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ABC Champions Cheney Noting Gay Daughter, Disagreement with Bush --8/25/2004


1. ABC Champions Cheney Noting Gay Daughter, Disagreement with Bush
CBS, CNN, FNC and NBC all covered how Vice President Cheney on Tuesday talked about how one of his daughters is gay and made clear that he disagrees with President Bush's position on same-sex marriage, but ABC considered his comments to be the most important news of the day as World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson led by trumpeting how Cheney became "the most powerful politician in American history to acknowledge that he has a child who is gay." Gibson emphasized how Cheney "expressed a position on gay marriage fundamentally different from the policy that President Bush has laid out for the administration."

2. ABC: Kerry Made Vietnam "Central Pillar," NBC Gives Swiftie Case
ABC on Tuesday night pegged a story to how in an appearance in New York City John Kerry blasted President Bush for "hiding behind front groups saying anything and doing anything to avoid the real issues that matter," but reporter Dan Harris noted how the Bush campaign "pointed out that it is Kerry who has attacked the President's service record." World News Tonight then played an April clip of Kerry on ABC denigrating Bush as "a President who can't even show or prove that he showed up for duty in the National Guard." Harris also suggested that "Senator Kerry cannot easily walk away from this discussion over his past" since "he is the one who made his Vietnam War record a central pillar of his campaign." Tuesday's NBC Nightly News finally got around to actually detailing the recollections of a member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as Lisa Myers compared the claims of Larry Thurlow to those of Kerry-backers and she even pointed out how in one of the medal instances "there also are inconsistencies in Kerry's version of events."

3. O'Neill Finally Gets on Morning Show, Challenged by CBS's Smith
Only 105 days after the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth appeared in a Washington press conference (May 4), Tuesday CBS's Early Show became the first broadcast network morning news program to interview a member of the group, John O'Neill, author of Unfit to Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry. But Smith interrupted O'Neill with protests ("hang on a second...no, no, no, you listen for a second"), while he presented the other guest, Paul Alexander, as merely a filmmaker, and asked him two softball questions. In fact, Alexander has written a book celebrating Kerry so heartily that Publishers Weekly called it "a shallow campaign hagiography."

4. USA Today Resurrects Bush Guard Service, Presses for His Records
On Tuesday's Fox and Friends on FNC, E.D. Hill noted how that day's USA Today resurrected the controversy over President Bush's National Guard record, prompting guest Larry Sabato, a professor at the University of Virginia, to point out how when left-wing groups launched anti-Bush ad campaigns on that subject and others that "somehow did not raise any media stink. The media really didn't seem to care." A page before a USA Today story headlined, "2 vets say Swift Boat group misrepresents them," the paper indeed headlined an article: "Questions about Bush's Guard service unanswered: No explanation in files released by White House." That story pointed out how "at least a half-dozen news organizations, including USA Today, have filed new requests for Bush's military records under the Freedom of Information Act." But the USA Today article on Kerry didn't mention anything about any media interest in Kerry's records, since there apparently isn't any.

5. Derogatory Matthews Continues to Distort Exchange with Malkin
Chris Matthews on Monday night continued his apparently deliberate distortion of what Michelle Malkin said on his show last Thursday as he derogatorily referred to how "there was a woman on the show the other night, Michelle Malkin or something, who was discussing in rather loose terms the idea that maybe John Kerry had purposely wounded himself to win a Purple Heart." Kerry's sycophantic biographer Douglas Brinkley then declared: "I feel it is a completely irresponsible comment and she needs to apologize for making it. There's no evidence that says John Kerry ever shot himself." But Malkin never said Kerry "shot himself." It was Matthews who made up that charge. Pat Buchanan pointed out to Matthews that Malkin was just relaying what was in John O'Neill's book: "What she was saying was right from the book that it was a 'self-inflicted wound,' probably by a grenade that hit the rocks in front of Kerry."

6. Schneider: Kerry a "Military Hero" Who Is Victim of a "Smear"
CNN political analyst Bill Schneider stated as a fact on Tuesday that John Kerry "is a legitimate military hero," with an emphasis on "is," and since "I haven't seen any substantiation of those Swift Boat Veterans charges," he declared that "it was a smear campaign." Schneider also defended the basis on which left-wing groups tar President Bush as a "liar" over WMD in Iraq, but when asked, "Bill Clinton and Al Gore also said they had them, were they liars too?", Schneider shot back: "Well, they didn't take the country into war." Schneider didn't make his comments, however, on CNN, where it's hard to imagine Judy Woodruff ever pressing him with the Clinton/Gore said the same thing point, but during what grew into a contentious interview with Steve Gill, morning drive host on WTN-FM radio in Nashville.


