely unrelated issue, which is quite unfair. Attacking the background of the bloggers does not address whether or not there is validity to their point. (A point that is also mentioned today in the

Second, while they did end up reaching the wrong conclusions on the Schiavo memo, at the time, a preponderance of the evidence indicated that their conclusion was correct. (Was it beyond a reasonable doubt? I’m not sure.)

Third, when the truth came out, they had at least two posts where they reported the true source of he memo. (Hereand here.)

Fourth, your statement, “Senator Mel Martinez (R - FLA)
he wrote the memo,” is a lie (and a sloppy one at that) as the quote you lifted from the story states that the memo was written by his legal counsel. Another quote from the article you linked elaborates:

“Martinez, the GOP's Senate point man on the issue, said he earlier had been assured by aides that his office had nothing to do with producing the memo. ‘I never did an investigation, as such,’ he said. ‘I just took it for granted that we wouldn't be that stupid. It was never my intention to in any way politicize this issue.’”

Using your logic, anything you say should be automatically discredited. The worst the Powerline guys did was reach the wrong conclusion; they did not misrepresent the data. You, on the other hand, misrepresented the data. As such, it seems only fair that your opinion and writings be similarly dismissed without regard for their substance.

It is not my intention to initiate hostilities in what has been a rather cordial thread. It is to your own detriment to use such tactics in a debate. There is so much to read on the web that I find it necessary to identify ways to quickly exclude people’s writings so that I only concentrate on those that are thoughtful and fair. Thus, while the previous paragraph may seem flippant, its conclusion (that your writings should automatically be ignored so as to have time to read others) is one that I have reached.

Matt Iserman

UPDATE: fixed missing links... DOH!
Matt_Iserman wrote on 6/9/2005, 11:35 AM

Coursedesign wrote on 6/9/2005, 12:46 PM
"The worst the Powerline guys did was reach the wrong conclusion"

You mean not presuming innocence until proven guilty, but declaring somebody guilty without proof?

As has been indicated several times recently in this blog, er, post, it's difficult to restore one's reputation based on one's accusers putting out a small errata notice a few weeks or months later.

That's the reason the "presumption of innocence" concept is so valuable, and it has been accepted in most parts of the world (together with some other concepts from what is referred to as "English Law" which is a particular style of justice that originated in England).

There is also "Napoleonic Law" which states for example that if somebody is accused of murder, it's the accused's responsibility to prove his or her innocence.

This is still used in some countries, and it can be argued that this was the standard for Guantanamo. It could even be argued that Guantanamo is worse, because many of the detainees weren't even formally accused of anything in particular.

What happened to the Golden Rule?
busterkeaton wrote on 6/9/2005, 1:02 PM

1: Craftech is basically saying look at the source, what would you expect them to say.

2 Preponderance of evidence does not equal one pulling it out of one's butt.

3 When you are wrong and make false charges people expect an apology. The two posts you link to do not include an apology for jumping to the wrong conclusion and making false charges, they include rationalizations, blame-shifting and further charges

4 I wouldn't be writing this at all except your fourth point is ridiculous. His statement about Mel Martinez is not a lie. Especially when he himself, gives you the direct evidence. When he said Mel Martinez admitted he wrote it, he's saying that in the colloquial sense. The evidence he volunteers gives the specific details. Who the hell is he trying to fool, if he gives the evidence. Perhaps if this was a newspaper and I was his editor, I would change the sentence to Mel Martinez admitted his office wrote the memo, but this is not a newspaper. He also may be reading between the lies and implying the Martinez was not being entirely honest when he came clean. If you remember, Martinez was the guy who started all this when he handed the Talking Points Memo to the Democratic Senator from Iowa. When the controversy started he claimed he didn't read the document he gave to Tom Harkin. Somehow magical pixies put it in his pocket and he just decided to give it away.
Matt_Iserman wrote on 6/9/2005, 1:03 PM
There was evidence that indicated that the memo was fraudulent. The evidence was incomplete and, ultimately, led them to the wrong conclusion. As soon as they found out the truth, they posted it to their site. (Not weeks or months later, as you imply. Nor as a buried correction, as most newspapers do it.) They also reiterated the truth on several different occasions afterwards.

