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Newsweek and the facts (Copy that Memo)

Newsweek this week reports on the "Downing Street Memo(s)", and the supposed "Rift" between the Brits and US in the days before the war in Iraq. Memos which incidently don't exist except in a "transcript" form. As I posted below , Mr. Michael Smith, a journalist in the UK transcribed the memos he said he got from a "source" and then "destroyed" the originals.

Again from the AP: "Smith told AP he protected the identity of the source he had obtained the documents from by typing copies of them on plain paper and destroying the originals."

Just a small sentence in a big article touting the memos, but an important one. Why hasn't this fact been mentioned before in all the other media reports?

In essence the story shouldn't be around the memos, but first around the integrity of a Mr. Michael Smith. After RaThErGaTe , I would think that Newsweek writers would have mentioned this fact in their piece - especially after setting the Middle East aflame with their lack of "quality control" in the past. In a day when the MSM is under increased scrunity about bias and getting the facts wrong, I would think they would be a little gun shy about not getting the "source" straight.

You know, for this old journalist dog, and I guess I'm 'old school, but there seems to be a whole lot of reporting but not a lot of investigating going on. Journalism 101 - "Get the facts; verify the facts; write the story based on the facts".

I'm not doubting Mr. Smith or his motives or his journalistic integrity. But I am saying that without originals, "copies" made by a journalist should not be taken without a grain of proverbial salt thrown over the shoulder. Quite frankly I give no credence to any "evidence" not backed by orginals.

More on this breaking story at Captains Quarters Blog .


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