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August 24, 2004

Kerry's Cambodia Whopper, with Special Sauce

Today's article by American Enterprise Scholar Joshua Muravchik in the Washington Post titled "Kerry's Cambodia Whopper" signals the explosion of the dam that was the major media's attitude towards this story. It's tucked away back on page A17, but it shares that page (from my over-the-shoulder view of a lady's paper on the Metro in) with 2-3 other articles on the Swifties. Sure, at least one was pretty clearly a smear of the Swifties, but the tone and fact-heavy substance of the Muravchik article will easily override the fact-light and ad hominem-heavy nature of the smears, if past work has been any indication. This statement applies, of course, to those who are seeking facts, not those who have already decided on this issue, as have many on either side.

Further evidence of the failure of the dam under the extreme pressure of side-flows from talk radio and blogs is evident in the current top-20 emailed articles for today's Washingto Post. Four of the top twenty are Swifty-related. Along with the above, there is one on the Kerry reply to the second ad, "Kerry Unveils Ad Countering Attacks Over Vietnam," that opens with emphasis on the Kerry claims that this is a partisan "smear." The second most emailed is the coverage of Kerry's attempts at defending himself, "Kerry Team Lines Up Vietnam Witnesses." And the major one is the page A01 article by Michael Dobbs, "Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete." All of these three are defenses of Kerry and are by WaPo staff reporters, so there's no sign of change in the WaPo cheerleading action itself. From a cursory read, all of these are dealing with facts very selectively (Dobbs is best) and will shortly be fact-checked on blogs, I'm sure. I suspect The Kerry Spot, Captain Ed and Beldar, among others, are already on the job. (Update: For a nice catch in yesterday's NYT, see "Fact-Checking the Grey Lady.") (Another Update: Captain Ed is on the job! "The Post Runs A Stake Through The Heart Of Kerry's Cambodian Fable")

It will be interesting to see how long it will take the very grey lady to blink her eyes open, take notice, and hobble over to her desk to fumble through the litter there (mumbling bitter protests the whole time) and find a few facts to contribute to the gathering collection. Or perhaps she's already passed into the coma stage, where her reality is a dream of her youth when she was still virginal, virtuous and vibrant with the sharp desire to seek, find and report facts, rather than simply to lie abed.

The Muravchik article, while short, does a good job of covering the various iternations of the fables, the reason why they were created and as a result why they are important to this campaign, and the series of backpedals and reactions by the Kerry campaign resulting from the examinations of the tales in light of documented facts.

Of especial interest on the electronic edition of this article is the advertisement by Google at the bottom:

The New Soldier By Kerry
$14.95 Buys this controversial book Order your copy today

According to other reports I've seen, Kerry has not authorized any reprinting of this book. Some agent has been buying up all the available copies on eBay driving the price up into the $1000 area. One has to wonder at the source of this supple at the stated price. That said, wintersoldier.com has the text available online for those who which to sample the perfidy of Kerry's own pen with regards to his "Band of Brothers."

Posted by dan at August 24, 2004 09:31 AM