Leaked ABC Memo Shows Someone's Keeping Score
ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin has apparently had enough.
An internal memo, dated Oct. 8, has been leaked. Assuming the memo is authentic, it shows a rare instance of someone in the media having the cahones to keep score of who's lying about what in this year's presidential campaign.
The memo reads:
It goes without saying that the stakes are getting very high for the country and the campaigns - and our responsibilities become quite grave.
I do not want to set off (sp?) and endless colloquy that none of us have time for today - nor do I want to stifle one. Please respond if you feel you can advance the discussion.
The New York Times (Nagourney/Stevenson) and Howard Fineman on the web both make the same point today: the current Bush attacks on Kerry involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done.
Kerry distorts, takes out of context, and mistakes all the time, but these are not central to his efforts to win.
We have a responsibility to hold both sides accountable to the public interest, but that doesn't mean we reflexively and artificially hold both sides "equally" accountable when the facts don't warrant that.
I'm sure many of you have this week felt the stepped up Bush efforts to complain about our coverage. This is all part of their efforts to get away with as much as possible with the stepped up, renewed efforts to win the election by destroying Senator Kerry at least partly through distortions.
It's up to Kerry to defend himself, of course. But as one of the few news organizations with the skill and strength to help voters evaluate what the candidates are saying to serve the public interest. Now is the time for all of us to step up and do that right.
The immediate reaction from the left: about time.
The immediate reaction from the right: Kerry is a liar!!!
I agree with Kevin Drum of Washington Monthly: "It's fake 'objectivity' to pretend that ten big lies are the same thing as a couple of minor distortions. The media should be reporting what's really going on, not inventing a false balance that doesn't exist."
To be clear, Halperin isn't saying the media shouldn't point out mis-statements or half-truths from the Kerry camp. Instead, it's just asking that the media play fair, instead of trying to equate minor factual errors from Kerry with massive whoppers from Bush/Cheney.
Bush supporters will likely disagree with the premise of Halperin's memo. But Kerry advocates -- who have been keeping score of all the false statements, half-truths, exaggerations and disingenuous comments from Bush-Cheney '04 -- think the Halperin memo is a much-needed breath of fresh air.