Who Cares About The Rhetoric? What Are The Facts?

Laughable Ron Brownstein navel-gazer in today’s LA Times. Brownstein spends a couple of grafs hand-wringing over how horrible and divisive partisanship is today (hey, Ron, go read a little history before you write another one of these; 1964, 1948, 1884, and 1800 would be good places to start), then weighs in with these pearls of Big Media conventional wisdom:

In his venom, though, [Michael] Moore has been trumped by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group of Vietnam veterans with strong Republican ties. Last week, the group aired an ad in three battleground states that was to traditional political discussion what a snuff film was to a conventional horror movie.

Yo, Ron. You’re supposed to be a reporter. Can’t you tell the difference between the public statements of guys who actually served with Kerry (spare me the canard about not being in his particular boat–that’s nothing but obfuscating DNC spin, and you know it) and a list of third-hand conspiracy tinkering? You already noted that Moore plays fast and loose with the facts, and mildly criticized him for it. Why can’t you bring yourself to judge the Swift Vets by the same standard–the facts, not the rhetoric?

What difference does it make if their claims are ‘venomous,’ if it turns out they’re telling the truth? I didn’t notice you or your paper discounting Joe Wilson last year, and he was spewing venom aplenty. Heck, you even gave Wilson prime space on your editorial page to attack his critics just last month, while virtually ignoring the oversight reports that found him to be full of partisan hot air.

Given the weight of the Swift Vets’ accusations, and the fact that Kerry has based his entire campaign upon those four months in Vietnam, wouldn’t they have reason to be upset if their claims are accurate?

We’ll never know if Brownstein is on the case. He never bothers to ask the question. Insteand, he goes on to laud John McCain (you know, the same guy who wanted to make it illegal to criticize politicians) for being “willing to set boundaries on the partisan fervor.”

Please. McCain doesn’t like it when anybody disagrees with him, period, and he’s not a bit shy about lashing out harshly when he gets upset (the press only seems to notice–and applaud–this when he lashes out against Republicans). Brownstein and his ilk need to start worrying more over the facts of the Swift Vets’ accusations and less over the “partisan fervor” surrounding the race. For gosh sakes–it’s a campaign! It’s supposed to be partisan!

I’d take the likes of Brownstein a lot more seriously if they’d accord the Swift Vets one tenth of the attention and investigation they spent on Bush’s National Guard records early this year. If Kerry’s critics are all lying, it shouldn’t be that hard to figure out the facts… unless, of course, the media isn’t interested in those facts getting out.

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41 Responses to “Who Cares About The Rhetoric? What Are The Facts?”

  1. Mike Says:

    It shouldn’t take long to figure out the facts, since the lead figure has recanted:

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/08/06/veteran_retracts_criticism_of_kerry/

    This is simply an example of a well-funded smear, this time by sponsored by (surprise surprise) conservative Texan homebuilder and religious right activist Bob Perry.

    As for the soldiers not being in his boat being a canard (a false story), well, actually, it’s true, they weren’t. All the members of his crew (in the boat) that are still living, support Kerry.

    Mike

  2. pete Says:

    Our country was founded on partisanship. Free Thinkers – remember. Without it we are no better then the countries we’ve been fighting for 228 yrs.

  3. Will Collier Says:

    Just curious, Mike, are you familiar with the concept of “scrolling down”?

  4. Mike M Says:

    What’s really eating Brownstein is that his precious Big Media is losing control of the adgenda.

    His paper didn’t break the Swift Boat Vet’s story. They weren’t handled and coached by editors, or rolled out with a carefully orchestrated circuit of talk shows. They’re putting out a devestating message that strikes at the heart of Kerry’s campaign, and the media has to react to the story instead of controlling it.

    Worst of all is that the story has legs. The Veterans for Truth haven’t been scared off by Kerry’s litigation threats, and Kerry’s reaction has forced extended coverage by the media.

    People like Brownstein are on their heels for the first time in their careers, and they don’t like it.

