Thursday, March 24, 2005

Playing a lawyer in real-life

Leave it to these gents to take an issue like the Schiavo case and turn it into an opportunity to run down a rabbit-hole of idiocy. In this case, the silliness involves a memo circulated among Republicans regarding the Schiavo matter.

From the consistent and unintentional hilarity that is Power Line:
The American Spectator's Washington Prowler has picked up the scent and interviewed Republican Senate staffers: "Dirty Democrat pool." The Prowler reports: "Republican leadership staffers now believe the document was generated out of the Democratic opposition research office set up recently by Sen. Harry Reid, and distributed to some Democratic Senate staffers claiming it was a GOP document, in the hope -- or more likely expectation -- that it would then be leaked by those Democrats to reporters."

Hey, that's just great! I'm also hearing that High Times has interviewed a bunch of Democratic leadership staffers, who now believe that Republicans have recently set up a weather machine project just outside Gary, Ind., which will control jet stream movements, in the hope -- or more likely expectation -- that said machine would help flood and destroy all coastal, Democrat-loving areas.

For the record, the Post's Mike Allen stands by his sourcing on the matter. Of course, for the froth-mouths at Power Line, that is just not good enough. (must... have... scalps...) Moreover, they never actually publish what was said in the original ABC News report. For the record, here it is, from the March 18, "World News Tonight":
LINDA DOUGLASS: (Voice Over) ABC News has obtained talking points circulated
among Republican Senators, explaining why they should vote to intervene in the
Schiavo case. Among them, "This is an important moral issue and the pro-life
base will be excited." And "This is a great political issue, this is a tough
issue for Democrats."

I have searched high and low for these three sentences on PowerLine. Nowhere to be found. I'm assuming, as attorneys, they have access to Lexis-Nexis? Of course, not quoting the story accurately doesn't stop them from mischaracterizing it: "ABC first reported the memo as a bombshell that disclosed Republican strategy. Now it says that the memo "discussed a republican bill" and was "distributed to [some] repulbican [sic] senators."

Well, actually, that is exactly what the report says.

And, like the good hack he is, Hinderaker starts from an ironclad belief, and then gathers up information that would only reaffirm that belief. Here's his first post on the subject, subtly entitled, "Is This The Biggest Hoax Since The Sixty Minutes Story?":
I haven't even seen the memo yet, so I am reluctant to proclaim it a Democratic fraud. But, for the reasons stated, my suspicions are aroused. Let's hear from our readers, and let's see a copy of the "unsigned" memo, and figure out whether it's a fake or not. Either it's a fraud, or someone needs to be fired.

Now that's good lawyering!

UPDATE: Wow. And talk about running with scissors! Prof. Reynolds, amplifying a mischaracterization by Power Line writes thusly:
ABC JOINS THE LIST of networks that have broadcast bogus memos: "the network admits that it knows nothing about who authored and distributed the memo."

Really? How about reading what Power Line actually posted? Doesn't seem like that is the case at all. And can we also note that what Hinderaker received was an alleged second-hand communique from another blogger who said he was emailing ABC News. Sounds suspicious to me. Let's see the email! We demand it!

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:23 AM

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