Oh, but it's not censorship now? Updated
So it's just fine and dandy to have a bunch of vets stand up there on stage with John Kerry in a show of support, but when a group of men who served with him in Vietnam go on the record in opposition, the Democratic National Committee sends in the lawyers to threaten any TV stations with legal action if they choose to carry the ad.
|Space Here||The letter claims the ad is "false" and "libelous" and suggests, in not-so-subtle terms, that TV stations should use their "legal authority" to refuse any requests for advertising airtime, stating that "because your station has this freedom [to refuse the ad], and because it is not a 'use' of your facilities by a clearly identified candidate, your station is responsible for the false and libelous charges made by this sponsor" (emphasis added).|
As their first piece of evidence of the ad's supposed lies, the DNC/Kerry lawyers claim that the veterans in the ad "purport to have served on Senator Kerry's SWIFT Boat in Vietnam" but, "in fact, not a single one of the men who pretend to have served with Senator Kerry was actually a crewmate of Senator Kerry's." The problem is that none of these men claimed to have served on Kerry's SWIFT Boat. They simply said they "served with John Kerry" -- and they did. The letter goes on to make several more misleading statements about the advertisement, in an attempt to protect Kerry's "war hero" record.
So it's censorship when conservatives voice their disagreement with the Left's viewpoints, but there's no censorship here? Where are all those free-speech advocates now?
The letter from the DNC goes on to claim that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is a sham organization, stating that the group is spearheaded by a Texas media consultant (now, why would the consultant's State of residence matter here? Hmmmm...) and "financed largely with funds from a Houston homebuilder." So? And, so? Note that they carefully do not address the only contention with regard to this being a sham organization: are the members of Swift Boat Vets actually veterans who served in Vietnam with John Kerry? If they weren't, the DNC would have said so, emphatically. Instead, they narrow the point to the ridiculous by pointing out that none of the men were actually assigned to either of Senator Kerry's boats. No one claimed they were, but to imply that because they weren't on the same boat then they can't possibly know what was going on in the unit is misleading and untrue.
Another point they bring up is with regard to the doctor in the ad who claimed to have been the one to have treated Senator Kerry's injury that resulted in his 1st Purple Heart. They claim that the doctor was also not one of Kerry's crewmates (he never claimed to have been) and that he wasn't the one who "actually signed Senator Kerry's sick call sheet." This is yet another example of misdirection and a failure to address the point head-on. The doctor said he treated Kerry's injury, not that he did the paperwork. If Senator Kerry wants to say explicitly that this man did not treat him for his injury, then say so. Why, instead, does he hold up a paper that has someone else's name on it? And if the paperwork is to be so trusted on this matter, why are we to doubt the discharge paperwork on President Bush's service with the National Guard?
The DNC letter repeats the charge of Swift Boat Vets being a "phony organization" and the men appearing in the ad as being "fake witnesses." Hey, we can clear that up real quick. Records of these mens' service in Vietnam will be readily available and they know that. These men are standing up on camera to make those claims about Senator Kerry and they're not hiding behind aliases to do so. If they're lying about their service, it'll be a piece of cake to prove that. If they lied about that, then they clearly are lying about the other points since those depend on having been in the service to begin with. Note that the DNC didn't go after that proof, however. They went after the TV stations. The don't want to go to court after people they claim are libelous, they just want to intimidate the TV stations into not giving air to the ad. I suspect that's because they know the truth's not in their corner on this one. They aren't going to intimidate men who were combat vets into sitting down and shutting up. They know that and they're going after the softer targets.
Let Senator Kerry answer the ad with the facts. Let him call on those men in the ad to prove it. Let him explain why scores of vets who were over there in Vietnam serving in the same unit as himself, put their names to a letter saying he was unfit to be Commander-in-Chief. Go ahead, Senator. We're listening.
Update: - I just read where Senator John McCain is calling on President Bush to condemn the ad, calling it "dishonest and dishonorable." First, Mr. McCain, how about you cite specifically what's dishonest about the ad. You're saying they're lying: who and about what, specifically? Considering you weren't present, how do you know? Or do you have some information that these men weren't present either?
Second, I'm happy you're all for wanting the President to condemn an ad that attacks Mr. Kerry's record. Where were you when the ads were flying about the President's service? Where were you when MoveOn.org was equating the President with German Furher Hilter? The President would like all the ads - from all these "527" organizations - to stop. How about you make the same request of Mr. Kerry that you have of the President? Ask him to condemn those ads I've mentioned and call for them to halt?
Better still, how about you get back onto the Senate floor and fix your so-called "Campaign Finance Reform" Act?