web counter Media Lies: Damn "journalists"!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

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Damn "journalists"!

I shut down my Mac laptop and put away the power cord, in preparation for leaving in the morning, and I picked up the newspaper to glance at the opinion section before going to bed. I should have known I couldn't do that without having to blog something.

Old media "journalists" just drive me nuts. Nicholas Kristof has a huge piece today titled Deconstructing Kerry's Vietnam War claims. Under the question, "Did Mr. Kerry deserve his Bronze Star?", Kristof writes
Yes. The Swift Boat Veterans claim that he was not facing enemy fire when he rescued a Green Beret, Jim Rassmann, but that is contradicted by those who were there, like William Rood and Mr. Rassmann (a Republican). Mr. Rassmann recommended Mr. Kerry for a Silver Star.
There should be a rule. If you can't even get your facts straight, you should not be allowed to write for major media organizations and get paid obscene amounts of money for doing so.

William Rood was not with Kerry during the Bronze Star incident, and Mr. Rassmann is not a Republican. If Kristoff is going to deconstruct Kerry's record, the least he could do is get his facts straight before writing about it! As we've seen with CBS, accuracy isn't exactly the long suit of the old media.

Under the question, "Did Mr. Kerry get his first Purple Heart for a self-inflicted wound?", Kristof writes
That's the accusation of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who say that the injury came (unintentionally) from a grenade that Mr. Kerry himself fired at the Viet Cong. It's possible that the critics are right. It's not certain that the Viet Cong were returning fire. But the only other American on the boat in a position to see anything, Bill Zaldonis (who says he voted for Mr. Bush in 2000), told me, "He was hurt, and I don't think it was self-inflicted."
The Kerry campaign has admitted that the wound was self-inflicted. Zaladonis has said that he was firing the M-60 and has no way of knowing whether there was any enemy fire or not.

Here's the facts.

  • Kristof got the facts regarding Kerry's "volunteering" for dangerous duty correct, confirming the Swiftvets accusation

  • The Swiftvets accused Kerry of lying about being in Cambodia on Christmas Eve of 1968. Kerry has admitted that he wasn't in Cambodia, under orders, on Christmas eve, confirming the Swiftvets accusation.

  • The Swiftvets accused Kerry of not deserving his first Purple Heart because the wound was self-inflicted and there was no enemy fire. Kerry has now admitted that the wound "may have been" self-inflicted and no one can substantiate Kerry's claim that there was enemy fire.

  • The Swiftvets accused Kerry of having shot a lone, fleeing enemy on the day he won his Silver Star. Kerry's own military records confirm this. His later citations exaggerate the events of that day and are directly refuted by the after action report.

  • The Swiftvets accused Kerry of conflating his "ass" injury from the rice incident with his minor contusion from the mine incident in order to get his third Purple Heart. Kerry's own hagiography and journal entries confirm that.

Kristoff concludes with this
Mr. Kerry has stretched the truth here and there, but earned his decorations. And the Swift Boat Veterans, contradicted by official records and virtually everyone who witnessed the incidents, are engaging in one of the ugliest smears in modern U.S. politics.
Here's a clue for you from the blogosphere, Nicholas. The truth is not a smear, and a smear is not the truth. Contrary to your conclusion, your own comments, while revealing your ignorance of the facts, still show that the Swiftvets have been right about several things.

I could go on, but you get the point. If you're ignorant of the facts, what sort of hubris motivates you to write about it anyway, Nicholas?