The recent resignation of CNN's news director, Eason Jordan,
after his outrageous remarks about our military at an international
forum were reported on the Internet, is only the latest
in a series of media scandals, of which Dan Rather's forged
documents were just one. Media bias does not consist in
having liberal or conservative opinions but in how you do
your job -- or don't do it.
One document whose authenticity is not likely to be questioned
by the mainstream media is the honorable discharge on Senator
John Kerry's web site. Yet who in the major media has investigated
why that honorable discharge is dated during the Carter
administration, when Kerry's military service ended years
This is the same media that spent months investigating
George W. Bush's military record and, even after key allegations
were revealed to be based on forgeries, continued publicizing
rumors and innuendoes. They didn't stop even after the President
signed Form 180, opening all his military records to the
But who in the major media has asked why John Kerry would
need to be issued an honorable discharge during the Carter
administration, years after leaving the navy, unless his
original discharge was less than honorable?
One of Jimmy Carter's first acts as President was to issue
an order granting amnesties to draft dodgers who had fled
the country during the Vietnam war and also allowing an
upgrading of military discharges that had been less than
There is more to this than simply a strange date on an
honorable discharge. The covering memo refers to U.S. Code
Title 10, sections 1162 and 1163. Anyone who bothers to
read those sections will discover that they are about unusual
circumstances for issuing discharges from the military services.
Senator Kerry never signed Form 180 to make all his military
records public, as President Bush had done -- and the media
didn't press him to do so. Even after Kerry's widely publicized
role as a war hero was challenged by numerous men who had
served with him in Vietnam, the media remained totally uninterested
in checking out his record.
This gross double standard is the real media scandal, even
more than the forged documents, which were after all the
responsibility of just one network and one program.
Maybe there is a perfectly innocent explanation for Senator
Kerry's late-dated honorable discharge during the Carter
administration. But no explanation has been asked or given,
even though there may also be a not so innocent explanation.
What is well known is that, during the Vietnam war, John
Kerry went to Paris on his own and engaged in discussions
or negotiations with representatives of the country with
whom we were at war, even though he was still an officer
in the naval reserve.
That raises legal questions about unauthorized personal
diplomacy which naval authorities may not have overlooked
as generously as the media did, and which could have affected
the kind of discharge that Kerry received.
One of the few people in the media who has shown any interest
at all in Kerry's military records has been Tim Russert
of "Meet the Press." He asked Senator Kerry on
April 18, 2004 if he would "make all your records public."
Kerry indicated that his records were already public, that
people "can come and see them" at his headquarters.
But recently, on January 30, 2005, when Tim Russert again
raised that question and asked "Would you sign Form
180?" -- the form that Bush had signed to open all
his military records -- Kerry started off on a tangent before
Russert interrupted him to repeat that same question. This
time Kerry said, "Yes, I will."
He will? He had already done so last year, if you believe
what he said then. But will the media call him on it if
he doesn't follow through now? Don't bet on it.
This is not about the past or ultimately even about Kerry
or Bush. It is about the future of this country. A gullible
public learning only what is filtered to them by a biased
media is not a hopeful sign for the future of a democracy.
Some of the public have begun to wake up but more need
to do so. Many in the media also need to wake up to what
they are doing, or failing to do, when their politics taints
2005 Creators Syndicate
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