Nightline reports for duty

In “ABC bombshell: Media bias unleashed,” Rocket Man discussed Mark Halperin’s order to ABC news staff to support John Kerry. On Nightline last night, ABC’s Wide World of Spin reported for duty in Communist Vietnam to answer the question “What happened in Kerry’s Vietnam battles.”
Tom Maguire of Just One Minute previewed the Nightline story in “Nightline goes to Vietnam.” Maguire observed:

The producers of ABC’s Nightline have an interesting idea — go to Vietnam to research some of the questions about Kerry’s medals. Since the folks who participated in his battles as spectators, or from the other side, may not have any axe to grind in this election, ABC News may be able to confirm or refute the allegations made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
With that thought, ABC hired some translators and sent a crew up the river. Brilliant. Of course, we have our own questions. First, if ABC is so interested in Kerry’s war record, maybe they could send a crew to Kerry’s campaign headquarters and ask him to sign a Form 180 authorizing the release of his military records. And they wouldn’t even have to hire a translator. But I doubt they are really that interested.

After the Nightline piece ran last night, Maguire added material comparing the purported debunking of the Swift Boat vets’ critique of Kerry’s account of the incident in issue with the versions in the Boston Globe profile of Kerry and in Douglas Brinkley’s Tour of Duty, both dependent on the testimony of Kerry and his crew. Maguire notes that the testimony of the Vietnames featured on Nightline conflicts not only with the accounts of the Swift Boat vets but also with those of Kerry and his crew. Maguire asks:

Does ABC think they have rebutted [the Swift Boat vets’ critique]? And if so, do they realize that they have rebutted Kerry and his Band of Brothers?
Honestly, now — did ABC read the Globe account, or the Brinkley “Tour of Duty” account? Neither is cited in this story. Just what is going on here?

We’re not sure about the extent of ABC’s research, but we’re pretty sure we know what’s going on here. Reread the Halperin memo. Prestopundit adds the following note:

Note well, ABC News went to the other side of the globe to find witnesses with stories different from John O’Neill, but they haven’t picked up a phone or taken a cab across town to talk to witnesses right here in America who tell stories contradicting John Kerry and supporting John O’Neill. What more needs be said?

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