Captain's Quarters Blog

« What Kerry And Edwards Refuse To Denounce | Main | Kelly: Blogosphere Triumphs Over Traditional Media »

August 23, 2004
Fact-Checking The Gray Lady

As a rule, media critics do better when they stick to media matters rather than insert themselves into political controversies. Here in the Twin Cities, we have ringside seats to the never-ending entertainment of Brian Lambert and his fact-free insertions of political commentary in his media reviews at the Pioneer Press. Well, never-ending until just recently, when the Pioneer Press announced that Lambert would no longer handle the media beat, anyway.

The New York Times apparently has a similar problem with its media critic Alessandra Stanley. In covering the Swiftvet controversy (hey, at least she's covering it at the NYT!), she makes this whopper of a misstatement while attempting to tweak Fred Barnes:

Fred Barnes, the executive editor of The Weekly Standard and a regular Fox commentator, ardently defended the Swift boat critics of Mr. Kerry, saying on Fox that a majority of the senator's Vietnam brethren believed that Mr. Kerry "fabricated or exaggerated his record." Mr. Barnes added that "the entire chain of command above Kerry have said the same thing." He did not mention any notable exceptions in that chain of command, including Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, a former secretary of the Navy who said Mr. Kerry fully merited the Silver Star. Mr. Barnes's hyperbole went unchecked.

Maybe Barnes' "hyperbole" went unchecked because Barnes knows of what he speaks, unlike the hapless Ms. Stanley. Alert CQ reader and now honorary fact-checker Scott Hudson did what Stanley failed to do: check to see if Barnes was wrong before scolding him in print. Scott went directly to the source and found this in the listing for Secretaries of the Navy:

John W. Warner.............4 May 1972 - 8 Apr 1974

During Warner's tenure, Kerry spent his time as an anti-war activist, while inactive in the Reserves. Kerry's combat time in the Swift Boat divisions was divided between two other Secretaries of the Navy -- Paul Ignatius and John Chaffee.

Alessandra, I know its difficult, but when you set out to insult someone of the stature of Fred Barnes, it really helps if you do your research before going to print. For pity's sake, I never went to J-school and even I know that. Obviously, the Gray Lady's performance standards haven't changed much since Jayson Blair left.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 23, 2004 11:14 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Fact-Checking The Gray Lady:

» Kerry's evolving story from QandO
Despite the fact that John Kerry has called them "lies", the Swift Boat Veterans seem to be forcing the Kerry camp into quite a lot of retreats, rowbacks and other concessions. Captain Ed has been positively invaluable in documenting the... [Read More]

Tracked on August 24, 2004 9:56 AM

» Kerry's Cambodia Whopper, with Special Sauce from dislogue
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... [Read More]

Tracked on August 24, 2004 10:37 AM

» Benedict Arnold Lite? from dislogue
A comment over on Captain's Quarters got me thinking. That's one thing about the byplay of blogs, the friction of thinking minds in near real time (especially when compared with the time spans involved in peer reviews or even corporate... [Read More]

Tracked on August 25, 2004 12:20 PM

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!