web counter Media Lies: Fisking Brinkley again

Monday, August 23, 2004

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Fisking Brinkley again

I've written before about the problems with Brinkley's research, but this takes the cake!

Brinkley published an article in American History that was posted on the web today. The title of the article is John Kerry's Final Mission in Vietnam. It deals with the much discussed "No Man Left Behind" incident of March 13, 1969.

If you think Jim Rassmann has his facts confused, read this narrative:
Almost casually, the Swifts formed up and headed out from the village. The five boats had gone about half a mile when the blast came. Right where they had been hit on an earlier mission, a mine exploded directly beneath Lieutenant James Rassman's PCF-3 near Kerry's port side. Rassman's Swift lifted about two feet up out of the water, engulfed in mud and spray, then settled, rocking so hard from side to side that the boat started zigzagging from the banks to the middle of the river. Everybody on board PCF-3 was wounded. "At the same moment, we came under a hail of small-arms fire from both banks," Kerry recorded in his journal. "I turned the boat into the fire on the left with the intention of trying to get the troops ashore on the outskirts of the ambush, but Sandusky, who was driving the boat and who had his eyes glued on the crippled 3 boat, pointed out to me how badly hit they had been. We veered back toward her then and tried to provide cover from the engaged side. Suddenly another explosion went off right beside us, and the concussion threw me violently against the bulkhead on the door, and I smashed my arm. At the same instant, Jim Rassman was blown overboard, although nobody knew it. But we continued sidling up to the 3, and as we came closer I could see that her twin-.50 mount over the pilothouse had been completely blown out of its stand and had landed on the gunner. No one was moving on the stern. [PCF-3 crewman] Ken Tryner, on his first real river expedition, was kneeling dazed in the doorway with a small trickle of blood down his face, aimlessly firing his M-79."
In one paragraph Brinkley manages to place Jim Rassmann on PCF-3 which was "Rassmann's Swift" and where "everybody on board....was wounded" and then on Kerry's boat, where he was blown off by a second explosion.

This is insane. Brinkley is supposed to be an historian. Historians, by nature, are supposed to be careful researchers who sift through contradictory accounts and discern the "truthful" account. Brinkley can't even sift through one paragraph! Whatever the University of New Orleans is paying him, it's way too much! I would flunk Freshman papers with this level of sloppiness!

How can we possibly trust anything that Brinkley has written in Tour of Duty?