ABC Champions Cheney Noting Gay Daughter,
Disagreement with Bush

CBS, CNN, FNC and NBC all covered how Vice President Cheney on Tuesday talked about how one of his daughters is gay and made clear that he disagrees with President Bush's position on same-sex marriage, but ABC considered his comments to be the most important news of the day as World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson led by trumpeting how Cheney became "the most powerful politician in American history to acknowledge that he has a child who is gay." Gibson emphasized how Cheney "expressed a position on gay marriage fundamentally different from the policy that President Bush has laid out for the administration."

Gibson's excitement over "the most powerful politician in American history" came less than two weeks after anchor Elizabeth Vargas, in the wake of New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey's announcement of his sexual orientation, celebrated how "another boundary of American politics has been crossed today" with "the highest-ranking American politician to identify himself as gay."

The CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday night held their coverage to an anchor-summarized item with a soundbite from Cheney at a town hall-type forum in Davenport, Iowa.

But ABC devoted a full story from Claire Shipman whose story suggested that during next week's GOP convention the media will try to play up intra-party disagreement on the subject: "It was already promising to be a thorny issue during the Republican Convention. And, today, conservative Republicans said they were disappointed in the Vice President's comments."

Gibson teased at the top of the August 24 broadcast: "On World News Tonight, for the first time, Vice President Dick Cheney acknowledges that his daughter is gay. His personal views on gay marriage differ from administration policy."

Gibson opened the newscast, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "Good evening. We start tonight with the most powerful politician in American history to acknowledge that he has a child who is gay. Vice President Dick Cheney did just that today when asked his thoughts on gay marriage. As he answered the question, the Vice President expressed a position on gay marriage fundamentally different from the policy that President Bush has laid out for the administration. Here's ABC's Claire Shipman."

Without mentioning where the event took place (Davenport}, Shipman began: "The issue came in a campaign town hall meeting, where the questions are not usually this pointed."
Woman in audience: "I need to know, what do you think about homosexual marriages?"
Dick Cheney: "Lynne and I have a gay daughter. So it's an issue our family is very familiar with. We have two daughters, and we have enormous pride in both of them."
Shipman: "It's the first time the Vice President has ever publicly addressed the fact that his daughter, Mary, who helps to run his campaign, is gay, although she herself has been open about it."
Cheney: "With respect to the question of relationships, my general view is that freedom means freedom for everyone."
Shipman: "In February, President Bush proposed a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage."
George W. Bush, February 24: "Today, I call upon the Congress to promptly pass an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and a woman."
Shipman: "Since then, the Vice President has been in a difficult position. In 2000, he said the issue of gay marriage should be left up to the states. And the Vice President doesn't like to publicize his differences with the President."
Wolf Blitzer, CNN anchor, March 2, 2004: "So you support it?"
Cheney: "I support the President."
Shipman: "Today, however, he made plain that his view is different than the President's."
Cheney: "That's appropriately a matter for the states to decide. That's how it ought to best be handled. At this point, my own preference is as I've stated. But the President makes basic policy for the administration."
Shipman: "It was already promising to be a thorny issue during the Republican Convention. And, today, conservative Republicans said they were disappointed in the Vice President's comments."
Genevieve Wood, Family Research Council: "The Vice President's remarks today are disappointing. The fact is, I think it sends a mixed message to voters. Where does the administration stand on this issue?"
Shipman: "But gay Republican groups welcome the move."
Patrick Guerrero, Log Cabin Republicans: "It was a break with the President. And it reminds all of us why the Republican party ought not to divide this country."
Shipman: "Tonight, the Cheney campaign says the Vice President's comments are not markedly different from anything he said in the past. The White House also trying to downplay it, noting the Vice President made the President's position plain. But what is notable here, Charlie, is that six days before a carefully-crafted, well-organized Republican convention, the Vice President obviously decided that the personal was more important than the political."

To the delight of reporters who will surely pursue the split amongst conservatives.

ABC: Kerry Made Vietnam "Central Pillar,"
NBC Gives Swiftie Case

ABC on Tuesday night pegged a story to how in an appearance in New York City John Kerry blasted President Bush for "hiding behind front groups saying anything and doing anything to avoid the real issues that matter," but reporter Dan Harris noted how the Bush campaign "pointed out that it is Kerry who has attacked the President's service record." World News Tonight then played an April clip of Kerry on ABC denigrating Bush as "a President who can't even show or prove that he showed up for duty in the National Guard." Harris also suggested that "Senator Kerry cannot easily walk away from this discussion over his past" since "he is the one who made his Vietnam War record a central pillar of his campaign."

