Daily Kos: Those Murtha Swiftboaters and Bad, Bad, WaPo

Those Murtha Swiftboaters and Bad, Bad, WaPo
by mcjoan
Sat Jan 14, 2006 at 07:30:30 PM PDT

Intrepid reporters Howard Kurtz and Shallagh Murray covered the Murtha swiftboating in this morning's Washington Post.

Murray Waas provides the Kurtz smackdown this afternoon.

The Post story, by reporters Howard Kurtz and Shallagh Murray, quotes extensively David Thibault, the editor in chief of the (who ever heard of them before the Washington Post decided to give them such prominence?) Cybercast News Service, as saying that Murtha's medals from 1967 are relevant now "because the congressman has really put himself in the forefront of the antiwar movement."

But the article tells us very little about Thibault himself. Had the reporters done a simple Internet search, they would have discovered this biography of Thibault posted online which describes him as a "senior producer for a televised news magazine" broadcast and sponsored by the Republican National Committee. I dunno, but I for one, would have wanted to know that.


The Post's news ethic tends more towards that simply because an allegation is made it should be reported. To do otherwise, some editors of the newspaper argue, would mean putting aside one's objectivity. But simply giving prominent play to allegations that might or might not turn out to be true at some later day seems to me to be subjectivity by some other name.

In an update to his post, Waas delivers the coup de grace:

Update: 5:20 P.M., Saturday night: The Post article in amplifying the allegations of the Cybercast News Service, also, in turn quotes an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The article included a 1996 quote from Harry Fox, who worked for former represenative John Saylor (R-Pa.), teling a local newspapaer that Murtha was "pretending to be a big war hero" Fox, who lost a 1974 election to Murtha, said the 38-year old Marine veteran had asked Saylor for assistance in obtaining the Purple Hearts because the office believed he lacked adequate evidence of his wounds.

What the Post leaves out of its story is that Saylor is deceased, and well, has been for some time now. (Saylor died way back in 1973, something that the Cybercast "News" Service, noted in their news story-- not to impugn their reporting practices.) In short, the Washington Post is relying on something said by a person with an axe to grind (Fox), who is quoting someone who is deceased (but who the newspaper forgot to tell you is deceased.) But it is even somewhat worse than that: the Post is quoting the ever-so-reliable and unbiased Cybercast News Service, which is quoting a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, which includes an allegation by Fox... who is citing someone now deceased.

Makes you want to drop a dime to Howie Kurtz! But alas, Kurtz wrote the story. Oh well.

Update by kos: DavidNYC has more:

[Rep. Don] Bailey's been peddling his lies since 2002, when Murtha was once again involved in an incumbent-vs.-incumbent race. Yet if Murtha supposedly made some confession to Bailey during the ABSCAM goings-on in 1980 (as Bailey claimed to the National Journal), why didn't Bailey use that against Murtha in 1982? The answer doesn't change: The story is bullshit, and Bailey hadn't bothered to invent it yet. Rather, Bailey - after spending two decades losing a whopping four more races - dreamed up his tale in 2002 as a way to settle an old score against Murtha. (He failed, badly: Murtha won the primary that year 54-30.)

Daily Kos: State of the Nation


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