Former Rep. Gabby Giffords spoke about gun violence before a Senate hearing Wednesday, and her moving speech showed her struggle to recover from being shot in the head two years ago. Giffords has come a long way even since she said the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic National Convention, but in the hearing, it still looked like finishing each line felt like an accomplishment for her. "Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important," Giffords said. "Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying; too many children. We must do something." Senators from both parties spoke about being touched by Giffords' words, and a photo of her handwritten speech circulated on Twitter. But Michelle Malkin and Twitchy, her conservative tweet news site, uncovered a scandal: Giffords did not handwrite her speech. As The Washington Post clarified, that's the handwriting of her therapist.
Malkin was outraged. "Look how mad libs get when you correct lib journo errors that have been spread far and wide on social media," she said. It's a double standard! "When we make an error about Baltimore County vs. Baltimore City, it's grounds for journalistic malpractice... When WaPo, Atlantic, Buzzfeed, Business Insider, Christiane Amanpour & tons of liberal Twitter users spread wrong facts, it's nothingburger."
What does it mean that Giffords didn't write her speech? That's not clear. Giffords has said she can understand what's going on around her, but her injury makes it hard to articulate a response. It's not surprising if writing by hand is hard for her. Does it make her speech less sincere? Does it mean Giffords doesn't actually care about gun violence? So far, not even Malkin is trying to argue that one.