NY Times Laments 'Swift Boating' Term -- After Years of Using It --7/1/2008
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New York Times reporter Kate Zernike, the Times most ardent John Kerry defender, found another front from which to launch attacks on the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. On Monday's front page, Zernike continued to fight valiantly for the liberal version of the Lost Cause -- the restoration of John Kerry's Vietnam reputation. She took another line of attack, the passive-aggressive approach, lamenting how the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Kerry has rendered the very name "Swift Boat" a pejorative ("Veterans Long to Reclaim the Name 'Swift Boat'"). Missing from her report: It's the left that coined the term in the first place.
[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Monday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]
An excerpt from Zernike's June 30 article:
"Swift boat" has become the synonym for the nastiest of campaign smears, a shadow that hangs over the presidential race as pundits wait to proclaim that the Swiftboating has begun and candidates declare that they will not be Swiftboated.
Swift boat veterans -- especially those who had nothing to do with the group that attacked Senator John Kerry's military record in the 2004 election -- want their good name back, and the good names of the men not lucky enough to come home alive.
Sure, Watergate will never be just the office complex. And the name Willie Horton will always refer to more than just a criminal. But for Swift boat veterans, the name theft is more personal. When they talk about Swift boats, they recall friends and crewmates killed, countless moments of sheer terror in their young lives, the pain of coming home to a country that offered less than a hero's welcome.
"It's completely inappropriate," said Michael Bernique, a highly regarded Swift boat driver who led missions up a canal that became known as Bernique's Creek. "The word should connote service with honor, which is what was conducted. Anything that demeans that honor is shameful."
After strongly implying, in her amazingly slanted June 22 story, that all the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's allegations had been undermined in 2004, Zernike appeared to climb down from that claim a bit on Monday: "Navy documents contradicted many of their accusations, but the claims undermined what Democrats had hoped would be Mr. Kerry's strength."
See the June 25 CyberAlert item, "NY Times: Dishonest Swift Boat Vet Charges 'Undermined' in 2004," online at: www.mrc.org
(In fact, at least one of those "contradictions" redounded upon Kerry, who during the 2004 campaign had to take back his famous "Christmas in Cambodia" claim, after evidence showed his boat never came within 50 miles of the Cambodian border. The Times has rarely if ever mentioned that fact in its sliming of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.)
Zernike interviewed veterans unhappy with the way the name has become tainted, including Fred Short:
The new meaning of Swift boat stings worst for the men who served with Mr. Kerry, who say that, by implication, the attacks tarnished their military decorations. "I don't have a lot in this world -- my service means a whole lot to me," Mr. Short said. "It's been besmirched, I guess would be a good word. Whether they meant it or not."
END of Excerpt
For the June 30 article in full, "Veterans Long to Reclaim the Name 'Swift Boat,'" go to: www.nytimes.com
Zernike didn't talk to any of the many Vietnam Veterans who felt "besmirched" when Kerry came home and testified before Congress that they had committed war crimes.
And again, just how did "Swift Boat Veterans" become a loaded term in the first place? Through the liberal media. Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters uncovers the hypocrisy in Zernike lamenting the use of the term "Swift Boating" when the Times itself has used the same term for years to characterize conservative attacks on left-wing icons like Cindy Sheehan. See: newsbusters.org
Journalist Thomas Lipscomb has an extremely useful rundown at the Huffington Post, of all places, reminding readers that Kerry has never released his complete military records to the public either before or after the election. Kerry released them to three news organizations (The L.A. Times, the Associated Press and Boston Globe) only after the election. Lipscomb's post: www.huffingtonpost.com
Lipscomb also fished this from the NYT's memory hole: "In May of 2006, Kerry announced a 'Patriot Project' that was going to expose the lies of the Swift Boat vets. The New York Times thought that was front-page news. No one ever heard of the 'Patriot Project' again. Whatever and whoever it was never 'exposed' a single lie."
Zernike, no surprise, authored that story as well.
Taking questions from readers online last week, New York Times political editor Richard Stevenson responded to queries about favoritism in the Times' political coverage during the Democratic primary. Stevenson did admit in a general sense that there are more liberals than conservatives in the media, but of course denied that any such slant applied to the Times' political staff: "While I would not dispute the longstanding assertions that there are more political liberals in newsrooms than conservatives, our political staff, as best I can tell, represents all kinds of backgrounds and beliefs, and because we all work so closely and in such a fishbowl, we all tend to keep one another on the straight and narrow."
[This item is adapted from a Thursday posting, by Clay Waters on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]
From Stevenson's answers posted on June 23:
END of Excerpt
In response to another question, Stevenson confessed that he wished the Times had done more on McCain advisor Charlie Black's comment that another terrorist attack would benefit McCain in November:
Well, we did cover what he said, on the Web site on Monday and in the print newspaper on Tuesday. The print version was not a long story, but it completely summarized what Mr. Black said and the Obama campaign's response. No coverup here, I'm afraid.
Still, in retrospect, we probably should have done more about it in the newspaper, given all the questions it raised about the way the McCain campaign views national security as a political issue. For those who are interested, there is more on the topic in the Wednesday paper.
END of Excerpt
For the entire "Talk to the Newsroom: Richard W. Stevenson, Political Editor," go to: www.nytimes.com
(Liberal preferences of NY Times reporters and others in the press corps: Back in 2004, then-New York Times reporter John Tierney discovered an overwhelming preference for John Kerry amongst political reporters when he took an informal survey of 153 journalists at a press party during the Democratic convention in Boston. "When asked who would be a better President," Tierney relayed in his "Political Points" column of tidbits from the campaign trail, "the journalists from outside the Beltway picked Mr. Kerry 3 to 1, and the ones from Washington favored him 12 to 1." For an excerpt of Tierney's August 1, 2004 column, "Finding Biases on the Bus," check the August 2, 2004 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org )
Check TimesWatch daily for the latest examples of liberal bias in the New York Times: www.timeswatch.org
[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted, with video, Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Transcript of the exchange during the 8:30 half hour on the June 30 program:
HARRY SMITH: Now here's my question. Christie Brinkley is a brand. Everybody in America knows exactly who she is. America's sweetheart forever and ever and ever. Does any of this do her any good brand-wise?
From this week's e-mailed Late Show Newsletter, "an exclusive un-aired Top Ten List edited from the 6/23/08 broadcast," the "Top Ten Surprising Facts About Cindy McCain."
10. Keeps slim by wrasslin' gators
9. Spends half her day reminding John to take his pills
8. She designs and builds custom made choppers
7. Once at Bloomingdale's, got into a fistfight with Hillary over a pantsuit
6. Each time Tiger Woods winced in pain, she muttered, "Suck it up, princess"
5. Other men she finds sexy: John Adams, Beethoven, Regis
4. Wrote hit song "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" while visiting family (sorry -- that's surprising facts about Cyndi Lauper)
3. Ringtone: (Shake Your) Moneymaker
2. Can dead-lift a full keg of beer
1. After guesting on "The View," claims Barbara Walters hit on her
-- Brent Baker, in New Hampshire