Susan Sets the Media Straight

Susan of Suburban Guerrilla does a good job expressing the sense of outrage that’s been growing in me lately at the way some of the mainstream media have been willing to accept the Bush crowd’s argument that the Swifties’ ad and the MoveOn response are the same sort of thing: A letter to the media.

Anyway, because you’re all so rusty with this principled-and-hardworking-journalist thing, there’s a point I’d like to make: You can’t really compare the Swift Boat Veterans ads with those ads. Can you guess why?

It’s because the content of the ads is what we call “factual” and the Swift Boat Veterans ads are what we call “lies.” See the difference?

24 Responses to “Susan Sets the Media Straight”

  1. Craig Says:

    The equivalency between the two groups is mainly that they serve to provide the negative attacks and smears that both parties would like to cirulate, but want to officially look to be above all the mud-slinging. And the idea of MoveOn being mainly funded by small donations, as a grassroots cause, is insulting. There is nothing small about the money provided by George Soros and Peter Lewis.

    Just as “Swift Boats” is funded by some big Bush contributors.

    And, for the record, I’m not impressed so far with the “truth” that the “Swift Boaters” are broadcasting.

  2. David Says:

    Indeed, their truth seems only to be what they say it is. It contradicts written record as well as the claims of people more familiar with the situation. As always, the real truth lies somewhere in the middle. I have no doubt Kerry’s version of his war experience is the shiniest version available, but these stories are told by Bush supporters without a shred of evidence, having hated Kerry since 1971, but only now decided how to attack him.

    FYI, in researhing this issue myself, I came across this , which might give some perspective on the situation. It was alluded to in the news as “Kerry campaign insists that the Bush Campaign coordinates and supports the Swift Vets” or some such thing, rather than being talked about for what it was.

  3. Kent Says:

    Turns out that day by day the Kerry camp is having to admit that the Swift group is right, John wasn’t in Cambodia for Christmas, Bush was right to use force, and today they say his wound might be self inflicted as claimed by others.
    I suspect that more truths will come out as we near the election.

  4. John Callender Says:

    Kent, don’t be such a tool.

    You make four assertions:

    1. Kerry is having to admit that the Swifties are right.
    2. Kerry wasn’t in Cambodia in Christmas 1968.
    3. Bush was right to use force.
    4. Kerry’s wound (you don’t say which) might have been self-inflicted.

    The form of your statement would seem to imply that numbers 2 through 4 support 1, though in fact they don’t.

    Overall, most of the assertions in the Swift boat ad are either unprovable statements of opinion, or are directly contradicted by the available documentary and eyewitness evidence. This isn’t just leftist ranting; this is fact. Either you have the objectivity and intelligence required to reach that conclusion, or you don’t. I’m guessing that you fall short on one or both of those tests.

    But anyway, for the benefit of readers who don’t fail those tests, I’ll rebut your assertions in order.

    1. Kerry is not having to admit that the Swifties are right, because they’re not. They’re liars, he has said so, and to the extent he continues talking about it there’s no reason to expect him not to continue to say so.

    2. Kerry’s people appear to have acknowledged that he wasn’t in Cambodia on Christmas Eve in 1968; he was 50 miles away over the border. There is ample evidence that he was in Cambodia in January and/or February of 1969. So what you’ve managed to demonstrate here is that decades after the fact, either his memory or his scruples for telling the precise truth are subject to a failing that, in any objective assessment, is well within the range of normal human behavior.

    If this is the standard we’re going to hold our presidential candidates to, Bush is in big trouble, by the way, since he’s far worse than Kerry in this regard. I could easily produce dozens of such factual misstatements on the part of Bush covering much more significant issues where the passage of decades doesn’t provide an excuse. Um, off the top of my head: “We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found them.” And: “We gave him a chance to let the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in.” And: “I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower…” All of these Bush statements are flat-out untrue, and he says this kind of crap all the time.

    3. Kerry has said he believes his vote granting Bush the authority to use force in Iraq was appropriate, and that he would vote to do so again, even in the hypothetical case where he knew Bush’s assertions about Iraqi WMD were the bullshit they’ve turned out to be. That is very much not the same thing as saying Bush was right to use force in the manner he did. In fact, Kerry has been highly critical of the actual manner in which Bush used force. From the Rolling Stone interview published in December 2003: “When I voted for the war, I voted for what I thought was best for the country…Did I expect George Bush to fuck it up as badly as he did? I don’t think anybody did.”

    Either accidentally or as an act of wilful misconstruction, you are interpreting Kerry’s statement that he believes his vote to authorize Bush to use force was appropriate with Kerry’s having said that the actual manner in which Bush used that authorization was appropriate. They’re not the same thing.

