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Monday, June 6, 2005
Getting It Wrong: Downing Street Memo
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax has gotten the orders from headquarters: Discredit the Downing Street Memo and anyone touting it. But would it hurt for them get their facts straight?

A June 3 article, headlined "Kerry Touts Bush Impeachment Memo," starts:

Failed presidential candidate John Kerry said Thursday that he intends to confront Congress with a document touted by critics of President Bush as evidence that he committed impeachable crimes by falsifying evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

But as MSNBC's Keith Olbermann points out, there was no mention of impeachment in the story NewsMax claimed to pull its Kerry quotes from, a small paper in Massachusetts. From there, it appears that Al-Jazeera picked it up and amped up the alleged impeachment call -- which actually came from Ralph Nader in a May 31 Boston Globe op-ed cited elsewhere in NewsMax's article.

The story calls the memo "largely ignored in the U.S. outside of rabid anti-Bush Web sites like"

Then, in a June 5 article, NewsMax faithfully reproduces the claim of Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman calling "the memo's claims 'discredited,' noting that at least two previous U.S. investigations have probed the claims that Bush fabricated pre-war intelligence."

But as Media Matters notes, the two investigations to which Mehlman was referring -- the 9/11 Commission and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence -- addressed the issue of how the Bush administration used pre-war intelligence.

The story also dismisses the memo as a "third-hand account" being "touted by crackpot Democrats."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:58 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 7, 2005 11:36 AM EDT

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