Tuesday's NBC Nightly News finally got around to actually detailing the recollections of a member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as Lisa Myers compared the claims of Larry Thurlow to those of Kerry-backers and she even pointed out how in one of the medal instances "there also are inconsistencies in Kerry's version of events. His medal citation says his arm was 'bleeding and in pain,' but a doctor's report refers only to a contusion, or bruise."

(NBC Nightly News is finally catching up after ignoring the swift boater's May 4 press conference and then worrying more about how they could get away with free speech than what they had to say. Not until the August 6 NBC Nightly News did the show mention the charges. Tom Brokaw announced that "a harsh political ad attacking Senator John Kerry's Vietnam war record is putting the spotlight back on the independent organizations which are called 527's. They're raising money and running ads separate from the campaigns and the parties themselves. And as NBC's Andrea Mitchell tells us tonight, the campaign finance law supposed to fix the system left this very big loophole." Mitchell, who fretted that they "may get away with it," failed to air any of the audio from the ad, but she ominously reminded viewers that "some of the same players organized anonymous attack ads against John McCain four years ago, when he was running against George Bush." Mitchell lamented how "at a campaign picnic today, the President refused to disavow it." See: www.mediaresearch.org )

A full rundown of the Tuesday night, August 24 ABC and NBC stories, plus a look back to how the networks spun in favor of him the controversy over whether Kerry threw away his medals:

-- ABC's World News Tonight. Anchor Charles Gibson noted: "Senator John Kerry was in New York City today with people in his campaign talking about trying to change the emphasis from the debate over his service in Vietnam to issues of policy. Mr. Kerry ended up giving a speech about both. And he accused the Bush campaign and its allies of using the tactics of fear and smear. ABC's Dan Harris covers the Kerry campaign for us."

Harris began: "Just six days before the Republican Convention begins here, John Kerry came to New York City to accuse the President -- this time, indirectly -- of being behind Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group of anti-Kerry veterans running TV ads."
John Kerry: "My duty is to be a President who tells the truth instead of hiding behind front groups saying anything and doing anything to avoid the real issues that matter."
Harris: "The Bush campaign has repeatedly denied any link to the group and today pointed out that it is Kerry who has attacked the President's service record."
Kerry on GMA from West Virginia on April 26: "This comes from a President who can't even show or prove that he showed up for duty in the National Guard." [See below for more]
Marc Racicot, Bush Campaign Chairman: "They try to present themselves as victims here. And that's just simply not the case at the hands of this campaign, this administration or this President."
Harris: "Kerry's visit to New York had two other purposes: To try to preempt the Republican Convention by dismissing it as a parade of, quote, 'empty slogans,' before it even begins, and to try to refocus the campaign debate away from the current controversy. While many of the claims from the anti-Kerry veterans have been discredited, they have dominated the news for weeks, distracting attention away from the issues on which the Kerry campaign thinks it can win, such as health care and the economy."
Kerry: "Should we continue a failed fiscal policy that says to middle class families: 'Tax cuts for Halliburton and Enron and those who make more than $200,000 a year are more important than tax cuts for you'?"
Harris: "But Senator Kerry cannot easily walk away from this discussion over his past. He is the one who made his Vietnam War record a central pillar of his campaign. Dan Harris, ABC News, New York."

That April 26 clip of Gibson came when questions were being raised about whether Kerry really threw away his own medals at a 1971 protest march, a controversy the media spun in Kerry's favor, as documented in the April 27 CyberAlert:
John Kerry appeared on Monday's Good Morning America on ABC to respond to evidence he's contradicted himself on throwing away his war medals, but instead of making Kerry's credibility the focus of the day's news, ABC and the other networks painted Kerry's post-Vietnam War actions as an unfair burden and/or Kerry as a victim of unfair attacks from pro-Bush political operatives. Peter Jennings framed the story around Kerry's "dilemma: After brave and honorable service in Vietnam, a post-war record that dogs him." CBS's Dan Rather portrayed the Bush team as the aggressor: "The Bush-Cheney re-election campaign launched another attack today on Democratic challenger..." NBC's Kelly O'Donnell ignored ABC's role as she blamed "political digging" and claimed questions about the "credibility" of both candidates had been "renewed." CNN anchor Aaron Brown framed the news through a prism hostile to Bush as he recited a litany of supposed Bush-Cheney failures as he implied disgust at how they still had the chutzpah to criticize Kerry. www.mediaresearch.org