Also, in the early stages of their search, they did not declare guilt. They stated theories and used evidence to support them. Eventually, after gathering much info, they did declare that the memo was bogus. Shortly thereafter, they were proven wrong.

No doubt, their reputation took a hit (as it should have); however, you greatly overstate their mishandling of the issue.

Matt Iserman
Matt_Iserman wrote on 6/9/2005, 1:15 PM
1. That's fine, but you can say that for just about everyone - right or left. It doesn't alter whether or not what they are saying is accurate.

2. Did you read all of the posts related to the issue at Power Line? Did you note the evolution of the story? They hardly "pulled it out of their butt". If you want to claim that there wasn't even a preponderance of evidence, I can accept that.

3. I'd have to check all of their posts that had the accurate attribution of the memo's authorship to see whether or not they apologized. They may not have. If not, yes they should have. The "rationalizations, blame-shifting and further charges" are related to their being more to the story than just the authorship of the memo.

Nonetheless, they should have had a simple, unequivocal statement of contrition at some point.

4. Maybe my English no good but, “Senator Mel Martinez (R - FLA) admitted he wrote the memo,” says to me that, uh, Mel Martinez wrote the memo.

How is craftech's "reading between the lines" not the same thing as judging guilt without proof? Please, consistently apply your standards.

Matt Iserman
busterkeaton wrote on 6/9/2005, 1:51 PM
1 I was responding to you saying craftech was ducking the issue. Craftech was pointing out that Powerline is not a good source for unbiased info against Kerry and he was not going to be convinced.

2 I remembered from back when this happened some of their evidence was:there are typos, this couldn't be a GOP talking points memo. They also went from "there are questions" to "this is fake." They basically convinced themselves their accusation was true. Their other evidence was "it was unsigned" and "It was not on Senate Letterhead." I'm not really sure that justifies a charge of "Is this the Biggest Hoax since The Sixty Minutes Story?"

I also like this bit of evidence:
I question its authenticity. It does not sound like something written by a conservative; it sounds like a liberal fantasy of how conservatives talk.

3 Not only did they not apologize, for weeks they had claimed the memo was a Democractic dirty trick and the media was again smearing Republicans. It was dirty to claim that the GOP was using the Schiavo case for political gain. Etc, etc. Then when we found the memo did come from a Republican Senator's office, were they outraged? Not really. Also you if look at the actual talking points and google them, you'll find that not only were these talking points in a memo, they were actually used over and over from conservative blogs to Tom Delay himself. So it was a scandal when it alleged Democrats had issued a false document saying the GOP was doing these scrurrilous things. But when the GOP was actually doing them, not a scandal.

4 This is not the first time Mel Martinez has blamed his aides. Also Mel Martinez claimed he never the saw the document before and had no idea how it got in his pocket. When the controversy reared his head, Martinez did not come foward, he waited for three weeks to explain how it got in his pocket. It was only when a Demcratic Senator proposed an investigation and it had become a full fledged scandal, did he come foward.
Matt_Iserman wrote on 6/9/2005, 2:51 PM
1. Craftech was ducking the issue. I could just as easily say, "Buster, you are clearly a liberal, as such, you cannot be trusted to tell the truth; therefore, I'll ignore everything you say."

Pointing out that they have been wrong in the past is a better reason to disregard their position; however, they have also gotten things right and, as bloggers go, they have a strong reputation. They were "Time" magazine's "Blog of the Year" last year. Thus, dismissing them out of a hand because they are conservative and have ties to conservative groups seems unfair.

Craftech asked to have the blogger named and then discredited him out of hand due to his political ties. He also dismissed the Swift Boat Vets because they were sponsored by Republicans. I find that comical. Who did he expect to fund them? Democrats? They generally do not support those who oppose them. Independents? Generally not that politically active.

Just dismissing folks because of their political ties means ignoring just about everyone on the other side of an issue. I don't think that's a good approach to things.

2. Your summary of the evidence is not comprehensive. There was reason to doubt the authenticity. Was it enough to declare guilt beyond reasonable doubt? No. Wait, didn't we already go over this? Can we stop beating this dead horse, please?

3. Ok, I thought I already agreed they should have apologized, right? You want to keep hammering the point, you'll push me right out the door. Should we talk about Newsweek? Amnesty International? Dan Rather? Were you as outraged with them as you feel conservatives should be with memo?

