Republican congressman Christopher Cox is asking for a formal congressional investigation into CBS News' use of what he calls "apparently forged documents concerning the service record of George W. Bush intended to unfairly damage his reputation and influence the outcome of the 2004 presidential election."
Less than a month ago, though, Cox used a different standard to judge the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," whose every allegation about Kerry's service in Vietnam turned out to be inaccurate and was most certainly intended to damage Kerry's reputation and influence the outcome of the election -- and was reported endlessly without appropriate skepticism in the media. From the CNN transcript:
"Blitzer: Chris Cox, you're a good Republican. Should the president specifically denounce this ad put out by these Swift Boat Veterans for Truth?"
Cox: Well, this is obviously what's going on now with campaign finance reform, 527s and so on. There's a lot going on around the campaigns that the campaigns don't control. I think that, for the candidates, the risk is, if you try and take ownership, either positively or negatively, of what's going on around you, then it looks as if you're even more involved. With respect to the facts underlying all of this, there was a book published by swift boat veterans. It ought to rise or fall on its own merits, just as with 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' which is loaded with factual inaccuracies."
But Cox isn't content to let CBS' report "rise and fall" on its own merits. He wants Congress involved.
Whether or not the memos were forged -- and that's something we will likely find out without Congress' involvement -- if anything is "damaging" George W. Bush's reputation, it's the preponderance of evidence showing he did not fulfill his requirements to the National Guard.