Jewish World Review Sept. 10, 2004 / 24 Elul, 5764

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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Who loses if Bush wins? | In the event John Kerry loses the presidential election, it won't be the end of the world for him. He'll still be a U.S. senator married to a billionaire; he can windsurf without kibitzers, and he won't have to pretend anymore to like football, baseball and hunting.

For the Democrats — an antiwar party that has been masquerading as a pro-war party — a choice must be made. Will they follow their Deaniac impulses into the political wilderness for a generation? Or will they turn to grown-ups like Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and compete again for the political center?

The big losers could be the major media, which have discarded all pretense of objectivity, fairness and truth in their efforts to defeat President Bush.

CBS and the Boston Globe are trying to resurrect for the third time the "controversy" over Bush's service in the Air National Guard. (For those of you who were living on another planet in January and February, Bush missed five months of drills in the spring and summer of 1972 when he moved from Texas to Alabama to work on a political campaign. This was permissible, provided he made them up later, as the record indicates he did.)

On "Sixty Minutes" Wednesday, CBS broadcast an interview with Ben Barnes, who claimed he used his influence to help Bush get into the Texas National Guard. Barnes, one of Kerry's leading fund raisers, had been claiming he had exerted his influence on behalf of Bush as lieutenant governor, until he was reminded that Bush entered the Texas Air National Guard in the spring of 1968, and Barnes didn't become lieutenant governor until January, 1969.

The Globe said in a story Sep. 8 that "no one has come forward with any credible recollection of having witnessed Bush performing guard service in Alabama." Retired LtCol. John "Bill" Calhoun, who ran the safety office of the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, to which Bush was assigned for his Alabama drills, told the AP in February that he saw Bush every drill period. Why doesn't the Globe consider Calhoun a credible witness? Or Joe Lefevers or James Copeland, other Alabama Guardsmen who have attested to Bush's presence?

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The Globe goes on to confuse, accidentally or deliberately, service in the Selected Reserve (which requires attendance at drills) with service in the inactive Reserve, to charge, falsely, that Bush missed drills when he was attending the Harvard Business School in the fall of 1973.

(Bush had completed his drilling service obligation the preceding June and July.)

NBC's Today program has never had a member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as a guest, but is allotting three mornings for interviews with Kitty Kelley, who has written a book alleging that the young George Bush was a frequent user of cocaine.

Newsweek magazine was given the opportunity to excerpt Ms. Kelley's book, but declined, because her previous journalistic efforts rarely have risen to the standards of the National Enquirer.

Good thing. Kelley alleges that her source for the cocaine story is Sharon Bush, embittered ex-wife of Neil Bush, black sheep brother of George W. and Jeb. Sharon Bush issued the following statement: "I categorically deny that I ever told Kitty Kelley that George W. Bush used cocaine at Camp David...Although there have been tensions between me and various members of the Bush family, I cannot allow this falsehood to go unchallenged."

The major media, by and large, are slinging mud for the Democratic party. This has not gone unnoticed.

A remarkable thing happened at the Republican convention. Fox News had more viewers than CBS, ABC and NBC. Never before had a cable network drawn more than a small fraction of the audiences of the broadcast networks.

The nation's 38 largest daily newspapers collectively lost circulation in the six months ending in March, 2004, according to the trade journal Editor and Publisher. The only newspapers to report substantial circulation gains in this period were the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal, which have conservative editorial pages, and news columns largely devoid of editorializing.

Half or more of America's voters are likely to vote for George W. Bush this November. They do not take it kindly when news organizations slant, twist, massage and ignore facts in order to boost his opponent, and they are taking their business elsewhere.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

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