-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw set up the August 24 story: "Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry was in New York City today in advance of the Republican Convention, which kicks off here in less than a week. Kerry said the Bush campaign is using, quote, 'fear and smear tactics to avoid debating the real issues facing Americans.' He's referring in part to the campaign by a group of Vietnam veterans, some with ties to Bush allies and other Republicans, to try to discredit Kerry's war service. NBC's senior investigative correspondent, Lisa Myers, sat down with one of those anti-Kerry veterans who disputes the central events of Kerry's Vietnam experience."
Jim Rassmann: "-not just because 35 years ago, John Kerry saved my life-"
Myers: "Former Green Beret Jim Rassmann says on March 13, 1969, an injured John Kerry plucked him from the river in the face of enemy fire, for which Kerry was awarded a Bronze Star and a third Purple Heart. 35 years later, this man, former swift boat Lieutenant Larry Thurlow, is leading the charge to discredit this key chapter of Kerry's story, claiming there was no enemy fire and that Kerry exaggerated his injuries."
Larry Thurlow: "He lied to manufacture that third Purple Heart. The plan was to use his Vietnam experience and use that as a platform into basically a career in politics."
Myers: "Here's what everyone agrees on. Five swift boats come to a series of poles and fishing nets stretched across the river. Three boats go around to the left and two, including Kerry's, go right. A mine explodes under the lead boat on the left, badly injuring the crew. Kerry's boat races through on the right. In the ensuing chaos, Rassmann falls into the river, and Kerry pulls him out. Kerry was honored for 'great personal courage under fire.' But Thurlow, two other swift boat skippers and an enlisted man are now saying there was no enemy fire."
Thurlow: "We took no enemy fire from either bank. There's not one man wounded. There's not one bullet hole that day in any boat."
Myers: "This battle damage report from Kerry's boat does not show any bullet holes, but this one from Thurlow's boat does. Three .30 caliber bullet holes. Thurlow claims that damage was from a sniper the day before. What's more, Thurlow also received a Bronze Star for heroism that day, and his own citation repeatedly refers to, quote, 'enemy bullets flying about him.' If this is false, why did you accept the Bronze Star? And will you now return it?"
Thurlow: "I knew it was false, but nobody else was going to see it. I accepted it because I felt at the time I'd been given the thing because I'd saved the wounded on the boat and saved the boat."
Myers: "Thurlow says if being under enemy fire is required to earn the medal, he will give it back. Rassmann, Kerry's crew, and an enlisted man on another boat insist Kerry was under significant enemy fire."
Rassmann: "He put his life on the line by coming out of that pilot house and coming up and pulling me onto the deck. There was fire there. He thought he was going to get killed. I was amazed he didn't get killed."
Myers: "For you to be right, all available military documentation would have to be wrong. And all those vets supporting Kerry would have to be mistaken or lying."
Thurlow: "Yes, they would."
Myers: "There also are inconsistencies in Kerry's version of events. His medal citation says his arm was 'bleeding and in pain,' but a doctor's report refers only to a contusion, or bruise. Thurlow, a Republican, acknowledges that his memory may be colored by anger over Kerry's subsequent public opposition to the war, a war still being waged today."

MSNBC.com has posted video of the Myers story, though via only MSN's proprietary video service: www.msnbc.msn.com

O'Neill Finally Gets on Morning Show,
Challenged by CBS's Smith

Only 105 days after the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth appeared in a Washington press conference (May 4), Tuesday CBS's Early Show became the first broadcast network morning news program to interview a member of the group, John O'Neill, author of Unfit to Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry. But Smith interrupted O'Neill with protests ("hang on a second...no, no, no, you listen for a second"), while he presented the other guest, Paul Alexander, as merely a filmmaker, and asked him two softball questions. In fact, Alexander has written a book celebrating Kerry so heartily that Publishers Weekly called it "a shallow campaign hagiography."

[The MRC's Tim Graham submitted this item for CyberAlert]

CBS's Harry Smith & John O'Neill In the 7:30am half hour, Smith began the August 24 segment to which CBS allocated just five and a half minutes: "Senator John Kerry's service during the Vietnam War has become a campaign focal point. For the first time President Bush went on the record in an attempt to distance himself from a series of privately sponsored attack ads that calls Kerry's war record into question. Two men with opposite views on the subject are John O'Neill, who wrote the book Unfit for Command, Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry; and Paul Alexander, the director of a new documentary called Brothers in Arms, that includes interviews with veterans who served alongside Kerry. Good morning, gentlemen. Mr. O'Neill, let me start with you. Basically your contention in this book is John Kerry did not deserve the medals he was awarded and he was not fit as a commander. Is that not true?"

O'Neill, appearing via satellite from Houston, agreed, saying Kerry "wildly exaggerated his record in Vietnam and second, more important to us, he lied about our record in Vietnam and our unit's record."

Smith then asked Alexander an easy, open-ended question: "You've done this documentary, you actually interviewed the people who served with John Kerry on the boat he commanded. What do they have to say?" Alexander, in New York, insisted that "if you're looking at the story as an objective journalist, the people that you would believe are the ones who did serve directly with him and that would have been the crew of the 94th and their story is completely different than what Mr. O'Neill and his colleagues are saying."