    4. The key distinction you’re glossing over here is between “self-inflicted” in the sense of “accidentally self-inflicted in the course of operations against the enemy” and in the sense of “intentionally self-inflicted as a way of getting a get-out-of-Vietnam-free card.” Note that the former form of self-inflicted injury specfically qualifies for a Purple Heart. Some people in the Swifties have implied that one of Kerry’s Purple Hearts may have been, in fact, self-inflicted in that former sense (though the evidence for that seems slim). To my knowledge, none of them have asserted that it was self-inflicted in the latter sense, and there certainly is no objective evidence that it was.

    Now, I realize that the steady diet of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and whatever other twisted hokum you consume in the place of news has left your sense of intellectual discernment severely, and perhaps permanently, retarded. I realize, too, that people with your willingness to treat the presidential election as the equivalent of a professional wrestling match get to vote just like the responsible adults do, and while it saddens me on some level, I applaud and encourage your decision to exercise that franchise, should you choose to do so.

    But for anyone in the audience who is appalled (as I am) by this kind of crap you’re spouting, and who might be thinking of staying home on election day, please take the time to vote. Your country needs you. Don’t let it down.

  5. Larry Says:

    Bravo John!

  6. davidh Says:

    It would seem JBC, that you are the tool. Been drinking too much of that liberal kool-aid.

    1. You doubt the word of 60+ true Vietnam heroes(btw, all of whom stayed in VN for their whole tour)

    2. kerry’s own diary contradicts his own statements. He says he was in Cambodia in ’69 and that Pres. Johnson was sayiny there were no Americans there…however Johnson wasn’t Pres. until Jan. ’70…imagine that…

    3. Kerry used the same arguements in 2002/3 that there were WMD’s in Iraq and that Saddam should be removed from power, as said Clinton, the Intel. units in the UK, Germany, Israel, Russia…

    4. Accidently self-inflicted or not, A grain of rice in the buttocks
    hardly meets Purple Heart justification. In my 21 years of military service, I had many injuries during periods of combat and not. None earned me any awards (maybe I should have wrote it up myself as your friend Kerry did).

    5. Wouldn’t hurt you to get a life and give a listen to some talk shows or Fox News, you see, it is well known fact that all other types of media lean extremely to the left…

    6. Myth: the Swifties are a front group for Bush.
    truth: Bush has nothing to do with them and has condemned their ads and has asked Kerry to do the same to organizations such as, etc. But Kerry continues on his ignorant path.

    The Swifties are funded by man in Texas ($250k to $500k), and other Kerry partners have spent 67 million plus on their Bush bashing ads, imagine that…

    7, And finally, read your history books…communism, socialism, etc. have never worked, anywhere, anytime. So, for the time being, you are just going to have to live in the real world of capitalism (which, btw, does work, the economy is the best in 25 years. Thanks to Bushs’ tax-cuts)

  7. GDI Says:


    Who would you believe: the word of John Kerry’s boat mates, or the 60+ Swift boat veterans who did not serve on his boat? I believe John already rebutted your Cambodia statement. I would like to point out however, Johnson was president from 63 when Kennedy was shot, until Nixon took office after the 68 election. YOU should read your history books. Referring to someone who defends Kerry as a Communist? Perhaps you’d like to go back to the time of McCarthyism?

    With that said, I believe this election should be about the present and future. Not a war that took place 30 years ago.

  8. carla Says:

    You people–particularly davidh and kent–are scaring me. Your grasp of reality is tenuous, at best, and your aquaintance with the truth–with just about any truths whatsoever–is apparently non-existant. What, exactly, is your problem? Why are you so eager to elect someone like Bush? Why are you so eager to have him empty your pockets so he can fill the pockets of Cheneyburton? Why are you so eager to have young men and women die and lose limbs in Iraq? (For example, have you seen the photos of Rumsfeld and Hussein? Hussein became evil in the intervening years but wasn’t evil then?) There’s so much more, and it’s incomprehensible to me why you deny all of this evidence in order to support a privileged, corrupt, idiot. Do you really believe that an administration full of people who had “other priorities” during Viet Nam have a better grasp of when military action–and the ensuing loss of life that entails–is necessary than someone who actually saw combat?

  9. enkidu Says:

    davidh – I had to laugh out loud when I read your #7 talking point
    thx for the laughter – sorely needed

    ignoring all the hysterically funny pinko commie bluster, to state that this is the best economy in 25 years simply belies the facts on the ground. For the last several years (pretty much since shrub was installed [ie – not elected]) I have been saying that in the 25 years I have been working at my career it has NEVER been this bad. Thanks to shrub’s tax cuts! Glory! Please pass some more big@$$ tac cuts for my millionaire buddies!

