MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT: Kerry’s campaign is threatening to sue stations that air the Swiftboat Vets ad. They’re claiming that the people pictured aren’t who they say they are.
I hope that the media will investigate this story, and get to the bottom of things.
UPDATE: Reader Mike McLoud isn’t impressed:
The letter from Kerry’s lawyers is disingenuous. It calls the Swift Boat vets frauds because none of them were “crewmates” of Kerry’s. The vets claim is to have “served with” John Kerry. They actually commanded boats in the same unit. The doctor is called a fraud because he didn’t do the paperwork on Kerry’s first Purple Heart injury.
In the vets book, and in interviews, he says he treated the wound and a corpsman filled out the reports. I’m not a lawyer, but the letter seems to play fast and loose with facts. Are the Swift Boat vets that big a threat to Kerry? Is this desperation?
Similar observation here. (“At least one of their points in the letter is an obvious lie.”)
Well, if Bush had threatened legal action to block Michael Moore’s film from showing, I know what people would say. As to the underlying facts — I feel sure that we’ll know the truth by the time of the election, regardless. Reader Rick Vogel isn’t impressed with the letter, either:
If you take a look at the letter the Kerry campaign sent, they complain
“Not a single one of them served on either of Senator Kerry’s two Swift Boats. Further more the doctor was not a crewmate of Senator Kerry”
“The statements of the phony “crewmates” and “doctor” in the advertisement are totally, demostratably, unequivocally false, and libelous”
Well, I saw the ad and it did not say they were crewmates. It said they served with him and the picture on their site makes it clear that they were “brother” officers. Creating such an easily dispelled strawman as part of your defense does not bode well for the rest of Kerry’s case.
I’m pretty sure that the Kerry Campaign wouldn’t want to go to trial on this, with sworn testimony and discovery on all sides, before the election. But hey, I could be wrong. Reader David Brenna thinks this is a mistake on Kerry’s part: “Kerry does appear desperate, but I think he’ll just cause a media feeding frenzy. The DNC is blowing it!”
After the bogus “dirty tricks” claim regarding the bunny-suit photo, I’m inclined to agree. But we’ll find out.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Alan McAnn thinks it’s a mistake, too:
If Kerrry had proof that this ad was a fraud, wouldn’t he be better served to respond to it publicly – either himself or others in the party (Edwards?).
This letter makes them look like they have something to hide because they are not doing this publicly. Instead, they are trying to create a legal chill behind closed doors.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays. I think Kerry would have been better off confronting this himself, rather than sending lawyers to make threats. But what do I know? Finally, reader Greg Roberts thinks Kerry’s being hypocritical here:
I hope someone points out any hypocrisy between Kerry’s complaints about the Swiftboat Vets and Kerry’s implied support of Michael Moore at the DNC. Assuming that Kerry is being honest and that this group is falsely attacking him, it would be fine if Kerry asked the Bush folks to publicly reject the Swiftboat Vets ad. However, Kerry didn’t seem to have much of a problem tacitly supporting the world’s biggest discredited Bush basher, Michael Moore, where he was repeatedly shown sitting next to Jimmy Carter in the DNC’s VIP box. Will Kerry be hypocritical enough to complain about vicious Republican attacks from the Swiftboat Vets, even though he didn’t have the decency to reject Moore’s lies about Bush? Mmmm, probably…
Indeed. I have to note that “campaign finance reform” doesn’t seem to have produced more mannerly elections.
And for a contrarian view, the futures market seems to think this is actually bad for Bush.
And Kevin Greene thinks it’s all about giving biased media an excuse not to run the ad:
The real reason for the threatening letter is to give already biased media outlets a “legitimate” reason NOT TO RUN THE AD.
Your readers are correct in their reading of this letter. There are more red herrings in it to feed all of the people in the Bible. But the effort, at its core, is to provide POLITICAL COVER to stations so that they CAN REASONABLY REFUSE to run it.
“Hey, we were told it was false. We don’t know if it’s true, therefore, we can’t run it.”
End of ad
This will backfire, and is surely why the Internet is the medium of our time. More people, I suspect, will see this ad because of the controversy over the attempt by the Kerry camp to keep it under wraps.
We’ll see, won’t we?
There may be blowback already: Reader Pat Kim emails:
Kerry’s lawyer says that SwiftVets.com is funded by “a Houston homebuilder”. I’m a Houston home-seeker. Who’s the builder they’re talking about so I can call him about a house?
More blowback, from Powerline: “The Swift Boat Vets don’t have the money to secure broad distribution for their ad. Their strategy, obviously, is to try to make up in news coverage what they lack in cash. It seems to me that Kerry’s strategy plays into the Vets’ hands. The more time between now and November that is spent debating the truth of the Vets’ charges, the worse for John Kerry.”