NYT article on discredited Drudge story failed to report paper's own executive editor had debunked it


A July 30 New York Times article joined the echo chamber surrounding the discredited charge that Senator John Kerry (D-MA) reenacted Vietnam combat scenes on videotape for his future political ambitions. The attack was revived on July 28 by Internet gossip Matt Drudge on his highly trafficked website, The Drudge Report.

The Times reported on the Drudge story, making no mention of the fact that nearly two years ago, the paper's current executive editor and then-columnist Bill Keller took up the issue of Kerry's wartime films and debunked the reenactment charge. While the Times article noted that "people who have viewed his [Kerry's] film from the war have said they have seen no re-enactments," the paper did not report that Keller had been among those "people."

What's more, the Times reported that Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the conservative Media Research Center, "cited an article in The New York Times in 2002 in which Mr. Kerry said he had 'no intention of using it [the video]' for campaign purposes," but failed to note that the article Graham cited was Keller's piece -- which completely debunked the charge in the first place.

The Washington Times also cited the Drudge story in a July 30 article detailing accusations made against Kerry's service in Vietnam, though not the reenactment charge. The Washington Times article focused on anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth founder John O'Neill's forthcoming book, Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, which was one of the sources for Drudge's story.

2004 Elections
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