    Oh and the admonition to listen to FOX ‘news’? Hilarious! I actually do listen now and again as well as read NRO and you guys are whacked. Psycho. Cuckoo! Our foreign policy shouldn’t be based on hastening this ‘Rapture’ BS that you nut jobs seem to anxious to bring on. Can you say Apocalypse? I knew you could! Can you spell it? pshaw!

    Can’t wait for the debates!

    Frankly I think that the shrub crowd isn’t above a little Riechstag fire type of electioneering. Or pointing to any convenient pile of human hamburger in Afghanistan and declaring Osama dead. Smarmy Boot Republican’s for Pusch are just the beginning.

    ps – I am an independent voter (NA or no affiliation on my voter registration card) and do not think Kerry is Superduperman, but he is head and shoulders above shrub.

    pps – I would have voted for McCain, and still think he would have done a better job post 9/11. Gore too for that matter.

  10. davidh Says:

    Carla, you should be scared. The terroists want to kill you too. You are not safe because you are a liberal…also, Cheney has is no longer associated with Haliburton…
    GDI, I am sorry, you are right. It was Nixon that was president in ’70. But the fact remains, Kerry lied about who said he wasn’t in Cambodia. Bush privileged? Kerry’s the gigalo, married the ketchup-girl for her money…
    Enkidu, you’re right, Kerry is taller than Bush…butt ugly too…independent? (read ‘liberal’)…and this, I work in the manufacturing industry. Before Bush (during Slick Willy’s reign), I was lucky to get 30 -35 hours a week, now I cant’ hardly keep up with all the hours I get (average 50-55). I have more money in my pocket that I decide what to do with, no the democrats…

    No takers on items 3,4 or 6?

    And ok, lets leave history alone for a while. How about Kerrys’ Senate record. Actually I mean lack of a record. Can anyone tell me one piece of legislation with Kerrys’ name on it? I didn’t think so…He voted to raise taxes, he wanted to take money away from the CIA. He voted against many weapons systems that we use now. He voted for the war, but not fund it…

    Look, people, I know I’m talking to my hand cause the face ain’t listening, but, talking to the terroists is not going to do anyone any good. They want kill us all, Democrats, Republicans, etc. We don’t need someone in the Whitehouse that thinks thats all we need to do is talk and kiss their butts.

    BTW, whose picture is in the war hero museum in Vietnam? sure ain’t Bushs’…


  11. GDI Says:


    It would seem you subscribe to the new McCarthyism by bringing up the “T” word to “prove” your point. So, what: if we don’t support Bush we are helping the terrorists?

    Dick Cheney is only a few years removed from Haliburton. Can’t you see he’s helping them siphon off billions of our tax dollars at our expense, and his gain? Like I said before, I could care less today about a war that happened over 30 years ago. But as long as you bring it up, President AWOL didn’t even show up for his physical.

    I’m not sure “items 3, 4 or 6” warrant a response, but here it goes:
    3. Kerry voting to give Bush the authority to go to war is not the same as actually taking us there and fucking it up the way our Commander in Thief has done. The war has cost us billions, and our country is now pretty much bankrupt. While taking us to war, the president has also cut taxes for the wealthy like himself, putting us even further in debt. Genious.
    4. Rice in the butt? Were you there? Kerry’s records seem to back his version of events, so unless you were there, lets stop talking about it.
    5. Oh, wait. You weren’t asking about this one. But lets all laugh about how you get all your news from FOX.
    6. Swifties are a front group for the Bush Administration. Myth? Well, they tried the same tactics on McCain, who has condemed the ad. And two people resigned from the Bush campaign this past week for also working with the Swift Boat Veterans.

    The Boat Veterans contradict themselves constantly. I’m really tired of hearing about it. Can’t we talk about something new? What is Bush’s big plan to fix our country in the next 4 years? Like our federal deficit, health care costs, job losses, and getting our troops out of Iraq? Oh yeah, he doesn’t have a plan– he just diverts attention from it by talking about Gay marriage or bringing up the “T” word again.

  12. doug Says:

    George Bush loves to attack John Kerry’s legislative record. But the fact is that 57 bills and resolutions Kerry sponsored passed the Senate and countless others have been improved because of his work, including the Clean Air Act, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the COPS program. In addition, Kerry has taken on the special interests and won. He fought against Newt Gingrich’s anti-labor and anti-environmental regulatory reform, he has fought to raise the minimum wage, and he has worked to shut down wasteful corporate subsidies.

    davidh, why don’t you go to
    and read the rest for yourself?

