Shame on Shane


Senate Candidate Shane Osborn’s deliberate circulation of what turned out to be a phony memo from the U.S. Navy has captured media attention nationwide. In Nebraska? That noise you hear is crickets.

On Sunday, the Omaha World-Herald reported that the memo meant to back up Osborn’s decision to land and surrender his spy plane to Chinese soldiers in 2001 was a phony, written at the direction of an Osborn buddy who had a friend working at the Pentagon. It’s on official Navy stationary, but written without authorization or Navy approval.

It’s a stunning report that has been picked up by news sites across the nation. The New York Daily News, NBC News, Fox News, the Weekly Standard, Daily Kos, MSNBC  There are dozens of news sites that have picked up the story. You’ll even find it in tiny little blogs like Actuarial Outpost.

But the reaction from Nebraska’s mainstream media outlets? We’re still waiting for one. has patiently watched our Google Alerts and we’ve yet to see one newspaper, television station or radio station here pick up the World-Herald story.

Have Nebraskans lost their morals? Has it suddenly become the accepted move to resolve uncomfortable situations with fakery? This isn’t like forging a note to your elementary school because you went to the movies instead of class. The guy at the Pentagon who wrote Osborn’s memo requested anonymity from the World-Herald because he’ll be in a shipload of trouble with the Navy if he’s found out.

More likely, Nebraska’s traditional media outlets are too timid to rock the boat, which is truly a shame. This episode speaks volumes about Osborn’s moral values, which apparently involve winning the Senate race by any means necessary. The public deserves to know.

(For the record, Osborn’s campaign said they used the phony memo because the campaign did not have time for the memo to rise through the chain of command and receive approval. However, Osborn left the military in 2005, had to contend with this as an issue when he ran for state treasurer, and should have expected to have to face it again this year. He’s had plenty of time over the past nine years to get a memo.)

After days of silence from the Osborn campaign, the candidate has semi-apologized. You can read it here.

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