Thomas Lipscomb, whose writing on the John Kerry campaign in 2004 earned him a Pulitzer Prize nomination, has fired a salvo back at Kate Zernike and her article on Kerry’s attempt to re-engage on the Swift Boat campaign. In an article at Real Clear Politics, Lipscomb deftly points out the journalistic, evidentiary, and logical flaws in Zernike’s rather naive reporting:
Kate Zernike’s story on the front page of the Memorial Day Sunday New York Times, “Kerry Pressing Swift Boat Case Long After Loss,” is an unfortunate reminder of the Times’s embarrassingly poor coverage of Kerry in the face of the Swift Boat Veterans’ for Truth charges in the 2004 election. Now as then, the Times acts as if the issues involved were between Kerry’s latest representations of his record and the “unsubstantiated” charges of the Swift Boat group. The Times used the term “unsubstantiated” more than twenty times during its election coverage and continues to make no discernable effort to examine any of the charges in detail.
But there was plenty of evidence in the work of other news organizations that some of the charges, and the Kerry military records themselves, were worth examining seriously. I found numerous problems with Kerry’s records on his website in my own reporting for the Chicago Sun-Times: a Silver Star with a V for valor listed that the Navy stated it had never awarded in the history of the US Navy, three separate medal citations with some heavy revisions in Kerry’s favor signed by former Navy Secretary John Lehman who denied ever signing them, to name two.
Additionally I found by examining the message traffic with experts that when the Swift Boat Vets charged that Kerry had written the Bay Hap after action report, by which he received his bronze star and the third purple heart that was his ticket out of Vietnam, the evidence showed that it was indeed probably written by Kerry himself. Zernike seems to have totally missed this in her reporting. Zernike is content to refer to Kerry’s claim that “original reports pulled from the naval archives contradict the charge that he drafted his own accounts of various incidents,” none of which she cites, provides, or analyzes.
One would think that after eighteen months, if anyone wanted to dredge this up again, a reporter would want to do so in order to achieve more clarity on the allegations. Instead, Zernike used these as a platform for Kerry to make even more unsubstantiated statements, such as the notion that he and his supporters had gathered evidence that would show all of the charges made by the SBVFT as baseless lies. Wouldn’t a reporter ask to see that evidence? Wouldn’t that kind of scoop put her on the top echelon of the media? Instead, Zernike did little more than take dictation from Kerry and his cohorts, as Lipscomb repeatedly demonstrates.
Read the entire article. I couldn’t agree more with Lipscomb’s conclusion — if the media wants to re-open this as a story, it should be prepared to demand all of the records from Kerry as well as thoroughly review the evidence gathered by the 250 veterans who opposed Kerry’s bid for the presidency. If no one is prepared for that commitment, then it should remain where the voters left it in November 2004.
2 thoughts on “Lipscomb Fisks The Gray Lady”
What is John Kerry Thinking?
Captain’s Quarters has some good questions for NYT reporter Kate Zernike who filed the glowing Kerry report: Wouldn’t a reporter ask to see that evidence? Wouldn’t that kind of scoop put her on the top echelon of the media?
There are …
It is time we all got to see a picture of the famous Kerry “lucky hat,” rather than another account by the latest star-struck journalist. It is time for Kerry to stop alluding to “records” and start producing them. And it is time media assigned repor…
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