Saturday, August 28, 2004

The mainstream media, John Kerry and Vietnam

Jonathan Last writes about how the mainstream media were dragged kicking and screaming to cover the Swift Vets' story.
During the August 19 edition of PBS's NewsHour, Tom Oliphant unspooled. "The standard of clear and convincing evidence--and it's easy when you leave out the exculpatory stuff--is what keeps this story in the tabloids," the Boston Globe columnist sputtered, "because it does not meet basic standards." "This story" (shades of "that woman") is the story of the Swift boat veterans who have raised a number of troubling allegations against John Kerry. Sitting across from John O'Neill, coauthor of Unfit for Command and John Kerry's successor as commander of PCF-94 in Vietnam, Oliphant did a fair imitation of Al Gore--sighing, harumphing, and exhaling loudly--whenever O'Neill spoke.
"'Almost conclusive' doesn't cut it in the parts of journalism where I live," Oliphant lectured O'Neill, who graduated first in a class of 554 from the University of Texas Law School and clerked for U.S. Supreme Court justice William Rehnquist. "You haven't come within a country mile of meeting first-grade journalistic standards for accuracy." Watching the media's reaction to the Swift boat controversy, it's clear that many journalists agree with Oliphant.
And Mark Steyn writes that John Kerry, not the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are responsible for America's Vietnam wounds.
So Kerry is now the first self-confessed war criminal in the history of the Republic to be nominated for president. Normally this would be considered an electoral plus only in the more cynical banana republics. But the Democrats seemed to think they could run an anti-war anti-hero as a war hero and nobody would mind. As we now know, a lot of people -- a lot of veterans -- do mind, very much. They understand that, whether or not he ever mowed down civilians with his 50-caliber machinegun, Kerry is responsible for a lot of wounds closer to home.