Friday, August 20, 2004

Open Letter to Chris Matthews

[This letter was written in response to the August 19th broadcast of "Hardball with Chris Matthews" which had as guests Larry Thurlow, Michael Dobbs, Max Cleland, and Michelle Malkin, among others. The transcript is available online at the URL:]

20 August 2004

Dear Chris Matthews,

The men who served with John Kerry in Vietnam are not suggesting he intentionally shot himself, but that the trivial wound for which he sought his first purple heart commendation was likely caused by his own grenade rather than enemy fire. But of course, you know this. You are simply trying to discredit the allegations by misrepresenting them.

Your exchange with Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post was a particular waste of time. Unless Mr. Dobbs has some specific knowledge of the preparation and scrutiny of after-action reports, and the initiation, deliberations and records-keeping surrounding commendations for combat gallantry, his pronouncements on the questions at issue are pure speculation. You should be asking your questions of someone in the military who has had responsibility for dealing with the documentation processes that are being disputed, NOT with just another media person.

For my own part, I find it far more difficult to believe that 265 decorated veterans have been bought by the Bush Campaign than to believe that John Kerry, a singularly mediocre legislator whose propensity for self-promotion has been amply demonstrated, had exaggerated and finessed the documentation of his life at every stage.

Mr. Matthews, I used to look forward to your appearances and enjoy them because I had a sense that you had some objectivity. Lately I haven’t followed your show, and you seem to have changed, sadly for the worse. Your idea of “hardball” these days seems to consist of nothing more than selectively re-combining bits of their statements, throwing them back in their faces twisted out of their original meanings, then refusing to allow the guest time to respond.

Please consider that in the last four years the American public has been presented with THOUSANDS of news media allegations that George Bush was a coward seeking to avoid combat and shirking in the Texas Air National Guard. In the first place, this is an incendiary insult to the tens of thousands of veterans who honorably elected service in National Guard units, whether they eventually served in combat or not. Secondly, since I grew up in a Navy family, child of an officer serving for decades on aircraft carriers, and friend to many Navy fliers, I have seen that flying fighter jets even in peacetime, is an extremely hazardous undertaking. For someone to dismiss George Bush as a coward reveals an UTTER ignorance of the extreme rigors and dangers of fighter jet operations.

Still, despite the hounding of journalists whose ignorance of the vagaries of governmental record-keeping is as profound as their ignorance of fighter jets, I have not heard of the Bush administration calling for suppression of a single publication for pursuing this. Meanwhile, those same professional journalists have only reluctantly acknowledged questions about John Kerry’s integrity. The decades-long leftward creep of the media is precisely the repellent force that is driving so many Americans to alternative sources of reporting.

But far more significantly than all that, for John Kerry’s campaign to call for the suppression of the SwiftVets’ book is despicable. It underscores the bankruptcy of his leadership. It lays bare a bullying gutlessness more clearly than any allegations by ten thousand fellow decorated veterans could ever have accomplished.

In any case, Mr. Kerry’s focus on his four months in Vietnam seems to be cynically calculated to distract from the pathetic record of his service as a member of our national legislature.

Poor sod. It appears the American electorate are beginning to recognize the barnyard stink wafting from his campaign. Even some of my democratic friends who voted for Clinton are reconsidering their party affiliation.

But to return to “Hardball,” journalistic bias is inevitable; everyone has a point of view. But YOUR behavior--- particularly your intentional abuse of Michelle Malkin--- is beneath contempt, Mr. Matthews.

Maybe you should go back and get some remedial tutoring in journalistic integrity from your betters, starting with say, Jerry Springer.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rassman is a medal expert why not question him?

M. Simon


Do you know how John Kerry got a piece of shrapnel buried in his leg?

You don't?

That is all right. Neither does John.

What is the War Hero Afraid of?
Form 180. Release ALL the records.

3:31 AM  

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