October 15, 2004 6:18 AM   Subscribe

SWIFT BOAT LIES send this to 5 people! "Like most bloggers, I have my beefs with the mainstream media. But you know what? They produce an awful lot of damn fine original reporting. Case in point. In August the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth charged that John Kerry had lied about the events that led to his Silver Star. In order to figure out if the SBVT account was true, Nightline sent a crew to Vietnam, where they visited the hamlets of Tran Thoi and Nha Vi and interviewed the local villagers to get their recollections of what really happened 35 years ago. You can read the resulting story yourself, but it's summarized pretty easily: Kerry was right and SBVT honcho John O'Neill wasn't. But there was also this:..."
posted by Postroad (34 comments total)
send this to 5 people!

What is this, a chain letter? If we don't send it to 5 friends in the next hour, do we get our military history distorted in the media?
posted by Remy at 6:30 AM on October 15, 2004

How about we all just send Postroad five copies? Does that count?
posted by sexymofo at 6:32 AM on October 15, 2004

Probably more useful just to read the ABC article considering the linked thing is some sort of opinion piece.
posted by ed\26h at 6:36 AM on October 15, 2004

Yeah, that link is basically a circle-jerk reminiscent of some threads that I've read on a community blog that I visit all the time.
posted by sciurus at 6:42 AM on October 15, 2004

Please send this information in the ABC story to your local Sinclar owned station. In Portland, Maine, it's WGME channel 13, and the contact person's is News Director Dave Kaplar. Dave email id is DKaplar and the mail server is @wgme.com. If every Sinclair station is listed, and concerned viewers contact the station in hteir viewing area, we can enforce their public responsibility to provide fair reporting of elections.
posted by theora55 at 6:45 AM on October 15, 2004

person's s/b person
hteir s/b their
I need more caffeine...

posted by theora55 at 6:46 AM on October 15, 2004

I never could understand why this O'Neil guy was so angry with Kerry. You can just see it coming out of him, especially on Nightline last night. I finally got it after watching the Frontline "Choice 2004" special on PBS Tuesday night. They showed how Kerry humiliated O'Neil on the Dick Cavet show and how O'Neil was cultivated by the Nixon Administration to destroy Kerry. Charles Colson, a Nixon aide, said "Let's destroy this young demagogue before he becomes another Ralph Nader,".

The rights hatred of John Kerry has been going on for a long time.
posted by bas67 at 7:02 AM on October 15, 2004

from Frontline:

JOHN O'NEILL: [June 1, 1971] I don't agree with Mr. Kerry's testimony. Five hundred thousand Vietnam veterans have joined the VFW and the American Legion. Certainly, Mr. Kerry does not speak for them.

NARRATOR: John O'Neill was another Navy swift boat captain who had served in the Mekong Delta.

JOHN O'NEILL: I never saw one war crime committed by allied forces. To say that war crimes are commonly committed in Vietnam, as a matter of public policy, is a lie!

NARRATOR: He headed a newly formed group called Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace.

JOHN O'NEILL: The president does our talking for us, as with most Americans. Mr. Kerry certainly does not.

NARRATOR: According to Nixon aide Charles Colson, O'Neill's group had been created by the White House. O'Neill denies this, but nevertheless, Nixon met with O'Neill and urged him to keep after Kerry.

Pres. RICHARD M. NIXON: Give it to him. Give it to him. And you can do it because you have a-- a pleasant manner. And I think it's a great service to the country.

NARRATOR: After the meeting, Colson wrote in a White House memo, "I think we have Kerry on the run, but let's not let up. Let's destroy this young demagogue before he becomes another Ralph Nader."

ANNOUNCER: The Dick Cavett Show!

NARRATOR: Two weeks later, O'Neill debated Kerry on national television.

JOHN O'NEILL: You obviously are quite good on the polished rhetoric, but I did serve in the same place you did.

NARRATOR: The conversation revolved around the issue of war crimes.

JOHN O'NEILL: --for 18 months, and I never saw anything. And I'd like you to tell me about the war crimes you saw committed there and also why you didn't do something about them at the time.

JOHN KERRY: Did you serve in a free-fire zone?

JOHN O'NEILL: I certainly did serve in free-fire zones.

JOHN KERRY: A free-fire zone, in which we kill anything that moves, man, woman or child. This practice suspends the distinction between combatant and non-combatant and contravenes Geneva Convention Article 3.1. That's a war crime.

