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August 14, 2004
Rocky Mountain News: Media Bias In Cambodia Collapse

More cracks in the media-dam have appeared this morning regarding the John Kerry credibility "meltdown", this time in the Rocky Mountain News. Columnist Dave Kopel castigates his Colorado colleagues in today's edition for ignoring the Christmas in Cambodia implosion:

According to Newsweek's assistant managing editor Evan Thomas, "There's one other base here, the media. Let's talk a little media bias here. The media, I think, wants Kerry to win and I think they're going to portray Kerry and Edwards . . . as being young and dynamic and optimistic and there's going to be this glow about them . . ." (Inside Washington television show, July 10).

Thomas' prediction is amply supported by the (non)coverage which the Denver dailies, like most of the rest of the media, have given to this week's meltdown of the Kerry campaign. ...

As reported in The Congressional Record, on March 27, 1986, Sen. John Kerry spoke on the Senate floor against U.S. support for the anti-communist contras in Nicaragua:

"I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and have the president of the United States telling the American people that I was not there; the troops were not in Cambodia. I have that memory which is seared - seared - in me . . ." ...

He repeated the Cambodia Christmas story in Senate committee hearings in June 1992 and September 1997.

Actually, in December 1968, the president of the United States was Lyndon Johnson, not Richard Nixon. Nixon's statement that there were "no American combat troops in Cambodia" was made in November 1971.

All available evidence indicates that Kerry was lying about Christmas in Cambodia.

After giving that excellent thumbnail review of the story (I did not know about the committee testimony), Kopel discusses how it has been covered by the Colorado media, and the laundry list is poor and undistinguished:

The Denver dailies have covered the story exclusively by attacking Swift Boat Veterans for Truth through:

An Associated Press article in both papers reporting that John McCain denounced the attacks on Kerry (without providing any evidence that the attacks are factually wrong);

News columnist Mike Litt- win criticizing Bush for not criticizing the Swift boat veterans (Aug. 7);

The Post's Jim Spencer defending Kerry's Purple Hearts (a July 30 column with more substance than other Kerry defenses); and

An AP article pointing out that John Corsi, the co-author of Unfit for Command has made disparaging remarks about Islam and Catholicism (News, Aug. 11). ...

The News ignored the story of Kerry retracting three decades of Christmas-in-Cambodia tales. The Post also ignored the story, and instead ran the attack on John Corsi which had appeared the day before in the News.

It is as if the media had covered the Bush National Guard story only by impugning Bush's critics, while barely acknowledging the substance of the charges. Evan Thomas was right.

It's starting to squeeze in under the media blackout through independent columnists. And even when the coverage the Swiftvets have received has been completely unbalanced and unfair, the reaction to that has started to get coverage as well. Little by little, the mainstream media has been forced to deal with the Cambodian Christmas fairy tale. We need to keep pushing it forward.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 14, 2004 9:43 AM

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Tracked on August 14, 2004 10:11 AM

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