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"Stolen Honor" Morphs Into Broader Sinclair Documentary (Free Republic thanked)
The Claremont Institute ^ | October 22, 2004 | Richard Reeb

Posted on 10/23/2004 12:10:07 AM PDT by Stoat

"Stolen Honor" Morphs Into Broader Sinclair Documentary


The long-awaited Sinclair Broadcasting Company production about "Stolen Honor" was, according to a company press release, always intended to be a documentary in the customary sense of the term. Appearing tonight at 8 (7 p.m. central) on 62 stations in 39 markets to 24 percent of the television households, "A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media" will go beyond the Swift Boat Veterans (and POWs) for Truth documentary previously expected.


"The news special will focus in part on the use of documentaries and other media to influence voting, which emerged during the 2004 political campaigns, as well as on the content of certain of these documentaries. The program will also examine the role of the media in filtering the information contained in these documentaries, allegations of media bias by media organizations that ignore or filter legitimate news and the attempts by candidates and other organizations to influence media coverage," the press release said.


"Contrary to numerous inaccurate political and press accounts, the
Sinclair stations will not be airing the documentary 'Stolen Honor' in its
entirety. At no time did Sinclair ever publicly announce that it intended
to do so. In fact, since the controversy began, Sinclair's website has
prominently displayed the following statement: 'The program has not been
videotaped and the exact format of this unscripted event has not been
finalized. Characterizations regarding the content are premature and are
based on ill-informed sources.'" [Pardon the odd formatting.]


Of course, both the critics of the network and the network itself have strong motives for affirming or denying that Sinclair intended to give a "one-sided" presentation of John Kerry's anti-American activities in 1971, including his infamous testimony to the U.S. Senate in which he alleged that American soliders had committed atrocities with the approval of their commanders, met with representatives of the Viet Cong and North Vietnam in Paris, and helped to form Vietnam Veterans Against the War, many of whose "members" were later shown not to be Vietnam veterans at all but had lively imaginations. Of course, to the Left, a "one-sided presentation" means one that tells the truth about its political spokesmen and activities.


These broadcasts are aimed primarily at the swing states in the Presidential election, so only two West Coast stations (Sacramento and Las Vegas, both serving the Nevada market) will run it. Sinclair's summary of the program's objects certainly leaves room for its people to clarify a number of interesting matters, including the difficulties the Swift Boat veterans faced in getting public attention, the Old Media's attempts to ignore or discredit them, and efforts by Democratic politicians to take them to court or enforce some questionable notion of "equal time" the practical effect of which would have been to keep the Swift Boat vets off the air entirely.


Thanks to Free Republic for providing the link to the press release.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Free Republic; Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: apowstory; claremontinstitute; documentary; fleurdelis; freepers; freerepublic; richardreeb; sinclair; stolenhonor; swiftees; swiftvets

1 posted on 10/23/2004 12:10:07 AM PDT by Stoat
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To: Stoat
Thanks to Free Republic for providing the link to the press release.

Wow, it's my post in the link!

I'm so proud.
2 posted on 10/23/2004 12:14:56 AM PDT by fleur-de-lis (Great intelligence, talent, or fame has no relation to knowing right from wrong or applying it.)
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To: fleur-de-lis
Never think that the efforts you put forth here at FR aren't noticed by the 'pro' pundits and writers :-)

Congratulations :-)

Image Hosted by

3 posted on 10/23/2004 12:18:12 AM PDT by Stoat
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To: Stoat
That's fantastic!! Thanks!

BTW...did you know that "Stolen Honor" has been released online for FREE by the producers? All 42 minutes of it!!

FREE Download here:

4 posted on 10/23/2004 12:28:31 AM PDT by GBA_001 (GBA - God Bless America!!)
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To: GBA_001

FREE Download here:

5 posted on 10/23/2004 12:30:02 AM PDT by onyx (John "F" Kerry deserves to be the final casualty of the Vietnam War - Re-elect Bush/Cheney)
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To: onyx

Thanks for the download link!

6 posted on 10/23/2004 12:56:09 AM PDT by txzman (Jer 23:29)
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To: txzman

Propagate the link to non-FR sites also, please.

7 posted on 10/23/2004 12:57:38 AM PDT by Tax Government (Stop Freeploading. Become a monthly contributor to FR.)
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To: onyx

thanks for the link

8 posted on 10/23/2004 1:09:11 AM PDT by samtheman (
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To: samtheman; txzman

Your welcome.
It's a fabulous documentary.

Damn pity Sinclair caved.

9 posted on 10/23/2004 1:11:03 AM PDT by onyx (John "F" Kerry deserves to be the final casualty of the Vietnam War - Re-elect Bush/Cheney)
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To: Stoat
The original title STOLEN HONOR was very appropriate,,,,,because,,,,THAT'S WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED TO THE POW'S ONCE AGAIN!!
10 posted on 10/23/2004 1:18:45 AM PDT by stockstrader
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To: Stoat
My God this is powerful.

Please people, view this and pass this on!

