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CBS's Early Show Gives Unencumbered Forum to "Comeback Kid" Gore --6/1/2006


1. CBS's Early Show Gives Unencumbered Forum to "Comeback Kid" Gore
And CBS makes three. A week after the ABC and NBC morning shows trumpeted Al Gore's hysterical movie on global warming and championed another presidential run by him, he came aboard CBS's Early Show on Wednesday where Harry Smith provided another friendly forum. Smith celebrated: "Out of the shadows of yesterday's news, Al Gore has suddenly emerged as the comeback kid." Smith wondered: "Will Hillary Clinton soon have a former Vice President to contend with on the 2008 presidential campaign trail? That's a good question" and he pleaded with Gore: "Unequivocally not running for President?" While Smith did bring up how "more conservative elements of the press" question his global warming warnings (which Gore denigrated by charging that "in some quarters there's still a debate over whether the moon landing was staged" or "whether the Earth is flat instead of round"), Smith otherwise cued up Gore to spout his dire forecasts: "If the ice caps melt, if Greenland were, were to melt, as you say in the film, we look back at history and what's happened on this planet before, it literally changes everything."

2. CBS Touts Anti-Exxon Publicity Gimmick by Democratic Politician
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Anthony Mason trumpeted how North Carolina Treasurer Richard Moore, who got four soundbites, withheld that state's pension fund votes from the ExxonMobil directors who he thinks gave too great a compensation package to the retired CEO, but Mason failed to identify his Democratic affiliation (not even on-screen) or let viewers in how CBS was delivering publicity benefitting a likely 2008 Democratic candidate for Governor of the Tar Heel state. The North Carolina Democratic Party was so excited by Moore's move that they sent out a press release: "NC State Treasurer Richard Moore Takes on Oil Company."

3. Katie's Friends Say Goodbye, And They're Mostly Liberals
Well the final goodbye came Wednesday morning, but Today has been drawing out Katie Couric's farewell for what seemed like forever or at least the last few weeks. Starting back on May 15th Today as been running a regular "Goodbye Katie from..." segment featuring some fond adieus from Katie's buddies in the media, entertainment and political worlds. Below you can find a list of those who said goodbye and no surprise it's full of liberal politicians and celebrities. Republicans are few in number, only four to be exact. Some of the goodbyes were particularly syrupy, like the long-winded goodbye from Bill Clinton on Tuesday's Today. AUDIO&VIDEO

4. CNN's May Murtha Marathon: Interviewed on Three Shows on Tuesday
Those who watched CNN all day on Tuesday were not experiencing deja vu. Democratic Congressman John Murtha was interviewed on not one, not two, but three separate network programs throughout the day. Murtha's day of CNN appearances began with an interview conducted by American Morning's Soledad O'Brien, followed by a late afternoon exchange with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room. Anderson Cooper 360 viewers, not to be left out, were treated to a pre-taped interview between Cooper and Murtha during the 10pm EDT hour. While O'Brien and Blitzer were eager to hear Murtha equate the alleged shooting of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines in Haditha to the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, only Cooper questioned whether Murtha might be rushing to condemn the Marines before the official investigation is complete.

5. NY Times Fights for John Kerry Against Swift Boat Vets
On Sunday, New York Times reporter Kate Zernike allowed Senator John Kerry to re-fight his own personal Vietnam War against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ("Kerry Pressing Swift Boat Case Long After Loss"). The Times put the battle on the May 28 front page, and judging by the respectful tone of the story, seems to think the pro-Kerry forces vanquish the Swift Boat Veterans.


CBS's Early Show Gives Unencumbered Forum
to "Comeback Kid" Gore

And CBS makes three. A week after the ABC and NBC morning shows trumpeted Al Gore's hysterical movie on global warming and championed another presidential run by him, he came aboard CBS's Early Show on Wednesday where Harry Smith provided another friendly forum. Smith celebrated: "Out of the shadows of yesterday's news, Al Gore has suddenly emerged as the comeback kid." Smith wondered: "Will Hillary Clinton soon have a former Vice President to contend with on the 2008 presidential campaign trail? That's a good question" and he pleaded with Gore: "Unequivocally not running for President?" While Smith did bring up how "more conservative elements of the press" question his global warming warnings (which Gore denigrated by charging that "in some quarters there's still a debate over whether the moon landing was staged" or "whether the Earth is flat instead of round"), Smith otherwise cued up Gore to spout his dire forecasts: "If the ice caps melt, if Greenland were, were to melt, as you say in the film, we look back at history and what's happened on this planet before, it literally changes everything."

