A Tale of Two Coverages

Before I begin, allow me to say that it’s not “beating a dead horse” when the horse ain’t dead yet. Dan Rather is still the national news anchor for CBS: he has not retired in shame nor has he been fired. So, since the matter is not yet over, allow me to yak for a minute on a glaring instance of Leftist media hypocrisy.

On the Bush National Guard Report:

CBS decided to air a report calling into question Bush’s truthfulness about his National Guard service. Ignoring the fact that the President has signed the form permitting the release of ALL of his military records and the fact that he has confronted this issue multiple times (in Texas and nationally), the big guys at “60 Minutes,” led by their fearless leader Dan Rather, decided to plunge ahead anyway. Interestingly, the evidence for their hit-piece-disguised-as-an-investigative-report has been discredited. Consider three items:

    #1: The Killian Memos — By now everybody knows about the memos that were a central piece of evidence for the anti-Bush piece but which were likely forged. Ten-year-olds could probably tell they were fakes, but Rather and the rest of his happy band are so anti-Bush that they were sure that the “facts” in the memos were true, regardless of how fake the documents appeared. I suppose they could have been written in crayon and CBS still would have used them.

    #2: Ben Barnes — The star interviewee of the “60 Minutes” report used to say repeatedly that he didn’t get George W. Bush into the National Guard as a favor to the Bush family. Now he says he did. Oh, and by the way, in case you didn’t catch this: Barnes is an ardent Kerry supporter and a major fundraiser for the Kerry campaign. And his own daughter has questioned his truthfulness.

    #3: Bill Burkett — Newsweek reports that Mr. Burkett might well be the source of the questionable documents. Who is he? Well, Newsweek described him as “a disgruntled former Guard officer who lives in Baird, Texas.” And the Houston Chronicle reported that “Burkett’s allegations [against Bush and the Texas National Guard] have changed over the years, and have been dismissed as baseless by former Guard colleagues, state legislators and others. Even Burkett has admitted some of his allegations are false.” The Chronicle also noted: “If Burkett does prove to be the source of the documents, CBS got them from a man with a well-established history of Bush loathing. In an article Burkett wrote for the Internet last year he compared Bush to Hitler and Napoleon as one of ‘the three small men’ who sought to rule through tyranny. ‘Three small men who wanted to conquer and vanquish,’ Burkett wrote. Burkett confirmed authorship of that article in the February Chronicle interview.”

On the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth:

Unlike the way they treated Barnes and the forged memos, Rather and his cronies have not breathlessly pursued interviews with, investigative reports on, or even positive coverage of the anti-Kerry Swiftees or their book Unfit for Command. In fact, the media have done the opposite, ignoring the substance of their charges and negatively reporting on the group itself as a right-wing, Bush propaganda machine. Somehow the press have missed the fact that, unlike President Bush, John Kerry has yet to fully release all of his military records, which is what the Swiftees have been urging all along. In stark contrast to the “60 Minutes” report, the evidence for Unfit for Command has yet to be disproved — in fact, its veracity continues to be held up. Consider three items:

    #1: Unfit for CommandUnlike the Killian memos, this book is real and true (though, just like the memos, it was typed on a computer and not on an early 1970s typewriter). No one has been able to discredit this book, though the Left and their leader John Kerry are fond of calling it a “pack of lies” without offering any sort of evidence that such is the case. This book is backed up heavily with research, including affidavits, sworn testimonies, interviews, and FBI surveillance reports.

    #2: John O’Neill — The author of Unfit for Command is 100% anti-Kerry and a leader of the Swiftees. However, he’s not a Republican. In fact, he has said that he would have supported John Edwards had he won the Democratic nomination. He has not equivocated on his opinion of John Kerry over the last 30-plus years and has consistently countered Kerry’s many claims about Vietnam. But, contrary to Ben Barnes, CBS apparently considers him too partisan to be worthy of a “60 Minute” feature.

    #3: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — Over 250 of Kerry’s fellow Vietnam veterans have banded together to oppose his candidacy, yet nobody at CBS wants to take them seriously. Instead, everything they do is considered suspect because of their strong anti-Kerry stance. But, considering that Burkett is quite anti-Bush but is also the likely source of the forged National Guard memos, it seems like a bit of a double-standard on the part of CBS to ignore the Swiftees.

Of course, CBS’ rivals at ABC and NBC have been all over this Dan Rather story: they could smell the blood of their competition in the water.

But they too have yet to give John O’Neill and the rest of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and their book Unfit for Command the honest coverage they deserve.

You see, their journalistic integrity goes only so far.