Bruce Kesler, writing in the San Diego Union-Tribune analyzes the Swiftvets campaign and refutes many of the lies told by the media about the group.
Post mortems in the liberal press on the role that Vietnam veterans played in presidential candidate John Kerry's defeat mask the key role of the liberal press, which tried to suppress the vets' story and is distorting it now. I was there at the creation of a veterans group and all along, and know better. The American people deserve to know better too.It would be foolish to expect the press to conduct an honest postmortem when none of their coverage was honest to begin with.
In February 2004, anti-Kerry Vietnam veterans were shocked that he won the Democratic nomination. The mainstream media blessed this coronation. No one except Kerry and his advisers really wanted to revisit Vietnam, but they saw it as a way to appeal to anti and pro-war voters.Having researched the issue extensively I can attest that this is an accurate description of what took place. The Swiftvets were genuinely surprised by what they read in Kerry's hagiography, Tour of Duty, as was I. I had no knowledge of Kerry's activities in Vietnam and assumed, like many others, that his medals were well-earned and he served honorably. My research proved otherwise.
Kerry's Vietnam veteran opponents hadn't been in contact for over 30 years, so we searched each other out. Scott Swett, creator of wintersoldier.com that collected research on Kerry's protest activities, was an invaluable connector among us, creating an Internet political network that bound us together.
While we knew all too well about Kerry's anti-Vietnam protest period, we compared notes and surprised ourselves at the extent of deceptions in Kerry's self-hagiography about being a sterling war hero. It was intolerable that John Kerry brazenly glorified this suspect record to centerpiece his few months as a junior officer 35 years ago as qualification to lead the United States in this most challenging time since the Cold War.
But the media wasn't interested in the truth. They wanted to support Kerry's candidacy, and Kerry and his advisors understood that completely.
Early in the year a friend with access to the Kerry campaign warned me it was digging for any kind of dirt to destroy us. Contrary to the liberal media's story that we surprised Kerry in August, he thought the mainstream media could succeed in ignoring and stifling the Swift Boat veterans, and he had long planned a new smear campaign against us.Just like the Rather story, it was bloggers that broke the true story of the Swiftvets, but unlike the Rather story, the media never showed any interest in investigating the claims of the Swiftvets.
The surprise to the Kerry camp and liberal press was that the new media did break through and that Vietnam veterans could not be intimidated. In August, as reported by Newsweek, Kerry operatives fed negative documents and talking points to the New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe. Subsequent articles in those newspapers reflected negatively on the Swiftees.
With only one halting exception, the mainstream media refused to investigate the sworn affidavits of 60 credible witnesses to Kerry's behavior, or to follow up on the abundance of additional information given them. The New York Times repeatedly used "unsubstantiated" as its adjective describing the Swift Boat veterans' allegations without ever exerting its considerable power to investigate.
In the end, the voters decided to trust their instincts and ignored the media smear campaign. (Hat tip to "Blog of the Year" Powerline.)