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The Kerry Files

Like many, I was shocked to see John Kerry proactively reignite the debate over some specific details of his war record, though I was less than surprised reading Kate Zernike's uncritical write up of Kerry's account in the New York Times back on May 28. I was even less surprised when Tom Lipscomb called to say the Zernike article had grabbed his attention with its almost complete disregard for items already in the public record, and that he was interested in doing a multipart series trying to get to the bottom of a number of issues surrounding Kerry's record - once and for all. The first installment, which is a response to Zernike's May 28 piece, is running on RealClearPolitics today.

As many of you know, Lipscomb is a Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg School's Center for the Digital Future and has written extensively about the issue of Kerry's military records in the Chicago Sun-Times, Editor & Publisher and the New York Sun. He knows this story inside and out. And, despite what some people will almost inevitably say about him based on what he's written, Lipscomb's interest in this story has nothing to do with politics. He's not a big fan of George W. Bush, nor does he harbor any special animosity toward John Kerry. He's never met a Swift Boat Veteran, though he once attended a dinner where John O'Neill happened to be in the same room.

Lipscomb's gripe is with the way the MSM covered this story during the 2004 election - and now how it has covered it again in 2006; an unwillingness to demand the release of Kerry's full record and a general lack of interest in thoroughly investigating and evaluting some of the charges made by the Swift Boat Vets. Lipscomb isn't out to "get" Zernike (whom he describes as a "fine reporter on education and social issues"), only to point out that for some reason she failed - as did the editors at the New York Times - to do due dilligence investigating Kerry's claims and instead simply reprinted them. Lipscomb says that "there are likely to be holes in the Swiftie stories as well as Kerry's. But there are never grounds for assuming ONE side needn't be questioned and the other side universally discarded."

Since the Times has once again proven unequal to this fundamental task, Lipscomb decided to undertake an effort to do it on his own, and we've agreed to work with him.