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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Now you know why it's called "ASSociated Press"
posted by Tom

You see the hysterical headline first, Swift Boat Writer Lied on Cambodia Claim, then read the breathless lead:

The chief critic of John Kerry's military record told President Nixon in 1971 that he had been in Cambodia in a swift boat during the Vietnam War — a claim at odds with his recent statements that he was not.

"I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border," said John E. O'Neill in a conversation that was taped by the former president's secret recording system. The tape is stored at the National Archives in College Park, Md.
The AP hack, Elizabeth Wolfe, one of the many Clinton Kneepadders pining away for the good old days when we were ashamed of being wealthy and capable of defending ourselves, is now no doubt holding her nose as she types up press releases for a Democratic candidate who is not only a Viet Nam veteran, but a decorated Viet Nam veteran who is proud he took part in such "war crimes" as "...free fire zones and ... harassment interdiction fire...in search-and-destroy missions in which the houses of noncombatants were burned to the ground."

Or so she and her liberal democratic colleagues have to believe if Kerry was sincere in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, where he was "...accompanied by an extraordinary band of brothers led by that American hero, a patriot named Max Cleland. Our band of brothers doesn't march together because of who we are as veterans, but because of what we learned as soldiers."

How to commit "war crimes"? Okay, I'll buy that.

Anyway, this Kerry talking-point article is an attempt, as we all know, to discredit the anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans For Truth attempt to discredit the candidate's Viet Nam War record, which unravels a little more with each passing day; specifically, his claim that he spent Christmas Eve of 1968 in Cambodia under orders from a President who was not in fact President at that time, Nixon, searching for Marlon Brando while the Khmer Rouge, Viet Cong, and drunken South Vietnamese were shooting at him. (I'm sorry, I exaggerated a little about the Marlon Brando part.)

The speed with which Non-Swift Boat Democrats for Kerry are circulating this O'Neill irrelevancy reflects their desperation in light of recent polls showing that Kerry's critics are taking a toll on what little popularity he enjoyed after the convention.

Why is this alleged "lie" of O'Neill's regarding a sojourn into Cambodia after Kerry left Viet Nam and returned to the United States to smear his colleagues irrelevant to the issue of the Heart of Darkness memories seared in Kerry's mind?

Well, as the AP press release states,

In [Unfit For Command], O'Neill wrote that Kerry's accounts of having been in Cambodia on Christmas Eve of 1968 'are complete lies'... Kerry's campaign has acknowledged that he may not have been in Cambodia on Christmas Eve of 1968, as he has previously stated. The campaign says Kerry does recall being on patrol along the Cambodia-Vietnam border on that date, although it's unclear if he crossed into Cambodia."
[Emphasis added]

Pardon us curious folks, but perhaps Ms. Wolfe should ask the Kerry campaign lackeys who dictate AP's stories how O'Neill's statement to Nixon either a.) demonstrates that John Kerry was in Cambodia on Christmas Eve, 1968, or at any other time for that matter, under orders, especially after his campaign and his own biographer have been compelled to unsear their candidate's memory; or b.) excuse John Kerry's lying about it - a dozen times, in a dozen different venues, including on the floor of the US Senate. Assuming O'Neill "lied" once to Nixon in 1971, as the headline states, how does that demonstrate Kerry didn't lie repeatedly on the subject for at least 20 years?

These cockeyed attempts by liberals to defend a candidate they secretly loathe precisely for the events in his life they are trying to defend makes you wonder if French Absurdists aren't running the editorial desks at the AP, The New York Times, and wherever else Non-Swift Boat Journalists for Liberal Democratic Rule are working. So far they have offered the following reasons why Kerry has not lied about his record even though is own campaign is slowly having to retract what he's put on the record. Kerry is telling the truth because anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans

1. Didn't serve on Kerry's swift boat, only near it. [Lest we forget, though, Max Cleland, a veteran infantryman from Viet Nam who didn't serve with Kerry at all, is an authority on Kerry's heroism as a swift boat commander, and Kerry is permitted to discuss being in Cambodia when he in fact was only near it, and 50 miles away qualifies as near. Go figure.]

2. Received a couple hundred thousand dollars from a Republican. [Pro-Kerry moveon.org's millions of dollars from Democrat George Soros is, of course, democracy in action. Go figure again.]

Now we find out they're totally untrustworthy because one of them may have once told Richard Nixon back in 1971 the same lie Kerry told everyone who would listen for over two decades. Or perhaps O'Neill told Nixon the truth about being in Cambodia after Kerry came home and threw someone else's medals away in protest against the immoral conflict in Southeast Asia and, see, this proves Kerry was under fire from the not-yet in power Khmer Rouge in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968 under orders from not-yet President Nixon.