Smith began to rip at O'Neill's credibility: "Mr. O'Neill, isn't there some credibility to this from the standpoint that the people that you interviewed for your book were at least secondarily, even tertiarily, removed from the exact combat in question here?"
O'Neill: "Not at all. There are more than 60 people who are direct eyewitnesses. This contention that only people on the same boat know what's going on when you have boats that are within ten yards of each other is being laughed at, Harry, by Navy guys all over the United States."

Smith then challenged O'Neill with the Kerry talking points: "A couple of people who have laid low over the past couple of weeks and even months and years have come out. One commander, Rich Baker, who was in a boat right apparently right next to Mr. Kerry's in the Washington Post this morning says he was 'the most aggressive officer in charge of swift boats.' He goes on to say 'John Kerry was one step above the rest of us.' That doesn't sound like it squares up with what your guys are saying." (Smith did not tell viewers that Mr. Baker said this on a Kerry-Edwards campaign-organized phone call to journalists. The Post's headline: "Kerry Team Lines Up Vietnam Witnesses.")

O'Neill replied in part: "That's right. He's got four officers, including Rich Baker, out of 23, Harry. There are 17 that have condemned him."

Smith then returned to Alexander with another softball: "What do the people you have interviewed have to say about this campaign that's aimed at Senator Kerry?" Alexander replied: "They all believe it's politically motivated" and dismissed the Swift Boat vets as missing from the scene: "Do we believe someone who wasn't on the boat with Kerry or do we believe the men who were there who describe what happened to them in detail and remarkably accurately?" Smith did not rebut Alexander with the fact that the other three living commanders on the scene of the central Kerry campaign story -- his pulling Jim Rassmann out of the Bay Hap River, winning a Bronze Star -- signed up with O'Neill's group.

Smith then fired another fastball at O'Neill: "You know, people are saying you've got an axe to grind that goes all the way back to the Vietnam War and that you're really problem with all of this is that you don't like what John Kerry had to say after the war."
O'Neill spoke for eleven seconds: "It is correct that I don't like what he said afterwards but that's not, there are 254 of us, Harry, the people in my book includes all the guys in the other boats. The most important-"
Smith interrupted: "It's not all the guys in the other boats and hang on a second. You've just-"
O'Neill: "Hang on a second."
Smith, pointing his finger: "No, no, no, you listen for a second because here's the guy-"
O'Neill: "That's not true."
Smith: "-from the Chicago Tribune yesterday who says 'armed with stories I know not to be true.'"
O'Neill: "You can sit, Harry, and compare Mr. Rood's account with the book and you'll find that it's virtually word for word the same as the book except that Mr. Rood claims that the Viet Cong who was chased by John Kerry was an adult male in black pajamas, my account followed exactly the one of [Boston Globe reporter] Michael Kranish, his other biographer. In addition-"
Alexander interrupted: "But he wasn't, Harry, he wasn't there, he wasn't there that day. Michael Kranish wasn't there that day." That's a weird argument, since Kranish is a Boston Globe reporter, and never claimed to be present.

Smith ended the interview over crosstalk. But other than suggesting Alexander was on the opposite side of O'Neill, Smith ignored how much of a Kerry partisan he was, even as he claimed to have the viewpoint of an "objective journalist." The Amazon.com page on Alexander's book, The Candidate: Behind John Kerry's Remarkable Run for the White House, includes this negative review from Publishers Weekly:
"Tall, lean, heroic and 'decidedly Lincolnesque' is the portrait of John Kerry that emerges from this shallow campaign hagiography...Vignettes include a breathless recap of Kerry's Vietnam exploits, tearful communions with fellow veterans, manly photo ops of the candidate piloting a chopper or blasting pheasants from the sky, and a snuggly interview in which Kerry and wife Teresa Heinz talk about their relationship. Substantive issues, like Kerry's ties to corporate lobbyists and support of NAFTA and the war in Iraq, or Heinz's refusal to release her tax returns, are fleetingly mentioned and then dropped without comment. Instead, Alexander channels his critical impulses entirely into a gloating attack on the Howard Dean campaign (and, in particular, on Dean's 'bizarre' and 'unsettling' howl during the Iowa primary), accusations of anti-Kerry bias among the media, and pointed rehashes of Bush's questionable military record."

