OpinionMeister

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Kerry's Form 180

In the Daily Standard, Dean Barnett has an article entitled "Trust, But Verify" that stresses our need to not take at face value the assertions of the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times that they received the complete records until they publish the actual Form 180 and the contents of the file. Link.
First, there's the matter of logistics. When one signs a Form 180, he specifies the party or parties to whom the documents will
be released. In Kerry's case, the specified parties were apparently the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times, two newspapers not known for their hostility towards liberal politicians. Other than the parties you specify on your Form 180, no one else gets the records.

Next, there's the issue of completeness. One can sign a Form 180, but doing so doesn't necessarily mean that you intend to have all of your military records released. If you follow the link and look at an actual Form 180, you'll see an entry for "other information and/or documents requested." Below this point, a veteran can limit the information request in any way he sees fit. [...]

What's more, both papers have refused to share Kerry's records with other publications or to post them on their websites. So, in sum, here's where things stand: In order to settle long-standing and serious accusations, Senator Kerry and his campaign dealt exclusively with two partial newspapers. Those papers, in turn, refused to make completely public or transparent either the nature of the transaction or the precise contents of what they received. [...]

But both papers are guilty of failing to comprehend the shifting dynamic in news coverage and consumption. We live in an age where home-schooled journalists have made a habit of correcting once revered institutions like CBS News and the New York Times.

Serious consumers of news prefer to co-exist with the mainstream media using Ronald Reagan's maxim: Trust, but verify. This means readers and viewers want a gander at primary sources whenever practical. It also means that when a media organ says in effect, "Just trust me," the plea will have precisely the opposite effect of what's intended.

The very process Kerry followed screams "Coverup!". Either you open your records or you do not, and he did not. In court, you swear to tell not just the truth, but the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In picking and choosing the records and the recipients of the records, John Kerry may be revealing the truth, but certainly not the whole truth.

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