Joy Behar Exploits Birther Debate to Slam Swift Boat Vet 'Lies'

 

Apparently, the Left will never get over John Kerry's loss in the 2004 presidential election. On Thursday's Joy Behar Show, Joy Behar used a discussion of the "birther" claims against Barack Obama to slam what she called the "lies" of the Swift Boat veterans, who challenged Kerry's account of his service in Vietnam.

"Does this treatment remind you of the swift-boating that went on when John Kerry was running? ...These people make up a lie, they continue the lie, they perpetuate the lie, and then people start to believe it. They destroyed Kerry," Behar ranted to a liberal guest, Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill.

In smearing the anti-Kerry veterans, Behar is following in the steps of many others in the liberal media. Back in 2008, then-New York Times reporter Deborah Solomon (NYT Magazine, August 3, 2008) berated Boone Pickens for financially backing the group four years earlier: "You help re-elect Bush in '04 when you gave $3 million to the Swift Boat campaign to discredit John Kerry's Vietnam service. Do you regret your involvement?"

 

Pickens: "Why would I?"

Solomon: "Because it's such an ugly chapter in American political history."

Pickens: "Oh, I see. Well, it was true. Everything that went into those ads was the truth."

Solomon: "Really? I thought it was all invented."

In a June 30, 2008 article, New York Times reporter Kate Zernike declared: "'Swift-boat' has become the synonym for the nastiest of campaign smears, a shadow that hangs over the presidential race as pundits wait to proclaim that the swift-boating has begun and candidates declare that they will not be swift-boated....The new meaning of swift-boat stings worst for the men who served with Mr. Kerry, who say that, by implication, the attacks tarnished their military decorations."

And indeed, earlier that year, (Today, February 19, 2008), NBC's Matt Lauer commiserated with then-candidate Barack Obama about what dirty tricks the GOP might pull on him: "Have you stopped to think what the Obama version of swift-boating might be in this campaign cycle if you get to the general election? What they did to John Kerry, what's that version going to be with Barack Obama?"

It's more accurate to describe "swift-boat" as a term employed by the liberal media tactic to disparage an uncomfortable line of inquiry as disreputable rather than engaging the argument on its merits. After all, Kerry could conceivably have ended the Swift Boat discussion in 2004 by releasing his military records in full. Instead, he chose to evade the debate and refused to open his files – with his obstruction aided by media figures who chose to protect a liberal candidate rather than fulfill their professional obligation to seek answers to legitimate questions.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on April 28 at 10:01 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

JOY BEHAR: President Obama released his birth certificate, proving Donald Trump wrong. Yet Trump still claims victory. Can you believe it? Can you believe this?    

(...)

BEHAR: Yes, but wait a minute. Wait a minute. Now he`s coming out with the credentials about Harvard, Marc. How racist do you think that is?

(...)

MARC LAMONT HILL, cultural anthropologist, Columbia University: All this is about is Donald Trump attempting to gin up the tin foil hat-wearing people in the American populace who happen to be racist. And there`s a lot of them left. And he knows what he can do with them because it draws attention and expands his brand.

BEHAR: Ok. Is this -- does this remind you of the swift-boating that went on when John Kerry was running?

LAMONT HILL: It`s the same thing.

BEHAR: These people make up a lie, they continue the lie, they perpetuate the lie, and then people start to believe it. They destroyed Kerry.
 

DONNY DEUTSCH, TV host: Look, the reason people question why Obama at this point, because he had this trump card -- no pun intended -- to play for a long time. It was the first time the polls were shown to the independents because of Trump, who started to pay a little attention to this.

BEHAR: Don`t you think he`s dangerous? Trump is dangerous.

(CROSSTALK)

DEUTSCH: The good news we have in this world, there`s also a dark underbelly to it, is that we have this 24/7 over-mediaized society. So the truth -- I don`t know if the Swift Boat thing if it came out today where the Internet is today versus -- we`ve had dramatic differences even in the last six and eight and ten years. We self-correct fairly fast today.

So the good news is we are a democratic policing, self-policing media society at this point and it does backfire.

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Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014