Media Matters, Accuracy Doesn't

Just what John Kerry needs: a self-confessed liar leaping to his defense. But they're going after Fox too, and that's enough for us to weigh in

Media Matters, the website operated by admitted prevaricator David Brock, isn't happy about the new ad from VietNam veterans opposed to John Kerry. Their outrage may be selective, but not so selective that they can't complain about Fox News at the same time:
FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes and MSNBC's Scarborough Country both gave free airtime on August 4 to a new, misleading ad sponsored by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth , a recently formed group dedicated to attacking Senator John Kerry's record during and after his service in Vietnam. Both programs devoted segments to the ad, airing it the day before its scheduled release, but left out key facts that discredit Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

David, David, David. Hannity & Colmes did not devote a segment to the ad. They didn't even devote a half segment to the ad. What they ran was a teaser for the August 5 broadcast, when they will devote a segment to the ad. In the promo they showed a portion of the ad and Hannity invited viewers to tune in tomorrow for the actual discussion. That was it.
In the new ad, members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth claim that they "served with John Kerry." Hannity & Colmes co-host Sean Hannity echoed the false claim...

It's a false claim? How so?
While the veterans attacking Kerry in the ad are veterans of the Vietnam War and may have served at the same time as Kerry, as The New York Times reported on August 5, the Kerry campaign noted that "none of the men had actually served on the Swift boats that Mr. Kerry commanded."

See, all Media Matters requires to prove something false is a press release from the Kerry campaign! But unfortunately this ad doesn't claim they served "on the swift boats that Mr Kerry commanded", does it? According to the ad they "served with Kerry"--and they did, in other swift boats within 50 yards of Kerry's. So that straw man aside, let us continue:
Neither Hannity nor Scarborough bothered to note that Dr. Louis Letson, who is featured in the ad claiming to have treated Kerry for the wound that earned him his first Purple Heart and claiming that it was undeserved, was not the medical official who signed Kerry's medical records for the wound. The Kerry campaign noted this fact in a report in The New York Times and a report in the Los Angeles Times that surfaced when Letson first unleashed this attack in May.

As far as Hannity is concerned, how was he supposed to note all this in what was a one-minute promo for the following night's program? Anyhow, in the ad, Dr Letson doesn't claim he filled out some form, he says he treated Kerry's wound. (Yet another straw man!) While Media Matters is reliably transmitting the spin issued by the Kerry campaign, the Los Angeles Times report they link to explains the reason Dr Louis Letson didn't sign the medical record: because a lower-ranked hospitalman (J.C. Carreon) was doing the paperwork while the doctor did the doctoring. Funny how Brock's brigade missed that little point.

And then there's Media Matters's fulminating press release about the whole kerfuffle:
Despite the ad's claim, members of the group did not serve with Senator John Kerry on his swift boat in Vietnam. Not only did the programs ignore that fact, but FOX News Channel hosts Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes went so far as to call them Kerry's "fellow crewmates."

Um, one more time, the ad doesn't claim they served on his boat (see above). And, for the accuracy obsessed David Brock: Alan Colmes was on vacation. He wasn't even there.

posted: Thu - August 5, 2004 at 07:01 PM       j$p  send