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THE LOGIC OF LIBERAL BIAS (PART 1)! The Boston Globe accused Kerry of war crimes. Are you struck by their great liberal bias?


KERRY’S CRIMES: Is the press corps driven by “liberal bias?” It’s hard to maintain this treasured claim when you look at the John Kerry coverage.

Last summer, the New Republic said that Kerry “has a distinctly self-indulgent streak” because he likes to play show tunes on his guitar (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/10/02). The liberal mag was also troubled by the fact that the slick solon wind-surfs.

Then, the NYT’s Bill Keller wrote a column trashing Kerry as “the ersatz J.F.K., who fancies himself a global strategist because 30 years ago he faced down a Vietcong ambush” (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/13/02). Kerry’s a plenty strange dude, Keller said. “[W]ith all due respect for his exploit,” the scribe asked, “how utterly weird is it that he then took out his handy 8-millimeter camera and re-enacted his heroism on film?” But oops! In a later column, Keller acknowledged that he had misstated the content of Kerry’s “home movies” from Vietnam (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/9/02). “[T]he senator’s movies are not self-aggrandizing. Mr. Kerry is hardly in the film,” Keller said. Where had Keller obtained his bogus info? Where else? He had relied on the “usually dependable” Boston Globe, the misinformed Times pundit said.

Ah yes, the “usually dependable” Globe! Last week, that same Boston Globe unveiled a report about Kerry’s real, hidden self. The paper had hired teams of genealogists to examine the senator’s troubling ancestry. The Globe always thought there was something odd about Kerry, and now the paper knew what it was—John Kerry was partly Jewish, it reported. And of course, there was one more piece to the Globe’s performance. Like Al Gore, Kerry “doesn’t know who he is,” one leading Globe halfwit now judged (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 2/7/03).

Readers, can you spot the “liberal bias” behind these reports? Frankly, we have a hard time sniffing it out; in a rational world, it’s hard to claim that the press is driven by liberal bias when stories this stupid are aimed at Big Dems. And just for the record, the halfwit Globe—Kerry’s home paper—has been writing odd stories about the solon for years. Did you think last week’s bizarre report was a departure for the Globe? Not at all. The paper has published piles of pap about the slick solon for years.

Forget the profile which misled Keller. Let’s consider other ways the “liberal” Globe has trashed the long-despised Kerry.

For starters, let’s consider those war crimes. One week before Election Day 1996 (Kerry won re-election over Massachusetts Governor William Weld), the Globe’s David Warsh published a startling 2100-word piece about Kerry. In it, Warch suggested that Kerry had committed a war crime in Vietnam, in the action for which he was awarded the Silver Star. (And yes, Warsh used the term “war crime.”) Almost instantly, Warsh’s factual presentation was shown to be bogus, and the crackpot columnist later said that he shouldn’t have used the inflammatory term “war crime.” The paper’s ombudsman, Mark Jurkowitz, said that the story should never have run. “[T]he issue is whether the column belonged in the Globe. The answer is no,” the ombudsman wrote. But then, the Globe had been messing with Kerry all fall. Three weeks before Warsh’s strange report, the Globe had published the 4000-word profile which misled Keller six years later. As Kerry tried to win re-election, the Globe was printing silly stuff about his “home movies”—and the nastiest of all possible attacks. And both of these stories were bogus.

But then, how has the Globe treated Kerry in the past? In 1998, the solon was considering a run for the White House. Globe pundit Alex Beam ran a list of the troubling issues Globe writers had long flogged with Big John:

BEAM: What is it about John Kerry that makes people cringe? Is it the plastic surgery to his lantern jaw, which he claims was medically necessary? The Super-8 movies he filmed of himself in action in Vietnam? The “JFK” monogram he wore on his oxford shirts at St. Paul’s prep school? His shallow, manipulative demagoguery over the “missing” POWs? Or his belated admission that the medals he jettisoned in a famous 1971 antiwar protest were not his own? Kerry has said that he will decide whether to run for president early next year. There is plenty of logic to a Kerry campaign…Nominal front-runner Al Gore has all the charisma of—of a John Kerry! And our junior senator, who whines constantly about money, has a bank in the back room: His second wife, heiress/philanthropist Teresa Heinz, is worth an estimated $800 million.
How vacuous is America’s insider press corps? This vacuous: At the Globe, writers have never stopped worrying about the fact that Kerry wore his initials on his shirts when in high school! And they’ve never stopped worrying about the women he dated before he married Heinz. Beam recalled a landmark profile:
BEAM: In 1989, the Globe ran an amusing account of the just-divorced Kerry’s numerous liaisons, dubbing him “The Senate’s New Romeo.” Not for the first time, we reported that Kerry had been keeping company with actresses Morgan Fairchild and his fellow St. Paul’s alum, Catherine Oxenberg, described by the late Globe columnist John Robinson as “virtually without talent in her chosen field.” Kerry said his characterization as a rake was “unfair,” and then told an editor here we should feel “ashamed” to have printed the article. And we did, we did.
Nine years later, Beam still found the Globe’s halfwit story amusing. And of course, he still failed to see the irony involved—the irony of a Boston Globe writer describing someone else as “virtually without talent in her field.”