  5. Voxxy Says:

    “It shouldn’t take long to figure out the facts, since the lead figure has recanted”

    Actually Mike, he hasn’t he says he was misquoted by the media and stands by his affidavit.

    “This is simply an example of a well-funded smear, this time by sponsored by (surprise surprise) conservative Texan homebuilder and religious right activist Bob Perry. ”

    Kind of like MoveOn, ACT, MediaMatters and the other Soros/Lewis sponsored smear groups, huh?

    “As for the soldiers not being in his boat being a canard (a false story), well, actually, it’s true, they weren’t. ”

    No one said they were. They were alongside Kerry’s boat and saw what happened, though. Unfortunately, Kerry used their pictures in his ad to make it look like they supported him.

    “All the members of his crew (in the boat) that are still living, support Kerry.”

    Nope, one crew member will have nothing to do with him.

  6. Bostonian Says:

    Mike,
    A reporter for the Boston Globe claims that Elliott retracted his statement, based on a conversation they had afterwards. Elliot has since issued an affadavit saying that Kranish (the Globe guy) misrepresented his words, and he stands behind the Swiftie’s ad.

    You should also pay attention to who is in the ad: Kerry’s fellow officers. They do not think he is a fit leader, and they feel strongly enough about that to put out an ad. They do not all happen to be Republicans.

    And every single one of Kerry’s COs has signed a statement also saying that Kerry is not fit to command. They’re putting their reputations at stake when they say this. Do you think they’re all Republicans? Gimme a break.

    The guys in his crew love him, but that doesn’t mean the other guys are lying.

  7. furious_a Says:

    Will:

    It’s a simple choice, really — either the books’ Publisher, Amazon.com, Barnes’n’Noble.com, and the Drudge Report are all lying, or the Boston Globe, which earlier this year credulously published faked photos pretending to show US soldiers gang-raping Iraqi women, is lying.

    And did I mention Mike Barnicle?

    You decide.

    Oh, and Mike, it’s sailors, not soldiers, dear, and they never claimed to have served on Kerry’s boat. That was a straw man concocted by Kerry’s and the DNC’s lawyers in their threat letter to media outlets.

    Like Will said, dear, “scroll down”.

    –furious

  8. Darwin Finch Says:

    The POINT is:

    The media are lettin it all hang out cause Bush is their LBJ and Nixon rolled into one big war mongering target, here to unite them once again. These kinds of love ins only come along once in a generation.

  9. maha Says:

    And the fact is that none of the so-called “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” served WITH Kerry. They probably didn’t even meet him in Nam. The Swift Boat Vets who served WITH Kerry — support Kerry. Imagine.

  10. JFH Says:

    “And the fact is that none of the so-called “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” served WITH Kerry.”

    Maha, I do not think you do not understand what a fact is (or what the word WITH means)

  11. spongeworthy Says:

    If Serving with Kerry means in the pocket of his fatigues, then no, they didn’t Serve with Kerry. If Serving with Kerry means in the next boat right over there then you are full of crap.

    Guess what?

  12. Dmitri Says:

    Another liberal lie. In fact, every one of the men in the book did serve with Kerry, just not on the same boat. But they served right alongside him in other boats or they were his commanding officers. You don’t know anything about the military obviously.

    A commanding officer’s duty is to evaluate his men’s performance and general fitness for duty. Kerry’s superiors are just as qualified to talk about him as the men who were on his boat.

  13. The Monk Says:

    And what about 1876? Doesn’t Tilden-Hayes count as a divided electorate or does the fix for Hayes in the House of Representatives count as bipartisanship?

    Of course facts are difficult things when they are against you. Hence the “venomous” attacks on Kerry’s weakness during the Cold War, his flip-flopping on toomanyissues, his tax-and-spend liberalism, etc. and all those attacks are factual recitations of Kerry’s votes and speeches.

