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Honoring The Swift Boat Vets Who Really, Truly Have No Connection to Bush

Reported by Ellen - February 16, 2005

FOXNews.com has an article on upcoming honors to be awarded the Smear Boat Liars for Bush (as News Hound Nancy dubbed them). From the tone of the praise heaped on these guys, you'd think their last tour of duty in the election was more important than the one in the military. Considering the military records of the current administration, they may well think just that.

The veterans are due to get a "Courage Under Fire" award Friday, 2/18/05.

"These guys could have just gone on with their lives but they felt strongly that John Kerry's record was being misrepresented," said Richard Lessner, executive director of the American Conservative Union, chief sponsor of CPAC, which is giving the veterans the "Courage Under Fire" award during the annual Ronald Reagan banquet in Washington, D.C., on Friday. "We thought this sort of example of citizens stepping forward under adverse conditions should be recognized," Lessner added. "They are impressive."

"For a second time, the Swift Boat Veterans stepped up to serve their country honorably and courageously by telling the truth about John Kerry's tour of duty in Vietnam," said ACU President David Keene. "Despite vilification, character assassination and the hostility of the elite media, these veterans dared to tell a side of the story that the American people otherwise would not have heard."

The "balance" part of the article occurs in the middle, FOX News' favorite place to hide anti-Bush or anti-Republican information. In this case, it's only partial information.

"This is a fairly cynical recognition of the fact that their dirty tactics helped and worked to elect their candidate," said Joe Conason, investigative editor for American Prospect magazine and author of "Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth." Conason was referring to the fact that the Swift Boat Veterans received big money donations from Bush contributors. The Bush campaign adamantly denied it had anything to do with the group.

FOX News reporter Kelley Beaucar Vlahos goes into minimal detail about the connections between the Swift Boat Vets and Republican fundraisers. She names a few people connected to both the Republican party and the Swifties and reports that "Kerry's campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill, in an August letter to her counterpart in the Bush campaign, Ken Mehlman, now chairman of the Republican National Committee, provided a chart with the alleged connections." Notice how none of the details of the "alleged connections" are given in the article.

Also notice how the denial by Adm. Roy Hoffman (Ret.), founder and chairman of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, is provided as truth, not an allegation: "But Hoffman told FOXNews.com that the group was conceived completely independently from any Republican influence. The folks they worked with subsequent to their founding might have been Republicans, but the veterans' goal was not to elect George W. Bush."

What "Real Journalism Fair and Balanced" FOX somehow missed was the fact that there were also doubts raised about the veracity of the Swift Boats' story. See for example, ABC News' report from a Nightline investigation in Viet Nam, in which a producer interviewed Vietnamese witnesses who had no political allegiance. In fact, according to the report, only one knew who John Kerry was. Essentially, they backed up his version of the events.

Instead, we learn that Admiral Hoffman says there are Democrats in the Swift Boat group and "we have made a concerted effort to avoid any connection, if only to deny the Democratic Party a direct tie to Republicans in any way."

Spoken like a real neutral soldier, eh?

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