In his October 20 nationally syndicated column, titled "Who are the 'brainwashers'?" conservative author and media analyst L. Brent Bozell III claimed that the media holds an "extreme revulsion to the views of anti-Kerry veterans" and said anti-Kerry Vietnam veterans "are never invited to sit for extended interviews with [ABC's Nightline anchor and managing editor] Ted Koppel or [CBS News anchor] Dan Rather." But later, in the very same column, Bozell wrote about a 15-minute October 14 appearance on Nightline by Swift Vets and POWs for Truth cofounder John O'Neill, the discredited author of Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry.
Bozell wrote of the anti-Kerry veterans:
Those who remember him [Kerry] differently -- as a man who went to battle to polish his political resume and then returned home to smear his comrades in the war effort as vandals, rapists and murderers -- are not to be defined as "newsworthy." Their views are sometimes questioned, usually condemned, parceled out in half-teaspoons of Swift Vet ad clips. They [anti-Kerry veterans] are never invited to sit for extended interviews with Ted Koppel or Dan Rather.
Later in the column, Bozell discussed the October 14 edition of ABC's Nightline:
After a parade of unsubstantiated hearsay from these Vietnamese peasants, interviewed with an official minder from the communist regime standing around, Koppel sat down with an anti-Kerry veteran on live television for the first time this year. John O'Neill was so shocked by the audacity of ABC's "news" judgment that he kept returning to the objection that Koppel had been used: "You've been had, Ted."
As Media Matters for America has previously documented, Koppel did indeed devote approximately half of the October 14 Nightline segment on Kerry's Vietnam service to an interview with O'Neill.
Bozell is incorrect in claiming that those who hold unfavorable views of Kerry's military service have not been considered "newsworthy." O'Neill has appeared numerous times on the cable news networks, and even has appeared on the broadcast networks other than the October 14 Nightline, including the August 24 edition of CBS's The Early Show and the August 22 edition of ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos.
As for Bozell's description of how anti-Kerry veterans remember Kerry -- as a man who "returned home to smear his comrades in the war effort as vandals, rapists and murderers" -- as MMFA has repeatedly documented, in his 1971 testimony before the Senate foreign relations committee, Kerry simply recounted the stories of other Vietnam veterans who returned to the U.S. and related their personal experiences in what was known as the Winter Soldier Investigation.
Bozell is the founder and president of the conservative Media Research Center and the author of Weapons of Mass Distortion: The Coming Meltdown of the Liberal Media (Crown Forum, July 2004).