11 posted on 10/23/2004 1:20:33 AM PDT by Khurkris (Marriage makes beer taste better. 10 yr old children make it a neccessity.)
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To: onyx


12 posted on 10/23/2004 1:44:48 AM PDT by AnimalLover ((Are there special rules and regulations for the big guys?))
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To: Stoat

13 posted on 10/23/2004 2:30:36 AM PDT by familyop (Receive, adhere, listen, dissolve, entice and launch.)
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To: GBA_001

I saw Stolen Honor online and have passed the URL around. The video needs to be seen!

14 posted on 10/23/2004 4:48:56 AM PDT by KeyLargo
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To: Stoat
Donate: Swiftvets
15 posted on 10/23/2004 6:53:07 AM PDT by samtheman (
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To: stockstrader

You have it a bit wrong.

The POWs were speaking for ALL of us who served in the United States Military, but especially on behalf of those who served near the time of VietNam. This is not only a POW thing, it is a US Military thing.

Each and every one of us has suffered because of the false charges of the VN antiWar propagators. For some, like me and many of my buddies, they were physically assaulted or otherwise intimidated while they were still in the military. For some, they found they had to hide their military service to get a job, or they were questioned or incriminated or belittled in their interviews. For some, they have suffered mentally as a result of the lack of appreciation for their service. There are other effects I'm not mentioning here, but sKerry had a hand in it all.

Some, many, of the protesters have apologized. Some leaders, like Horowitz, have gone on to be great voices against the socialists and liberal elites. Many of those are ashamed for what they did. I am proud of their hearts, and the conscience God gave us and I totally forgive them.

Other vets have gotten parades. We who served then did not get a parade, and first had our hearts lifted when we took vicarious pleasure in the Desert Storm celebrations. Reagan softened the effect somewhat, but he didn't reverse much of the movement sKerry had a hand in starting.

It is time to give our VietNam Veterns the parade and celebration they never got.


16 posted on 10/23/2004 8:01:29 AM PDT by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
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To: AFPhys
Excellent post. Your comments are obviously heartfelt, emotional and moving. TO THIS DAY KERRY HAS REFUSED TO APOLOGIZE FOR HIS HARMFUL, TRAITOROUS AND TREASONOUS WORDS!

Unlike John Kerry, I salute what you and all veterans have done in the the service of our country.

17 posted on 10/23/2004 8:53:09 AM PDT by stockstrader
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To: stockstrader
Thank you for your acknowledgement.

Give the VietNam Vets the Parade they Never Got.

18 posted on 10/23/2004 10:48:25 AM PDT by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
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To: fleur-de-lis

I have a 4 1/2 minute tape of kerry's various positions. Would you like a copy? It is an attachment. Also if you have the energy, you might think about sending this to as many local talk show hosts as possible in your area. I have sent inquiries to as many national shows as I can think of.

19 posted on 10/23/2004 10:55:05 AM PDT by branch1
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To: KeyLargo
"I saw Stolen Honor online and have passed the URL around. The video needs to be seen!"

I totally agree, KeyLargo! I watched it twice last night and it is AWESOME...a VERY powerful message!! There's absolutely NO WONDER why Kerry and his "thug" supporters are trying to STOP this movie from being seen!!

20 posted on 10/23/2004 1:28:08 PM PDT by GBA_001 (GBA - God Bless America!!)
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To: GBA_001


EYE ON POLITICS: Vietnam veterans in 'Stolen Honor' deserve to be heard

October 25, 2004

In the long run, it probably won't make much difference that the Sinclair Broadcast Group didn't show the documentary film about John Kerry's anti-Vietnam War activism as a primetime news show.

"Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal" is not first-rate television drama, just a series of interviews with middle-age men who were decorated soldiers and prisoners of war before their hair turned white. Mixed in are not-very-revelatory archival footage of the war, war protestors, the Hanoi Hilton and a young Lt. Kerry in Vietnam Veterans Against the War pose.

Still, it's too bad it didn't air. These guys deserve to be heard.

Although dismissed by their critics on the left as a handful of bitter old men trying to settle a misguided grudge, the stars of "Stolen Honor" don't look like fringe characters. They look pretty ordinary. A little beefy and bifocaled, not quite comfortable on camera. Like most Americans, they aren't particularly articulate.

But what they're trying to say is pretty clear. They think John Kerry and his antiwar allies got it badly wrong on Vietnam. They say they suffered in enemy prison because of it. And -- worst of all -- that America has wound up with the wrong narrative on a war that defined their young lives.

They are dismayed that no one has ever been held accountable for what they consider to be the slander of a generation of soldiers.

In the campaign to keep it off the air, "Stolen Honor" was assailed as agitprop, compared to Nazi propaganda and criticized for its lack of balance. Unquestionably, it is one-sided. But the film techniques in "Stolen Honor" don't come close to the sophistication, bias or deceit of "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Unless the men depicted don't exist or their backgrounds are fabricated, "Stolen Honor" is what the men in the film believe is the truth about what happened to them and their country.

