Long ago I asked why on earth no one seemed to care any more about the missing Bush Military records. Now comes CJR Campaign Desk: Spin Buster to ask that question again.
Campaign Desk has been curious for a while now about what happened to the story of President Bush's Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard. After the White House's February 13 Friday night data dump of all assembled records, there was little press follow-up. We never read anything that sorted through the details of the over 300 documents released to figure out what, exactly, happened back then; all we ever got was a few pieces noting that little of the information was new, and listing still-unanswered questions.
Why, exactly, did the media drop the matter?
Campaign Desk thinks it has part of the answer,
In part, no doubt, it's because some of the details seem to come down to personal memories. But that doesn't strike us as an excuse for throwing in the towel and failing to clarify a controversial story that the press had resuscitated itself (largely courtesy of Bush's “Meet the Press” interview on February 8).
In other words, Campaign Desk is mystified.
I'm not mystified. Stupefied. Incredulous. But not mystified. See, there's no Democrat banging the gong on this (and if there were s/he'd be attacked by the press for being shrill). And the press is just not up to doing the hard work itself. Haven't been since they became 'professionals' instead of working stiffs.
Plus, who's got the story for the agenda-setting New York Times? Why none other than Katherine Seeyle.
Probably because he doens’t accuse his fellow guardsmen of having committed war crimes and atrocities. If a president or presidential candidate were to do that, now that would be interesting stuff.
Eh? This has what exactly to do with making good on a promise (on national TV) to release all your records?
I think a lot of it has to do with the media cycles and the short attention span of the general US public. The media latched onto larger things; the testimony of Dr. Rice, the August PDB, an increase in fighting in parts of Iraq, the murders of the 4 US Contractors, the coalition falling apart, &c. Basically the media found something new to hook onto, and knowing how short the attention span of the average US citizen has become, decided to run with the new stories and leave the old by the wayside. What is sad, however, is that the same thing happened with Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction (big news for a while, then it died quickly).
It’s also odd that the story hasn’t come up even after BushCo took Kerry to task for not releasing his. Of course, Kerry has now and they made it looks like Purple Hearts and a Silver Star vs. a dental check up. Whoops.
Its just that nothing will come of it, even if Bush was “AWOL”. Its an issue that will confirm what people who don’t like him already wanted to hear, but will not make anyone who supports him change their mind. He’s conceded that he’s no war hero. And maybe he didn’t show up a few times, big deal. Nobody is harmed one way or the other. I put it in the same bin with his DUI. But Kerry’s record is relevant because he has run on this issue fom day 1, and he is now not fessing up to the way he characterized the conduct of his fellow vets. Both have skeletons in their closet, but one has rotting flesh still on the bones.
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