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Built For A 1972 Media
By Ed Driscoll · August 28, 2004 03:22 AM · Oh, That Liberal Media! · The Making of the President · The Memory Hole · The New, New Journalism

Mark Steyn nails it (as usual):

A few months back, I bought a DVD set of an old TV variety show, black and white but digitally remastered. A bit too digitally remastered, as it turned out. It would be ungallant to name the lady artiste in question, but in several alarming close-ups it's all too clear she's come back from lunch a little the worse for wear, and in one scene she looks as if she's just been woken up after sleeping in the park for a week.

Not her fault. The make-up guy was making her look good enough for 1960 monochrome UHF lines. He couldn't have foreseen that 40 years on they'd have big-screen satellite TVs and DVD players and technology that would make that little facial pimple look like Mount Krakatoa about to blow through your screen.

That's what happened to John Kerry. For 25 years, he told The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, the United States Senate, and all manner of other well-known saps about his covert Yuletide operations inside Cambodia gun-running to anti-communists with his lucky CIA hat. To verify any of this would have required a trip to specialist reference libraries, looking up stuff on eye-straining microfiche, etc. So it was easier to let the old blowhard yak away and just nod occasionally.

Senator Kerry couldn't have foreseen that Al Gore would invent the Internet, and there'd be this Google thingy, and all you'd have to do is tap in a few words and a nanosecond later it would all be at your fingertips veterans memoirs, Cambodian history, declassified Johnson administration documents, previous Kerry "stretchers" (as Mark Twain called them).

The Kerry campaign has now conceded that, by his own contemporaneous account, the young lieutenant was nowhere near Cambodia in Christmas 1968 and, if he was ever on a covert gun-running operation across the border during his four months in Vietnam, he seems to be the only rookie Swift boat lieutenant to land in the territory and get entrusted with such a mission, and it was evidently so top secret that neither his commanding officers nor the men on his own boat knew a thing about it.

Kerry's massively invented narrative ("swashbuckling Swift Boat lieutenant"--as Steyn describes him--turned brave defender of soldiers' rights) was built to survive the glancing scrutiny (if you can call it that) of a 1972-era media that consisted of three TV networks with half hour evening news shows, and a few liberal big city newspapers, all of which were staffed with journalists more or less largely sympathetic to Kerry's leftist anti-American beliefs.

But between the Swift Boat Vets and the Blogosphere, there are far too many people examining Kerry's story, and his "reporting for duty" edifice has crumbled.

Is that fair? We'll, we're deciding if we want the man to have the key to the most powerful arsenal ever assembled. If he can't survive the scrutiny of the Blogosphere, who James Lileks recently described as an "obsessive sort with lots of time on their hands", is he someone who should be trusted with this power?

The 1972-style media seems to think so.

For now.

(Via Cold Fury.)

Update: For now? Maybe not. "After waiting weeks for the mainstream news media to cover the collapse of John Kerry's narrative on Viet Nam, and waiting out the media attack on the testimony of over 200 combat veterans, two bellwether media outlets have suddenly reversed themselves and reported on Kerry's lies and prevarications in their news sections", writes Captain Ed.

(Obvious thought: When the New York Times (which also owns the Boston Globe) goes negative against Senator Kerry, he might to call Maynard Ferguson, and see if he knows "Taps".)

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