Personally, I was not outraged when it could have been a fake memo. If the Democrats had produced it, I would not have been shocked. If the Republicans were plotting to use Schiavo for political gain, I would not have been shocked.

This whole issue had been immaterial to the earlier discussion and had been floated as reason not to discuss Kerry's 180 form. I interjected into the thread when an attempt was made to ignore an issue by unfairly discrediting the source.

Anyway, the creation of fraudulent documents is a scandal whereas politicians behaving, uh, politically is not that scandalous. I don't really know what you expect in this regard.

4. So what? That doesn't mean he wrote it. It doesn't mean he sanctioned it. The issue here was whether the statement "Senator Mel Martinez (R - FLA) admitted he wrote the memo,” was a lie or not. Considering that he didn't write it and Craftech knew this...

Also, you found no problem with the idea of one jumping to the conclusion of Martinez authorship without evidence yet chastised Power Line for the same thing with regards to the Democrats. What do you want me to say? I think there wasn't enough evidence in either case.

Matt Iserman

busterkeaton wrote on 6/9/2005, 4:09 PM
Powerline was introduced in this thread as a popular and influential blog. Craftech pointed out they are a very partisan blog aligned with and occassionaly paid by conservative institutions. They are not the best source for unbiased information about John Kerry.
I did hear that Time magazine named Powerline "Blog of the Year." See my comments upthread about the media moving rightward.**

I'm assuming that he probably had other reasons to dismiss the Swift Boat Veterans, not simply that they were sponsored by Republicans. I seem to remember them attacking Republicans as well including they guy Kerry rescued, but I'll leave that to him. My point is not to refight the 2004 campaign. Prior to this I have not written about the SBV or Kerry's 180 in this thread. My take is it seems that Kerry did what they wanted him to do, but somehow that is not enough. What I have attempted to address is how does the media arbitrate the "facts" about highly partisan issues in a highly polarized society. Particularly when there is a concerted effort to deligitimize the media as a legitmate arbiter. Powerline's methodology was this is a story that is bad for Republicans and the liberal media wrote it. So it starts off a suspect, once you have that premise, you can build evidence such as it doesn't sound like a consevative wrote it or The Washington Post has a lot of questions to answer, why won't they tell us their source into the the story is a fake. Then it gets promoted elsewhere as a fake. Then Rush Limbaugh puts up this headline on his website "Supposed GOP Schiavo Memo Forged by Democrats." Because the media is not legitimate and only works toward liberal ends you wind up with something like that. If you deligitmize the media itself, then you can pick and choose which stories you believe or not. You also wind up with something like we had this week. The president gave an interview to Neil Cavuto of Fox News. Some of the topics they discussed were John Kerry' grades and the Michael Jackson trial. A topic they did not discuss is Iraq.

I'm all for the media getting their facts straight, but I am not for using how the story is reported as a way change the focus off the story itself. Because Dan Rather and Mary Mapes screwed up, Mike Allen at the Washington Post is a liar?

Also, you found no problem with the idea of one jumping to the conclusion of Martinez authorship without evidence yet chastised Power Line for the same thing with regards to the Democrats.

Matt, craftech wrote this:
Senator Mel Martinez (R - FLA) admitted he wrote the memo.
You and I just have a disagreement about the significance that. I place more emphasis on the two sentences together. They are, after all, consecutive sentences. That seems to be a poor method of deception.

**When I mentioned the media have moved to the right, I did not mean that the media is controlled by the right as some have said. They could have moved to the right and entered up in the center.
busterkeaton wrote on 6/9/2005, 4:10 PM

You neglect to mention my dancing. I am a fantastic dancer. Why don't you mention that? What are you hiding?
Coursedesign wrote on 6/9/2005, 6:47 PM
Then Rush Limbaugh puts up this headline on his website

Maybe this was the reason he was anointed "Statesman of the Year"?

When you are all writing on your PCs, remember that you are writing on what Time magazine declared "Man of the Year" in 1982 (the IBM PC). See this timeline (we could even have a contest about how many errors there are in this timeline...).