Smith also gushed: "I'm watching you in this film, you look so comfortable in your own skin. You look like Al Gore in full, as it were. Is there something about this time in your life that you feel like you can say what you want to say, do what you want to do, sort of unencumbered by thoughts of political office?"

And unencumbered by any challenge from the news media.

The May 24 CyberAlert recounted: With "The Comeback Kid? Al Gore Takes on the World," as the on-screen moniker, ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday championed Al Gore's comeback, through his hysterical global warming movie, An Inconvenient Truth, which ABC took quite seriously as Claire Shipman touted a potential Gore presidential run. Shipman enthused: "The guy that George Bush Senior derisively dubbed 'Ozone Man' may have hit his stride after five years in hibernation by promoting his longtime passion." Shipman trumpeted: "Here's Al being celebrated in Cannes, doing the celebrity thing at an LA opening, power-walking a green carpet in Washington as rumors of another presidential run swirl." Without scolding Gore for fear-mongering, Shipman calmly relayed how Gore's "environmental message is blunt: humanity is sitting on a time bomb and has about ten years left to deal with it. It's the messenger, though, this almost President turned dynamic professor who's making most of the waves, dominating the blog-chatter." Letting a hopeful Arianna Huffington answer, Shipman cued her up: "Is he going to go for the Oval again?" Shipman concluded by gushing: "What does Al Gore say about the possibility of another run? We asked him the other night....He gave a hearty laugh but didn't say no." For full details: www.mediaresearch.org

The May 25 CyberAlert recounted: The morning after ABC's Good Morning America paid tribute to Al Gore as "the Comeback Kid," NBC's Today on Wednesday aired an "exclusive" interview with Gore during which a giddy Katie Couric was all smiles as she promoted his new hysterical movie and pressed him about running for President again. "A once defeated Al Gore is now basking in the limelight soaking up standing ovations and stellar reviews," Couric gushed. Couric touted his movie as a "documentary that shows the catastrophic effects global warming could have down the road if the world doesn't take action now" and she oozed to Gore as the two sat in Central Park: "I think in this movie at different turns you're funny, vulnerable, disarming, self-effacing and someone said after watching it, quote, 'if only he was like this before maybe things would've turned out differently in 2000.'" She cued him up to spout his claims about how much of Florida and Manhattan will soon be under water: "As succinctly as possible can you explain the crisis?" And she only provided token acknowledgment of any other view: "Where there is disagreement among scientists it is not if but when we may see drastic environmental changes across the globe. Al Gore says the clock is ticking." For full details: www.mediaresearch.org

The MRC's Michael Rule caught the 7:30am half hour segment on the May 31 The Early Show.

Harry Smith set up the session: "Former Vice President Al Gore is passionate about global warming. He's convinced that it's a real and present danger to the planet. Ever since losing the heated White House race back in 2000, he has devoted his life to spreading the word."
Al Gore in his movie, An Inconvenient Truth: "I am Al Gore, I used to be the next President of the United States of America."
Smith: "And that's the funny line from a very serious lecture that has become Al Gore's mission."
Gore, in movie: "The arctic is experiencing faster melting. If this were to go, sea level world wide would go up 20 feet."
Smith: "Since his still controversial loss to George Bush in the 2000 election, Gore has recast himself as a road warrior for the environment. Traveling from town to town, country to country with a message of warning, a message that's now been made into a movie."
Gore, in movie: "Here's Manhattan, the World Trade Center memorial would be under water."
Smith: "Out of the shadows of yesterday's news, Al Gore has suddenly emerged as the comeback kid. Thousands have downloaded bootlegged video from his recent surprise appearance on 'Saturday Night Live.'"
Craig Crawford, Congressional Quarterly columnist: "It started with a 'Saturday Night Live' appearance, I think, and then this movie that he's done on global warming. Al Gore is somewhat vindicated in the minds of a lot of Democratic voters as George Bush has become so unpopular."
Smith: "Will Hillary Clinton soon have a former Vice President to contend with on the 2008 presidential campaign trail? That's a good question."

