Did NBC Edit Out Kerry’s Admission on Military Records?

Many readers have written us, expressing outrage that when NBC’s Dateline rebroadcast Tom Brokaw’s interview with John Kerry, which was previously shown on MSNBC, Kerry’s admission that not all of his military records have been released was edited out. Other bloggers are accusing NBC of covering up Kerry’s admission that he has repeatedly lied about making all of his records public.
There is no question that a key line got edited out. Here is the original exchange as it appeared on MSNBC:

Brokaw: Someone has analyzed the President’s military aptitude tests and yours, and concluded that he has a higher IQ than you do.
Kerry: That’s great. More power. I don’t know how they’ve done it, because my record is not public. So I don’t know where you’re getting that from.

And here is how the exchange was shown on the much more heavily-watched Dateline:

“Someone has analyzed the president’s military aptitude tests and yours, and concluded that he has a higher IQ than you do.”
Kerry: “That’s great. More power. I don’t know how they’ve done it.”

Superficially, this is rather damning. But if you read the complete transcripts of the two versions of the interview, you will see that they are quite different. The Dateline version included some exchanges that were not played on MSNBC, and MSNBC included others that were cut from the Dateline version.
Power Line readers are news junkies who are tuned in to the issues surrounding Kerry’s military service that have been raised by the Swift Boat Vets and others. Realistically, however, the number of non-junkie listeners who would have understood the significance of the sentence that Dateline cut from Kerry’s answer is close to zero. My guess is that whoever edited the video footage for Dateline had no idea that the omitted material was significant.
There is no question that the mainstream media covered up for John Kerry with respect to his military service. But they didn’t do it by this minor bit of editing. They did it by never–ever–asking him the basic question: “Why won’t you make all of your military records public?”
It’s true that the Kerry campaign has falsely claimed that all of his records are publicly available, but they can’t seriously maintain that position if it is subjected to any scrutiny. The Navy has said that it has around 100 pages that have not been released because Kerry has not signed the necessary form. That is an indisputable fact. So if a reporter asked Kerry the question, he would have to come up with some kind of an answer. And it is hard to see what answer he could give that would not lead no additional, more penetrating, questions.
But the mainstream media, while constantly slandering the Swift Boat Vets as disseminators of “discredited” information, have slammed the door on “legitimate” discussion of Kerry’s military record by refusing to ask him the most basic of questions: what is in your records, and why won’t you let the voters see them?
That’s the real cover-up. And because that cover-up has been so successful, NBC could have played the full version of the IQ exchange, and hardly any viewers would have been the wiser.
UPDATE: Beldar has some very interesting comments along similar lines, but with a little pulchritude thrown in.


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