I don't think any of these crownings or anointments should be taken too seriously, it's just "marketing bullshit."
craftech wrote on 6/10/2005, 5:58 AM
Buster understood the intention of the post. You clearly did not. Perhaps you skim through paragraphs rather than reading them.
The reason I think that comes from this statement of yours:

"Craftech asked to have the blogger named and then discredited him out of hand due to his POLITICAL TIES. He also dismissed the Swift Boat Vets because they were sponsored by Republicans. I find that comical. Who did he expect to fund them? Democrats? They generally do not support those who oppose them. Independents? Generally not that politically active. "

POLITICAL TIES? If you read my posts (see above) you would have read more than once that I am a registered Republican and have been all of my voting life. You would also see who I would like to see as our president. My all time least respect for a presidential administration: The Bush Administration followed closely by The Johnson Administration. Therefore there is no need to address each of your misinterpretations of my detailed post since you apparently interpret by assumption.

With all due respect,


My "discredited him out of hand" post that took an hour to put together was supposed to read:
"Senator Mel Martinez (R - FLA) aide admitted he wrote the memo" and I didn't catch it, not that (as Buster) pointed out I was trying to deceive considering the rest of the paragraph that followed.
craftech wrote on 6/10/2005, 7:20 AM
Not trusting sources when they rely on assumptions or have dubious ties was the purpose of the detailed post regarding the Shiavo memo, but since media distortion and covering up for this administration has been my premise, I might as well follow up the "memo" story.

The next day (April 7) on CNN's "Inside Politics" Sen Trent Lott (R-MS) told Joe Johns "Now that we know where the memo came from, and the staff member has resigned, that's pretty much the end of it." Good enough for CNN of course.

The Washington Post on April 8 ran an article stating: "The office of Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) is investigating whether an aide who resigned this week distributed a memo about the Terri Schiavo case to other Senate offices, and whether any other aides in the senator's office had seen it, his staff said yesterday. " And whether Brian Darling, the Martinez staffer who resigned after reportedly admitting authoring the memo, had distributed it to other Senate offices.

The question is. Is blaming his staff something new for Martinez?

Prior to the 2004 Florida senatorial primaries, Martinez's campaign mailed fliers to voters that referred to his Republican opponent, former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum, as "the new darling of the homosexual extremists," a reference to McCollum's support for federal hate-crime legislation. After Martinez won the primary, he apologized to McCollum for the smear, blaming it on "a couple of young turks" in his campaign. (Miami Herald - 9/22/04)

[''We made mistakes,'' Martinez told me after a news conference on the banks of the Miami River. ''A couple of young turks in my campaign went further than they should have. They didn't even have to do it, for gosh sake, we were ahead at that point. But I'm totally responsible for what happened, and I regret it.'' He added that his smearing of McCollum doesn't accurately reflect ''who I am or what I stand for.'' ]

During the subsequent general election campaign against Democrat Betty Castor, a former school superintendent, Martinez's campaign attacked former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, who was campaigning for Castor, claiming that Reno's Justice Department had used "armed thugs" to seize Cuban refugee Elián González and send him back to Cuba, thereby "'allowing Fidel Castro to have his way." Martinez apologized again after it was noted that he had previously featured one of the federal agents involved in the Gonzalez raid in a campaign ad attacking Castor as "soft" on terrorism. In apologizing to the agent, Martinez again placed the blame on his staff (Miami Herald - 10/13/04) You have to register to read their articles by the way.

["The comment is a nonissue for me," added [former immigration officer Bill] West, who said the Martinez campaign told him the "armed thugs" wording had been a mistake by a staffer. "The whole Elián González operation is history. The operation went as well as possible."]

The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, United Press International, CBS News, NBC's Nightly News, ABC's World News Tonight, and CNN all featured stories on the Martinez memo, but none noted Martinez's pattern of blaming scandals on aides.

In contrast to the national media Florida newspapers have covered this pattern of blaming his staff. In addition to The MIami Herald mentioned above an editorial in The Orlando Sentinel asserted: "the current furor over the memo is a disturbing echo of another controversial incident involving Mr. Martinez just last year." And the St Petersberg Times indocating: "Now it has happened again." The St Petersberg Times rescinded it's endorsement of Martinez for the Republican nomination for the Senate after the McCollum attack.