JOHN O'NEILL: Where is that from, John?

JOHN KERRY: Geneva Conventions. You've heard of that, I presume.

posted by four panels at 7:03 AM on October 15, 2004

Holy Phouc! Nice post, postroad!
posted by dhoyt at 7:04 AM on October 15, 2004

Thanks for the link postroad. If you're interested in hearing what the people living in Vietnam have to say about these events, read the full article from ABC News
posted by Stuart_R at 7:39 AM on October 15, 2004

phouc hue, dhoyt.
posted by quonsar at 8:09 AM on October 15, 2004

I watched last night's Nightline, and I couldn't believe the amount of sheer hate that was emanating from O'Neill. It took Koppel all of his reserve not to yell at O'Neill to shut up. Koppel kept trying to ask O'Neill why peasants in a tiny little hamlet would lie about someone worlds away - I mean what do they gain from doing that? But O'Neill kept bringing up the non-sequitur about "How dare you go into a 'closed society' and ask questions when we have the testimony from the fine soldiers, Kerry's book and the Boston Globe book." Which is another matter all together. O'Neill refused to answer Koppel's question of which "Swift Vote Vet" went over there to interview the people.

Look, (including you sciurus) this is a big deal: the Swifties sent people over there 6 months ago and filmed interviews with the locals. When they didn't get the dirt they wanted, and instead got recollections that fit both the after action report and the medal citation, they just buried their information. Think about that - they documented interviews of primary sources which didn't fit their narrative, and then threw it away. And then lied about it. Then when Koppel asked O'Neill about it, he got all indignant about going over and interviewing these peasants.
posted by plemeljr at 8:16 AM on October 15, 2004

Sure, it is big news but that link is still crap. Linking to the ABC article directly would've served much better. I see no point in linking to some dude's unconstructive rant. Nevermind. I shouldn't have said anything in the first place.
posted by sciurus at 8:30 AM on October 15, 2004

The entire Kerry/O'Neill episode of the Dick Cavett Show can be seen here:


(cut and paste into real player, sadly)
posted by jpoulos at 8:38 AM on October 15, 2004

I hadn't seen these Dole quotes before, in regards to the SwiftBoat dopes.
posted by dhoyt at 8:44 AM on October 15, 2004

From the Cavett Show (about 16:40 into it):

O'Neill: The effect of what you've done [by making public the accusations of atrocities in VietNam] hasn't been to prevent one or two Kerry's it's been to label two and a half million of us as...as Calley's...not Kerry's, although they may be somewhat interchangable at times.

What a scumbag. The guy is just a hateful prick with a personal vendetta.
posted by jpoulos at 8:58 AM on October 15, 2004

So this is just validating what most people already knew?

Cool, I like being validated, especially if it means I get a half price appetizer at Appleby's.

The shame of it all is that this is most likely not the last that we'll see of these Swift Boat Vets (at least they got their name right in line with the GOP's tendency to name things the opposite of what they really are).
posted by fenriq at 9:13 AM on October 15, 2004

The shame of it all is that this is most likely not the last that we'll see of these Swift Boat Vets

Exactly right. Even if Kerry wins, we can look forward to four or eight years of the Hunting of the President II.
posted by jpoulos at 9:19 AM on October 15, 2004

send this to 5 people!

If you support the Dems, you might want to pass this on!

Postroad does an excellent job of getting his message out to his people in secret code, no matter howcrappy the link.
posted by justgary at 9:20 AM on October 15, 2004

Why the fuck is C-SPAN running the entire Swift Boat commercial without mentioning that all of the charges have been repudiated?
posted by kirkaracha at 9:28 AM on October 15, 2004

Truth or no Truth, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, Inc. seems to be doing nicely today. (And the Yahoo! Finance Message Boards for SBGI have been a real hoot the past couple of days).
posted by Otis at 9:43 AM on October 15, 2004

Truth or no Truth, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, Inc. seems to be doing nicely today.

It probably has something to do with these new Pentagon contracts they have now... I'm sure it has nothing to do with SBGI's decision to show that anti-Kerry stuff. One would have to be very cynical indeed to imply that the decision was merely payback to the administration for favors received.
posted by clevershark at 9:51 AM on October 15, 2004

Just an aside: that Frontline episode was awesome.

