Responding to Media Matters, Ann Coulter again defended her new book's false claim that the Swift Boat Vets "weren't forced to retract any part of their story" by again falsely claiming -- even after Media Matters exposed the falsehood in her defense of her original claim -- that the "example" of a retraction Media Matters cited was simply a correction of William Schachte's rank. In fact, in addition to other reported retractions, the Swift Boat Vets changed their account of a 1968 mission, for which Sen. John Kerry received his first Purple Heart, to claim Schachte was aboard a skimmer with Kerry during the mission.
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During the January 11 edition of Fox News' Geraldo at Large, author and syndicated columnist Ann Coulter defended her new book's false claim that "the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth weren't forced to retract any part of their story" by again falsely claiming -- even after Media Matters for America exposed the falsehood in her defense of her original claim -- that the "example" of a retraction cited by Media Matters was simply a correction of retired Rear Admiral William L. Schachte Jr.'s rank. Coulter stated: "Changing a lieutenant back to his proper title from enlisted man is not a retraction." In fact, as Media Matters noted when Coulter first purported to respond to the item pointing out her falsehood, the Swift Boat Vets did not merely alter a description of Schachte's rank; they changed their account of what happened during a December 2, 1968, mission, for which the U.S. Navy awarded Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) his first Purple Heart, to claim that Schachte was aboard a skimmer with Kerry during the mission. The group's original account -- which matched Kerry's own account and that of the two other veterans who say they were on board the vessel -- made no mention of Schachte's presence on board the skimmer. Coulter initially made the false claim that the Swift Boat Vets merely fixed their description of Schachte's rank in a January 7 article on the conservative website Newsmax.com, in which she was purporting to respond to falsehoods identified by Media Matters. Media Matters pointed out that her claim was false; nonetheless, on Geraldo, Coulter repeated the claim without addressing Media Matters' rebuttal.
In her latest book, Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America, Coulter falsely claims that "the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth weren't forced to retract any part of their story." On Geraldo, Coulter stated of Media Matters' item documenting the book's falsehoods: "[T]heir first list of objections they put up as lies, heinous lies on my book -- claimed that I said the Swift Boat veterans had never retracted anything, and their example of that was where a website entry had to be changed because they had mentioned a lieutenant and described him as an enlisted man. Changing a lieutenant back to his proper title from enlisted man is not a retraction." Coulter's remarks on Geraldo echoed her claim in the January 7 Newsmax.com article that the "correction of the website entry was to fix a mistaken description of Schachte as an enlisted man, rather than the lieutenant that he was. That is not a 'retraction.' "
However, as Media Matters noted, the Swift Boat Vets' "correction" did not merely "fix a mistaken description" of Schachte's rank. The revision claims that the skimmer was "under the command of Lt. William Schachte" and that he and Kerry "were accompanied by an enlisted man who operated the outboard motor." The original, however, referred to Kerry as "commanding a small, foam-filled 'skimmer' craft with two enlisted men" and made no mention of Schachte's presence on board the skimmer. The original description matches Kerry's own account, as well as the account of Patrick Runyon and William Zaladonis, two enlisted men who insist that: (1) Schachte was not on the skimmer; (2) that Kerry was in command; and (3) that Runyon and Zaladonis were the only other people besides Kerry on the small craft.
As Media Matters also noted, several other Swift Boat Vets made statements during the 2004 presidential campaign that were inconsistent with their previous accounts, or subsequently reportedly retracted comments they made during that campaign.
From the January 11 edition of Fox News' Geraldo At Large:
GERALDO: Here's Ann, who's agreed tonight to answer questions posed by her harshest critics at the very liberal website, Media Matters. Before I get to that, here's my review: much better than the compilation books, the quote books. I thought they were a little, kind of, on autopilot. This one is thoughtful, if outrageous.
COULTER: I like that review.
GERALDO: You can -- you can quote me.
COULTER: Good. We'll put that on the paperback.
GERALDO: Now, the reason I'm letting Media Matters, with your consent, ask you questions, which you have not yet seen, is that you --
COULTER: Wait. No. These are the ones that I've already responded to.
GERALDO: When did you get these questions?
COULTER: They -- it came out that -- like the day after my book came out, and I posted my response on my webpage. They were crazy.
GERALDO: Oh, no, these are -- they gave me new ones. They gave me new questions.
COULTER: No, no, no, no, no, no.
GERALDO: Then I'm going to ask you them anyway.
COULTER: No, but -- as Einstein said, "Never memorize something you can look up."
