Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Fair.Org: Bush's Kerry Comments Go Unchecked

FAIR-L
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism

ACTION ALERT:

Bush's Kerry Comments Go Unchecked


October 26, 2004
http://www.fair.org/activism/bush-kerry-afghanistan.html

George W. Bush's new claims about Kerry ''flip-flopping'' on the war in Afghanistan quickly moved yesterday from the campaign trail to the nightly news. But some journalists who repeated Bush's charges made no effort to examine the truth behind Bush's claims-- claims which turn out, like many other Bush lines of attack, to be deceptive.

Bush charged that while Kerry now criticizes how the administration managed the search for Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora, Kerry made comments at the time that were much different. "In the fall of 2001," Bush charged, "on national TV, he said this about Tora Bora: 'I think we've been doing this pretty effectively and we should continue to do it that way.' At the time, the senator said about Tora Bora, 'I think we've been smart. I think the administration leadership has done it well, and we are on the right track.'"

But Bush is taking Kerry's words grossly out of context. Both comments he cited came from an appearance on CNN's Larry King Live (12/14/01). When a viewer asked "why they don't use napalm or flamethrowers on those tunnels and caves up there in Afghanistan," Kerry replied:

"Well, I think it depends on where you are tactically. They may well be doing that at some point in time. But for the moment, what we are doing, I think, is having its impact and it is the best way to protect our troops and sort of minimalize the proximity, if you will. I think we have been doing this pretty effectively and we should continue to do it that way."

In other words, Kerry was suggesting that napalm and flamethrowers might be ill-suited for the mission to find Osama bin Laden.

Bush is incorrect in saying that the other quote was "about Tora Bora"; in fact, that comment came in response to this question from host Larry King: "Senator Kerry-- and this is for all of you-- how goes it so far in Afghanistan, in your opinion?" A moment's thought reveals the absurdity of comparing one assessment of the situation in Afghanistan-- made shortly after the capture of Kabul, when it was believed that bin Laden was surrounded and would soon be captured-- with an assessment made later, after bin Laden had slipped away to parts unknown.

Unfortunately, some journalists covering the Bush campaign appearance passed along his allegations, but failed to inform viewers about their accuracy. CNN's John King (10/25/04) talked up the Bush campaign strategy, noting that "another part of their strategy to keep voters moving from Bush to Kerry is to make the case that Senator Kerry has been inconsistent on Iraq." As evidence, King explained that "as part of that message today, one of Senator Kerry's arguments on the campaign trail has been that the United States military let Osama bin Laden away at Tora Bora -- let him escape from Tora Bora, Afghanistan. Senator Kerry says that is proof that Mr. Bush has mismanaged the war on terrorism. President Bush today in his speech is quoting something very different Senator Kerry said back in the fall of 2001." He then quoted from Bush's speech, but failed to provide the context of Kerry's statements, made on his own network.

NBC Nightly News correspondent David Gregory (10/25/04) also failed to challenge Bush's claims, opting instead to explain Bush's strategy to NBC viewers: "The president also took aim today at one of Kerry's main attacks, that the administration let Osama bin Laden get away during the war in Afghanistan. Today, the Bush campaign tracked down an interview Kerry gave at the time, praising the effort to find bin Laden at Tora Bora. The president quoted Kerry's words." Unfortunately, Gregory did not compare Bush's description of Kerry's words with Kerry's actual remarks.

ACTION: Please contact CNN and NBC News and remind them how critical it is to check the accuracy of charges made in the closing days of the presidential campaign.

CONTACT:

CNN, Wolf Blitzer Reports mailto:wolf@cnn.com

NBC Nightly News mailto:nightly@nbc.com Phone: (212) 664-4971

As always, please remember that your comments have more impact if you maintain a polite tone. Please send a copy of your correspondence to fair@fair.org.

*************

Your donation to FAIR makes a difference: http://www.fair.org/donate.html

SUBSCRIBE TO EXTRA! AND GET FAIR'S NEW BOOK FOR FREE: The Oh Really? Factor http://www.fair.org/ohreally.html

FAIR SHIRTS: Get your "Don't Trust the Corporate Media" shirt today at FAIR's online store: http://www.merchantamerica.com/fair/

FAIR produces CounterSpin, a weekly radio show heard on over 130 stations in the U.S. and Canada. To find the CounterSpin station nearest you, visit http://www.fair.org/counterspin/stations.html

Feel free to respond to FAIR ( fair@fair.org ). We can't reply to everything, but we will look at each message. We especially appreciate documented examples of media bias or censorship. And please send copies of your email correspondence with media outlets, including any responses, to fair@fair.org .

You can subscribe to FAIR-L at our web site: http://www.fair.org . Our subscriber list is kept confidential. http://www.fair.org/ E-mail: fair@fair.org


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

27-29 Sept: Social Enterprise World Forum Live Blog

1600+ delegates from more than 45 countries have came together to share wisdom, build networks and discuss how to create a more sustainable future using social enterprise as a vehicle. Attending the Forum were social enterprise practitioners, social entrepreneurs, policy makers, community leaders, investors, activists, academics and more from across the globe... More>>

HiveMind Report: A Universal Basic Income For Aotearoa NZ

Results from this HiveMind suggests that an overwhelming majority of Kiwis believe that due to changing circumstances and inefficiencies in the current system, we need a better system to take care of welfare of struggling members in our society. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Hivemind: Medical Cannabis - Co-Creating A Policy For Aotearoa

Welcome to the fourth and final HiveMind for Scoop’s Opening the Election campaign for 2017. This HiveMind explores the question: what would a fair, humane and safe Medical Cannabis policy look like for Aotearoa, NZ in 2018? More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood: Notes On National’s Election Campaign, In Poem Form

Nationyl’s bitumen-ing / As they du du / Seed groweth / River floweth / Then ‘dozer drives thru / Highway ensu. More>>