The week after the Democratic convention, two of the nation's three largest news magazines, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report, had fun with two-page photo spreads emphasizing the Democratic nominee's acceptance speech opener: "I'm John Kerry, And I'm Reporting for Duty."
But by the morning of Kerry's speech, the critics of Kerry's military tenure at Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were again knocking at the door of the national press corps, pounding on what they insist are holes the size of meteor craters in Kerry's stories of jut-jawed heroism in Vietnam.
By now, most of America has heard of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and their book, titled "Unfit for Command," which quickly rose to No. 1 at Amazon.com. Talk radio is chewing it over from coast to coast. Cable news viewers have watched a number of debates with these Kerry comrades on CNN, MSNBC and Fox. But if you were to receive all of your news from Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report, you wouldn't know one solitary thing about them. The censorship has been complete.
Why does this happen? How do the cream of the liberal media crop have the audacity to declare by their actions that the Kerry comrades that support their superhero Kerry are credible, and should be given endless license to boast of his virtues, while those who knew him in Vietnam as less than a hero are to be ignored?
In February, when the story was George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, Bush's most prominent accusers weren't his colleagues in the Texas Guard. They were Terry McAuliffe and Michael Moore, political hatchet men who were given an immediate and warm reception by the press. So why are the Swift Boat veterans automatically disqualified from the major media?
On "Fox News Sunday," long-time TV journalist Brit Hume had a different take on the Swift Vets book: "It is full of detail. It is full of specifics. The charges that are being made of Kerry, of irresponsible and, indeed in some cases, mendacious conduct in his service in Vietnam, are made by people who were there. They're making the charges in their own names ... this isn't a bunch of anonymous people whispering things. It's all out there in the open. The book is full of footnotes. It has an appendix. It's a pretty serious piece of work." He declared it deserved as much attention as the piles of February media stories on Bush's service.
That final point is especially true considering how the news magazines harped on Kerry's heroism, and his "Band of Brothers" and their crucial role in his rise to the top of the liberal Democrat heap.