COULTER: They did this the first time. They were crazy. They were so crazy that you don't get --
GERALDO: Question number one.
COULTER: No, you don't get a second bite at the apple. When your first 12 questions --
GERALDO: On the Today show, you claimed as evidence of your contention --
COULTER: No, no, no, no.
GERALDO: -- that you were banned for life by NBC, that the Drudge Report has never had to retract anything -- he has, though, many times -- how can we trust your research given your faith in the Drudge Report?
COULTER: [snoring] OK. I think the more important point is their first list of objections they put up as lies, heinous lies on my book -- claimed that I said the Swift Boat veterans had never retracted anything, and their example of that was where a website entry had to be changed because they had mentioned a lieutenant and described him as an enlisted man. Changing a lieutenant back to his proper title from enlisted man is not a retraction.
GERALDO: But do you agree as we sit here tonight that Drudge has had to retract things over time -- and we all do.
COULTER: He never promoted -- no. There's a difference between a mistake, as Media Matters did in the first round -- and I'm not going to take some new things being sprung at me now. No, no, no. I did not agree to that. I've answered the first 12 they came out with. Sometimes, you have to look something up to see what it is they're talking about.
GERALDO: All right. All right. You recently said --
COULTER: Another -- wait -- wait a second because this is all [inaudible] Fox News. One of their alleged mistakes --
GERALDO: Who are you talking about now?
COULTER: Media Matters. That's what we're talking about.
GERALDO: But let me ask you the questions.
COULTER: OK. Media Matters said --
GERALDO: You can handle these questions.
COULTER: I can handle -- I can -- but I can give you details on the ones that they did when the book first came out. They can't be proved completely wrong --
GERALDO: She's taking my questions?
COULTER: -- on the first 12 and then come back with another 12.
GERALDO: Are you as --
COULTER: Wait a second. Let's do the retraction --
GERALDO: Let me ask you a question.
COULTER: Hang on. They said the same thing about Fox News that they're saying about Drudge now? I'd talked about NBC's --
GERALDO: You're blaming liberals as victims and -- but they say that you are --
COULTER: I pointed out --
GERALDO: -- portraying yourself as a victim by saying you're banned for life from NBC but you've been on NBC 100-odd times.
COULTER: OK, that's the kind of reporting you get from liberals. I didn't say I was banned from life [sic]. That was what the Drudge headline was on it. That's like an article on Sarah Palin and whatever The New York Times headline one -- was is: "Palin says." No, that's a headline from Drudge. I didn't say that. Anyway, they said the same thing about Fox News having to retract --
GERALDO: Are you or are you not banned for life from NBC?
COULTER: Not since the Drudge Report ran.
GERALDO: OK. All right.
COULTER: That was rescinded after eight hours.
GERALDO: Good. Third and final question, which I've memory [sic].
COULTER: I want us to get back to Fox News and the [inaudible] retraction.
GERALDO: I'm going to get to Fox News. I have something to say about that. The --
COULTER: You know what I'm talking about?
GERALDO: The last thing is that you said that -- wait, I'll get to it. Minnesota recount -- that [Al] Franken is stealing the election.
COULTER: I've been writing about that repeatedly since the election.
GERALDO: Do you think Franken -- but there's no evidence. Is there any evidence that he's stealing it?
COULTER: Yeah. Of course, there is. Read my columns. AnnCoulter.com.
GERALDO: But the --
COULTER: I've been predicting it since -- it's the exact same happened -- that happened in Washington state.
GERALDO: You believe as you sit there tonight that Franken --
COULTER: And that is not in my book; that is on my website. But you know what else is on my website? The response to the first 12 lies, lies --
GERALDO: All right.
COULTER: -- lies, that Media Matters claims are in this book.
GERALDO: The Fox News --
COULTER: The Fox News claim --
GERALDO: But, wait. But let me ask you a question about that.
COULTER: -- with the exact same sort of "retraction" --
GERALDO: Fox News -- it seems to me, you're portraying Fox News as --
GERALDO: -- ultra-liberal with a couple of conservatives sprinkled in between.
COULTER: No, as I say in the book, that it is shocking, but people have gotten so used to this Orwellian world of a left-wing media. It is shocking that none of the Democrats --
GERALDO: It is number 16 --
COULTER: Are you not --
GERALDO: -- on Amazon as we sit there tonight. It's another best-seller for Ann Coulter. Love her or not, she knows how to sell books.
COULTER: Although I prefer to talk about my book.
GERALDO: Next time.