For the Amazon page: www.amazon.com

USA Today Resurrects Bush Guard Service,
Presses for His Records

On Tuesday's Fox and Friends on FNC, E.D. Hill noted how that day's USA Today resurrected the controversy over President Bush's National Guard record, prompting guest Larry Sabato, a professor at the University of Virginia, to point out how when left-wing groups launched anti-Bush ad campaigns on that subject and others that "somehow did not raise any media stink. The media really didn't seem to care." A page before a USA Today story headlined, "2 vets say Swift Boat group misrepresents them," the paper indeed headlined an article: "Questions about Bush's Guard service unanswered: No explanation in files released by White House."

That story pointed out how "at least a half-dozen news organizations, including USA Today, have filed new requests for Bush's military records under the Freedom of Information Act." But the USA Today article about Kerry didn't mention anything about any media interest in Kerry's records, since there apparently isn't any, and didn't cite any calls for records to be released even though the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have called upon Kerry to allow the Navy to release his records and the fact that Kerry has barred his biographer, Douglas Brinkley, from sharing Kerry's Vietnam diary and other documents he provided to Brinkley, with any journalists.

Why isn't that painted by the media as a cover up?

The MRC's Megan McCormack caught this exchange on the August 24 Fox and Friends:

E.D. Hill: "USA Today, today brought up the George Bush controversy again. It's been several months now. Have we seen the same reaction to the John Kerry, this anti-John Kerry ad as you saw to the anti-Bush stuff back then?"
Larry Sabato: "No, and E.D. I think you have made a good point. Earlier when you suggested that these 527 ads when they were almost all Democratic, moveon.org and the Media Fund and all of the rest of it run by mainly Democratic activists, people close to Kerry, somehow did not raise any media stink. The media really didn't seem to care."
Hill: "No, they didn't."
Sabato: "You know, honestly I have many, many friends in the media and I talk with them about this whole subject of bias, but here is a classic case of double-standard bias. When one side does something, it's okay. There's no comment about it. Nobody cares. When the other side does it, it's the worst thing to happen since the American Revolution. It's just absurd."

Page 6A of the August 24 USA Today featured this headline: "Questions about Bush's Guard service unanswered: No explanation in files released by White House"

An excerpt from the top of the article by Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard:

At a time when Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has come under fire from a group of retired naval officers who say he lied about his combat record in Vietnam, questions about President Bush's 1968-73 stint in the Texas Air National Guard remain unresolved:

- Why did Bush, described by some of his fellow officers as a talented and enthusiastic pilot, stop flying fighter jets in the spring of 1972 and fail to take an annual physical exam required of all pilots?

- What explains the apparent gap in the president's Guard service in 1972-73, a period when commanders in Texas and Alabama say they never saw him report for duty and records show no pay to Bush when he was supposed to be on duty in Alabama?

- Did Bush receive preferential treatment in getting into the Guard and securing a coveted pilot slot despite poor qualifying scores and arrests, but no convictions, for stealing a Christmas wreath and rowdiness at a football game during his college years?

The White House has released hundreds of pages of records, but the files released so far haven't answered those questions. Since the documents were released in February, at least a half-dozen news organizations, including USA TODAY, have filed new requests for Bush's military records under the Freedom of Information Act.

In an e-mail to USA TODAY last week, presidential spokesman Dan Bartlett said, "The president has authorized the release of his records, and we are complying with all requests. Some are taking longer than others, but all will be addressed."...

Bush said in a TV interview in February that he would make all his military records available. That month, the White House released more than 400 pages of Bush military records, including some duplicates, and said the documents were a complete catalog of his personnel files.

But some documents still have not been made public. The White House did not release Bush's medical records from his Guard files but allowed a group of reporters who cover the White House to review them for 20 minutes. They found nothing unusual. Kerry released some of his military records this year. He has also declined to release his complete medical records but showed them to reporters as Bush did....

The Associated Press filed a lawsuit this summer requesting copies of Bush's military records stored in a Texas archive on microfilm. It sought information that might explain why Bush did not take his flight physical and whether he showed up for duty in Alabama in the fall of 1972, AP spokesman John Stokes said.

END of Excerpt

For the USA Today story in full: www.usatoday.com

On the facing page, 7A, USA Today readers saw, "2 vets say Swift Boat group misrepresents them: Bush: All independent attack ads should stop"

For that article by Andrea Stone, about how two swift vets complained that the Web site for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth mis-labeled them as non-supporters of Kerry when they do back him: www.usatoday.com

Derogatory Matthews Continues to Distort
Exchange with Malkin

Chris Matthews on Monday night continued his apparently deliberate distortion of what Michelle Malkin said on his show last Thursday as he derogatorily referred to how "there was a woman on the show the other night, Michelle Malkin or something, who was discussing in rather loose terms the idea that maybe John Kerry had purposely wounded himself to win a Purple Heart." Kerry's sycophantic biographer Douglas Brinkley then declared: "I feel it is a completely irresponsible comment and she needs to apologize for making it. There's no evidence that says John Kerry ever shot himself." But Malkin never said Kerry "shot himself." It was Matthews who made up that charge. Pat Buchanan pointed out to Matthews that Malkin was just relaying what was in John O'Neill's book: "What she was saying was right from the book that it was a 'self-inflicted wound,' probably by a grenade that hit the rocks in front of Kerry."

