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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Maryland Moment

The smackdown of Deborah Howell offered up at the is having remarkable legs. Memorandum this morning had the headline "HOWELL IS A LYING HACK NOT FIT TO CHANGE TOILET PAPER OUT AT THE MOTEL 6!!!!", and then there is this deft response by Vance Lehmkuhl in Romanesco to Howie Kurtz' disingenous defense of Howell during his Post live chat:
Kurtz says Deborah Howell's statement about Democrats receiving money from Abramoff was not a lie, only "inartfully worded," and cites the phrase "have gotten Abramoff campaign money" as though this was the only instance in that column of her referring to this concept.

That's wrong, though. As Kurtz must know, the other reference was beyond artful or inartful; it was simply untrue: "Schmidt quickly found that Abramoff was getting 10 to 20 times as much from Indian tribes as they had paid other lobbyists. And he had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties."

No. Schmidt did not report (nor has anyone else to date uncovered) Jack Abramoff himself making ANY campaign contribution to Democrats. Howell and now Kurtz should apologize for continuing to parrot this falsity.
The Post this morning "disappeared" the Howell comments from the blog, only to restore them shortly thereafter. In case they get "disappeared" again, it's nice to know they are being helpfully logged here.

Reader RBG emailed me and suggested that much like the Boston Tea Party, the original title of the blog we hijacked -- "The Maryland Moment" -- be forthwith the designated monicker for this rather theatrical bit of reader pushback. I'm liking it.

Update: Wilson46201 from the comments:
What's fun to realize about the WaPo kerfuffle is the internal turmoil going on. Anybody involved in a large organization knows what happens behind the scenes when there's such a flap. The top dogs are chatting, lawyers have been discreetly consulted, office gossips are going full blast, Emails are being forwarded, everybody is afraid of screwing this whole affair up even more...
I also forgot to mention Will Bunch's pointed Howell rant in Romanesco this morning. If you haven't read it yet it's a delight.