Indeed, even when Kerry married Heinz, the Globe’s silly foofaw continued. Brian McGrory wrote the “news report” which announced the engagement; he began with a paragraph about what “[t]hose more cynical will no doubt” say (that Kerry was marrying Heinz for her money and for good PR). Meanwhile, soon after Kerry and Heinz were wed, the Globe ran a string of foolish stories about a parking ticket Heinz received. “Heinz car spotted in front of hydrant,” said the initial headline on March 1, 1996. Her nose for news as sharp as ever, Joan Vennochi was soon on the case:

VENNOCHI (3/13/96): So far, the [Kerry-Weld Senate] campaign is a personality contest, with the personalities of the candidates’ wives thrown in for good measure. And not always to Kerry’s benefit. Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz, gave a captivating speech last week at a fund-raiser for the Pine Street Inn. But she’s also known as the super-rich wife who parked her jeep too close to a Beacon Hill fire hydrant and who refers to her dead spouse as her husband and to her husband as John Kerry.
Meow. Spit. Hiss. Hiss-meow! By the way, your vacuous press corps never tires of tracking the way Heinz describes her late husband. Just last week, a Dan Balz piece referred to “the chatter among political insiders, who have noted that [Heinz] sometimes refers to the late senator Heinz as ‘my husband,’ as she did in a recent Washington Post profile.” As you know, this sort of thing never ceases to interest the half-wits who hang out in Washington.

Let’s face it—nothing will ever still “the chatter” of our insider Washington class. But is the press corps spilling with liberal bias? Eric Alterman’s forthcoming book will raise debate on that very subject. But up at the “liberal” Boston Globe, Kerry has been mocked for wearing shirts which bore his initials, for having surgery on his jaw, for shooting home movies while in Vietnam and for daring to go out with women while single. He’s been charged with war crimes and revealed as a Jew. Does it seem to you that the Boston Globe has been driven by its deep liberal bias? Here at THE HOWLER, we’d guess that depends—on the logic of liberal bias.

TOMORROW: Eric’s task

Last Thursday, the Globe finally published a letter about its strange search for Kerry’s ancestors. Sadly, Wendy Kaminer felt the need to butter up Joan Vennochi at the start of her excellent letter:


The usually sensible Joan Vennochi displays a rather irrational preoccupation with genealogy when she declares that John Kerry doesn’t know who he is because he only recently learned who his grandfather was.

It requires belief in the mystical power of bloodlines to assume that, whether he knows it or not, Senator Kerry was ineluctably shaped by the character and experiences of a man who committed suicide more than 20 years before he was born. Aren’t Americans supposed to believe in self-invention, instead?

The notion that we are who our ancestors were is the justification for aristocracy, and other social snobberies, not to mention racism in its most virulent forms. Indeed, Vennochi also displays some attachment to ethnic stereotypes when she expresses surprise that the patrician, wind-surfing senator had Jewish grandparents. But she is only following the lead of Globe editors who decided that news about Jews in Kerry’s family tree belonged on the newspaper’s front page.


By the way, can anyone doubt what the Globe was after when it conducted its research? Does anyone hire teams of genealogists around the world because one suspects that a subject may be part Bulgarian? The Globe has long been one of our strangest newspapers; its 4/11/00 article about Al Gore may have been the single most dishonest bit of “reporting” in all of Campaign 2000 (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/12/02). But the mixed-up paper outstripped itself when it tried to learn who Kerry “really is.” Bostonians need to ask themselves why they tolerate this deeply troubled paper.

The Daily update

THEY WHO RUN YOUR DISCOURSE: As we told you on Friday, Kerry should give it up right now (click here). For the next two years, thigh-rubbing pundits will pick nits with the solon, as they picked nits with Gore for two years (and for two more years after that). They’ll spin every item, no matter how stupid; meanwhile, they’ll insist that Bill Frist showed his high, lofty character when he left “Katie” with egg on her face. In short, there’s nothing so stupid that they won’t say and do it. And these varmints do rule your discourse, as they showed in our last White House race.

For the record, many people favor ending the “double taxation” of dividends. It all depends on how you do it. But none of that has a thing to do with the way these varmints will spin this topic. After all, this horde does run your public discourse, and they plan to select your presidents for you. It’s going to take a nasty war to roll back their growing control. Remember, these pundits are willing to do and say anything, and—as crackpots always do—they will transfer their moral dysfunction onto every pol whom they seek to defeat.