Skip to comments.NPR Host Presses Jake Tapper to Describe Horror of 'So Many Lies' by Swift Boat Vets....
Posted on 03/23/2013 12:08:43 PM PDT by Kaslin
Pardon the age of this item, but it's on an issue of campaign history. On March 13, NPR Fresh Air host Terry Gross interviewed new CNN host Jake Tapper about politics and journalism, and whether there was blowback from presidents and candidates over tough questions. But Gross felt compelled to bring up the "lies" told about John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign -- without expressing anything specific.
Tapper said he was assigned as a Swift Boat Veteran fact checker by ABC. Gross said, "So you were fact-checking some of the Swift Boat attacks against presidential candidate John Kerry. There were so many lies in those attacks. What was the fact-checking like, and how effective do you think it was in trying to counteract the lies?"
TAPPER: Well, I'm pretty proud of that fact-checking. We were pretty good about defending John Kerry's record as adequately and affirmatively conveyed in military records and the records of people who were actually on the boats with John Kerry, as opposed to other Swift Boat veterans who were not on the boats with John Kerry. But I don't know that - this was definitely an era of he said-she said journalism.
And, unfortunately, as is the case in society in general, a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. And the untruths about John Kerry were more potent than the record-correcting that media attempted - not on behalf of John Kerry, but on behalf of medical records and facts and the war record of somebody who volunteered to captain a Swift Boat through the rivers of the jungles of Vietnam.
And it's a shame that - I mean, whether or not John Kerry should be president is a whole other discussion, but it's a shame that military records and firsthand testimonials were so often disregarded in favor of angry personal attacks.
Stop right there. Let's get in the rewind machine. Tapper now says "firsthand testimonials" were disregarded. Now who needs the fact check? On "Nightline" on August 19, 2004, Tapper was fairly objective (more objective than others) in noting there were firsthand testimonials on BOTH sides:
TAPPER: Some of the group's charges have eyewitness accounts disputing the Kerry and the official Navy version. Like about the events of March 13th, 1969, for instance, the day Kerry earned a Bronze Star for plucking Green Beret Jim Rassmann from the Bay Hap River. Kerry's bronze star citation says his boat and four others were receiving small arms and automatic weapons fire, and that Rassmann was receiving sniper fire from both banks. 35 years later, anti- Kerry veteran Larry Thurlow, commander of a nearby boat says there was never any fire.
LARRY THURLOW, VIETNAM VETERAN: He embellished his story, in fact, told lies about the situation that developed when he got his Bronze Star.
TAPPER: (Voice Over) Thurlow is supported by others in his group there that day. But as first reported in today's "Washington Post," Thurlow's own citation mentions "small arms and automatic weapons fire." Thurlow discussed in a phone interview today.
THURLOW: This comes from John Kerry's report of that day, which said we were under this extreme fire. We were not.
TAPPER: Jim Rassmann disagrees and insists he was under fire.
JIM RASSMANN, KERRY CREWMATE: I know what happened. I know that if it hadn't been for his efforts I would have been killed.
TAPPER: So, in short, contradicting accounts and memories, a confusing list of accusations, some more credible than others, none provable, all apparently disputed by official Navy records.
John Kerry ran for president for many months trashing President Bush -- including mocking his service in the Texas Air National Guard -- and touting his own Vietnam-veteran story as his greatest qualification in the Democratic field, and yet somehow, liberal journalists repeated all his war stories. Why did take until August for anyone in the media to get interested in what was true and false in it?
But nine years later, leftist NPR host Terry Gross is sticking to the line that no eyewitness could have possibly disagreed with Kerry's G.I. Joe accounting of his own combat heroism. "Official Navy records" in this case include Kerry's own reports.
GROSS: Did you find it discouraging how the media covered the Swift Boating story? Because some of the media covered both sides, as if both sides, you know, two different, valid versions of the truth, when one side was not telling the truth.
TAPPER: Yeah, I did. I did find it frustrating. I find it frustrating any time there's a false equivalence made by the media, because we are supposed to have the moral standing and intellectual standing to say when something is true and when something is not true. And I don't think that the media always measures up to it. I'm sure I haven't always measured up to it, as well.
But I will say that this - I do think that this is the flipside of a different problem, which is one of I think a cultural bias that some members of the media have. And I think that it's not - I think it's simplifying to say that the media's liberal, but I do think that the media, in general, comes from blue-state worlds or blue cities, and doesn't necessarily understand red states as well as we should. And I think trying to overcorrect that, sometimes we fall into the pit of false equivalence.
GROSS: Was it interesting for you to have watched Senator Kerry's confirmation hearings as Secretary of State and now see him as Secretary of State after having fact-checked all of the Swift Boat allegations against him?
