It seems like forever, but it was only three and a half years ago that John Kerry was the Democratic front runner, with the MSM lining up for his anticipated coronation. And then something strange happened: the Vietnam vets started speaking up, challenging the mythology Kerry had created — and the press had sustained — around his brief time in Vietnam. And so a new verb was born: “to swiftboat,” which the Left defines as to lie about someone’s past for political advantage, and the Right defines as revealing the truth about someone’s past for the public’s benefit.
Now, the story is no longer about what Kerry did and did not do in Vietnam. Instead, the more interesting story is about how the Veterans pressed to get the truth before the public, and how the MSM pushed back, desperate to deep six a narrative that had the potential to destroy Kerry’s candidacy.
Someone involved in the matter from the beginning (indeed, he worked with John O’Neill in 1971 to challenge the Winter Soldier slanders) was Bruce Kesler, a former Marine who served in Vietnam. At the Democracy Project website, he tells about a book called To Set The Record Straight, How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs and the New Media Defeated John Kerry, whose authors, Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler, explain all about the Swift Boaters’ and the media’s role in Election 2004. It sounds like a great book and I’m betting that, after you read what Bruce has to say, you’ll want to read the book too.
UPDATE: In writing to Bruce about his book recommendation, I said something with which I’ve become enamored, so I’ll repeat it here: As I’ve often said, I don’t have problems with bias. That is a fairly basic part of the human condition. I have a huge problem with a media conglomerate that denies bias, and denies the steps it takes to promote its position. I like anything that exposes the shell game the media plays on the American public.