A blind man couldn't fail to see the logic in that.

posted by Tom | 8/26/2004 07:31:00 AM
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Cambodian incursion began in late April 1970, and Swift boats were part of it. O'Neill could very well have been in Cambodia, since his tour ended later that year.

12:31 PM, August 26, 2004  
Blogger RJGatorEsq said...

Great blog.

You are too kind to Kerry when you suggest that Mr. O'Neill may have simply told the same lie Kerry told.

Here is exactly what Mr. O'Neill said to Nixon:

"I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the water."

The liberals focus on the first part. One cannot get the meaning without reading BOTH parts together, AS MR. O'NEILL SPOKE THEM.

Two points.

First, Mr. O'Neill says "I was in Cambodia," then he clarifies what he means by "in Cambodia": "I worked along the border on the water."

The two sentences form a single statement, the gist of which is, "I was on the Cambodian border."

There is no way that anyone with half an ounce of integrity could read the two sentences TOGETHER, AS MR. O'NEILL SPOKE THEM, and construe them to mean that Mr. O'Neill was claiming he was deep in-country.

Second, where a border is a waterway, the actual boundary is the midline of the waterway. I.e., even IF Mr. O'Neill said "I was in Cambodia" and did not clarify that statement further, assuming his boat went over the midline of the waterway, he was, legally, IN Cambodia.
_____________

1:52 PM, August 26, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a thought, O'Neill served on into 1970, when Nixon did invade Cambodia. I think the SeaLord operation did wind having the Swifties going further up-river.

7:22 PM, August 26, 2004  
Blogger Phil Dillon, Prairie Apologist said...

The media is missing the point here. As the "Book" says, "They're straining at gnats and swallowing camels." We Vietnam veterans aren't going away. We were defamed by Mr. Kerry in the 70's and now we're fighting mad. He'll find out just how mad on election day!

8:26 PM, August 26, 2004  
Blogger KASPAR said...

Terrific Blog. Consider yourself bookmarked.

I came across it today because of your incredible article in the WJS Online. I think it had some depth rarely seen even in this time where so much good writing is to be found.

Well done! That article is definitely going in my "Wow ... just wow" files.

10:13 PM, August 26, 2004  
Blogger Tom said...

P-Prof:

Thank you on behalf of my blog mate, and the owner of the site, Adeimantus. It's his post, "Let It Alone" (re-titled "Kerry's Lost Opportunity" at WSJ On-line) that you plan to store in your "wow" file. I'm sure he will be pleased.

2:34 PM, August 27, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever you say about Elizabeth Wolfe you are wrong. She's an accomplished writer, highly intelligent, and doesn't warrant being called a kneepadder. I like the term, but she's not one. Just a good reporter. And, as much my opinion may irk you, I'll have you know that I am Active Duty military, have deployed to both OEF and OIF, and fully support Elizabeth Wolfe's work.

7:26 PM, November 17, 2005  
Blogger Bathus said...

In response to the anonymous commenter:

While I respect, admire, and appreciate your service to our country, I cannot share your respect for Elizabeth Wolfe.

Wolfe might be just swell in person (perhaps you know her), but her reporting portfolio is filled with propagandizing for the usual left-wing causes.

Her typical method is to wax poetical for many paragraphs on behalf of her favored leftist cause, and then to throw in a line or two representing an opposing opinion to make it seem that her reporting is objective.

Some examples--

In this story Wolfe takes up the cause of an obscure pro-gay website and blatantly cheer-leads its grandstanding attempt to force Dick Cheney's famously lesbian daughter, Mary Cheney, to take a public position on homosexual marriage:

"Where's Mary? That's the question asked by a new Web site that wants the vice president's openly lesbian daughter to speak out against a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriages. Since going up last Friday, the site has received 3,000 letters from people pleading with Mary Cheney to publicly oppose the amendment."

In this story, Wolfe waxes poetical, ad nauseam about a pro-abortion march in Washington:

"Abortion-rights supporters marched in the hundreds of thousands Sunday, galvanized by what they see as an erosion of reproductive freedoms under President Bush and foreign policies that hurt women worldwide."

"The throng of demonstrators flooded the National Mall. Their target: Bush, like-minded officials in federal and state government, and religious conservatives."

"Speaking beyond the masses to policy-makers, Francis Kissling of Catholics for a Free Choice said, 'You will hear our pro-choice voices ringing in your ears until such time that you permit all women to make our own reproductive choices.'"

