- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Monday night on MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country,” John Hurley, the Vietnam Veterans for John Kerry spokesman, falsely characterized this paper’s assessment of the book “Unfit for Command.” He stated: “It is as the Washington Times, said, ‘a pack of lies’.” While this paper has not yet made a final judgment about all the details in the book, Mr. Hurley’s use of the phrase “pack of lies” is a very partial and obviously intentionally misleading quote from last week’s column by the editor of this page.

The quote from the column reads, in relevant part: “Either this book is a pack of lies or John Kerry is in fact a reckless, lying man who misrepresented the facts in order to receive medals he didn’t deserve, and is indeed unfit to command even a tug boat, let alone the United States military as president.”

That column went on to note that “the book has the ring of sincerity to it, and the mark of careful research and writing.” While the column didn’t reach a final judgment, it suggested that major non-conservative media organizations should investigate and assess the book and its critics. And, to be technical about it, the editorial opinions of this, or any other, daily newspaper, are reflected exclusively in the unsigned editorials that appear on the editorial page. Columnists, whomever they may be, reflect only their own opinion.

While we are honored that the Kerry campaign is such an attentive reader of the articles and editorials that appear in our newspaper, they may wish to guard against such manipulative misrepresentations in the future. They run the risk of impeaching such reputation as they may still have for veracity of their public utterances.

It is a measure of the state of their defenses regarding John Kerry’s Vietnam and Cambodia assertions that not only are they using ad hominum attacks against their critics, but they feel compelled to resort to such flagrant misrepresentation of other media comments to bolster their position.

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