Spin, Baby, Spin! The spin from the Seattle P-I and AP is just unbelievable. As right now (9 Sep 2004 11:59 PDT), this is the banner on the PI's main page:
It links to an article (last updated at 10:01 PM) that admits the documents are questionable but still tries to spin them as some kind of evidence against Bush:
But the authenticity of the memos was questioned Thursday by the son of the late officer who reportedly wrote them. One of the writer's fellow officers and a document expert also said Thursday the documents appear to be forgeries.
Still, the documents marked the second time in days the White House had to backtrack from assertions that all of Bush's records had been released. They also raised the specter that Bush sought favors from higher-ups and that the commander of the Texas Air National Guard wanted to "sugar coat" Bush's record after he was suspended from flying.
Um. If they're forgeries, they don't "raise specters" for anyone but Dan Rather, the forger, and the MSM that accepted them uncritically. And the Kerry campaign, unless they're really quick on their feet (time to push Tom Harkin overboard and hide Susan Estrich's keyboard).
This is my favorite bit, though:
There was no explanation why the Pentagon was unable to find the documents on its own.
Um, because they're forgeries, maybe? I'm just a lowly blogger without big media fact-checkers, though, so make your own call.
The allegations, first raised by The Globe in 2000, have returned with new fervor. And the exposure of a Bush campaign connection to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attack on Kerry naturally spurs new interest in Bush's National Guard record and renews questions of strings being pulled to help a privileged son avoid Vietnam through a coveted slot in the Guard.
If it's fair game to question whether Kerry earned the medals he was awarded for his tour of duty in the Vietnam War, it's fair game, too, to question whether Bush earned what amounted to his deferment from that war.
This "they started it" attitude is okay for a five-year old, but it's pretty embarassing when it comes from grown newspaper editors. It's even more embarassing when it's is patently and demonstrably untrue.
Two minutes' research by the P-I's crack editorial fact-checking staff would have turned up this attack on President Bush's service from the official Kerry campaign website dated April (i.e. long before the Swifties hit the scene). President Bush, in contrast, has personally denounced attacks on Kerry's service.
The press has been carrying water for Kerry for months. This mealy-mouthed excuse just shows that, deep in their heart-of-hearts, they know they shouldn't be doing it.
Update: Commenter Frank found an instance of the Bush campaign asking Kerry to release his military records, so it isn't accurate to claim that they've never done so.