March 1 2005
PLAYING HARDBALL WITH MAUREEN DOWD: Maureen
Dowd's column on Sunday was full of the usual hyperbole
and ridiculousness, but one phrase in particular stood out:
White House seems to prefer softball questions from a
self-advertised male escort with a fake name to hardball
questions from journalists with real names..."
confused. Every day Scott McLellan steps into a room filled
with big-name journalists - some, like the now-retired Helen
Thomas, with political leanings every bit as far to the
left as Gannon's were to the right - who ask their "hardball
questions." It may be a bit of an overstatement to
say the White House press room is a hostile environment,
but it certainly isn't a Bush-friendly one.
remark brought to mind a recent
observation made by Thomas Sowell that "media bias
does not consist in having liberal or conservative opinions
but in how you do your job -- or don't do it."
went on to outline the most egregious case of softball journalism
we've seen in a while (of which Ms. Dowd and her well-respected
paper played a big part): the pass given to John Kerry for
not fully releasing his military records.
is how the game of softball has been played. In April of
last year, Tim Russert asked
Senator Kerry about releasing his military records:
RUSSERT: Would you agree to release all your
SEN. KERRY: I have. I've shown them--they're
available to you to come and look at.
MR. RUSSERT: But you'll make all your
SEN. KERRY: They are. People can come
and see them at headquarters and take a look at them.
of these responses were demonstrably untrue. Yet Kerry was
never called to account on these falsehoods by members of
the press, nor was he pressured into signing Form 180 (the
document that gives the government permission to release
all military records to the public) even after the Swift
Boat Veterans raised questions about about Kerry's service
later in the year.
January 30, 2005 Kerry
pledged on national television he would sign Form 180:
RUSSERT: Would you sign Form 180?
SEN. KERRY: But everything, Tim...
MR. RUSSERT: Would you sign Form 180?
SEN. KERRY: Yes, I will. But everything
that we put in it, Tim--everything we put in--I mean,
everything that was out was a full documentation of all
of the medical records, all of the fitness reports. And
I'd call on those who have challenged me, let's see their
records. I want to see the records of each of those people
who have put up a challenge, because some of them have
some serious questions in them, and it hasn't been appropriate..
MR. RUSSERT: So they should sign Form
180s for themselves as well?
SEN. KERRY: You bet.
you didn't see reported by the "journalists with real
names" is that the day after Kerry appeared on Meet
the Press and called for "those who have challenged
me" to release their records, John
O'Neill executed a Form 180 and released it to the media
authorizing the "total voluntary release of all records
to anyone interested" (click
here to enlarge image):
Corsi, the co-author of Unfit For Command, did
not serve in the military and thus has no records to release.
Senator Kerry's office didn't return phone calls asking
for the names of other people Kerry would like to see release
the point is moot. On February 7 Senator Kerry not only
his pledge to sign Form 180, he said he would do so
irrespective of whether others released their records. "I’ll
sign it anyway" Kerry told radio show host
has been stalling for more than a month now, using the canard
that he needs extra time to get things "clarified with
the military." Not a single "journalist"
has thought to question this patently bogus excuse. Executing
Form 180 is so simple even a witless columnist from
the New York Times could do it in less than 10 minutes.
conclusions can we draw from all of this? First, Kerry's
unwillingness to sign Form 180 means it most likely contains
damaging and/or embarrassing information. Second, it is
inconceivable that the mainstream press would stand for
such behavior if John Kerry was a Republican. Anyone who
can't admit that is fool or a liar (or both). And last but
not least, we can safely conclude that Maureen Dowd doesn't
know the difference between hardball and softball. -
T. Bevan 2:32 pm Link
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