Throwing aside any notion of fairness or bipartisanship, the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather aired an ad for the Kerry campaign before the Democratic convention that was advertised as an interview of the candidate. One big issue was supposed to be Kerry’s service in Vietnam and leadership of the so-called “antiwar movement.” Here’s an example of one of Dan Rather’s tough questions: “Can you be a war hero and be a leader of an antiwar movement?”
In the exchange that followed, Rather neglected to mention that Kerry’s service has been questioned by former soldiers and a commander who said one of his medals may not have been deserved. Kerry’s detractors ask, “Who got 3 purple hearts in 4 months but never spent a day in the hospital?” They have named a new medal in honor of John Kerry that is called the “Purple Owie.” They say it is worn directly over the wound in question and that, after use, it is rolled up and thrown over the nearest fence. Rather also neglected to mention that the “antiwar movement” was manipulated by the enemy in Hanoi and ended the war on terms favorable to the communists. That led to millions dead.
Kerry told Rather, “Those of us who served care enormously about the people we served with and the fact of our having put our lives on the line.” That’s news to the tens of thousands who died in vain to prevent the communist takeover that Kerry ushered in. Kerry’s only reservation was that he used some “language” about soldiers being war criminals that may have been inappropriate. Rather, of course, didn’t press him on that. At a time when the media are saying that prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib was worse than we thought, Kerry’s self-admitted involvement in the commission of war crimes in Vietnam is not supposed to be an issue. This cover-up of Kerry’s past is an absolute disgrace.
Another issue that was completely off the table about the “antiwar movement” was Kerry’s involvement in a group, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, which held a meeting to consider assassinating members of the U.S. Senate. Kerry first denied he was at the meeting but aides back-pedaled when documents proved he was. Kerry never went to the authorities warning the FBI about the plot. The FBI had monitored the organization and had documented Communist Party involvement in it.
Dan Rather ignored all of this while asking Kerry about the Bush campaign “running an effective campaign that does its best to diminish your service in Vietnam ” This is a flat-out lie. The Bush campaign has done no such thing. Questions about Kerry’s service have been raised by those who served with him. Kerry told Rather he was irritated by questions about his service. But he couldn’t have been irritated by Rather’s questions and the interview itself. He should have pinned a “Kerry for President” button on Rather after it was over.
To prove he’s fair, Rather will probably offer President Bush a chance to be interviewed. The softballs will become hardballs. We’ll never forget Rather’s interview of the first President Bush, which turned into a heated exchange and once again displayed Rather’s pro-Democratic Party bias. G.W. Bush should have learned a lesson from that.