Former Speaker of the House and FOX News political contributor Newt Gingrich, during the September 2 edition of The O'Reilly Factor -- his third primetime guest appearance in four days on FOX News Channel -- repeated a gross distortion about an executive order issued when Senator John Kerry was lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1984.
Gingrich claimed that Kerry "authored an executive order for [then-Governor of Massachusetts Michael] Dukakis to not defend Boston from nuclear weapons. Specifically signed, saying we will not defend Boston." This is a flagrant mischaracterization of the actual order, which promised "to develop the concept of Comprehensive Emergency Management to deal with major disasters or emergencies in the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts]" and which, in fact, does not bear Kerry's name.
Sean Hannity and Neal Boortz have also perpetuated this distortion of Kerry's record. As Media Matters for America noted on each occasion, the one civil defense strategy rejected by the order was "crisisrelocation planning" -- a Cold War-era strategy that had previously been rejected by California, New Mexico, and Maryland. In 1983, the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations concluded that "it does not believe that the 'crisis relocation' plan will work," according to a 1986 report (pdf) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.