Thursday, August 19, 2004

Journalism As Usual

An unsigned editorial in today's New York Times exposes all the bad actors, the funding and the disconnect from reality of the current Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attack on John Kerry's service record. The first two-thirds of the article is scathing in its exposure of the group.

The leader of the attack, John O'Neill, a Swift boat veteran and Texas lawyer, has been a detractor of Mr. Kerry for decades, ever since the Nixon White House recruited him to rebut Mr. Kerry's criticism of Vietnam policy. And the chief donor to the Swift boat broadside is a Texas businessman, Bob Perry, who is known for giving millions to the campaigns of President Bush and other Republicans.
After delivering such a blistering report of the group's leadership and methods, the editors then resort to the worst sort of flackery imaginable. I suppose they thought that they had to deliver some sort of "balance" to the editorial, but whatever the purpose they add the following:

Voters should also know that the group is one of the new "shadow party" efforts of supposedly independent ( but, in truth, transparently partisan) activist groups that have been set up to evade campaign laws and take advantage of nonprofits' tax breaks. One of the more prominent of these groups, the leftist, is running ads attacking President Bush's Air National Guard service.
By conflating the two organizations without detailing the differences in the approach of the two groups and the fundamental differences in the veracity of their claims, The Grey Lady puts herself in league with the worst of the spinmeisters at FOX.

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