"Self-inflicted" does not mean on purpose and no one in O'Neill's book, nor Malkin on the August 19 Hardball, ever said that Kerry "shot himself." Only Matthews came up with that slam at Kerry.

The table of contents summary from the August 23 CyberAlert:
Chris "The Bully" Matthews. In an interview segment on last Thursday's Hardball on MSNBC, which generated a lot of talk radio attention on Friday, including an appearance on Rush Limbaugh's radio show by conservative columnist and author Michelle Malkin, Matthews went ballistic when Malkin related how John O'Neill's book, Unfit for Command, argued that John Kerry's wounds, for which he received his purple hearts, were "self-inflicted." Matthews, apparently unaware of the book's content, hammered away at her, demanding repeatedly that she acknowledge that she was ludicrously charging that Kerry "shot himself on purpose." Since Kerry never got a bullet wound, Matthews's "shot himself" formulation was bizarre. An excerpt below from Malkin's illuminating blog entry on her ordeal.

See the full CyberAlert item with the blog excerpt: www.mediaresearch.org

The MRC's Geoff Dickens caught this exchange, on Monday's Hardball on MSNBC, in which Matthews not only refused to admit his distortion of Malkin's point, but repeated it:

Matthews: "Welcome back to Hardball. Before we go to Dick Cavett, we want to get some final thoughts from Doug Brinkley and Stanley Karnow. Let me go to Doug Brinkley on a hot point on this program. Doug, there was a woman on the show the other night, Michelle Malkin or something, who was discussing in rather loose terms the idea that maybe John Kerry had purposely wounded himself to win a Purple Heart. Where would she get such an idea?"
Doug Brinkley: "Well, from the Internet, from talk radio. You know this is a right-wing August takedown on John Kerry, and rumors, and accusations, innuendoes flying. And that's just how, how gutter politics is played sometimes in America. It's a, I feel it is a completely irresponsible comment and she needs to apologize for making it. There's no evidence that says John Kerry ever shot himself."
Matthews: "Just a minute, Pat, we'll be back in a minute here. But do you want to say something?"
Buchanan: "Yeah, I do want to say something. Chris, I saw the show you did with Malkin. And there was, there was a misconnection there. She said-"
Matthews: "No, there wasn't. I asked her a dozen times to clarify what she was saying."
Buchanan: "She said, was it a 'self-inflicted wound'? And she said yes. And you were saying, was it purposefully done by Kerry? She should have said, no, it was the-"
Matthews: "Why didn't she say it when I gave her 12 times to do that?"
Buchanan: "Well, it was-"
Matthews: "Twelve times."
Buchanan: "Well, look, I mean-"
Matthews: "Just a minute, Pat."
Buchanan: "You can argue that with Ms. Malkin. But that, what she was saying was right from the book that it was a 'self-inflicted wound,' probably by a grenade that hit the rocks in front of Kerry."
Matthews: "Right. Of course we all know that kind of thing happens in war. The question is, was it purposely, did he purposefully shoot himself or not? That was the question that was being suggested by that discussion."
Buchanan: "I saw her and I do not believe she said it was purposefully-"
Matthews: "Watch the tape, okay."

Schneider: Kerry a "Military Hero" Who
Is Victim of a "Smear"

CNN political analyst Bill Schneider stated as a fact on Tuesday that John Kerry "is a legitimate military hero," with an emphasis on "is," and since "I haven't seen any substantiation of those Swift Boat Veterans charges," he declared that "it was a smear campaign." Schneider also defended the basis on which left-wing groups tar President Bush as a "liar" over WMD in Iraq, but when asked, "Bill Clinton and Al Gore also said they had them, were they liars too?", Schneider shot back: "Well, they didn't take the country into war."

Schneider didn't make his comments, however, on CNN, where it's hard to imagine Judy Woodruff ever pressing him with the Clinton/Gore said the same thing point, but during what grew into a contentious interview with Steve Gill, morning drive host on WTN-FM radio in Nashville.

The Web site for "Super Talk 99.7" features a Windows Media Audio clip of the August 24 interview by phone. Direct address: www.997wtn.com

It didn't open for me via Netscape, but it does work in Internet Explorer and I managed to play it via RealPlayer.

