1. Squelched Swifties, But Now Pounce on "New Questions" About Bush
If there were any lingering doubts about whether the mainstream media are in the tank for John Kerry, Wednesday's news judgments put them to rest as a media which ignored the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth for months and then fretted about their connections to the Bush campaign, demanded the group's free speech "loophole" be plugged and that President Bush condemn their anti-Kerry TV ads, pounced in seeming unison on supposed "new questions" about Bush's Air National Guard service, a record already dissected for more than a week last February. CBS's Dan Rather hyped: "There are new questions tonight about President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard....60 Minutes has obtained government documents that indicate Mr. Bush may have received preferential treatment in the Guard after not fulfilling his commitments." CNN's NewsNight devoted 13 minutes to the anti-Bush charges as Aaron Brown led by framing the historical record in Kerry's favor: "One guy went to Vietnam and the other guy didn't..." On Thursday morning, at the top of GMA, ABC's Charles Gibson demanded to know of Bush: "Did he get special treatment? And did he disobey orders?"
2. Swift Ad Ignored, Yet ABC Showcases "Was Bush AWOL in Alabama?"
Rationalizing how a new anti-Bush TV ad represents "payback time" for Bush opponents upset with the ads from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, ABC's Terry Moran on Wednesday night, without bothering to note who funded it, ran a lengthy clip from the ad produced by a 527 group called Texans for Truth. ABC plastered on screen the full screen text which asked: "Was George Bush AWOL in Alabama?" World News Tonight's alacrity in highlighting the ad denigrating President Bush and lack of interest in who funded it contrasts markedly with the program's apathy toward Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and subsequent concern, after John Kerry complained, about who funded that group.
Squelched Swifties, But Now Pounce on
"New Questions" About Bush
If there were any lingering doubts about whether the mainstream media are in the tank for John Kerry, Wednesday's news judgments put them to rest as a media which ignored the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth for months and then fretted about their connections to the Bush campaign, demanded the group's free speech "loophole" be plugged and that President Bush condemn their anti-Kerry TV ads, pounced in seeming unison on supposed "new questions" about Bush's Air National Guard service forwarded by the AP, Boston Globe and CBS News, a record already dissected for more than a week last February.
The anti-Kerry swifties didn't have the benefit of those three major media outlets pushing their agenda nor pursuing the acquisition of old military documents as they are with Bush while seemingly making no effort to obtain Kerry's old records, or even demand that he allow their release.
The ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC evening newscasts on Wednesday night all ran full stories on the "new" questions. (See item #2 below for a look at the particularly egregious bias exhibited by how ABC's World News Tonight refused to even acknowledge for weeks the ad from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, but on Wednesday night, hours after it was produced, featured an excerpt from an ad from Texans for Truth claiming Bush didn't fulfill his service.)
Thursday morning network morning shows and newspaper front pages trumpeted the "new questions" about Bush.
At the top of Thursday's Good Morning America, Charles Gibson demanded to know: "This morning, under fire: New questions about President Bush's military record. Did family friends pull strings? Did he get special treatment? And did he disobey orders?" GMA went to Terry Moran at the White House and then Gibson talked with George Stephanopoulos who saw "serious charges" in the documents.
On NBC's Today, Matt Lauer previewed a face-off between James Carville of CNN and the Kerry campaign and Tucker Eskew of the Bush campaign: "New questions are being raised about the President's National Guard service record." Before that debate, reporter Carl Quintanilla summarized the documents first reported on CBS's 60 Minutes and showed a brief clip of the ad from Texans for Truth.
As outlined in the August 6 CyberAlert, the networks that morning "treated Senator John McCain's condemnation of the anti-Kerry ad from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as more newsworthy than the substance of the charges the network morning shows have ignored until now." See: www.mediaresearch.org
(More on this morning's morning shows in the next CyberAlert. CBS's Early Show ran highlights from CBS's Thursday night stories, but I only have two VCRs at home and so can't quote yet from that program.)