Smith to Gore on the Early Show set: "And Vice President Al Gore joins us this morning as you rolled your eyes during the last paragraph of that little taped piece there. Let's get that business out of the way first and foremost."
Gore: "I rolled my eyes off the record."
Smith: "Any way, shape, I've read that you've told some of your old supporters 'please throw your support someplace else, I am not running for President.' Unequivocally not running for President?"
Gore: "I don't have any plans to run. I'm not thinking about running. I don't expect to ever be a candidate again. I haven't made so called 'Shermanesque' statement that for the rest of my life I'll never ever think about that. But that, that exception is just my own internal shifting of gears. I'm not trying to be coy or anything. I am involved in a campaign, but it's not for a candidacy, it's for a cause."
Smith: "Let's talk about this movie, because I saw it yesterday. I remember when you wrote the book, which is almost 20 years ago."
Gore: "Yeah, well 14 years ago. And I have a new book out now, 'An Inconvenient Truth,' same title as the movie, by Rodell. And I've been trying to tell this story for 30 years, Harry. And the debate among the scientists is over. There's no more debate. We face a planetary emergency, and the phrase sounds shrill, but it is an accurate description of the climate crisis that we have to confront and solve."
Smith: "But, if I look at more elements, more conservative elements of the press, I would say there is a debate going on, because you know they say that you're just trying to create this kind of 'boogeyman' to help slow down the economy and everything else. How do you respond to that?"
Gore, chuckles: "Well, I guess in some quarters there's still a debate over whether the moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona. Or, whether the Earth is flat instead of round."
Smith: "Right."
Gore: "And there may be some media reports that are constructed in a way that says on the one hand, on the other hand. But, really and truly, global warming is in that category. There is no more scientific debate among serious people who've looked at the evidence."
Smith: "And, I want you to talk very specifically about some of the things you say in this movie. Because you have the charts, and here is the temperature going up and up and up beyond the normal sort of aberrational changes of the history of the planet. And as that goes up, there seems to be a cataclysmic conclusion as a result."
Gore: "Yeah, what, what makes this hard to absorb is that our relationship as human beings to the planet we live on has been radically transformed just in the last century or so. We've quadrupled our population, our technologies have become thousands of times stronger, and the combination has created this collision between civilization as we're now pursuing it and the ecology of the planet. And the most vulnerable part of the planet's ecological system is this very thin shell of atmosphere around the earth. And. we're now filling that up with so much global warming pollution, that it's trapping a lot more of the sun's heat inside the atmosphere, melting almost all the mountain glaciers, the North Pole is starting to melt. It's threatening to change the patterns of wind currents and ocean currents, and where the droughts get stronger."
Smith: "And if that happens, if these, if the ice caps melt, if Greenland were, were to melt, as you say in the film, we look back at history and what's happened on this planet before, it literally changes everything."
Gore: "Yeah, that's right and the climate system usually moves very slowly, so slowly we can't even perceive it. But in the ancient history of the Earth, there have been times when there have been sudden shifts. And, it's like poking a wild animal with a stick, it may wake up. And, the climate can with so much pollution, flip into a different pattern that would not be sustainable for us."
Smith: "I'm watching you in this film, you look so comfortable in your own skin. You look like Al Gore in full, as it were. Is there something about this time in your life that you feel like you can say what you want to say, do what you want to do, sort of unencumbered by thoughts of political office?"
Gore: "Uh, well, you know, I think there's a lot about the political system that, that I don't like. But, I respect those who are in it. And, they have an obligation on this issue. Where I, myself, am concerned, it is a luxury to be able to focus just on a passionate expression of what the truth of this is all about. The movie 'An Inconvenient Truth' is not political, uh it is, it's factual. And it is designed to help change the minds of the American people by putting before everybody, in the movie and in the book, a umm, a clearer and I hope entertaining, description of exactly what our circumstances are. And I see it as an action movie, because it's designed to-"
[Smith laughed]
Gore: "-to get the audience-"
Smith: "Well the box office receipts would indicate that it's an action movie, you did better per screening then almost anything that's come out this week."
Gore: "Well, I'm pleased by that, but it's designed to get the audience to take action. We really do have to cross a tipping point beyond which the politicians in both parties will take this and go with it."
Smith: "Mr. Vice President, great to see you. Thank you so much, do appreciate it."

