Holy cow! Fox News rips into Swift Boat Veterans for Truth

I probably wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. But here was Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday with Van Odell, member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and John Hurley, National Director of Veterans for Kerry. Much to my amazement, Wallace tore through both of them like Tim Russert on steroids.

One of the exchanges…

Wallace: Mr. Odell, I want to start by asking you about contradictions in what some leaders of your group have been saying over the years — George Elliot, who was the commander of the division that all of your swift boats were part of. Let’s look at what Elliot says in one of your ads now, and what he said about John Kerry back in 1996. Take a look.

[…tape of Elliot speaking in new ad…] John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam.

[…tape of Elliot speaking on October 27, 1996, with Kerry by his side…] John turned his boats to the beach, and the enemy was routed. The fact that he chased an armed enemy down is something not to be looked down upon, but it was an act of courage.

Wallace: Back then, when there was no presidential campaign, Mr. Elliot said that Kerry had acted courageously.

Odell: Well, yes he did… But at that time, John Kerry was being attacked for being a war criminal by his opponent… [etc.]

Wallace: […not accepting the evasive answer…] But here’s a man who says that John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam, but in '96 he said that he acted courageously. Let me show you a statement by another one of your members, Adrain Lonsdale. Let’s take a look now at what he says in one of your ads, and what he said in 1996. Here it is.

[…tape of Lonsdale in new ad…] He lacks the capacity to lead.

[…tape of Lonsdale speaking on October 27, 1996, with Kerry by his side…] It was mainly won because of the bravado and the courage of the young officers that ran the boats, the swift boats, and the Coast Guard cutters, and Senator Kerry was no exception. He was among the finest of those swift boat drivers.

Wallace: Again, here’s a man who lacks the capacity to lead, according to Mr. Lonsdale, but back in '96 showed courage, bravado, and was one of the finest swift boat drivers.

Odell: Well, again, you have to ask Lonsdale what he said about that… [and blah blah blah]

There was lots more, including a laugh-out-loud moment when Wallace read the official Navy recommendation for Kerry’s Bronze Star that directly contradicted Odell’s assertion that there was no enemy fire that day, and then showed Odell that it was signed by George Elliot. Elliot, of course, was the division commander and is a member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Odell deflected the question and said that Elliot was only going by Kerry’s own report. Wallace shot down that answer two different ways: (1) was Odell suggesting that there is some massive conspiracy of silence since no one else has contradicted Elliot’s report, and (2) did Odell have even a shred of evidence that the report was in any way fabricated?

“I have an official US Navy document signed by your own man,” said Wallace, literally shaking the paper at Odell. “Do you have any sort of document at all to contradict it?”

Now, he bored into the other guy as well, enough so that the guy became visibly flush and angry, but that isn’t as interesting since you would have expected Fox to bore into him. By the end of it all, when Wallace was finished, both sides looked like the shameless shills that they are.

Good job, Chris! And to both veterans groups, fuck you very much for all this brouhaha about a tempest in a teapot when the imporant issue is about who will be the lesser tyrant.

Do you know if this show usually has transcripts available (I know nothing about Fox News)? I would be interested to read the entire exchange.

In a strange way, I can kind of see how the SBVTs could upset some conservatives. After all, in attacking Kerry they’re also attacking the millitary to a degree, by portraying it as incompetent and full of lies (Elliot just signing off on any old report without verification, the military handing out medals willy-nilly, men saying good things about Kerry in 96 and slamming him now, thus indicating they would lie when necessary).

I think a lot of Bush folks see that it really isn’t in their best interest to make Vietnam a campaign issue, and the earlier they shut down the Swifties the better. Even if their claims weren’t bullshit, it’s still hard to see how Bush is better choice for folks who care what happened in Vietnam.

I love it! You MUST tell us where to find the full transcript, so I can torment the people I work with. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Liberal you write a lot of interesting and intelligent stuff, so why do you pollute your thoughts with these deliriums about tyranny and slavery?

No, on second thoughts don’t answer that, just think about it. You know though I have a strong suspicion I’m not the very first person to voice this query.

Anyway, the facts presented suggest a number of possibilities. All are interesting. Let’s try these:

1 - Fox is simply not possessed of the partisan bias that is common belief

2 - Fox has had a change of ideology, but brought on by what? A management decision that a Dem win is inevitable and now might be a good time to build some bridges?

3 - Fox has determined that the S-V’s are counter-productive to a GOP win and so wants to sink them fast?