  14. ATM Says:

    “And the fact is that none of the so-called “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” served WITH Kerry. They probably didn’t even meet him in Nam. The Swift Boat Vets who served WITH Kerry — support Kerry. Imagine.”

    http://www.swiftvets.com/index.php?topic=SwiftPhoto

    Maha,

    This picture of 20 of the commanding officers of the swift boats with Kerry included was used in his campaign. It turns out a 12 of the 20 officers (+ 4 not in the picture) are against Kerry, and only one or two support Kerry. I do know that O’Neill, who is the leader of this SWBT, has stated that he never met Kerry because Kerry left the Swift Boats before he arrived in the Swift Boat Unit.

  15. Sandy P Says:

    It’s called “nuance” maha.

    Do your legwork.

  16. Carl S Says:

    Seems to me that the picture of those 20 was put out there by Mr. Kerry to indicate show all these people that served with him and now support him. We then learn that not all those in the picture support him. Is it that only those who support him actually served with him? Or do the folks in the picture who don’t support him didn’t really serve with him? I’m thinking that Kerry might wish that picture never existed.

    Fact is, tho, did he really spend Christmas in Cambodia? Did he really shoot one young kid running away? Was there really fire from the shoreline after the mine went off? Why aren’t Kerry’s records getting the scouring that Bush’s did?

  17. jack white Says:

    I was originally an agnostic on the SBVT, but it appears their claims are panning out. I seriously doubt Kerry will pretend any longer to have been in Cambodia, for example. This was what firmed up my views on the group. Kerry lied through his teeth numerous times, and on the floor of the Senate, about this one issue.

    And because the SUBSTANCE of the SBVT has merit, the mainstream media has to resort to personal and ad hominem attacks on its members, and avoid, at all costs, any look into their assertions. Look for more Ron Brownstein lamentations about partisanship before he smells blood in the water and pretends to be a reporter again.

  18. sligobob Says:

    Ron Brownstein has his talking points in hand: attack the ad and the men in it and avoid the substance of the book from whcih it flows. Ron is an investigative journalist. Let’s see him ply his trade on the facts raised in the book and leave the Paul Krugmanesque treatment of the ad to well, er Paul Krugman.

  19. David Says:

    Egads Will and the rest. I think 1860 wins the nastiest election award.

  20. Glen Says:

    I kind of like this part too:

    “a group of Vietnam veterans with strong Republican ties”

    I’m looking forward to seeing how many of these guys sit with Bush 41 at the RNC – you know, like moore and carter at the DNC?

  21. pouncer Says:

    “Strong Republican ties”

    Are those the bright red ones? The silk? In a half-windsor?

  22. Sandy P Says:

    And what about the Viet Nam vets w/o strong republican ties who don’t like Cabana Boy?

  23. Lloyd Says:

    The more one looks into the facts here, the worse Kerry looks, plain and simple. In regards his band of brothers, one commenter at another site pointed out that 5 of these guys were awarded medals in the same bogusly described action that got Kerry his Silver Star. So, aside from their objectivity being tainted by their service with him, it would seem their man JFK took care of them in the medal dept as well.

    Thankfully, John O’Neal is not just some old vet making it thru life like the rest of us, but is a highly respected and successful real life trial lawyer. He may not have the $ of a Soros, but he’s making sure to dot all the i’s and cross the t’s. Witness his letter to the broadcast stations the Kerry campaign is trying to bully. There’s some good karma out there somewhere considering this guy happened to succed JFK in PF94.

    I’d love to see what these guys get in contributions as they make the Brownstein’s of this world look silly or worse.

  24. Onein Says:

    That was straight talk. Period. Thank you Will.

  25. Greg D Says:

    What year was “Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa?” According to my lazy Google search, that was 1884, which accordingly get’s MY vote for “nastiest year”. 🙂

  26. Steve Says:

    ” All the members of his crew (in the boat) that are still living, support Kerry.”

    Actually, that’s not true. Steve Gardner, who was a gunner for Kerry on one of his boats and I believe served under Kerry the longest of any of those supporting him(have to double check that)at two and a half months stands with the SBVFT. They have some good info on him at the SBVFT site including the transcripts of a recent interview.

