Liberal hypocrisy and double standards were on full display today as the mainstream media and other Kerry defenders finally reacted to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad campaign and book, Unfit for Command. And what were those reactions? Well, Salon.com charged that the book is "unfit for bookstores" and belongs in the fiction section, taking a Kerry campaign statement as unvarnished truth. The New York Times spent 73 paragraphs trying to link the Swift Boaters to George W. Bush, looking through "connections" of friends of friends of friends, as if this somehow discounts what's being said. But wait a minute, why is it only the Swift Vets' book that must be scoured for inaccuracies and, if found, removed from shelves? Why does any tenuous link to Bush show that the Swift Boaters are lying? Why was NONE of this appliacble to liberal books and liberal groups?
Chad Clanton, spokesman for the Kerry campaign, told Salon that "[n]o publisher should want to be selling books with proven falsehoods in them...." Salon continues, "...there is a long-standing tradition by reputable publishers of withdrawing titles that prove to be hoaxes or frauds." Really? Anyone remember Arming America, The Origins of a National Gun Culture by Michael Bellesiles? That was the book that purportedly showed that the Second Amendment was not written to defend an individual's right to bear arms since Americans back then didn't own that many guns. Predictably, it was paraded around by the mainstream media, it was given the Bancroft Award for outstanding historical research, and generally lauded as something that was a major blow to the NRA. Well, it turned out Bellesiles made up a great deal of his reserach. The records he used either didn't really exist or were represented as saying things that they did not. As Bernie Goldberg in his book Arrogance recounts, Bellesiles, a professor at Emory University, was forced to resign when an Emory review panel found that his work was "unprofessional and misleading" and some of it was outright falsified. His Bancroft Prize was reluctantly rescinded. So, did bookstores stop carrying the book? No. You can find it in almost any major chain right next to More Guns, Less Crime. The publisher, Knopf Publishing Group, is still distributing it. I don't remember any calls for either Knopf or bookstores to do otherwise from the mainstream press. Of course, it begs the question, then, that even if the charges leveled against Unfit for Command are true, which they are not, why should it even matter? Then, what about the lies in Al Franken's book, or any of the hundred Bush-bashing books that fill the "Current Events" sections of book stores? What about Bill Clinton's book? What about the proven lies in Michael Moore's books? They're all still in the "Nonfiction" section. I expect Salon.com to demand those books be removed from bookstores and no longer published. of course, I won't hold my breath.
The New York Times charges illustrate a similar double standard. They complain that the Swift Vets have received fundign from people who are friends of Karl Rove. Well, gosh, Scott McClellan may just as well have set up a projector in the Press Room of the White House and played them. How many people in the Kerry campaign are friends with George Soros? He donates millions to MoveOn.org and America Coming Together. MoveOn is relentless in its attacks on Bush and has put out plenty of ads. So, according to the New York Times, that would discount whatever MoveOn has to say. Not to be left out, the Kerry-Edwards campaign filed a formal
whine complaint with the Federal Election Commission, charging that the Bush campaign is illegally tied to the Swift Vets. Well, with the evidence they have, can Bush complain about DNC ties to Michael Moore? Wesley Clark, a former presidential candidate praised him! He sat next to Jimmy Carter during the convention! This is all insane.
Notice how none of the charges are actually addressed. The attacks are all on the Swift Vets themselves. Statements are shown out of context and claimed to be accurate. Salon's article questions 3 people in the group (one of whom has already cleared up his issues, saying his criticisms of Kerry stand), so what about the other 57 who are on record in the book? The author of the book, John O'Neill, has publically challenged Kerry to sue him for libel if the charges are truely false. Kerry could release his medical records to clear up the controversy about his medals. Neither of those things have happened, and no one expects them too.
Still, it is the hypocrisy here that is so staggering. None of these "standards" have been applied to liberal groups or liberal books. We're to now believe that the Democrats are interested in combating falsehoods written in print? Well, they can start with Bill Clinton and work their way down to Michael Moore. That's not going to happen, though, because the media and the Democrats, as usual, have one standard from themselves and another standard for everyone they disagree with.
For more, see Captain Ed's savaging of the Times article, a whole series of posts on Hugh Hewitt's blog, Powerline, and Instapundit (especially this and this), John O'Neill on Hannity and Colmes and the Kerry Spot on National Review Online.