Not really, but almost exactly the same time that I published this post, Talking Points Memo published a story that could well have been a response to my questions. However, I still have questions!
First, one nitpick. TPM's Justin Elliott relied on this AP story for his December 25 timetable; I think that this more recent LA Times story is more definitive on the key substantive issue of whether the Miranda warning made the guy shut up: the Times says it didn't.
Now, on to the media portion of the story. TPM, I think, nailed down the story that it was Ridge and Cheney, and not elected officials, who got the Miranda story going. But neither of them claimed that Miranda has actually had an effect -- only that it was a mistake. Ridge just asked whether they had Mirandized him, and then on December 30 Cheney said:
He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won't be at war.Again, Cheney doesn't actually claim that anything specific happened on December 25. He certainly attacks the idea of reading Miranda rights, but he's careful not to allege anything specific about any actual incident. That's why I didn't include Cheney in my rundown in the previous post. (Of course, this is an old Bush/Cheney trick; they never actually said that Iraq was involved in the September 11 attacks, but managed to get that message out to conservatives).
It seems to me that, right or wrong, hypocritical or not, claiming that terrorists should not receive Miranda warnings is a legitimate position to take. However, what's interesting to me about this one is that somewhere between Christmas and January 15 conservatives managed to spread a timeline of what happened on December 25 that (1) turns out (if current reporting is correct) to be false, and (2) as far as I can see, the people who spread the story had no way of knowing about.
I hope TPM goes back and nails down that part of the story.
(UPDATE: Link fixed, typos fixed...ugh).