Careful what you wish for

A gaggle of warbloggers, led by Instapuppy and Hugh Hewitt and others, have been complaining vociferously that the mainstream media have been ignoring the claims of the Swift Boat Scumbags for bush. They’ve been up in arms that the NYT and others haven’t given the story the play it deserves. Never mind that the “story” is simply a heap of allegations with no documenting evidence. Never mind that their Christmas in Cambodia scandal is just a matter of Kerry misstating the date he was in Cambodia by a few weeks.

Anway, their wish has been granted. Today’s New York Times features a huge front-page article that delves into the story, blowing holes into nearly every accusation. A small sample:

In an unpublished interview in March 2003 with Mr. Kerry’s authorized biographer, Douglas Brinkley, provided by Mr. Brinkley to The New York Times, Roy F. Hoffmann, a retired rear admiral and a leader of the group, allowed that he had disagreed with Mr. Kerry’s antiwar positions but said, “I am not going to say anything negative about him.” He added, “He’s a good man.”

In a profile of the candidate that ran in The Boston Globe in June 2003, Mr. Hoffmann approvingly recalled the actions that led to Mr. Kerry’s Silver Star: “It took guts, and I admire that.”

George Elliott, one of the Vietnam veterans in the group, flew from his home in Delaware to Boston in 1996 to stand up for Mr. Kerry during a tough re-election fight, declaring at a news conference that the action that won Mr. Kerry a Silver Star was “an act of courage.” At that same event, Adrian L. Lonsdale, another Vietnam veteran now speaking out against Mr. Kerry, supported him with a statement about the “bravado and courage of the young officers that ran the Swift boats.”

“Senator Kerry was no exception,” Mr. Lonsdale told the reporters and cameras assembled at the Charlestown Navy Yard. “He was among the finest of those Swift boat drivers.”

Those comments echoed the official record. In an evaluation of Mr. Kerry in 1969, Mr. Elliott, who was one of his commanders, ranked him as “not exceeded” in 11 categories, including moral courage, judgment and decisiveness, and “one of the top few” – the second-highest distinction – in the remaining five. In written comments, he called Mr. Kerry “unsurpassed,” “beyond reproach” and “the acknowledged leader in his peer group.”

Oh, well. I guess it’s a veteran’s right to change his mind.

This isn’t exactly what Instapuppy and Roger Simon and the othershad in mind. You see, they wanted the Times to print the Republican talking points, the way the Washington Times and NewsMax and WorldNetDaily are doing. They wanted the NYT to simply print excerpts of the unfounded charges. You know the drill, throw the mud and hope as much as possible will stick.

Well, yesterday we had the WaPo disproving the claims of Larry Thurlow, and today was the NYT’s turn. Instead of just reciting the charges, they actually did some journalism and fact-checking, and lo and behold, it appears the SBVFT simply aren’t to be trusted. Contradictions and hints of foul play permeate the whole thing.

See the Times’ descriptions of interviews with Merrie Spaeth and others to see just how slimy the whole thing is, and how an insidious web of intrigue ties together all the main players with the upper echelons of the Republican party.

And some want us to believe this is apolitical, just a few earnest veterans doing their humble bit of public service. That’s what they wanted the Times to print, but I’m afraid there’s a bit more.

Needless to say, in a few hours the warbloggers will be dismissing this as more treachery on the part of the liberal media. But they have to say that; they don’t want to admit their Big Story is cracking and crumbling.

The media are giving the story its play, and its originators have been proven, one by one, to be misinformed at best, and terrible liars at worst. Maybe some of the mud will stick, maybe there will be damage. But anyone with minimal grey matter can now see through the whole ugly episode. It’s an instant replay of the McCain asassination, only far more ambitious and unscrupulous. And those journalists who took the scurrilous claims and printed them verbatim, without doing their due diligence — well, they’re partners in crime.

[Link via Kevin Drum.]

The Discussion: 5 Comments

And did you follow the link at atrios to to check out the video of Michelle Malkin on Hardball? Chris Matthews looked amazing skewering her over this subject. (I guess she was on to pimp her book, but she tried to pimp the other Regnery book from the SBV and it blew up in her face.) And Keith Olberman, bless his heart, totally ripped on Ms. Malkin during his show. I’ve had a soft spot for Keith since his ESPN days and losing his previous news commentary show for refusing to pimp Lewinsky/Starr every night.

August 20, 2004 @ 5:30 am | Comment


Great work, and thanks for the heads-up. I was deep into some literary work and hadn’t checked the NYT yet.

In my umbrage and hurry to get it up on my site, I forgot to give you the attribution. I will fix that during the next window of opportunity from my miscreant API. The faster connection at BFSU helps some, but it is still erratic as hell.

Keep up the good fight.

All the best,


August 20, 2004 @ 7:01 am | Comment

Do you and I see the same news?

Back to the hardball story, if you read the transcript of Chris “talking” to michelle, he is basically shouting her down. This was not a debate by any stretch of the imagination. Chris did not seem interested at all in debating the book but rather in proving Michelle a fool without any factual backing. It did not seem like he read the book at all.

Regarding Kerry’s vietnam history, was Kerry ever really in Cambodia is the question? According to Kerry’s own people, they have retracted the story and removed all evidence of it from their website.

Listen to both sides…something is not jiving right…

August 25, 2004 @ 9:14 am | Comment

I completely disagree — he did not shout her down. He simply asked her to verify or explain her remark — tossed out in an offhanded manner and pregnant with vile accusations — that Kerry had a “self-inflicted wound.” This is exactly, EXACTLY what our media need to be doing more of. Instead of letting shit like that go by unchalloenged, they need to demand integrity and honesty from those they interview. Wolf Blitzer is taking a huge amount of flak for letting Bob Dole’s evil remarks go by the other night without question or challenge. Politicians cannot, must not, be allowed to go in front of the world and say damaging slanderous things about others. If they do, they need to prove it. Thank god nearly all the Smear Boat scumbags have now been proven to be liars by a media that’s finally starting to think for itself.

August 25, 2004 @ 1:36 pm | Comment

Confused, here’s a snip from today’s Daily News. I report, youi decide:

The trouble started during a discussion of the George Bush-supporting Swift boat veterans bedeviling Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Malkin repeated the vets’ claim – from their book, “Unfit for Command” – that Kerry’s wounds in Vietnam were “self-inflicted.”

Matthews went ballistic.

“Are you saying he shot himself on purpose?” he repeatedly demanded, as Malkin kept citing the book.

“Are you accusing him of shooting himself on purpose to avoid combat or to get credit? … I want an answer, ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ Michelle!”

MALKIN: “Some of the veterans say – yes, some of the veterans say that –

MATTHEWS: “No, no one has ever accused him of shooting himself on purpose. … This show is not a show for this kind of talk.”

Matthews ended the segment, saying, “We’re going to keep things clean on this show. No irresponsible comments are going to be on the show.”

Malkin couldn’t be reached yesterday.

August 25, 2004 @ 9:36 pm | Comment

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