CBS Touts Anti-Exxon Publicity Gimmick
by Democratic Politician

On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Anthony Mason trumpeted how North Carolina Treasurer Richard Moore, who got four soundbites, withheld that state's pension fund votes from the ExxonMobil directors who he thinks gave too great a compensation package to the retired CEO, but Mason failed to identify his Democratic affiliation (not even on-screen) or let viewers in how CBS was delivering publicity benefitting a likely 2008 Democratic candidate for Governor of the Tar Heel state. The North Carolina Democratic Party was so excited by Moore's move that they sent out a press release: "NC State Treasurer Richard Moore Takes on Oil Company." See: www.ncdp.org

"Outside its annual shareholders meeting, ExxonMobil was under fire today from protesters frustrated with soaring gas prices and the company's former CEO," Mason touted before a woman protester outside the Dallas meeting charged: "He's one of the worst examples of corporate greed." After reciting ex-CEO Lee Raymond's large compensation package, Mason noted that "ExxonMobil is the most profitable company in the country," but "it's even starting to feel the heat here on Wall Street." For his evidence from "Wall Street," Mason turned to Democrat Moore of Raleigh who declared: "I think the sentiment of disgust and outrage is very wide." Mason explained Moore's power: "Richard Moore is North Carolina's state treasurer. The state's pension fund owns 11 million shares of ExxonMobil, worth more than $660 million. Today Moore, on behalf of the state, withheld all those share votes from the Exxon directors who backed Raymond's pay." Moore called the compensation package "un-American."

[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The lead of Wednesday's AP dispatch on the ExxonMobil meeting showed those who go Mason's attention were in the minority:
"Shareholders of Exxon Mobil Corp., whose last chief executive took home $147 million when he retired, overwhelmingly rejected resolutions to rein in compensation at the oil company's annual meeting on Wednesday." See: news.yahoo.com

The MRC's Rich Noyes noticed that an AP story on Tuesday reported that Moore is "expected to challenge for the Democratic nomination" in the 2008 gubernatorial race: www.wilmingtonstar.com

This North Carolina political Web site lists Moore as one of three likely Democratic candidates for Governor: www.politics1.com

Moore's Web site: www.richardmoore.org

Now the transcript of the May 31 CBS Evening News story, as provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, who corrected the closed-captioning against the video of what aired.

Anchor Russ Mitchell introduced Mason: "In this country, the price of gasoline is down about a nickel in the past month, but it's still 77 cents higher than it was a year ago. High gas prices, oil company profits, and executive compensation all came to a head today at the ExxonMobil shareholders meeting. Here's our business correspondent Anthony Mason."

Clip of protesters: "ExxonMobil, feel the heat!"
Anthony Mason: "Outside its annual shareholders meeting, ExxonMobil was under fire today from protesters frustrated with soaring gas prices and the company's former CEO."
Woman protester: "He's one of the worst examples of corporate greed."
Mason: "Lee Raymond retired as Exxon's CEO last December with a $400 million golden parachute. After making a record $36 billion profit last year, ExxonMobil is the most profitable company in the country. But it's even starting to feel the heat here on Wall Street."
Mason to North Carolina Treasurer Richard Moore: "How widespread do you sense the sentiment actually is?"
Moore: "I think the sentiment of disgust and outrage is very wide."
Mason: "Richard Moore is North Carolina's state treasurer. The state's pension fund owns 11 million shares of ExxonMobil, worth more than $660 million. Today Moore, on behalf of the state, withheld all those share votes from the Exxon directors who backed Raymond's pay."
Moore: "We as shareholders can have a right to fire directors, and that's what we're trying to do with our withhold votes because I don't think they did their job. And I'd like to fire them."
Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil CEO: "I think we all recognize there's been a lot of controversy."
Mason: "Exxon's new CEO, Rex Tillerson, was making no apologies today."
Tillerson: "I don't have any regrets. I don't have any involvement with it, but I don't have any regrets, either."
Mason: "But Moore says Exxon executives have acknowledged they owe their success all to rising oil prices."
Moore: "I think most Americans believe that you should be rewarded for exemplary performance, but not just for occupying the chair. And all too often the compensation is there for occupying the chair, and it's just a, it's un-American."
Mason: "New York state also withheld its 24 million share votes today. The board was approved, but in all more than 20 percent of Exxon shareholders signaled their displeasure. And, Russ, that's an unusually high number."

Katie's Friends Say Goodbye, And They're
Mostly Liberals

Well the final goodbye came Wednesday morning, but Today has been drawing out Katie Couric's farewell for what seemed like forever or at least the last few weeks. Starting back on May 15th Today as been running a regular "Goodbye Katie from..." segment featuring some fond adieus from Katie's buddies in the media, entertainment and political worlds. Below you can find a list of those who said goodbye and no


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surprise it's full of liberal politicians and celebrities. Republicans are few in number, only four to be exact. Some of the goodbyes were particularly syrupy, like the long-winded goodbye from Bill Clinton on Tuesday's Today.

