Who can be shocked anymore by the oddly defensive partisanship of The New York Times? When the accusations by the Swift Boat Veterans were first made several weeks ago, one issue above all stood out, not just with the blogosphere, but with large numbers of concerned citizens from both parties, that is John Kerry’s statment before the US Senate — “seared” in his memory, as he said — that he had spent Christmas Eve of 1968 under fire in Cambodia. He made this assertion during an important policy debate on War in Nicaragua — a serious matter indeed. It wasn’t a question of mere medals (who cares?). It was national security, life and death. (He also made similar statements in print, as we know.)
But Washington > Campaign 2004 > Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Anti-Kerry Ad” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/20/politics/campaign/20swift.html?pagewanted=5&hp”>The New York Times, writing for the first time on this scandal they have so assiduously avoided, buries what surely deserves to be the lede in the fourth to last paragraph of a 3500 word article!
This week, as its leaders spoke with reporters, they have focused primarily on the one allegation in the book that Mr. Kerry’s campaign has not been able to put to rest: that he was not in Cambodia on Christmas Eve in 1968, as he declared in a statement to the Senate in 1986. Even Mr. Brinkley, who has emerged as a defender of Mr. Kerry, said in an interview that it was unlikely that Mr. Kerry’s Swift boat ventured into Cambodia on Christmas or Christmas Eve, though he said he believed that Mr. Kerry was probably there shortly afterward.
One wonders why they even bothered to print the measly paragraph (CYA perhaps?). One thing is certain, few will read it because the article itself is a tedious recitation of the obvious — that the Swift Boat Veterans are heavily backed by Bush supporters. (Talk about dog bites man.) You would think a newspaper with Times’ aspirations would be interested in why a man running for the most powerful position on Earth would find it necessary to trumpet– up until quite recently — seemingly bogus involvments with Cambodia and the CIA. It wouldn’t take Freud, Jung or Adler to tell them that this might speak to the man’s personality. Surely the Times people must know that. In fact, I wouldn’t doubt they do. And that’s the problem.