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Monday, June 05, 2006
Lipscomb on Kerry and the Swiftees

Tom Lipscomb did some of the best reporting on John Fraude Kerry in the 2004 presidential race, including breaking the story that Kerry had participated in a 1971 meeting of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War in which the assassination of US senators was proposed and debated.

He returns today with a piece dissecting the week earlier article in the New York Times on Le Fraude's continuing efforts to resuscitate his ridiculous Christmas in Cambodia tale (among other stories).

Zernike appears to have made no effort to look at any record besides listing Kerry's latest assertions with obligatory quotes from the usual Swiftie suspects to provide "balance." She doesn't appear to be aware of the hilarious inconsistency of the Kerry hat story she recites dutifully as if this was the very first time the hat had appeared in print. As the clips should have shown her, Kerry first pulled the famous hat out of a "secret compartment" for Washington Post reporter Laura Blumenfeld's feature story in 2003. "My good luck hat," Kerry told Blumenfeld, "given to me by a CIA guy." Now he tells Zernike a "special operations team" member gave it to him on a secret "mission that records say was to insert Navy Seals" in February.

Lipscomb points out that the Times publishes Kerry's statements as fact, while doing their best to paint the Swiftees as partisans:

Zernike wastes most of her story simply repeating rather than weighing Kerry talking points: She defines John O'Neill as "a former Swift boat commander who was recruited by the Nixon administration to debate Mr. Kerry on "The Dick Cavett Show." That is a pretty dramatic charge by The New York Times. But the extensive record Zernike apparently missed, including the Times's own archives, shows it is totally untrue. If O'Neill was recruited by anyone for the Cavett Show, it was Bruce Kesler, a Marine veteran whose op-ed O'Neill had come across in the Times and whose "Vietnam Veterans for A Just Peace" O'Neill quickly joined.

Kesler nominated O'Neill for the show. In the CSPAN rebroadcast of the original 1971 Cavett debate during the 2004 campaign, Dick Cavett, who had been on the famous Nixon "enemies list," denied the Nixon Administration had anything to do with setting up the debate or who participated. During the election Kesler gave the entire story to Todd Purdum, but nothing appeared in the Times. Kesler also outlined how the debate had come about in a commentary piece in the Augusta Free Press in August of 2004. And the Kesler challenge for Kerry to debate was carried in the June 2, 1971 New York Times.

If The New York Times fails to correct that error, O'Neill could have a pretty good libel action. How can there be "absence of malice" when a great newspaper repeatedly lists claims by eyewitnesses backed by military records as "unsubstantiated," while its reporter ignores published records including its own archive?

But there's some good news in here as well (just not for Nuancy Boy):

In any case, it is time for some tough reporting to evaluate the Kerry's claims as listed in Zernike's article. I will be following up with several other key incidents which appear to be widely at variance with these claims. These will include what appears to be the current state of the evidence about the "skimmer" operation Kerry has decided to put in play again and the greatest newspaper coverup in modern history.

It is time we all got to see a picture of the famous Kerry "lucky hat," rather than another account by the latest star-struck journalist. It is time for Kerry to stop alluding to "records" and start producing them. And it is time media assigned reporters with military experience or the resources to analyze this record and see just who is lying about what.

I believe this is the hat in question:

Found it over at Ace's. There's another picture around of Kerry wearing the hat stateside. Anybody got a link?

Update: The Minneapolis Star-Tribune bites on the story, and lies:

Kerry was accused of shooting himself to get the purple hearts; of having political plans even at that young age that fueled a cynical plot to get medals any way he could; of fabricating, lying about and exaggerating his military experiences. The tactic worked; people began to think maybe Kerry was "Unfit for Command," the title of an anti-Kerry book. Eventually, and bizarrely, people were arguing about whether Kerry took his boat into Cambodia on one occasion. To us the story sounded quite plausible (a number of Americans made clandestine trips into Cambodia during that time), as well as irrelevant to the campaign.

First, nobody accused Kerry of shooting himself; the claim was that the wounds in two of the cases were self-inflicted. In the first Purple Heart incident, Kerry reportedly fired a rocket launcher too close to shore and was hit by a small fragment of shrapnel. In the third one, Kerry was wounded in the buttocks when he tried to blow up a mound of rice. Brinkley himself confirms the injury.

Second, the Christmas in Cambodia story was relevant only to the extent that it went to the heart of Kerry's willingness to tell a lie for political advantage. And I'm not surprised it sounded plausible to the editorial staff of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune; the question is whether it's plausible to people who actually served in Vietnam and know the terrain.
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Hugh Hewitt: KerryHaters was on this story a long time ago. How could the elite media not have asked these questions before now?

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