To try and get out of their endorsement of the memo ABC told the Washington Post in an article on March 30 that ""ABC News had very reliable, multiple sources who indicated the memo was distributed to Republicans on the floor of the Senate. We have no doubt it was distributed to Republicans."
In another Post article: "one anonymous Martinez aide said A Martinez aide who refused to be named said the departed aide, counsel Brian H. Darling, "may have disseminated to other offices" a memo that discussed the political ramifications of intervening in the case of Schiavo, the brain-damaged Floridian who died last month after she was taken off a feeding tube."

Even The Washington Times raised questions in an April 7 article. "Mr. Martinez's explanation still doesn't square with the contention of some Democrats that the memo was knowingly given by a disgruntled Republican to a Democrat. "A Democratic senator received the memo from an outraged Republican senator," a Senate Democratic aide said yesterday, on the condition of anonymity."

Both The American Spectator and Joshua Claybourn of the blog In the Agora reported that Republican Senate staffers told them that staff of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's office had authored the memo as a "dirty trick". But even Michelle Malkin later raised questions in her April 7 post:
"Sen. Mel Martinez told the Washington Times he did not see the Schiavo memo until ABC News and the Post publicized it. But Sen. Tom Harkin told the Post that when Martinez handed him the memo, "[Martinez] said these were talking points -- something that we're working on here."
How could Sen. Martinez describe the contents of the memo if he had not seen it? And who is "we?"

In his April 6 statement, Martinez denied having seen the memo: "Until this afternoon, I had never seen it and had no idea a copy of it had ever been in my possession." He also stated with assurance, despite not having conducted an investigation, that the memo "was not approved by me or any other member of my staff, nor were we aware of its existence until very recently."
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) said that Martinez handed him a copy of the talking points on the Senate floor. The Post reported on April 7:

Harkin said in an interview that Martinez handed him the memo on the Senate floor, in hopes of gaining his support for the bill giving federal courts jurisdiction in the Florida case in an effort to restore the brain-damaged Florida woman's feeding tube. "He said these were talking points -- something that we're working on here," Harkin said.

Given Harkin's assertion, the two previous incidents of Martinez disavowing his staff's conduct, and reports that the memo borrowed from a previous press release from Martinez's office, it defies reason that Martinez did not think to question his staff about their possible involvement in the memo's creation until that week(April 8)


Matt_Iserman wrote on 6/10/2005, 8:33 AM
Even with the rest of the paragraph that you included following your misstatement, the impression is still left that Martinez endorsed the document. The quote I included in a subsequent post substantially changes the meaning as it shows that he did not endorse the document and considered it stupid.

Was Martinez telling the truth when he disavowed the memo? Maybe and maybe not. All I expect is the same standard be held in the criticism of Martinez as the Power Line guys were held to during their investigation of the memo. Proof is required. When your misstatement was defended, it was defended, in part, with the explanation that:

“He also may be reading between the lies [(Freudian?) sic] and implying the Martinez was not being entirely honest when he came clean.”

Doesn’t this violate the “Golden Rule” referenced earlier? Doesn’t this imply guilt without proof? If you had written in the “colloquial sense”, should it not have been criticized?

My point is that it appears to me that different standards are used depending upon the political view of the target.

Speaking of skimming, someone else skimming your post with the misstatement attributing authorship to Martinez would have come away believing it. Even reading the second paragraph. They could have interpreted it as Buster did and believe, for a fact, that Martinez endorsed or instructed the memo’s composition. (Again, he may have done so; however, no proof has been proffered.)

So you know, I did read above where you claimed your Republican affiliation and your preferred candidate. I don’t see how my quoted passage indicates otherwise. You DID dismiss them because of their political ties. That doesn’t mean you have to be from a different party. If you weren’t dismissing Power Line based on their political ties, what was the purpose of listing the their political affiliations?

I find your politics intriguing and am curious to know more as you seem to believe that your party has moved in a direction (further right? Or is it vertically on the political compass?) that you don’t approve. I’m curious because many “JFK Liberals” joined the Republican Party because that felt their party had abandoned them by moving too far to the left (e.g. Harry Stein, Roger L. Simon, Dennis Prager).