TAPPER: I have to tell you, I was - because I was cleaning out my office at ABC News and moving to CNN, I came across my John Kerry Swift Boat file. And I kept it, because I thought that we were going to hear all the same arguments again. And I wanted - you know, I had all the military records and official after-action reports and testimonials from his - from firsthand witnesses and the like.
And I was pretty amazed that none of it came out, except for a little bit, I guess, on Sean Hannity. There was very little of the smears against his war record. And I guess instead, they just focused on a different nominee for a different position. But it's pretty telling.
Well, that's what the media is there for, I suppose.
If history does not support their case....I guess it is OK for them to revise it.....(s)
Speaking of records.
Where are John Kerry’s?
He promised to produce them but never did.
Ho about those horrible ban-Aid wounds and the Viet Vong soldier he got off the boat to kill.
LIES??? Yeah and Kerry told them
Still waiting for the F-180.
By the way did I mention the traitor went to Paris to meet with our enemy while he was still a reservist?
NPR/Tapper...same ideological prism...Not a single fact put forth by the 200-plus men who served with Kerry has ever been overturned...the MSM became so desperate in late ‘04 that Rather used forged documents against Bush in an attempt to put Kerry back in the race.
If this “answer” is typical of what Tapper believes, his program will fail.
I’m a bit surprised. Not that the CNN Cow asked these leading questions, but that Jake Tapper agrees with her left wing position. I thought he was better than that, at least on economic issues. Oh, well.
He was in Viet Nam 3 MONTHS!!! Get it? THREE.
That was how long it took real miliatry members to determine he was “UNFIT FOR COMMAND” and ship him home.
The Coward shot an unarmed teenager who was running away in the back.
He ran from a gunfight dumping one of his men off his boat. ANOTHER boat had to rescue him (while under fire)
He applied for purple heart for a scratch - a literal scratch that was treated with a band-aid.
He is a coward and a liar.
Kerry is flying around saying that we must reconcile with Iran.
The media will have to also go around legitimizing his “give the bully your lunch money” position, and the addicted American public will buy it, while teaching their boys to excuse the bully.
That Kerry’s wimpiness, or worse, is against natural law is the only thing that can give one hope in this mess.
Is BO in Jerusalem to take attention away from this anti American posturing?
Isn’t Tapper the one who presses for answers in the press conferences at the White House?
Tapper prevaricates. Kerry's 2008 presidential campaign was a web of lies against Bush and about Kerry's allegedly valiant VietNam war record, which was a crock, as most of us who looked at the evidence knew then.
As Secretary of State Kerry will be Obama's messenger boy, a job he is well-qualified to perform.
I truly hope that as Kerry approaches age 70, he will finally retire from public view after helping Obama cause myriad problems in the middle east as he encourages government upheavals and Islamic radicals as replacements.
Funny he didn’t mention that while he had access to all the Swift Boater’s military records, no one is allowed to look at Kerry’s. Really funny.
Tapper is lying now. So Tapper, where is that John Kerry 100 pages of records that he would not allow the Pentagon to release to the public in 2004?
Did you know John was a combat veteran?
I do know tours were normally 12 mos in Vietnam!
Don't blame Jake Toe-tapper. He vas only followink orders.
ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin's Memo Dated Friday October 8, 2004
It goes without saying that the stakes are getting very high for the country and the campaigns - and our responsibilities become quite grave
I do not want to set off (sp?) and endless colloquy that none of us have time for today - nor do I want to stifle one. Please respond if you feel you can advance the discussion.
The New York Times (Nagourney/Stevenson) and Howard Fineman on the web both make the same point today: the current Bush attacks on Kerry involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done.
Kerry distorts, takes out of context, and mistakes all the time, but these are not central to his efforts to win.
We have a responsibility to hold both sides accountable to the public interest, but that doesn't mean we reflexively and artificially hold both sides "equally" accountable when the facts don't warrant that.
I'm sure many of you have this week felt the stepped up Bush efforts to complain about our coverage. This is all part of their efforts to get away with as much as possible with the stepped up, renewed efforts to win the election by destroying Senator Kerry at least partly through distortions.
It's up to Kerry to defend himself, of course. But as one of the few news organizations with the skill and strength to help voters evaluate what the candidates are saying to serve the public interest. Now is the time for all of us to step up and do that right.
It’s amazing how their military record was crucial in 2004 . Shouldn’t we have seen President McCain in 2008?
Did everyone on these 5 boats received bronze stars for the incident?
Kerry was in Viet Nam?
As this whole Swift Boat thing about Kerry's Big Viet Nam Adventure unfolded during the campaign, all I could think about was JFK and PT 109. I kept thinking that the toads in the state controlled "media" were trying to create JFK II. Even as I heard Kerry's Swifties speak at his rallies, all I could think of was that this whole thing was nothing but a bunch of Bovine Scatology. Thankfully, we were not subjected to books and movies about Kerry's Big Viet Nam adventure. All that his Swifty pals got out of the whole thing was some free coffee and donuts.
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