"Records Say Bush Balked at Order," announced the headline over a Thursday, September 9 front page Washington Post story about CBS's reporting. The subhead: "National Guard Commander Suspended Him From Flying, Papers Show." See: www.washingtonpost.com
Thursday's New York Times featured a front page story headlined: "Documents Suggest Special Treatment for Bush in Guard." See: www.nytimes.com
That isn't how the Times treated the swifties when the Times finally, on August 20, put them on the front page. "Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Attack on Kerry," spent more space discrediting the group through a rundown of supposed links between it and those tied to Bush than to the substance of the charges. For a detailed article about the Times' agenda, on the MRC's TimesWatch.org site, check: www.timeswatch.org
On Wednesday evening, Tom Brokaw teased at the top of the NBC Nightly News: "Guard duty: A host of new questions about President Bush's National Guard service, including the man who says he pulled strings to get him in."
(Before August 19 when John Kerry attacked Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, NBC Nightly News ran just one story on the group, on August 6, and then NBC was far more concerned with suppressing the out of control free speech than in exploring the specifics of the charges. Anchor Tom Brokaw rued then that "a harsh political ad attacking Senator John Kerry's Vietnam war record is putting the spotlight back on the independent organizations which are called 527's. They're raising money and running ads separate from the campaigns and the parties themselves. And as NBC's Andrea Mitchell tells us tonight, the campaign finance law supposed to fix the system left this very big loophole." Mitchell's story failed to air any of the audio from the ad, but she ominously reminded viewers that "some of the same players organized anonymous attack ads against John McCain four years ago, when he was running against George Bush." Mitchell lamented how "at a campaign picnic today, the President refused to disavow it" and she fretted that the anti-Kerry vets "may get away with" running their ad. See: www.mediaresearch.org )
In Wednesday's story, NBC skipped the new anti-Bush ad, attacking his supposed lack of National Guard service, put out by another 527 group, Texans for Truth.
CNN's NewsNight didn't mention Swift Boat Veterans for Truth until Tuesday, August 17 -- more than three months after their May 4 press conference. But on Wednesday night, Aaron Brown devoted 13 minutes of his newscast to reports on and discussions about the anti-Bush charges as he led by framing the historical record in Kerry's favor: "One guy went to Vietnam and the other guy didn't. The guy who went most likely could have avoided going but didn't. The guy who didn't go made it clear he had no interest in fighting a war he says he supported."
CBS led with how, as Dan Rather hyped it: "There are new questions tonight about President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard in the late 1960s and early '70s and about his insistence that he met his military service obligations. CBS News has exclusive information, including documents, that now sheds new light on the President's service record. 60 Minutes has obtained government documents that indicate Mr. Bush may have received preferential treatment in the Guard after not fulfilling his commitments."
In that subsequent 60 Minutes interview with former Texas House Speaker Ben Barnes, Dan Rather made Bush part of a collective guilt for forcing someone to go to Vietnam in his place: "Why would these men do this? Didn't conscience come into play somewhere here?" Rather contended that "the questions about Vietnam still follow President Bush." But for CBS, they apparently don't follow John Kerry.
(Back on August 19, the day Kerry attacked the swifties, CBS treated him as the aggrieved party. Byron Pitts asserted: "Kerry, who's made his tour of duty in Vietnam the centerpiece of his campaign, realized today he could no longer let the ad go unanswered and took aim at President Bush for not condemning it." Pitts didn't hesitate to try to discredit a Kerry detractor by bringing up Nixon: "The men behind the Swift Boat Veterans ad refused to back off. Their leader, John O'Neill, was also Richard Nixon's point man in attacks on John Kerry's protest of the Vietnam War 30 years ago."
Pitts launched the same attack on May 4, the night of the group's press conference which CBS, unlike ABC and NBC, covered, sort of. Pitts went back to 1971 as he recalled how John O'Neill, who debated Kerry about Vietnam on ABC's Dick Cavett Show, "was handpicked by the Nixon administration to discredit Kerry." Pitts added, without any explanation, that "the press conference was set up by the same people who," in 2000, "tried to discredit John McCain's reputation in Vietnam service." Then Pitts connected the anti-Kerry veterans to a presumed nefarious "strategy" they had nothing to do with implementing: "It's the same strategy used to go after Georgia Senator Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam." See: www.mediaresearch.org )
For a full rundown of the August 19 coverage of Kerry's charge that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were doing the Bush campaign's "dirty work," see: www.mediaresearch.org
Back to Wednesday night, September 8, a rundown of the CBS, NBC and CNN coverage:
-- CBS Evening News. Rather teased: "Tonight, a CBS News/60 Minutes exclusive: New information on President George W. Bush's record in the National Guard. Newly discovered documents spark new questions."