"Women joined the protest from across the nation and nearly 60 countries, asserting that damage from Bush's policies is spreading through measures such as the ban on federal money for family-planning groups that promote or perform abortions abroad. . . ."

"Carole Mehlman, 68, came from Tampa, Fla., to support a cause that has motivated her to march for 30 years, as long as abortion has been legal."

"'I just had to be here to fight for the next generation and the generation after that,' she said. 'We cannot let them take over our bodies, our health care, our lives.'"

"Advocates said abortion rights are being weakened at the margins through federal and state restrictions, and will be at risk of reversal at the core if Bush gets a second term."

"'Know your power and use it,' Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, House Democratic leader, exhorted the masses. 'It is your choice, not the politicians'."


The above story is nothing less than an extended free commercial for the pro-abortion position. It's the journalistic equivalent of a pep rally. Of course, if you read about fifteen paragraphs deep into the article, you'll finally see a few short (and noticeably unpoetic) paragraphs presenting the pro-life view, but one of those is used to subtly characterize pro-lifers as religious zealots. Then for the balance of the piece, Wolfe returns to the pro-abortion pep rally theme, ending the article with NARAL leader Kate Michelman's call to arms casting abortion rights activists as a fighters in noble cause: "The march is about the totality of women's lives and the right to make decisions about our lives."

Or how about this Wolfe piece, about anti-war mothers and fathers of service members:

"Susan Schuman's son writes home from Iraq complaining of poor living conditions, skimpy water rations and dozens of daily attacks on U.S. troops that go unreported."

"The mother of a Massachusetts National Guardsman stationed in Iraq since March, Schuman has joined others -- longtime pacifists, military veterans and parents with children on extended deployments -- in a campaign to bring them home."

"'Our soldiers are demoralized. They are fighting an illegal and unjustified war,' Schuman said at a news conference Wednesday introducing the campaign, Bring Them Home Now."

"They want the U.S. occupation in Iraq to end, even if they disagree on how to take care of the war-ravaged country."

"'I want to bring them all home now and let the Iraqi people determine the future of Iraq,' said Stan Goff of Raleigh, North Carolina, a military veteran whose son is serving in Iraq."


Like the abortion article, the piece just quoted is not objective journalism, but is a blatant free advertisement for an anti-war group. And as in the abortion story, to maintain a claim to objectivity, Wolfe tosses in just a couple of lines representing the opposing point of view, but the purpose of the article is clear enough. Read it for yourself and you'll see what I mean. And in case the reader is too dense to figure out how he's suppose to react to the story, Wolfe ends the piece with a sales pitch on behalf of her protagonists: "Organizers are urging people to press their senators and representatives to bring troops home."

If you need still more evidence, read this Wolfe promotion of a boycott of Canadian seafood to protest seal-hunting. In fairness to Wolfe, she does let the pro-seal-hunting side of the story make a few good points. (One suspects her editor demanded a more balanced account than Wolfe herself is inclined to deliver.) But as is Wolfe's method, the leftist view gets the lede--and the poetry. In fact, the bulk of Wolfe's reporting of the leftist side of the seal story story is taken pretty much verbatim from a Humane Society press release. (In you aren't sure how you feel about the whole thing, as a bonus, the article includes a picture of a bloody seal being dragged across the ice.)

And there's plenty more where these came from.

Wolfe is not an objective journalist. She's a leftist with an agenda, and she pushes that agenda in almost every story she writes.

In some instances, her bias is less obvious than in others, but even in the more neutral-sounding pieces, the overall bias is there to see if you are alert to it.

That bias becomes yet more obvious when you consider the body of her journalistic work as a whole, with its excessive attention to all the "pet" leftist issues (e.g., medical marijuana, environmentalism, gay rights, abortion, women's rights, anti-war protests, social welfare funding, anti-globalization protests, etc.), a focus which reminds one of the dozens and dozens of "objective" stories the NY Times devoted to Augusta Country Club's exclusion of women. Yes, each of those stories seemed more-or-less objective taken individually. But at some point you have to ask, how many barrels of ink does an "objective" newspaper spill on stories about Augusta Country Club?

Perhaps, in some other people's eyes (not in mine), Wolfe's unrestrained leftist bias doesn't mean she isn't a good reporter. And of course, her leftist bias certainly doesn't entirely negate the possibility that she's "intelligent" and an "accomplished writer," as was Karl Marx, I suppose.

But Tom had it right: "Kneepadder" is the best word to describe her in the sense that, to get what she wants, Wolfe is perfectly willing to compromise her (journalistic)integrity.

10:06 PM, November 17, 2005  

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