Yesterday, Hugh Hewitt absolutely demolished the Los Angeles Times, which has tried to help John Kerry with successive articles titled “Political Battle Over Vietnam-Era Credentials Has No Winners” and “Kerry’s Got Kennedy’s Nod, if Not His Politics.”
In the former piece, columnist Ron Brownstein tries to call a truce now that the Democrats’ attack on President Bush’s National Guard service has backfired. Hugh writes:
This is a deeply dishonest column that has the feel of having been ordered up by Kerry campaign central…What’s dishonest is Brownstein’s characterization of the debate over Kerry’s radical past: “But it’s reasonable to ask whether Republicans want to encourage a debate about whether Kerry honorably served his country during the Vietnam era.” No one has asked whether Kerry served honorably in combat. Of course he did. But his political career was launched in radicalism, and it is fair to ask which parts of that agenda remain part of Kerry’s political make-up, and which parts have been shed. Brownstein adopts the Democratic talking point that such a look involves questioning Kerry’s war service. That is Orwellian and transparently so.
Brownstein follows his dishonest framing of the debate with a demand to move on, and does so by quoting a couple of big names from the Vietnam era: John McCain and antiwar activist Sam Brown. “But it’s a safe bet that most Americans, of all ideologies,” Brownstein writes, “will agree with McCain and Brown when they say it is long past time to end the war over the war in Vietnam.” How convenient, this declaration, coming as it does after the attack-Bush-over-Vietnam-week is over.
In the second L.A. Times article, the newspaper tries to portray Kerry as a moderate by contrasting his voting record with Ted Kennedy’s. The problem, as Hugh points out, is that they arbitrarily select a single year, 2002, to compare voting records. If A.D.A. ratings are compared over Kerry’s entire 19-year term in the Senate, his voting record is more liberal than Kennedy’s.
Again, as Hugh says, a deeply dishonest piece of journalism: “Manipulation of data to fit a partisan story line benefiting Democrats is commonplace in the Los Angeles Times, so much so that the paper is no longer credible in California or national politics, and its circulation has dropped accordingly.”