From the RNC to the airwaves


Geraldine Sealey
April 29, 2004 6:22PM (UTC)

Last week, after an interview on "Good Morning America," when John Kerry was confronted with a decades-old tape of his younger self that seemed to contradict statements he has made since about whether he threw his Vietnam medals away, Kerry murmured: "God, they're doing the work of the Republican National Committee." Turns out, not surprisingly, he was right.

The Washington Post reports that "copies of the tape were provided to two news organizations by the Republican National Committee, according to several media staff members familiar with the situation who, not surprisingly, said they could not be identified while discussing confidential sources."

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"Jim Dyke, the RNC's communications director, said he could not 'discuss what information we discuss with reporters' and added: 'It is interesting that John Kerry, confronted with his own words, blamed the RNC. Where the tape came from, the place to start would be the National Archives.'"

" ... A media furor erupted after ABC News and the New York Times each reported that it had 'obtained' -- without saying from whom -- a tape of the 33-year-old interview with Washington's WRC-TV in which Kerry said he had tossed away as many as nine medals in the Vietnam War protest. ... Philip Taubman, the Times's Washington bureau chief, said he could not discuss the tape's origin but added: 'I'm always very sensitive to where the material is coming from, what the motivation is of the person providing it and how they're trying to use the newspaper.' If the leaked material is used, 'you have to be as clear as you possibly can be in helping the reader understand where the information is coming from.' Times staffers say they had to decide whether the tape was sufficiently newsworthy even though the source would not agree to even a vague attribution."

The article also points out that both parties engage in spoon-feeding "oppo" research to news organizations. The DNC had better get cracking.


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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