  13. GDI Says:

    Ah, yes davidh. And while you are there, read Kerry and Edwards 263 page book, available as a free downloadable pdf. While I admit there is a lot of political “fluf” in it, it’s 263 pages more of a plan for the future of our nation than W has.

    In a vote between Kerry and Bush, the choice is obvious.

  14. Ian Wood Says:

    Actually, all of you are tools.

    We are faced with an enemy that thinks nothing of blowing itself up against the armored flanks of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the sides of our tallest buildings, or the iron dome of the Capitol. We live in a world where the technology to kill a million people comes in a package that will fit in a panel van.

    And you’re wasting time with this crap? You’re letting the media decide what’s important in this election?

    And you really think you’re making a contribution?

  15. davidh Says:

    Ian, we’re really just killing time until Bush is re-elected. We all know that is the way it will turn out.

    I’ll ignore the fantasy of Kerry having any bills or resolutions passed. It just didn’t happen. (I’m suppsed to take his word for it?)

    As for the ‘rice’, no, I wasn’t there, but I’ll take the word of 60+ people who were there…

    Raising the minimum wage will only result in putting small businesses out of business, or cause the lay-off of hundreds of people because their employer can’t afford to raise their pay…

    As for the tax cuts, I’m not rich or wealthy by any means, but my taxes went down (as I suspect yours did as well).

    If I read the PDF book, you have to promise to read “unfit for Command”…deal? I suppose ‘’ isn’t a front group for Kerry? The person that resigned from the Bush campaign did not have to, he did it to avoid a conflict of interest. Lets see the 6-8 shysters working for Kerry do the same…
    The Swifties have every right to be heard, but, instead of answering the charges, Kerry and his minions just try to shut them up and threaten the TV stations that play their ads with a lawsuit…last time I checked, the 1st Amendment wasn’t repealed.

    And finally, we are all Americans (at least I hope we are) and we are all subject to the threat of terrorism. The only real way to deal with it is to eliminate the threat. I gladly put my life in the hand of the current administration that is willing to take the fight to them. Not someone that wants kiss their butts and make nice, and turn our defense over to the UN…

  16. enkidu Says:

    raising the minimum wage would cost hundreds of jobs eh? you do know that the reason the unemployment rate is so low is because many folks (not just a few hundred) have used up all their unemployment benefits and have dropped off the roles. right? how many millions of jobs have we lost under shrub? 2 million? 3 or 4 million if you count folks who have exhausted their unemployment benefits? if we had continued on our previous (Clinton-era) job growth path (or even just the same as Canada) we would have more than 9 million new jobs.

    maybe you work for an armaments manufacturer?
    an elctronic vote stealing corporation?
    oil services firm?
    white sheet and pointy klan hat manuf?

    as to the rest of your drivel: Kerry has more legislative victories than shrub. What are exactly are shrubs accomplishments? arsenic in the water? mercury emissions? opening up national parks to greed? billions of no bid contracts for his cronies? tax breaks that shift the burden of fed taxes to the middle class and poor? pre-emptive non-sensical war? bravo! (not)

    if Kerry is elected the nation will see just how criminal these cretins really are…

    the difference between the swiftees (sprung from the fetid imagination of Karl Rove) and is that you can prove moveon’s statements (ie FACT) whereas every single one of the guy’s who actually served with Kerry ON HIS BOAT back up his and the Navy’s version of events. That would make the JackBoot Veterans for Pusch a bunch of political shills.

    Just to recap:
    moveon – statements of fact
    swifties – baseless lies and slander

    your taxes went down but the amount of debt our grandchildren will inherit has shot thru the roof. so much for fiscal responsibility! or moral responsibility

    the republicreeps candidate is a semi-reformed drunk and blow-monkey
    how many people choke on pretzles when sober? none? shall we make an exception for low grade morons?

    your response to my comments is so full of gibberish that it is hard to take you seriously…
    kerry is taller? what? excuse me? has this any bearing on the course our country is currently on?

    when you are headed for the rocks it is wise to change course – vote anyone but bush

    I am an independent vote (NA or as i joke it stands for None of the Above not No Affiliation). To imply that independents are liberals is typical of your tiny mindset. And I would like to ask if you have ever served or volunteered to serve? (as I have) No service other than lip service? just another chicken hawk? you would fit right in with the cabal currently in charge

    ps – if this were world war II and we had just been attacked, FDR didn’t take 2 years to be dragged into an investigation. We declared war on the enemy and mobilized the nation. If shrub were president back then I dare say the analogy would be that we sent doolittle to bomb tokyo (afghanistan), and then we invaded South Africa (that oughta learn those Axis of Evil nasties!)

    pps – where is the focus on OBL? The war in Iraq is totally unecessary and a huge sink hole of lives, lucre and US political muscle. You neo-fascists better wake up and smell the stench of failure. Iraq has led to a huge swell of support for our enemies: good work w!
    eternal war is good for warmongers so what the hey! bravo!