Rather opened his broadcast: "Good evening. There are new questions tonight about President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard in the late 1960s and early '70s and about his insistence that he met his military service obligations. CBS News has exclusive information, including documents, that now shed new light on the President's service record. 60 Minutes has obtained government documents that indicate Mr. Bush may have received preferential treatment in the Guard after not fulfilling his commitments.
"As a pilot for the Texas Air National Guard, then Lieutenant Bush was assigned to fly F-102 fighters out of Houston's Ellington Air Force base. Early on, he received excellent evaluations, reports released years ago by the White House. What's never surfaced before are these four government documents from the personal files of the late Colonel Jerry Killian, Bush's squadron commander. They could help answer lingering questions about whether lieutenant bush followed orders and otherwise fully met his military commitments."
With the matching text on screen as Rather quoted it, he elaborated: "The first memo is a direct order to take a physical, a requirement for all pilots. Mr. Bush never took that physical. Another memo refers to a phone call from the Lieutenant in which he and his commander 'discussed options of how Bush can get out of coming to drill from now through November.' And that due to political campaign commitments, 'he may not have time.' On August 1, 1972, Colonel Killian wrote that he grounded Lieutenant Bush for 'failure to perform to U.S. Air Force/Texas Air National Guard standards and for failure to take his annual physical as ordered.' "A year after Lieutenant Bush's suspension from flying, Killian is asked to write another favorable assessment. Killian's memo, titled 'CYA,' reads he is being pressured by higher-ups to give the young pilot a favorable yearly evaluation -- to, in effect, sugarcoat his review. He refuses, saying, 'I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job.'
"A spokesman for President Bush did not challenge the authenticity of the documents, but dismisses the new information as strictly partisan politics. The 60 Minutes report tonight contains more of this revealing paperwork and an interview with the man who says he pulled the strings in Texas to get George W. Bush and other wealthy, prominent young men into the Guard, safe from duty in Vietnam."
Rather then introduced a story from John Roberts: "Now, all of this comes, of course, in the middle of a presidential race in which the military service records of both candidates have been under attack. CBS News Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts has more of the Bush administration reaction to the 60 Minutes report."
Roberts began: "It was just what the White House had hoped to avoid: New scrutiny of the President's military record just as he seeks to reinforce his credentials as a wartime leader. Officials were quick to suggest, 'well, who knew what Lieutenant Colonel Killian was really thinking?'"
Dan Bartlett, White House Communications Director: "We are trying to read the mind of somebody who has been dead for more than ten years. The fact of the matter is there are people alive today that show and demonstrate that President Bush performed his duties."
Roberts: "But there are more new questions tonight about whether Mr. Bush fulfilled his Guard duty. In 1973, leaving Texas for Massachusetts, President Bush agreed to seek out and sign up with a reserve unit there, but never did. And though his attendance record was erratic, he was subject to neither discipline nor active duty call-up as provided for in the regulations. Larry Korb, who now works for a liberal think tank, was chief of reserve affairs in Ronald Reagan's Pentagon."
Korb: "Essentially Bush gamed the system to avoid serving his country the way that most of his contemporaries had to."
Roberts: "White House officials insist the President did his duty, met the requirements for an honorable discharge. And they held back nothing in taking on Ben Barnes, the former Texas Speaker of the House, who claims he pulled strings to get George Bush in the National Guard and avoid Vietnam."
Bartlett: "I chalk it up to politics. They play dirty down in Texas. I've been there. I see how it works. But the bottom line is that there is no truth to this."
Roberts to Bartlett: "This is dirty politics?"
Bartlett: "Oh, I think it is."
Roberts concluded from the White House lawn: "The Democrats wasted no time in jumping all over these new allegations against the President. They are eager to turn the tables on the issue of Vietnam service and put a little drag on the President's post convention bounce. Dan?"