At times, theirs is almost a quaint form of outrage. Robinson Risner, who spent more than seven years in captivity, has a note of incredulity in his voice (he sounds a bit like a character from "The Andy Griffith Show") as he describes a session with his North Vietnamese tormenter/interrogator.

The interrogator told him the antiwar crowd, some of whom were visiting Hanoi, "said they were winning the war in the streets of America.

"I certainly did not approve of that. I didn't think it was right for an American to come over and bolster the Vietnamese morale."

To the extent they address Risner and his colleagues at all -- which is not much -- Kerry's defenders and the critics of "Stolen Honor" scoff at the idea that his post-war activities had adverse consequences. They talk about America's venerable tradition of freedom to dissent. They insist Kerry's was a voice of moderation in a chorus of radical antiwar anger. Besides, they say, young Lt. Kerry really wasn't all that important a figure in the antiwar movement.

Leo Thorsness, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner who spent five years in prison during Vietnam, disagrees.

After Kerry, as spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War, testified before the U.S. Senate in 1971 about alleged atrocities by U.S. troops, "We were being told we were war criminals, and we will be tried for war crimes.

"Unless we confess and ask for forgiveness and bad-mouth the war... we'll never go home. Here's a guy at home. He's been in Vietnam, so you have some respect for a person that went over there. And now, he swaps to the other side, and he's saying the same things we're being tortured to say."

For producer Carlton Sherwood and the ex-POWs in "Stolen Honor," it is dumbfounding that the story about the war they fought in, watched friends die for, and in which they endured years of torture and captivity, has been told by people like Francis Ford Coppola, Tim O'Brien and John Prine.

To them, Vietnam may have been bungled, even misguided. But they are proud of their service. They think their country, even when it screws up, has good intentions. They remember the hardship and sacrifice and loneliness. And they think it is incomprehensible the nation has somehow come to believe that they were, in Kerry's words, men "given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history."

The Kerry campaign responded to "Stolen Honor" by again insisting that Kerry wasn't offering personal witness when he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the actions of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam had been pervasively barbaric ("They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads...razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan" etc. etc.).

He was merely summarizing testimony he'd collected from other vets. The implication, of course, is that Kerry wasn't attesting to the veracity of those tales, just passing them along. That's a joke. To judge for yourself whether Kerry believed the things he told the committee had actually happened read or listen to his testimony. It is widely available on the Internet (Do a Google search for "Kerry's senate testimony").

The other defense is based, somewhat confusingly, on the notion that there really were widespread atrocities in Vietnam. Kerry won't swear to them anymore, but lots of other people will.

Jim Warner spent five years and five months in enemy custody during Vietnam, according to "Stolen Honor." He obviously doesn't think of himself as a rapist and murderer. He obviously does think of Kerry as an opportunist, who used his antiwar activity to launch a political career.

Warner says his interrogators showed him passages of an antiwar book Kerry helped edit in which Warner's mother criticized the war while he was still in captivity.

Bristling with anger, he says: "It is is really a contemptible act to take a grieving old lady and...prey upon her grief and manipulate her grief purely for the promotion of your political agenda."

Another ex-POW, Ron Webb, was held by the North Vietnamese for five years and eight months. It is perhaps understandable that he is not much interested in the nuanced view of Kerry's antiwar activities. He has his own context.

"They drew a circle on the floor, the stone floor, with a piece of chalk. And I was to stand in that circle. And I lasted 97 hours in that circle. But when I finally gave it up I... got into it with a guard and got beaten up pretty bad...and broke some teeth."

While he was confined to the circle, Webb says, his abusers arranged for him to see visiting Americans passing by, antiwar activist Tom Hayden among them, "I guess to influence me that Americans were obviously opposed to the war and that I ought to be also."

It may be unfair to hold Kerry accountable for what happened to these men. It certainly is arguable he had little influence on the course of the war and the formation of public opinion about it, and less on how the North Vietnamese treated prisoners. The view of the POWs in "Stolen Honor" may be far from a consensus. Many veterans -- certainly those who support Kerry's candidacy -- seem untroubled by the prospect of electing him commander -in chief. And many Americans are simply tired of reliving Vietnam.

For that reason and others, "Stolen Honor" was not likely to attract a very large audience in the first place, even if it had been broadcast uncut. Neither was it likely to change the perception about Kerry or the Vietnam War. But it's pretty clear that the veterans in it are not lying about what they believe. They think the dominant cultural image of Vietnam as a war of imperialistic greed fought by drug-crazed baby killers is an evil slander.

And they think it's time someone listened.

As Bob Dole reportedly said about an intemperate outburst from Vietnam vet John McCain, also a long-term guest at the Hanoi Hilton: "You spend five years in a box, and you're entitled to speak your mind."

Contact DAWSON BELL at 313-222-6604 or

21 posted on 10/25/2004 6:59:22 AM PDT by KeyLargo
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To: KeyLargo
Great article, Thanks KeyLargo!! I just emailed my gratitude to the author!!

What a pity, though, that it's taken 3 long decades to give our courageous military a voice!!
22 posted on 10/25/2004 6:23:10 PM PDT by GBA_001 (GBA - God Bless America!!)
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