Dateline, though, is lame.
posted by swift at 9:59 AM on October 15, 2004

posted by neckro23 at 10:28 AM on October 15, 2004

Don't forget about the guys whose names were used on the Swift Boat ads without their permission (though the media certainly seems to have done so!)
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:25 AM on October 15, 2004

"Put down the books" - pure gold. Thanks, Ted.
posted by 2sheets at 11:42 AM on October 15, 2004

Perhaps I spoke too soon.
posted by Otis at 12:27 PM on October 15, 2004

JOHN O'NEILL: I never saw one war crime committed by allied forces. To say that war crimes are commonly committed in Vietnam, as a matter of public policy, is a lie!

What great logic. "I didn't see it, so it can't be true!" Guess the guy is an atheist too.
posted by terrapin at 12:28 PM on October 15, 2004

Sinclair Broadcasting Group, Inc. seems to be doing nicely today.
Please qualify what you mean. As of this writing, SBGI is trading at the same level it opened, which is 0.09 higher than it closed yesterday. That's hardly a banner day. The 3 month graph shows a significant decline.

On preview, Otis you need to look at intra day stock movement in context.

SBGI is beginning to sound a bit like SCOX or the RIAA in their press releases. From a press release today:
Sinclair Broadcast Group is notifying the public of an email spoof that attempts to make the recipient believe that they are receiving an email from Sinclair's CEO David Smith.
Sinclair is in the process of tracking the sender of the email spoof and will determine whether to proceed with civil charges. Anyone found to be creating, forwarding, or posting such false emails may also face civil action.
In summary, someone is sending an email with a spoofed From line. The sender might be liable for violations of CAN-SPAM. Second, the content is clearly not something SBGI or David Smith believes accurately represents their views. It appears they think the content is libelous and are threatening the author with their legal might. Lastly, if you forward or post this letter, expect C&D letters and potentially further action from SBGI legal.

Oh, and don't look to the FCC to block the showing of Stolen Honor. From a Reuters article:
"Don't look to us to block the airing of a program," Powell told reporters after the FCC's monthly meeting in Washington.

Powell said action against the broadcast would violate free speech guarantees.
In summary, violating campaign finance law and federal broadcast regulations is okay as long as it's free speech. Fuck you very much, the FCC.
Federal campaign finance law states it is illegal for a corporation to contribute anything of value to a federal campaign or a national political committee, including broadcast communications (1)
posted by sequential at 12:35 PM on October 15, 2004

I realize the stock has been on a steady decline. I was just a little shocked earlier today to see it actually rising in the wake of all the controversy and advertiser pullouts.
posted by Otis at 12:58 PM on October 15, 2004

I still don't understand. Didn't the FCC just give Soros carte blanche to buy a block of network time to show "F/11" or "Going Upriver"? Couldn't Ted Turner run it? And does the FEC have any teeth here?
posted by RavinDave at 1:00 PM on October 15, 2004

I hadn't seen these Dole quotes before, in regards to the SwiftBoat dopes.

But Dole also made another statement that day, one that hasn't been aired until now. Of McCain's charge to President Bush during a 2000 debate—"You should be ashamed"—Dole told Wolf Blitzer, "He was right." Dole made the remark off-air, while CNN broadcast a portion of McCain's 2000 debate remarks.
posted by y2karl at 1:03 PM on October 15, 2004

One thing that has happened in Portland, Maine, is that local businesses have pulled advertising from the Sinclair station there in protest.

I'm going to write to Hannaford's (who does business here in Mass. as well) and chastise them for backing down, and suggest that they should pull one day's worth of advertising as a symbolic gesture.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:27 PM on October 15, 2004

Hannaford's position on political broadcast

Hannaford has indicated that following its announcement yesterday that it had pulled its advertising from WGME (Portland, ME), based on the stations plans to air a controversial political program, it had reversed its decision.

"We recognize that WGME has been placed in an untenable position," corporate spokesperson Caren Epstein said. "It was never our intention to politicize this issue even more by our action. Hannaford is in the supermarket business, not the political business," she said. "We make our media buying decisions based on our customer demographic and WGME is one of the stations in the market that reaches our customers."

I've already called my Sinclair station, and will write Hannaford as well.
posted by theora55 at 6:26 PM on October 15, 2004

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