The NYT has an article today that details John Kerry's work to set the record straight on the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. No surprise, it turns out they were completely full of shit.
You can say what you will about the type of campaign Kerry, and Al Gore for that matter, ran, but when you are dealing with an electorate that believes stuff that isn't true and disbelieves things that are, it's an uphill battle for honest candidates.
Naval records and accounts from other sailors contradicted almost every claim they made, and some members of the group who had earlier praised Mr. Kerry's heroism contradicted themselves.
Still, the charges stuck.
I think the news coverage of Gore was decidedly biased against him. Most of the Gore "lies" were born in the respectable press -- Maureen Dowd's columns, as well as the pages of the NY Times and the Washington Post.
The coverage of Bush/Kerry was decidedly more balanced. I think there were occasions where Bush said "2+2=11" and where Kerry said "2+2=3.999" and the press fell back to the seemingly fair "they both fudge the facts" perspective. (I'm thinking specifically of Kerry's claims about the cost of the Iraq war. Kerry would say, "the war has cost us $200 billion" and the correction would be that $190 billion had been appropriated for the war, but only $150 billion had been spent).
I think the media, generally, was skeptical of the Swift Boaters claims. Most of the claims had fallen apart within a few days. I think what hurt Kerry was his tepid response to the claims. He didn't react with the passion I would expect from a guy who is falsely accused of shooting himself in the foot (Michelle Malkin) to win a purple heart.
The fact is that Kerry's campaign did a rotten job on this. Sean Connery's character, Jim Malone, in "the Untouchables," puts it this way,
“You wanna know how you do it? Here's how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way. . . ."
You cannot let lies like that get traction. Kerry did and we have to put up with W for another 2 to 3 years. I wish the Democrats would get some guts.
By 12:20 PM, at
I agree with TRR. How many voters wondered whether Kerry could defend the country when he was unwilling to defend himself?<< Home