The CBSNews.com posting of the Roberts story includes video of the Texans for Truth ad. I don't recall CBSNews.com posting the first ad from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and I could not find such a posting via a search of CBSNews.com, but given the disfunctionality of CBSNews.com (links don't work or go to wrong document, videos don't launch etc) it's hard to be sure. For the page featuring a link to play the Bush-bashing ad: www.cbsnews.com
It's amazing that anyone would have been able to give CBS documents about Bush in the Guard since CBS claimed in February that Bush's records had ben purged. The February 13 CyberAlert recounted: CBS on Thursday night gave a clause in a sentence, to how the White House released records of a dental exam which proved George W. Bush was on an Alabama base in 1973, before John Roberts devoted nearly an entire story to how "in a six-year-old letter to Texas lawmakers obtained by CBS News, and in the new book, Bush's War for Reelection, former Guard officer Bill Burkett claims that in 1997, Guard commanders purged Mr. Bush's records to 'make sure nothing will embarrass the Governor during his re-election campaign or if he runs for President.'" Roberts failed to note that the author is a left-wing Bush-basher whose book sets out to prove the illegitimacy of the Bush presidency and Iraq war. See: www.mediaresearch.org
Later Wednesday, on 60 Minutes, Rather interviewed Barnes, who "says he is the man who pulled strings to get George W. Bush into the National Guard."
Rather set up the prime time story: "The military records of the two men running for President have become part of the political arsenal in this campaign -- a tool for building up or blowing up each candidate's credibility as America's next Commander-in-Chief. While Senator Kerry has been targeted for what he did in combat in Vietnam, President Bush has been criticized for avoiding Vietnam by landing a much sought-after spot in the Texas Air National Guard and then apparently failing to meet some of his obligations in the Guard. Did Lieutenant Bush fulfill all of his military commitments? And just how did he land that coveted slot in the Guard in the first place?"
Vietnam may have become part of the "political arsenal" for both campaigns, but only the Kerry team has the broadcast network evening shows firing mortars for them.
Barnes insisted to Rather: "I'm not here to bring any harm to George Bush's reputation or his career. I was contacted by people from the very beginning of his political career, when he ran for Governor, and then when he ran for President, and now he's running for re-election." Barnes claimed: "This is not about George Bush's political career, it's about what the truth is."
Rather acknowledged: "Barnes is a Democrat who is now actively raising money for John Kerry. But he was a Democrat back in 1968 too and serving as Texas' Speaker of the House."
Rather recalled: "A few months before Mr. Bush would become eligible for the draft, Barnes says he had a meeting with the late oilman Sid Adger, a friend to both Barnes and then-Congressman George Bush."
Barnes remembered: "It's been a long time ago, but he said basically would I help young George Bush get in the Air National Guard?...I was a young ambitious politician doing what I thought was acceptable. It was important to make friends. And I recommended a lot of people for the National Guard during the Vietnam era -- as Speaker of the House and as Lieutenant Governor."
Rather cued him up: "George W. Bush was among those he recommended for the National Guard. Was this a case of preferential treatment?" Barnes affirmed: "I would describe it as preferential treatment. There were hundreds of names on the list of people wanting to get into the Air National Guard or the Army National Guard.".
Rather proceeded to offer a slightly more detailed rundown of the Killian documents than he did on the Evening News (see earlier in this item) and then honed in on how Bush and Barnes should feel guilty for abusing power.
Rather introduced another interviewee: "Robert Strong was a friend and colleague of Colonel Jerry Killian who ran the Texas Air National Guard administrative office in the Vietnam era." Strong said he believed the documents given to CBS are genuine.
Rather asserted: "The questions about Vietnam still follow President Bush and Ben Barnes -- and every American who remembers where they were, and what they did during Vietnam. Because the war we couldn't seem to get out of has become the war we can't seem to get over."
Rather to Barnes: "By 1968, casualties in Vietnam were running high. Did you or did you not think at that time, 'I'm a little uncomfortable with this,' or did you have long talks with your conscience? Did you say to yourself, 'I'm a little uncomfortable with doing this?'"