Bill Clinton's tribute played on the May 30 Today:
"Katie for 15 years you've started the morning for millions of Americans you've started the morning for millions of Americans with your bright smile, serious reporting and playful sense of humor. Your ability to relate to your guests to convey their humanity and the importance of their stories is a unique quality which sets you apart in your field. You've got another unique quality too which politicians like me have come to respect. You can be so disarming right before you hit us with a zinger of a question we really don't want to answer but that too is part of your job. Your courageous and groundbreaking stories on colon cancer raised the consciousness of countless Americans and no doubt saved many lives. Hillary and I wish you the best of luck in this next step in your remarkable career. It's high time we got the news of the day from an accomplished woman. There's no one who deserves it more or who will do it better than you."

[This item, by the MRC's Geoff Dickens, was posted Wednesday morning with video on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The video/audio of Clinton's tribute to Katie will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Overwhelmingly those who offered their well-wishes to Katie were liberal friends of her's. The closest the segments came to a conservative was Karen Hughes. In the interest of brevity the list is restricted to those of a political persuasion. The likes of Michelle Kwan, Paula Abdul and Miss Piggy were left off the list:

Liberal Politicians: Al Gore, Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton

Liberal Reporters: Tim Russert, Brian Williams, Stone Phillips, Barbara Walters, Tom Brokaw, Diane Sawyer, Charlie Gibson, Robin Roberts, Maria Shriver

Liberal Celebrities: George Clooney, Jon Stewart, Jon Bon Jovi, Ben Affleck, Sting, Steven Spielberg, Michael J. Fox

Liberal Businessman: Bill Gates

Republicans: Colin Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Karen Hughes, Condoleezza Rice

CNN's May Murtha Marathon: Interviewed
on Three Shows on Tuesday

Those who watched CNN all day on Tuesday were not experiencing deja vu. Democratic Congressman John Murtha was interviewed on not one, not two, but three separate network programs throughout the day. Murtha's day of CNN appearances began with an interview conducted by American Morning's Soledad O'Brien, followed by a late afternoon exchange with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room. Anderson Cooper 360 viewers, not to be left out, were treated to a pre-taped interview between Cooper and Murtha during the 10pm EDT hour.

[This item, by the MRC's Megan McCormack, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

While O'Brien and Blitzer were eager to hear Murtha equate the alleged shooting of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines in Haditha to the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, only Cooper questioned whether Murtha might be rushing to condemn the Marines before the official investigation is complete.

Cooper: "Congressman Murtha, you believe the military investigation will ultimately show that the, the troops in Haditha, quote, 'overreacted because of the pressure on them and killed innocent civilians in cold blood.' That's a quote from you. How are you so sure at this point? The investigation isn't even complete."

Cooper continued to press Murtha throughout the exchange on the May 30 Anderson Cooper 360, citing critics who believe that the congressman is playing politics with what is alleged to have occurred in Haditha: "There, there have been those who said you are politicizing this, you're, you're jumping to judgment, the investigation is still going on. A man by the name of Ilario Pantano, a Marine who was accused with two counts of premeditated murder, charges which were later dropped, he wrote a letter to The Washington Post, and he said this. Quote, 'Not only is he,' meaning you, Mr. Murtha, 'certain of the Marines' guilt, but he claims to know the cause, which he conveniently attributes to a policy he opposes. Let the courts decide if these Marines are guilty. They haven't even been charged with a crime yet, so it is premature to presume their guilt, unless that presumption is tied to a political motive.'"

While Blitzer and O'Brien failed to question Murtha about his political motivations, they were both extremely interested in hearing him compare Haditha to the My Lai massacre:

From the May 30 American Morning:

O'Brien: "There are people who've said it's, there's a comparison here that can be made to, to My Lai. Do you think that's true?"
Murtha: "Well, I think it's just as bad, if not worse than that. And, and My Lai, if I remember the circumstances, you're out in the field and, and, and they killed civilians, but they used the excuse that they looked like they were the enemy. Here there was no shots fired. There was no enemy action at all."

