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April 23, 2004
CNN Shills For Kerry?

An interesting thing happened to CNN's analysis of John Kerry and his allegations of widespread American atrocities in Vietnam. After setting up the story as an analysis of how Kerry's words affected Vietnam veterans then and continue to do so now, the story itself is almost entirely dedicated to Kerry's apologetics and pays scant attention to any veteran reaction:

The strong, vivid words John Kerry uttered 33 years ago continue to ring through time.

Back in 1971, the square-jawed, clean-cut decorated combat veteran, with a generous mop of dark hair, told a rapt audience of senators of atrocities he said had been reported to him by his fellow soldiers in Vietnam.

Rapes. Razed villages. Ears and heads cut off. Random shootings of civilians. Bodies blown up. Wires from portable telephones taped to genitals, with the power then turned on. Food stocks poisoned. Dogs and cats shot for the fun of it.

CNN then spends 428 words discussing Kerry in the present tense (after quoting from his 1971 testimony), allowing him to explain that he was young, he wanted the war to end, and so he overdramatized his testimony in order to achieve an end. However, despite alleging that soldiers were doing all of the above actions in the normal course of their duty, Kerry insists that he wasn't blaming the troops:

"I never put the load on soldiers. I asked, 'Where's the leadership of the country?' not the soldiers," he said. "All I know is that it happened as a matter of course, and there were things that were happening over there as a matter of policy."

In contrast to this, the only reaction that CNN digs up comes from John O'Neill, who relieved Kerry after his reassignment back to the US:

"He was the father of the lie that the Vietnam veteran was a rapist, a baby killer, a drug addict and the like," said John O'Neill, who served in the same Navy patrol unit where Kerry served and who sparred with him on national TV during the tumult of 1971. "I don't think there's anybody that did that, or created that, more than Kerry."

That's all that CNN presents by way of counterpoint: 64 words against 428, or a ratio of 6.7 to 1 in Kerry's favor on an article that supposedly was about the effect he had on other veterans. Candy Crowley starts by promising a look at veteran anger, and winds up giving Kerry everything but a podium and a microphone. Perhaps another, more careful news agency will provide us with a more balanced look at the effects of Kerry's remarks on a generation of servicemen, instead of just another soapbox for Kerry.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 23, 2004 12:52 PM

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