Barnes: "It would be very easy for me to sit here and tell you that I had wrestled with this and lost a lot of sleep at night, but I wouldn't be telling you the truth. I very, not eagerly, but readily was willing to call and get those young men into the National Guard that were friends of mine and supporters of mine. And I did it. Reflecting back, I'm very sorry about it. But you know, it happened. And it was because of my ambition, my youth and my lack of understanding. But it happened. And it's not something I'm necessarily proud of."
Rather: "Robert Strong says he saw many well-connected young men pull strings and avoid service in Vietnam."
Rather to Strong: "Why would these men do this? Didn't conscience come into play somewhere here?"
Strong: "What you saw is the way power works. Power begets power. Power goes to power to get more power. If you have a little bit of power and someone offers you an opportunity to gain more power by doing power a favor, then this is what power does. It trades on itself. It feeds on itself. This is the way the system worked. This is the way the state government worked. This is the way the Guard worked."
Rather: "Thirty years after the fact, Barnes says he is one of many Americans still trying to make peace with what he did during the war."
Rather to Barnes: "You've thought about it a lot since then?"
Barnes: "I've thought about it an awful lot. And you walk through the Vietnam memorial and I tell you, you'll think about it a long time."
Rather: "How do you feel about it now?"
Barnes: "Well, I don't think that I had any right to have the power that I had, to be able to choose who was going to go to Vietnam and who was not going to go to Vietnam. That's a power. In some instances, when I looked at those names, of maybe determining life or death. And that's not a power that I want to have."
Rather: "Too strong or not to say that you are ashamed of it now?"
Barnes got the last word for the segment: "Oh, I think that would be somewhat of an appropriate thing. I'm very, very sorry."
For a semi-transcript, that is one which includes material which did not air, misses statements that did air and jumbles some of what aired, see: www.cbsnews.com
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw teased: "Guard duty: A host of new questions about President Bush's National Guard service, including the man who says he pulled strings to get him in."
Brokaw led his newscast: "Good evening. President Bush and John Kerry are at war over the war in Iraq. And while the President ties it to terrorism, the issue that serves him best, Senator Kerry opened a new front today linking the war to the American economy and social issues. This, on a day when new questions have surfaced about the President's service in the National Guard."
Following Kelly O'Donnell on Kerry and David Gregory on Bush, Brokaw intoned: "After weeks of questions and charges and ads about John Kerry's Vietnam combat service record, the President's time in the National Guard re-emerged today. He enlisted in Texas, transferred to Alabama, and got out early to attend graduate school. But did he fulfill all his obligations?"
Andrea Mitchell began her piece: "It's not the first time the President's National Guard service has come under scrutiny. Today a Boston Globe investigation found more gaps in George Bush's service in Boston in 1973, when the young George Bush promised to meet his Guard commitment while attending Harvard Business School. The Globe found no proof he did."
[On screen Boston Globe headlines:
"Bush fell short on duty at Guard"
"Bush failed to full serve his Guard duty, record indicate"]
Mitchell continued: "That, say critics, proves Bush, as the son of a prominent politician, got special treatment."
Lawrence Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense: "He gamed the system and he was able to get away with it."
Mitchell: "And how did he get into the Guard when other young men his age were being drafted? At a rally last month featured on an 'Austin for Kerry/Edwards Web site' [Web video on screen], Texas Democrat Ben Barnes, now a Kerry supporter, said he used his influence to get Bush in."
Barnes in Web video: "I'm not necessarily proud of that, but I did it. I got a lot of other people in the National Guard because I thought that was what people should do. When you're in office, you helped a lot of rich people."
Mitchell: "In 1988 during the debate over Vice President Dan Quayle's Guard duty, Bush was asked if someone made calls for him."
George W. Bush on NBC with Connie Chung on the floor of the 1988 Republican convention: "You want to go in the National Guard? I guess sometimes people made calls. I don't see anything wrong with it. [edit jump] They probably should have called the National Guard up in those days. Maybe we'd have done better in Vietnam."
Mitchell: "On Meet the Press last winter, the President defended his service."
Bush in Oval Office, February 8 Meet the Press: "I put in my time, proudly so."
Mitchell: "Today the White House responded to Democratic criticisms."