From The Situation Room:

Blitzer: "There are some who are already making comparisons between Haditha and My Lai in Vietnam, the massacre in which hundreds of Vietnamese civilians were killed, an incident that you well remember. Is that a fair comparison, a fair, a fair analogy?"
Murtha: "Well, I think it's a fair analogy, except for the numbers. There was about 124, I think, in the My Lai incident, and then there was 24 here. But it's the same thing..."

NY Times Fights for John Kerry Against
Swift Boat Vets

On Sunday, New York Times reporter Kate Zernike allowed Senator John Kerry to re-fight his own personal Vietnam War against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ("Kerry Pressing Swift Boat Case Long After Loss"). The Times put the battle on the May 28 front page, and judging by the respectful tone of the story, seems to think the pro-Kerry forces vanquish the Swift Boat Veterans.

[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's TimesWatch site, a posting which includes links to the sources of the quotes and interviews cited below: www.timeswatch.org ]

Zernike recounted: "John Kerry starts by showing the entry in a log he kept from 1969: 'Feb 12: 0800 run to Cambodia.' He moves on to the photographs: his boat leaving the base at Ha Tien, Vietnam; the harbor; the mountains fading frame by frame as the boat heads north; the special operations team the boat was ferrying across the border; the men reading maps and setting off flares."

For the article in full: www.nytimes.com

Meanwhile, Zernike framed the Swift Boat Veterans' arguments in the most hostile possible way:
"Three decades after the Vietnam War and nearly two years after Mr. Kerry's failed presidential bid, most Americans have probably forgotten why it ever mattered whether he went to Cambodia or that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth accused him of making it all up, saying he was dishonest and lacked patriotism."

Kerry, of course, didn't just claim he went to Cambodia. He memorably claimed that he spent Christmas of 1968 in Cambodia (at a time when President Nixon said there were no U.S. troops there). The Swift Boat Veterans said he had not, and raised doubts whether he'd in fact ever crossed the forbidden border.

But Kerry campaign spokesman Jeh Johnston told the Fox News Channel in August 2004: "John Kerry has said on the record that he had a mistaken recollection earlier. He talked about a combat situation on Christmas Eve 1968 which at one point he said occurred in Cambodia. He has since corrected the record to say it was some place on a river near Cambodia and he is certain that at some point subsequent to that he was in Cambodia. My understanding is that he is not certain about that date."

So Zernike "forgets" the whole point of the Cambodia controversy -- that Kerry had long claimed to have spent Christmas in Cambodia, not "February 12" (unless that's when they celebrate it in country!).

Kerry "remembered" his Christmas in Cambodia quite well. As Kerry told the Boston Herald in 1979: "I remember spending Christmas Eve of 1968 five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies....The absurdity of almost being killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real."

In 1986, Kerry claimed on the Senate floor that the incident was "seared" into his memory: "I have that memory which is seared -- seared -- in me."

Note that today, not even Kerry claims he was in Cambodia on Christmas Eve. The Times sidebar simply says Kerry claims "archived reports" show his boat was "35 miles from the border" on Christmas Eve. But the Times stays silent on the whole embarrassing episode (was he there on Christmas Eve or not?), just as it did during the campaign.

Bruce Kesler wonders why Zernike didn't bring up Kerry's Cambodia contradiction, which she was well aware of while covering the controversy during the campaign: "Omitted from Ms. Zernike's story is any mention of what she said when interviewed by CNN's Aaron Brown on August 23, 2004:

BROWN: "...The one issue the Senator has some problems on I think is this Cambodia, fair?"
ZERNIKE: "Right. Right."
BROWN: "He says he was there on Christmas and the record doesn't seem to support that."
ZERNIKE: "No, in fact, if you look in '€˜Tour of Duty' by Douglas Brinkley, which is his biography, or a biography of the Senator, he's somewhere else on December 25th, on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day. Brinkley himself says there's some question Kerry may have been in Cambodia later."

The photo-with-text sidebar to Zernike's story is apparently intended to boost Kerry and disprove the Swift Boat Veterans, under a headline, "Kerry's New Evidence." The text reads: "Senator John Kerry's supporters have gathered new documents and photographs to rebut some of the accusations that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth lobbed during the 2004 campaign."

(Nice verb choice. What's wrong with saying "made during the 2004 campaign," as opposed to making the Swift Boat Veterans sound like irresponsible bomb-throwers with the loaded word "lobbed"?)

More to come on this story, including the Times' dubious analysis of how Kerry earned his Silver Star medal: www.timeswatch.org

-- Brent Baker