Hugh Hewitt strikes to the heart of a familiar anomaly present in the media treatment of the Bush “AWOL” story and the Kerry bimbo eruption:
What we have…is an interesting set of parallels. Michael Moore/Matt Drudge launch serious allegations against a candidate for the presidency which are premised on widely circulated rumors. Terry McAullife, the senior Democratic Party official endorses the “AWOL” charge against President Bush, though he offers no evidence. No senior member of the GOP or the Administration makes a comment on the Drudge allegations. A media frenzy erupts over the AWOL charge although there is zero evidence to support it: None. Most major media in the United States is silent on the Kerry allegations, though the international press feature the allegations prominently. The AWOL charge is built on the declaration of a retired one-star General, William Turnipseed, who says he does not recall seeing Bush in Alabama during Bush’s ANG duty there, though Turnipseed later states that doesn’t mean Bush wasn’t there. Although Turnipseed’s statement is cited by scandal mongers pressed for an accounting of their ethics, his statement does not remotely approach a charge of AWOL or desertion, charges for which –to repeat– there is zero evidence, but for which there is a blanket denial by President Bush. The allegations against Kerry are launched by the “off-the-record” declaration of retired four star general Wesley Clark, whose campaign aide, Chris Lehane, was a Kerry staffer for a time, as well as a Gore staffer during the period in which Kerry was vetted for a possible Vice Presidential slot in 2000. While Turnipseed has been pursued by the media –as has every other individual remotely connected with Bush’s ANG service of 30 years ago– Clark sat through an interview with CNN’s Judy Woodruff on “Inside Politics” hours after his role in the Kerry allegations surfaced and was not asked about them (which could have been done even without referencing his “off-the-record” comments to up to a dozen reporters.)
In short, most of “elite” media in America [are] practicing a steely resolve not to dignify the Kerry allegations absent some “proof,” while relentlessy probing President Bush’s ANG record of three decades ago. The hyprocisy is so enormous that it defies categorization, though not explanation: Standards for Beltway media differ when the “scandal” involves a man of the left than when it involves a man of the center-right.