The MRC's Ken Shepherd took the time to transcribe the most interesting exchanges between Gill and Schneider, who was clearly not used to being challenged when he spews liberal talking points:

Gill: "Was it a mistake for him to put all his eggs in the Vietnam basket?"
Schneider: "Well, he is [emphasis on "is"] a legitimate military hero and I haven't seen any substantiation of those Swift Boat Veterans charges, after exhaustive investigation by many newspapers. I think it was a smear campaign, but it was a risk that he took by saying the whole premise of his campaign was going to be his military record, that he was qualified to protect the nation. He invited those kinds of attacks, even though I don't think those attacks were fair."
Gill: "How's it a smear campaign when his own journal as David Brinkley in his book Tour of Duty relates, his own journal makes it clear that one of the things the Swift Boat Vets book, Unfit for Command has said, is that he never spent Christmas in Cambodia in 1968, in fact, his own journal makes it clear that he didn't not only spend Christmas 1968 in Cambodia, he apparently never went there."
Schneider: "Well, I wasn't there, but I know that neither side has proved it's case. I'm not sure what difference it makes."
Gill: "Well, his own journal would seem to prove the case, if his own journal relates that he was 50 miles away, that would seem to prove the case."
Schneider: "Well, he argues that the boat was traveling at a certain speed, I think 23 knots, and it could have gone into Cambodian territory. He doesn't deny it. He's made the claim before. I'm not sure what difference any of this makes. There is no substantiation of these claims one way or the other. I mean, it's an argument, I don't really know what the argument is about frankly."
Gill: "But if a political candidate is making claims he can't substantiate, isn't that more important than the critics not being able to prove he didn't do something? I mean, we've heard a lot about Bush and his service in the National Guard, nobody's proved he ever did anything wrong, and yet, the media hadn't taken MoveOn.org and the Kerry campaign to task for their statements of, 'we don't know what George Bush did.'"
Schneider: "Well, they have actually talked about what we know and don't know about what George Bush did, and those claims have been made by MoveOn.org. Kerry has said he doesn't approve of that. The charges made by the Swift Boat Veterans have not been substantiated, and I think the burden of proof is on them, because they made the charges."
Gill: "But they're, I mean, they're men who were actually there who say this is what I saw."
Schneider: "And there are men who were there who say this is not what happened."
Gill: "So best case scenario, there's no solution."
Schneider: "There is no definitive proof, but I would maintain that it is a smear campaign because the people making the charges haven't been able to substantiate them, there is contradictory evidence."
Gill: "Now, the other smear, I guess, that's been directed in this campaign by 527s that have spent a lot more money than the Swift Boat Vets, are the MoveOn.org claims that, you know, Bush lied. You've got the British that investigated the report, you've got the 9/11 Commission that investigated it. No proof that Bush lied to get us into war in Iraq, and yet that claim still gets tossed out there. I don't see that the media's put the same scrutiny on those claiming Bush lied, including advocates in the Kerry campaign, have been held to task or called smear campaign advocates in the same way these Swift Boat Vets are being attacked."
Schneider: "Well, I think the argument that Bush lied, which has been of course very popular among Democrats is, he said, he assured the country, the world, that there were weapons of mass destruction, he said, 'we know they're there,' and people say, 'well, where are they?' That, I think, is the substance of those allegations."
Gill: "But is it a lie if the information proved to be wrong?"
Schneider: "If he said we know they're there-"
Gill: "Based on the intelligence information."
Schneider: "-and he didn't know that, I don't know what you're calling."
Gill: "Well, if the intelligence information confirmed that it was there-"
Schneider: "It didn't."
Gill: "-and the British and the U.S. intelligence and the Russian and French, and even the Iraqi intelligence all said it was there."
Schneider: "No, it didn't."
Gill: "The British and French and Germans weren't all saying the same thing? Even John Kerry was saying they have weapons of mass destruction."
Schneider: "He said that we are told they have weapons of mass destruction, the President has said it. Where, look, where are the weapons? Do you know where they are?"
Gill: "I don't know where they are..."
Schneider: "I don't either."
Gill: "I know Bill Clinton and Al Gore also said they had them, were they liars too?"
Schneider: "Well, they didn't take the country into war. It, it, the President said, 'we know they're there.' He's the President, that's his responsibility, is to say that if he knows it. And apparently he didn't know."
Gill: "So that's a lie if it turns out to be incorrect information?"
Schneider: "I'm not calling anybody a liar, I'm just telling you what the charges are based on."
Gill: "I'm just saying the folks that are attacking him certainly have."
Schneider: "Yeah. Yes, they have, and that's what it's based on."

That's probably the last time Schneider will ever agree to go on Gill's show.

# New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd was bumped from Tuesday's Late Show with David Letterman. She's now scheduled to appear on Friday's show.

-- Brent Baker