Sunday, August 15, 2004

From Bernard Goldberg's, Arrogance:

...Among the hundreds of letters that showed up in my mailbox after Bias came out, there was one from Stephen DeBock of Bayville, New Jersey, who said, "Your book reminds me of Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed, not so much in content as in the industry's reaction. When Unsafe blasted GM's coffin-on-wheels Corvair, the company responded not by fixing the product but by hiring a private investigator to ferret out whatever information it could use to discredit Nader. The tactic failed. In like manner, CBS and its stablemates have responded to Bias not by fixing the problem but by trying to discredit you. I wish them the same success General Motors had."

Goldberg includes this passage to illustrate the media's 'ingrained culture of denial,' but it could as easily be used to illustrate another media trait encapsulated by a later chapter title: "Mauling the Messenger."

That's exactly what comes to mind watching the MSM (Mainstream Media) twist and turn and play their "Hear no Cambodia, See no Cambodia" act on behalf of the Kerry candidacy. The stunning silence by the big media on what should be a major story - the fact that over 250 of Kerry's fellow Swift Boat veterans believe he is unfit to be Commander in Chief, and that he has apparently outright lied about his own record. I don't care what line of work you're in, when that many of the people who worked with you step forward to say you can't be trusted, SOMEONE ought to be taking notice, instead, what little attention the MSM has given the Vets could best be described as a "mauling" - a mass of personal attacks that seek to draw attention away from the meat of their very real accusations.

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has been formed to counter the false "war crimes" charges John Kerry repeatedly made against Vietnam veterans who served in our units and elsewhere, and to accurately portray Kerry's brief tour in Vietnam as a junior grade Lieutenant. We speak from personal experience -- our group includes men who served beside Kerry in combat as well as his commanders. Though we come from different backgrounds and hold varying political opinions, we agree on one thing: John Kerry misrepresented his record and ours in Vietnam and therefore exhibits serious flaws in character and lacks the potential to lead.

We regret the need to do this. Most Swift boat veterans would like nothing better than to support one of our own for America's highest office, regardless of whether he was running as a Democrat or a Republican. However, Kerry's phony war crimes charges, his exaggerated claims about his own service in Vietnam, and his deliberate misrepresentation of the nature and effectiveness of Swift boat operations compels us to step forward.

For more than thirty years, most Vietnam veterans kept silent as we were maligned as misfits, addicts, and baby killers. Now that a key creator of that poisonous image is seeking the Presidency we have resolved to end our silence.

These guys are angry, and they have a right to be.

The media doesn't even need to take the SwiftVet's words for it. They can look up Kerry's own recorded statements and find out how often Kerry is on the record lying about his. Captain's Quarters Blog has been all over that story, as has Hugh Hewitt and BeldarBlog who clocked in with a very good sum-up here.

Unlike the Bush AWOL smear, which papers like the NY Times, Washington Post and especially the Boston Globe, couldn't get enough of - digging and digging into every possibility, never failing to flog any unaccounted five minutes in the President's military record (a record Bush has released in full, BTW - something Kerry has refused to do) - the MSM has been literally silent on the disturbing truths coming to light about Senator Kerry's record.

You don't have to be for or against Kerry or Bush to expect that the media would be willing to address the facts of the case. You have to be downright carrying water for the Kerry campaign to ignore it completely, or worse, pretend you didn't write what you're on the record as having written, as in the case of the Washington Post's Laura Blumenfeld, who claimed to Hugh Hewitt's producer that she didn't write anything about Kerry's lucky hat, when in fact the article is there in plain sight for all to see.

As always with agenda-driven media coverage, it's the news consumer who loses. Readers of the Times, Post, Globe and others will be completely blind to the controversy, completely deaf to the reality of why it is a growing number of people stand against John Kerry and believe him to be unworthy of trust.

But back to that Goldberg quote I started this with. What coverage the press has given the SwiftVets and the Cambodia lies has been to completely ignore the substance of the allegations, and instead do their darnedest to smear the Vets themselves, as best encapsulated by so-called journalist Chris Matthews' shouting down of Unfit for Command's co-author, John O'Neill (you can still listen to the clip as it was played on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, still on loop through the weekend here. Matthew's was nearly apoplectic in shouting over O'Neill and preventing him from making his points. Why have him on at all then? Because at least he can say he did, after all.

The fact is that the press killed the Dean candidacy and created Kerry's. They have far too much of themselves invested to simply let it go at this point, or worse, contribute to their own choice's downfall - and in the case of the Boston Globe, for one, almost literally lessening the value of their own stock. It goes against human nature. John Kerry is far too perfect a candidate for many on the Left to let go - the veteran who turned against his own, the perfect encapsulation of a generation's self-loathing, the man who can speak as a soldier while so many of their own can't while at the same time legitimizing their own anti-military-America-can-do-no-right impulses. Will they ever understand why so many of Kerry's own peers loathe this man? It's not likely. For many, it is utterly unfathomable that a man that trumpeted the uncritically accepted narrative of America-as-evildoer in Vietnam may be viewed as anything other than a hero. Such a viewpoint is an understood truism of a certain class of Northeastern Liberal Elite entrenched firmly in the dominant media culture. So one may understand how, even with over 250 of Kerry's peers on the record viewing the Senator as not a hero, but a backstabber, there is some major league denial going on in editorial boards across the nation.

Take a coronated candidate under fire, add in some extra personal investment and a healthy dose of self-delusion, and you have a very clear formula for a press corps that is going to need to be dragged kicking and screaming to the story they should be covering by the consumers they're supposed to be serving. And that's us.

Update: NE Republican has an excellent post pointing up the press's hypocrisy by demonstrating the tenacity with which they pursued the Bush AWOL story and comparing it to their silence on this issue.

Update2: Don't miss Paterico's analysis of the LA Times coverage of the Bush AWOL piffle.

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Kerry, Cambodia and the SwiftVets.

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» Here's One Way To Handle A Story at the blog Dean's World

NE Republican notes how the media handled the Bush AWOL story.

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I can't find the link to the Chris Matthews clip. When I listen to Hugh's show it's just his show.

Sorry, I probably wasn't clear about that. Hewitt plays the Matthews clip during his show, as well as a Crossfire clip of a similar verbal attack on the guy. There's no way to go directly to it that I know of (although it wouldn't surprise me if someone out there in internet land had just the clip) other than just listening to Hewitt's show.

Did you notice how Matthews demanded that O'Neill explain his political motivations and connections, and even detail his recent voting history, but expressed no interest whatever in the political motivations and connections of Hurley and Kerry's other defenders. Mainstream Media and the Democratic Party are just two branches or sectors of the same organization, which I usually refer to as the Democratic Establishment.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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