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I missed this column from Mark Steyn last night, but fortunately The Big Trunk at Power Line didn't. Steyn notes the hypocrisy and blatant bias in American media in how they responded to two poorly-sourced scandal stories, and how only one of them actually pans out -- and that's the one they're not covering:
Now let's consider the Kerry scandal: If you read the British newspapers, you'll know all about it. It's not about whether he was Absent Without Leave, but the more familiar political failing of being Absent Without Pants. It concerns a 24-year old woman - ie, 41 years younger than Mrs Kerry - and, with their usual efficiency, the Fleet Street lads have already interviewed her dad, who's called Kerry a "sleazeball". But if you read the US newspapers or watch the news shows there's not a word about the Senator's scandal. Though it seems to have a somewhat sounder factual basis, and at least one witness more relevant to this situation than the loose-lipped Gen Turniphead was to Mr Bush's, it's the media that's gone Awol. In this case, it seems it would hurt to ask. So Mr Bush has been unable to do the John Kerry routine, declining to comment but adding that "it's not my marital record that's at issue". We have two flimsy "scandals" tangentially related to character, but only one of them's all over the networks.
I'm not going to make a case for covering the John Kerry adultery scandal, although I may be in a minority on the right (see comments) in my belief that marital infidelity doesn't disqualify one for political office. However, that story has better sourcing and more verification than does anything about Bush's National Guard service and file-shredding accusations. People can certainly argue about relevance, but truth is an absolute defense anyway, and the truth is that Bush was honorably discharged in 1973, which means that the Defense Department concluded that Bush's service was both honorable and complete.
Nor does Steyn argue for more bimbo eruptions in American politics; he, like myself, wants journalists to practice the same thresholds for publication whether the target of allegations is Democrat or Republican. And in the case of John Kerry, it's the media that's gone AWOL, as Steyn says, and he continues:
By contrast, the Kerry narrative is almost impenetrable. If Vietnam bitterly divided a nation, split communities, tore apart families, etc, etc, Sen Kerry somehow managed to wind up on both sides of the fence: in the 1960s, he was John Wayne taking out the gooks in 'Nam; in the 1970s, he was Hanoi Jane Fonda, leading the protest movement; now, after two decades in Congress opposing every new weapons system for America's military, he's campaigning like Bob Hope on a USO tour flanked by wall-to-wall veterans. What story accounts for Senator Flip-Flop these past 40 years?
If character is the issue, Bush can relax. And, if doing your bit for national security is the issue, then John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades.
Read the entire article; as always, Steyn is a delight to read.Sphere It View blog reactions
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