One of the major (non)stories of the Kerry-Swiftvet situation is the lack of attention that the mainstream media has given to the Swiftees' ACTUAL statements, as opposed to: (1) who funds the Swiftees, (2) the timbre of the allegations, (3) the knee-jerk Democratic claims that this is just a function of the vast right-wing conspiracy. Dave Kopel of the Rocky Mountain News (link in title) examined the issue's coverage by the Denver papers:
The Denver dailies have covered the story exclusively by attacking Swift Boat Veterans for Truth through:
• An Associated Press article in both papers reporting that John McCain denounced the attacks on Kerry (without providing any evidence that the attacks are factually wrong);
• [Rocky Mountain] News columnist Mike Littwin criticizing Bush for not criticizing the Swift boat veterans (Aug. 7);
• The [Denver] Post's Jim Spencer defending Kerry's Purple Hearts (a July 30 column with more substance than other Kerry defenses); and
• An AP article pointing out that John Corsi, the co-author of Unfit for Command has made disparaging remarks about Islam and Catholicism (News, Aug. 11).
Kopel's analysis shows that Denver's coverage is consistent with the coverage that the facts of Kerry's Xmas in Cambodia, Purple Hearts and valor decorations have received in the rest of the media at large. As shown on That Liberal Media here, here and here, the NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, and other major media have not deigned to examine the substance of the Swift Vets evidence but have been more than happy to blast the Swiftees as Republican dupes.
But the story has gotten great traction in the blogosphere.
First, Captain Ed has been analyzing in great detail the substance of the Swiftees' statements compared to Kerry's current and past descriptions of his actions and missions. The deviations are too numerous to mention in a post (Captain Ed has had 8 and counting just on the Xmas in Cambodia fallacy, four on the inaccuracies in David Alston's story) but the major effects are: (1) the Xmas in Cambodia -- this Kerry claim has completely fallen apart and is now exposed as a false construct with the Kerry campaign changing its explanations and eventually asking Kerry's biographer to write a piece for The New Yorker to reconstruct the past; I discussed the impact on Kerry's reason to even BE a politician here; (2) Alston was a speaker at the Democratic National Convention because he claimed he served under Kerry, but Alston was wounded and removed from action the day before Kerry took command of the Swift that Alston had served on, thus he never served under Kerry; (3) even a mainstream press columnist now calls for Kerry to come clean, make public all his service records and be fully honest. But, as the posts from That Liberal Media show, the LA Times treats all this as off-limits.
Second, the charges are beginning to get traction with polls, as shown here in this study.
Third, Instapundit (scroll to Aug. 13 and below) has been banging away at the facts and information the mainstream media has missed. Instapundit is the probably the most popular non-ideological blog on the Internet so his comments carry weight.
Reagan and Clinton both proved that the easiest way to defuse the personal damage that could result from a scandal is to nip it in the bud as soon as possible: Reagan said "mistakes were made" and got a pass on Iran-Contra; Clinton said "we've had problems in our marriage" without saying adultery and got a pass from the press in 1992. Only cover-ups generate endless questions (Watergate, Lewinsky). Kerry has covered-up, backtracked and revised history -- an unholy trinity of obfuscation. Luckily for him, the mainstream media does not seem to care.