After GOP source of Schiavo memo was confirmed, Hume, Kristol failed to acknowledge their roles in suggesting Democrats had authored it


After Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) admitted that one of his aides was the author of a "talking points" memo that described the Terri Schiavo case as a "great political issue" for Republicans, neither Fox News Washington managing editor Brit Hume nor Weekly Standard editor William Kristol acknowledged their own role, or the role of their organizations, in advancing false speculation that Democrats created the memo.

On both the "Grapevine" and "All-Star Panel" segments of the April 7 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Hume discussed the memo without acknowledging his own role in advancing the false accusation that Democrats had secretly authored it. Similarly, although Kristol did not personally question the authenticity of the memo, he discussed the issue on Special Report without noting that the Standard had run two articles -- including one by executive editor and Fox News contributor Fred Barnes -- pushing the same false speculation.

Though not a direct parallel, it is worth noting that Hume and Kristol both vocally denounced CBS' use of possibly fake documents -- even suggesting that Rather should have been forced to resign over the incident.

For example, on the September 19, 2004, edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, Kristol demanded that CBS investigate the documents scandal: "Does CBS take the position that they protect the name of a source who knowingly, apparently, passed on forged documents or that they don't have an obligation to investigate the source of documents they went on the air with, that are forgeries?" And on the October 17, 2004, edition of the program, Kristol appeared to call for Rather's resignation: "CBS has Dan Rather doing the evening news every night. Is that fair after his defense of their forged memos that he put on the air?" Similarly, on the January 16 edition of Fox News Sunday, Hume told host Chris Wallace that it was "a little odd" that Rather hadn't been forced to resign from 60 Minutes:

WALLACE: All right. As we've said, the independent panel came out with its report on the CBS News investigation, basically found that CBS News suffered a complete journalistic breakdown, meltdown in its rush to get the story on the air.

Brit, does that end the controversy? Is the case closed?

HUME: No, it won't, because the panel stopped short on two questions. One was, you know, the continuation of Dan Rather in the job, really, which, you know, may have not been theirs to speak to, but the whole thing looks a little odd. You know, Rather's involved, deeply involved in the story, and yet -- and he's retiring in a couple of months but not from the program from which the story emanated. That looks a little odd.

Posted In
Health Care, End of Life Issues
Media Ethics, Terri Schiavo
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.