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August 19, 2004

Our Balanced Media: Numbers Don't Lie

Just submitted to the Ace of Spades HQ Washington desk by correspondent Aaron Burr:

[T]o date, The Washington Post has printed 1 story mentioning Kerry's "Apocalypse Now" fantasy in Cambodian waters. The New York Times? 0.

Yet, a NEXIS search of "Bush" w/10 "National Guard" w/10 "records" pulls up a whopping 34 such stories in the Post alone. Including nasty digs by Art Buchwald and Richard Cohen and such headlines as --

Bush's War-Era Records Damaged; Alabama Service Still Not Verified (July 10, 2004)

Bush's Guard Service In Question; Democrats Say President Shirked His
Duty in 1972 (Feb. 3, 2004)

Few Can Offer Confirmation Of Bush's Guard Service; Friends and
Acquaintances Lack Firsthand Knowledge (Feb. 15, 2004)

Many Gaps In Bush's Guard Records; Released Papers Do Not Document Ala.
Service (Feb. 14, 2004)

And the Times? 43 stories, including the expected Frank Rich sneer ("faded
into the memory hole along with the sketchy details of George W.'s Vietnam-dodging sashay through the Texas Air National Guard") and such headlines as --

Seeking Memories of Bush At an Alabama Air Base (Feb. 13, 2004)

Move to Screen Bush File in 90's Is Reported (Feb. 12, 2004)


When conservatives complain about the press' single-minded focus on Republican scandals, they counter by piously informing us that they are compelled to investigate any and all allegations until they've discovered the truth.

Isn't it terribly odd how that requirement vanishes into the ether when there's a liberal scandal?

MSNBC actually deigned to lower itself to report, obliquely, on the Kerry allegations.

The headline?

Military records counter a Kerry critic

Which of course suggests that new information has rubbished a charge.

But the facts say nothing of the sort. The "military records" which "counter" the Kerry critic are simply the official Naval records, which the critic has acknowledged as being the official records -- his charge has been all along that Kerry falsified his reports to get those medals, so the official naval account, taken largely from Kerry's self-reporting, do little to prove the actual historical record one way or another.

After promising, in the headline, that "records counter" the charges, the lib/reporter allows that the facts remain undetermined:

Thurlow and other anti-Kerry veterans have repeatedly alleged that Kerry was the author of an after-action report that described how his boat came under enemy fire. Kerry campaign researchers dispute that assertion, and there is no convincing documentary evidence to settle the argument. As the senior skipper in the flotilla, Thurlow might have been expected to write the after-action report for March 13, but he said that Kerry routinely "duked the system" to present his version of events.

For much of the episode, Kerry was not in a position to know firsthand what was happening on Thurlow's boat, as Kerry's boat had sped down the river after the mine exploded under another boat. He later returned to provide assistance to the stricken boat.

Gee-- how on earth did it come to be that the most-read part of the article states that "records counter" the Kerry allegation, when an actual account of the record, buried deep into the article, admits that there's "no convincing documentary evidence" to disprove or prove the main charge (i.e., that Kerry falsified the account)?

I wonder. I really do.

At any rate, this is the sort of grudging, "Records Disprove Kerry Charges (actually, maybe they don't)" coverage is the very best we can expect from our supremely objective media.

The good news, however, is that they are being forced against their will to cover the allegations at all.

There was never any proof for the Bush AWOL allegations, either-- in fact, quite a lot of evidence disproving those allegations. And yet those allegations stuck in the public's mind to a large degree.

Welcome to the party, pal.

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posted by Ace at 01:36 AM

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