John Kerry, "media darling"?

They see things differently on the right.

Tim Grieve
November 3, 2006 12:44AM (UTC)

Breaking news from another planet: A headline at the National Review Online describes John Kerry as a "media darling" and complains that the press has "circled the wagons around the junior senator from Massachusetts."

That bit of handiwork tops a column by Thomas Sowell that's chock full of stuff you might charitably call "truthiness." Sowell quotes Kerry saying that he would "apologize to no one" for what he said about Iraq, but he neglects to mention that Kerry subsequently apologized to anyone who was offended. After equating Kerry to Benedict Arnold -- no, really, he does -- Sowell says that Kerry "to this day ... has never signed the simple form" required to release his military records. In fact, as the Boston Globe reported at the time, Kerry signed Standard Form 180, which "waived privacy restrictions and authorized the release of his full military and medical records," in May 2005.


What about this notion that the media has "circled the wagons" around Kerry? Maybe we missed all the wagon circling amid the 24/7 coverage of Kerry's blunder. Every time we turned on CNN or MSNBC Wednesday, we saw somebody beating up Kerry for his comments; at one point Wednesday, Fox's John Gibson went so far as to refer to Kerry's words as "off-color remarks."

What did Sowell see this week that we didn't? He focuses almost entirely on a San Francisco Chronicle headline that said, "Bush, GOP seize on Kerry's gibe to turn focus from war in Iraq." Sowell asks: "Has any Democrat ever been accused by the mainstream media of 'seizing on' some statement by a Republican, much less have bad motives imputed?"

Well, let's see. From the New York Times, June 24, 2005: "Democrats seized on Mr. Rove's comments, clearly hoping to put Republicans on the defensive." From the Washington Post, July 12, 2005: "Democrats seized on" Bush's vow to fire anyone involved in leaking Valerie Plame's identity, "urging Bush to follow through by dismissing Rove and including a call for congressional hearings." From the Associated Press, Aug. 12, 2004: "Kerry seized on Bush's comments" about a national sale tax in an effort to "reverse partisan stereotypes by portraying the Republican president as the tax raiser and himself as a tax cutter." From Knight Ridder. Oct. 27, 2006: "Less than two weeks before congressional mid-term elections, some Democrats seized on Cheney's comments" about "dunking" detainees in water "to recall that the vice president had lobbied Congress against passing a torture ban."

Sowell should try "the Google" sometime. There's no telling what you can find out there.

To be fair, Sowell isn't the only one who seems to have trouble with these newfangled research tools: The White House is struggling with this thing called a "calendar."

On Air Force One today, deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said that John Kerry's apology for his remarks came "maybe four days late." Kerry said what he said Monday, and he'd apologized -- twice -- by Wednesday afternoon. That's two days, max, where we live, but time has always moved a little slowly in the Bush administration: In February 2003 -- that's three and a half years ago in reality-based time -- Donald Rumsfeld said the war in Iraq would last "six days, six weeks -- I doubt six months."


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2006 Elections Iraq War John F. Kerry, D-mass. War Room

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