Dan Bartlett: "He met his obligations, so we don't agree with the Boston Globe's assessment of this story."
Mitchell concluded: "Under pressure from the Associated Press, also investigating the President's Guard service in Alabama, the White House last night released 17 pages of newly found documents to prove he did show up for duty there at least eight times. The White House again today said the fact the President was honorably discharged means he fulfilled his commitment. But, once again, Vietnam service is an issue three decades later."
-- CNN's NewsNight. Aaron Brown began his 13 minutes of coverage by opening with a lecture: "There is something slightly nuts about this never ending, and I now believe it will be never ending, tit-for-tat over Vietnam and who did what? Today, the shoe was on the other foot again and it is the president and the White House having to play defense over the president's time in the Texas Air National Guard, how he got in, what he did when he was in, whether he did all he was supposed to, if big shots looked the other way because his name was Bush, all that stuff.
"The details are coming up in a bit and, as we did with the swift boat stuff, we will do with this: We will report as best we can the facts, the record, and leave the yelling and the screaming to others.
"But sometimes in all of this something quite simple is left out. In fact, the president acknowledged this, at least indirectly, the other day and it was good that he did. One guy went to Vietnam and the other guy didn't. The guy who went most likely could have avoided going but didn't. The guy who didn't go made it clear he had no interest in fighting a war he says he supported.
"To the extent that any of this matters all these years later, and I'm not sure any of it does, that's really it. That should be the end of the story but with Vietnam it never really ends."
A few stories into the program, John King related the basic facts of the latest allegations and then Brown interviewed Boston Globe reporter Walter Robinson, who oversaw the September 8 story, "Bush fell short on duty at Guard: Records show pledges unmet." Their opening exchange:
Brown: "The central charges here I think are fairly simple that the President back then all those years ago did not do what he agreed to do, what he signed contracts to do and that he was never punished for it, fair?"
Robinson, via satellite from Boston: "I think that's a fair reading of the records."
For the September 8 Boston Globe story: www.boston.com
Later, Brown rounded out his 13 minutes by bringing aboard Jeff Greenfield to ruminate about the implications of the fresh attack on Bush. Greenfield contended: "There is meat on the bones of whether or not somebody of influence trying to do a favor apparently for the President's father one step removed got young George Bush into the Texas National Guard at a time when lots of people wanted to do that to stop them from being in danger of going to war in Vietnam. And the second one is that it's pretty clear that he did not fulfill all his obligations, the Boston Globe, which was an exhaustively researched story."
Swift Ad Ignored, Yet ABC Showcases "Was
Bush AWOL in Alabama?"
Rationalizing how a new anti-Bush TV ad represents "payback time" for Bush opponents upset with the ads from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, ABC's Terry Moran on Wednesday night, without bothering to note who funded it, ran a lengthy clip from the ad produced by a 527 group called Texans for Truth. ABC plastered on screen the ad's full screen text which asked: "Was George Bush AWOL in Alabama?"
World News Tonight's alacrity in highlighting the ad denigrating President Bush and lack of interest in who funded it contrasts markedly with the program's apathy toward Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and subsequent concern, after John Kerry complained, about who funded that group.
As recounted in the August 20 CyberAlert, World News Tonight, which ignored the May 4 press conference by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and hadn't since mentioned their charges or early August ad, led Thursday night, August 19, with how, as anchor Elizabeth Vargas framed the matter from the assumption that Kerry was the aggrieved party: "John Kerry fights back against charges he lied about his war record. He accuses a veterans' group of doing the President's 'dirty work.'" ABC featured a soundbite of Kerry blasting the funders: "They're funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Republican contributor out of Texas. They're a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the President won't denounce what they're up to tells you everything that you need to know. He wants them to do his dirty work." Jake Tapper soon pointed out how "this group has received major support from some wealthy Republicans." Vargas saw John McCain as the oracle of all that is good, asking Terry Moran: "But even Republican Senator John McCain has called on the President to condemn this ad. Why hasn't he done so, this swift boat ad?"