Matt Iserman

P.S. When you choose to quote me, please indicate when and where you have ADDED EMPHASIS. Otherwise, a false impression is given to my original statement.
Matt_Iserman wrote on 6/10/2005, 8:40 AM

Your investigation looks much like the type that Power Line does and was criticized for earlier in this thread. Similarly, it strengthens my original position that your misstated attribution of authorship of the memo to Martinez was not an accident. I have no problem this variety of investigation; however, my request now, as earlier, is that the same standards be applied regardless of the investigators political positions.

Matt Iserman



As I imagine many folks are wishing this thread would just die... I'm going to let you have the last word on this (within reason, of course). If you wish to further the discussion beyond that, feel free to e-mail me.

Matt Iserman
Coursedesign wrote on 6/10/2005, 10:22 AM
At least some good news on the Media Responsibility front:

NPR had some pretty clear reporting this week on the White House lawyer who changed one of the scientific conclusions in a global warming report that was to be presented as a basis for our national environmental policy.

Must have been part of Bush's Healthy Profits Initiative. Or did I get that wrong? :O)
B.Verlik wrote on 6/10/2005, 11:54 AM
Has anybody been persuaded to change their views on anything discussed here yet? No? Anybody got the nerve to admit they were wrong about something? No? Wow. Par for the "Political Discussion" course.
busterkeaton wrote on 6/10/2005, 12:10 PM
In terms of Republicans dissastified with the party, if you remember, prior to 9/11, Jim Jeffords, senator from Vermont, switched from Republican to Independent throwing control of the Senate to the Democrats until the 2002 election.

Christine Todd Whitham just wrote a book about her style of Republicanism is being marginalized within the party.

In The Price of Loyalty Paul O'Neill talks about how different it was working in the Ford administration and working in the W Bush administration. O'Neill knew Rumsfeld and Cheney from those years. The methods of the two adminstrations were different, but he also talks about how different Washington itself was and how much had changed since he had been working as a CEO in the private sector. Many of Nixon's policies would be considered anathema in the current climate.

During the election MoveOnPac hired Errol Morris to create a series of campaign ads. There were just interviews with people who had voted for Bush in 2000, but were not voting for him in 2004. You can still find them on the web, they address this issue from a lot of angles.

There's a good deal of difference between this adminstration and the prior Republican administration, the elder George Bush. The most public face of Republican opposition to the current Iraq War was from Brent Scowcroft who wrote several editorials about why it was a bad idea and it would not be easy and not be cheap. Scrowcroft was not just Bush I's National Security Advisor, he was his co-author for the book, A World Transformed which dealt with Iraq and foreign policy in general. Scowcroft's op-ed's were widely taken as a piece of advice from the father to the son, that invading Iraq would not be the cakewalk some people were claiming.

Spot|DSE wrote on 6/10/2005, 12:11 PM
But...in spite of no one changing views, folks have stayed civil. Nice to see in a thread of this length and this much controversy.
Coursedesign wrote on 6/10/2005, 12:58 PM
Has anybody been persuaded to change their views on anything discussed here yet? No? Anybody got the nerve to admit they were wrong about something? No? Wow. Par for the "Political Discussion" course.

Experience has shown that these things take time.

Yes, many people are hidebound and stuck in their views. But people do eventually get it, if there is something wrong that needs to be fixed.

That's why Winston Churchill said, "Democracy is the worst of all political systems. Unless you consider the alternatives."

Liberal democrats need to see that government welfare should go only to those with an urgent need, lest it create an unhealthy dependence, and government organizations need to be pruned regularly (because they are no different from all other large organizations), otherwise taxes move higher and higher to the breaking point.

"Conservative" republicans need to learn that corporate welfare creates an unhealthy dependence, bin Laden is laughing his ass off in a cave reading his daily Wall Street Journal because everything is going according to plan (the U.S. is blowing its resources on misdirected security spending, a good chunk of which doesn't even improve security) and budget deficits tend to get bigger and bigger until they reach the breaking point.

I put quote marks around "conservative" because Real Conservatives Don't Run Budget Deficits other than in times of war, which is not the case. How? Because our President never asked Congress for a Declaration of War, as mandated in the Constitution. Without this declaration, we are not at war. Anything else is just empty talk, even if said by our President. I guess it is really "protected political speech."
B.Verlik wrote on 6/10/2005, 1:07 PM
This Bush character.....Isn't he the guy that airbrushes the retarded out of his family tree?