How to read the Times

The article by David Halbfinger in this morning’s New York Times covers John Kerry’s VVAW days. In some respects the article is a case study in how the Times treats the lead feet of the heroes of the paper’s story lines: “Kerry role in antiwar veterans is delicate issue in his campaign.”
The article catches up with a month-old story that refuses to die, the story of Kerry’s possilbe attendance at the famous VVAW Kansas City meeting at which he mulled over the plot to kill United States senators. The story makes its debut appearance in the Times. You have to reconstruct what you’ve missed over the past month from the lead, but here it is:

When questions were raised last month about whether a 27-year-old John Kerry had attended a Kansas City meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War where the assassination of senators was discussed, the Kerry presidential campaign went into action.
It accepted the resignation of a campaign volunteer in Florida, Scott Camil, the member of the antiwar group who raised the idea in November 1971 of killing politicians who backed the war. The campaign pressed other veterans who were in Kansas City, Mo., 33 years ago to re-examine their hazy memories while assuring them that Mr. Kerry was sure he had not been there.
John Musgrave, a disabled ex-marine from Baldwin City, Kan., who told The Kansas City Star that Mr. Kerry was at the meeting, said he got a call from John Hurley, the Kerry campaign’s veterans coordinator.
“He said, `I’d like you to refresh your memory,’ ” Mr. Musgrave, 55, recounted in an interview, confirming an account he had given to The New York Sun. “He said it twice. `And call that reporter back and say you were mistaken about John Kerry being there.’ ”
Such little-noticed moments in Mr. Kerry’s past


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