For more on ABC's coverage the night Kerry lashed out at the anti-Kerry veterans: www.mediaresearch.org
Moran offered nothing Wednesday night about the funding of Texans for Truth, or ties between it and Kerry's world -- a subject ABC and other networks explored in the days after August 19 when it came to Bush donors and volunteers and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
In the September 8 USA Today, Mark Memmott outlined:
"Texans for Truth is an arm of DriveDemocracy, an Austin-based organization that got its initial funding from the liberal group MoveOn.org. Affiliates of MoveOn.org -- MoveOn PAC and MoveOn Voter Fund -- have spent about $7 million since March 1 on anti-Bush TV ads.
"DriveDemocracy is run by Glenn Smith, who managed the unsuccessful 2002 Texas gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Tony Sanchez. Smith is a former managing director at the consulting firm Public Strategies. That firm employs former Texas governor Ann Richards, a Democrat whom Bush beat in 1994. Mark McKinnon, the Bush-Cheney campaign's ad czar, is on leave from the same firm."
For the USA Today article in full: www.usatoday.com
Moran highlighted how documents released to the AP "show that he missed a crucial '24-hour active alert mission to safeguard against surprise attack' in the Southern United States." Moran also passed along how "the Boston Globe reported that Mr. Bush, when he left Texas, to go to the Harvard Business School in 1973, signed a National Guard form that included this pledge: [text on screen] 'It is my responsibility to locate and be assigned to another Reserve Forces unit.' The young Lieutenant Bush never joined a Massachusetts unit."
Moran, however, uniquely added that "today, an official with the Air Force said Mr. Bush did not have to join a unit in Massachusetts, because he was registered with a unit in Denver. 'If the Air Force wanted him for duty,' the official says, 'they knew where he was.'"
The September 8 World News Tonight story in full:
Peter Jennings teased up top: "The latest allegations that President Bush did not serve as he should have during Vietnam. We do some fact checking."
Jennings set up the subsequent piece: "Senator Kerry's faced a lot of questions for several weeks, as you know, about the medals he won in the Vietnam war. Today, it was President Bush's turn. The Democrats want his service in the National Guard back on the table for debate. Here is our White House correspondent, Terry Moran."
Moran began: "For opponents of President Bush, it's payback time with this new ad."
Texans for Truth ad, on screen white in all black background: "Was George Bush AWOL in Alabama?"
Audio of Robert Mintz, a former member of Alabama's Air National Guard: "I heard George Bush get up and say I served in the 187th Air National Guard in Montgomery Alabama. Really? That was my unit. And I don't remember seeing you there."
Following the 12 seconds of ad replay, Moran explained: "Democrats charge that Mr. Bush failed to fulfill his duty to the Air National Guard, in 1972, when he transferred from Texas to a unit in Alabama while he worked on a political campaign. Earlier this year, the White House claimed all of Mr. Bush's military records had been released. But now the Pentagon, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Associated Press, has released more documents. According to the AP, they show no record of Mr. Bush performing his duty in Alabama, between April and October of 1972. And they show that he missed a crucial ‘24-hour active alert mission to safeguard against surprise attack' in the Southern United States. White House Communications Director, Dan Bartlett, insists the President fulfilled his duty."
Bartlett: "I'm not surprised that during an election campaign, and particularly right when President Bush goes ahead in the polls, that all of a sudden the Democrats are coming out of the woodwork, to recycle old charges, old, you know, discredited claims that President Bush didn't meet his obligation."
Moran: "But the questions keep coming. Today the Boston Globe reported that Mr. Bush, when he left Texas, to go to the Harvard Business School in 1973, signed a National Guard form that included this pledge: [text on screen] ‘It is my responsibility to locate and be assigned to another Reserve Forces unit.' The young Lieutenant Bush never joined a Massachusetts unit. But today, an official with the Air Force said Mr. Bush did not have to join a unit in Massachusetts, because he was registered with a unit in Denver. ‘If the Air Force wanted him for duty,' the official says, ‘they knew where he was.'
Moran concluded from the White House lawn: "And in a conference call with reporters today, one of the President's main accusers in that new ad, admits the young Lieutenant Bush might have been on that base and he simply didn't see him."
For the September 8 AP dispatch, "Lawsuit Uncovers New Bush Guard Records," go to: news.yahoo.com
-- Brent Baker
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