    9/11 is the best thing that ever happened to shrub, look at historical polling graphs and there are two positive spikes: 9/11 and Hussein being captured. I do not put it beyond these crooks to engineer a ‘Reichstag fire’ to tip public opinion to gWARb.

  17. GDI Says:

    60+ people most definately did not witness Kerry getting rice in the butt– what did happen? I really do not care. I prefer to live in the present.

    As for the tax cuts, I’m not rich or wealthy by either, and yes, my taxes went down a little. But the cost of my health care, gasoline, utilities, all went up, along with the national debt as enkidu mentions. These costs far outway any so called tax savings I might have received.

    Suggesting I read “Unfit for Command” would be like suggesting you read Michael Moores “Dude, Wheres my Country.” I laugh at the suggestion as much as you’d laugh at reading a Michael Moore book. Why read John O’Neils book, when I can hear all I need to know about it on Fox News. If and when George Bush writes a book outlining his plans for the next 4 years, perhaps I’ll read it. Perhaps the Media should pay more attention to a book by Kerry, who is a presidential candidate, than O’Neil who is not. I’m guessing you weren’t even aware he had a book.

    The Swifties have every right to be heard, but they also need to be held accountable to the truth.

    And finally, yes,we are all Americans. And I’d like to see a president who would truely be a “uniter”, rather than divide us by race, religion, sexual preference, or even democrat or republican. Bush has clearly been a failure at this, as demonstrated by worldwide protests were ever he goes, and by his need to make everyone who joins him at a “campaign rally” sign an oath of loyalty to his campaign– something that would have to be a first in our nation. This is the kind of thing a dictator like Fidel Castro or Saddam does, not the leader of the FREE world. The president should hear the voice of ALL Americans, not just the ones who agree with him.

    It’s time for a change. We need a president who will unite us, not divide us. Everyone is FREE to go to a John Kerry rally, whether they support him or not. Aren’t we suppose to be a nation of the FREE?

  18. enkidu Says:

    you have to sign an oath of loyalty to w to get into a rally? bwahahahahaha!!!
    what a joke!
    that is so damn fascist it is scary

    no wonder they call everyone who disagrees with the RIGHT a terrist
    (note fon-et-ic-al spelling for shrubbie microcephalics)

    magnificent failure indeed

  19. davidh Says:

    Kerry has already divided this nation and if he is elected, it will only go down hill from there.

    for all you ‘indies’, you call yourselves that because you don’t have the c.a.jones to admit your are a liberal. is just another kool-aid drinking socialist front group for Kerry.

    yes, if Lurch is elected, we will see what a war criminal he is, and btw, it is his picture hanging in the Hanoi war museum as a hero of Vietnam…

    face it all you demoncrats, you are losers, your man is a loser and will take this country to hell. you all are in extreme need of mental help…mikey moore must be real proud of you…

    see you all at Bushs’ inaugartion party…

  20. davidh Says:

    ah, liberal censorship at it’s best…I leave a scathing comment and it is deleted…the ole’ double standard

  21. John Callender Says:

    Actually, that’s something other than liberal censorship at its best. The site has a comment-spam-detecting filter that holds certain comments in an approval queue until I can see them and give thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Despite my thinking that you’re sadly deluded and silly, I have no objection to your posting evidence of that in the site’s comments. I was just away from my desk for a bit, so I couldn’t approve it until just now.

    I’m not sure what it was in the original comment that tripped the anti-spam filter. I could research in more detail if it’s important to you.

  22. GDI Says:


    Was that your version of a “scathing comment?” I thought it was the white flag of surrender, if that’s the best you could come up with. But perhaps, being a man of honor, you’ve already signed your oath to W, and wouldn’t want to admit you are wrong.

  23. davidh Says:

    None of the above. It took a while, but it dawned on me the nature of this website…I should have figured it out sooner…the name says it all – – you all put up the lies enough and eventually some one will believe it. I’ve been going at it all wrong… Kerry is the good guy…honest, upstanding and totally able to be president…
    My apologies, I get it now…

  24. John Callender Says:


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