4 - Fox realises that the S-V’s, for whatever reason, are a lost or losing cause and in its populist way won’t fight the tide of opinion

5 - Fox believes that the S-V’s are backed by scrutiny into stating their true opinions, which are that it is Kerry’s reflections on Vietnam that cause their animosity. And because what Kerry said was both true and important it is a vote-winner for him. Fox simply hasn’t the wherewithal to spin this in any other way.

6 - Fox is adopting a novel evenhandedness so as to hedge its bets whichever way the election goes.

7 - Some people at Fox slipped up.

I’m betting #3 myself.

How have Fox’s ratings been doing lately? Because if they figure that attacking Republicans will get them a larger share, then by God they’ll attack Republicans. Murdoch didn’t get to be that rich by being an idealist.

Here’s a novel thought.

Chris Wallace is a respected journalist. Certainly he was when he worked at ABC News. He had a good reputation there.

I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t apply necessary journalistic skepticism toward anybody on his show.

Fox News’ real strength is in its discussion and analysis programs, where they line up people of all viewpoints, let them have their say, and then let them tear each other apart. These shows are wonderful to watch.

Wow, sounds like Al Jazeera. :dubious:

Can I go for

8 - Foxnews doesn’t give a shit about politics (or news for that matter). All it cares about is ratings. For the last five years being rabidly right wing has been good for ratings. If cutting down Bush supporters gains audience share they will do this without a hint of apology or irony. It’s a business first - not a news service.
Am I wearing a tin foil hat? Perhaps. But this is exactly what happened in the UK with the Murdoch owned Sun newspaper. Used to ultra loyal to the Conservative party until that party became unpopular. Then it bacame a champion of New Labour for a while, these days I have no idea.

My guess? There’s two important revenue streams in broadcast. One is advertisements (and by extension viewers). The other, equally important, if not more so, are FCC regulations. It’s very possible to draft regulations that are neutral on their face, but are in actuality biased against one or more particular corprations (something like "only corporations of such-and-such size may acquire an extra ten TV stations). If a change in administration is up-and-coming, you want to play nice, so that your plans to make your conglomerate even bigger go through, even if it means pissing off a few viewers.

I think Wallace just found a great way out of a contract he’s unhappy with.

This isn’t a complete surprise. Bill O’Reilly’s newspaper column earlier this week also denounced attacks on John Kerry based on his Vietname record. Personally, I agree with those who think this isn’t as much a matter of principle as it is a recognition this is a ineffective tactic to use.

This is the information they have on transcripts:

Quite simply…regarding the Swift Boat Vets For Truth spiel: That dog don’t hunt

Especially looking at the genesis of the story (covered in the NYT link)…there’s just not a lot to defend there anymore.

Simple, the ads have worked their magic, turning Vet votes away from Kerry. Now it’s time for the Bush camp to denounce these horrible, awful emplo^H^H^H^H^Hvillains so they can show they’re the voice of calm reasoned debate. Not like that John Kerry, who filed an FEC complaint just because he’s to homo^H^H^H^Hliberal to handle real politics. He’s just a deranged lunatic, look at the way he’s hanging out with Jane Fonda in this photograph…

What the H^H^H^H^Hell? :smiley:

Unless you’re someone who prefers even handed news. Shows like Hannity & Colmes are staggeringly weighted towards a pro-conservative bias, pitting bulldog Hannity against the moderate, milquetoast Mr. Colmes.

And, of course, theres no universe where Bill O’Reilly could be considered fair or balanced (mentally or politically).

As to the topic at hand, good for Fox News and good for Mr. Wallace. SBVfT are a disgrace to the military, utterly inconsistent both amongst themselves and when compared to previous statements by the same persons. It’s shameful that Bush won’t join John McCain and now Faux News in slamming them.

It seems to me that this may well be the strongest hand the pro-GOP forces have got, and here it is, being played in August, to little or no effect, with a big old backlash a-brewing. Bad move Mr. John O’Niell.

My take is that the people at FOX are not idiots, they know that SOMEBODY was going to expose the Swifties and ream them out another anus on television, and that it would be good for their reputation and their ratings if it was FOX. Good job by FOX, how unfortunate that this is an aberration for them.

Okay, but don’t forget that Wallace also tore Mr. Hurley a new asshole. Especially with respect to Kerry’s “seared” memory about being in Cambodia. Hurley could produce no evidence that Kerry was ever in Cambodia, and in fact, it is highly unlikely that he was ever closer than 50 miles. Wallace reminded Hurley that Nixon was not yet in office at the time, and that any incursion into a neutral nation would have warranted a court martial. As I say, he made both sides seem like squabbling preschoolers.