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Questioning Kerry's Service Not Bush's

Reported by Ellen - August 17, 2004 -

As if in response to my question, Does Fox Ever Play the Anti-Bush Ads As News?, today's FOXNews.com report by Major Garrett, Drudging Up Vietnam, shows a clip from the latest MoveOn.org anti-Bush ad. Not surprisingly, the ad is paired with an anti-Kerry ad, though anti-Kerry ads often appear alone in Fox broadcasts and are often the topic of lengthy discussions. That allows Major Garrett to work in a few extra digs about Kerry without adding any about Bush.

For example, after playing the MoveOn.org ad's allegation that Bush used his father's influence to avoid going to Viet Nam, Garrett adds "There's no evidence to support that." He doesn't mention the fact that Bush somehow jumped the line into the Texas Air National Guard.

Then when the swift boat veterans' ad criticizes Kerry's service record, Garrett simply says that "Kerry's camp released a binder of military records including his silver star citation." Garrett does not provide the same direct rebuttal of the anti-Kerry ad as he does for Bush.

Garrett never mentions the important question about Bush's unexplained service absence (although the MoveOn ad does) but he adds some extra commentary from one of the swift boat vets from the anti-Kerry ad. In a separate clip, the vet says Kerry is unfit to be president because "he doesn't have the leadership or character qualities." Is there a comparable clip from a pro-Kerry supporter about Bush's character or even his military records? No.

Is there any mention of the long animosity toward Kerry by the swift boat bets? No. But Garrett does mention that one of them has written a bestselling book critical of Kerry's service.