  27. Joanna Says:

    >The media are lettin it all hang out cause Bush is their LBJ and Nixon rolled into one big war mongering target, here to unite them once again. These kinds of love ins only come along once in a generation.

    Yep, and in this generation there’s both an ethically bankrupt MSM press — and, thank you God, a better, powerful alternative …

    The alternative media versus the MSM is the David and Goliath story of our time — the disgusting and unethical corruption and IGNORANCE of the MSM will just not be able to hold the truth down.

    “With truth you can prevail whatever may assail” — I believe it was Martin Luther who said that.

  28. Joanna Says:

    >And the fact is that none of the so-called “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” served WITH Kerry. They probably didn’t even meet him in Nam. The Swift Boat Vets who served WITH Kerry — support Kerry. Imagine.

    Bring it on!!!! Ignorance will get you nowhere.

  29. N. O'Brain Says:

    The Democratic campaign’s new slogan:

    “It Takes A Kerry To Raze A Village.”

  30. Jane Says:

    I called McCain’s office to let them know that Amazon was running what McCain said about the ads being dishonorable and dishonest as an Editorial Review for the book, Unfit to Command.

    Needless to say , they were quite surprised. Told me they didn’t think he’d read the book, that what he said was about the ad; however, she put me on hold and checked with someone higher up. Came back on and said they would find out.

  31. Jane Says:

    The Swift Boat Vets who served WITH Kerry — support Kerry. Imagine. I would suggest you do some proper research on this before you say bring it on. Facts will get in your way as well as Kerry’s.

  32. Earl T Says:

    Facts? For a Democrat? Might as serve garlic to a vampire!well

  33. Patterico's Pontifications Says:

    Will Collier Slams Ron Brownstein

    Ron Brownstein’s paper, the Los Angeles Times, has already warned us that John Kerry’s Vietnam record is off limits — not “fair game” for his political opponents. So it’s no surprise that Brownstein would give Michael Moore’s lies a pass,…

  34. Slartibartfast Says:

    If Serving with Kerry means in the next boat right over there then you are full of crap.

    Guess what?If Serving with Kerry means in the next boat right over there then you are full of crap.

    Guess what?</blockquote

    That's the funniest thing I've read all day. Thanks, sponge-bob!

  35. Slartibartfast Says:

    Aw, crap.

  36. ed Says:

    Hmmm.

    Actually the most interesting thing that’s come out, but not yet completely verified, is that Kerry put in awards for his entire boat crew for the same action that won him his Silver Star.

    The one where they ended up shooting a single lone fleeing wounded teenage VC.

    Evidently the WHOLE crew got medals for this.

    Another point is, according to Kerry, he arranged for his crew to be transferred to non-combat duty when he left for Brooklyn.

    Now ain’t that interesting? Might this explain some of this loyalty? If Kerry’s Silver Star turns out to be bogus then all of their medals are also bogus. And you don’t want to know what the penalties can be for falsifying government documents.

    I’ll try to dig up the links but I’m sure they’re on JustOneMinute blog.

  37. Watcher of Weasels Says:

    Submitted for Your Approval

    First off…  any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here, and here.  Die spambots, die!  And now…  here are all the links submitted by members of the Watcher’s Council for this week’s vote. Council links:Orth…

  38. marcland Says:

    Slapping down the LA Times

    Can’t you tell the difference between the public statements of guys who actually served with Kerry (spare me the canard about not being in his particular boat–that’s nothing but obfuscating DNC spin, and you know it) and a list of third-hand conspirac…

  39. J_Crater Says:

    Before anyone else posts some stupid anti-SBVT, I suggest you check out the latest belbarblog, where former Gore speechwriter, Kenneth Baer, is left to bleed from a thousand cuts.

    I suggest that Kerry face this now, less he bleed from it for the next four years.

  40. J_Crater Says:

    Sorry for that typo, its http://beldar.blogs.com/

  41. Watcher of Weasels Says:

    The Council Has Spoken!

    First off…  any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here, and here.  Die spambots, die!  And now…  the winning entries in the Watcher’s Council vote for this week are The Black Widow Women: Female Terrorists …

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