Earlier this morning, I was minding my own business, reading this unbylined Associated Press roundup of yesterday's elections, when I got to the report's final few paragraphs. They involved "other concerns" the two major parties have. After noting yesterday's resignation by Republican congressman Mark Souder, the report's final paragraph read as follows:
Well, that's rich. I wonder how the folks at the New York Times, which prepared the 2,100-word article ("Candidate’s Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History") to which the AP refers, feel about their august publication being called merely "a newspaper"? Or about the Blumenthal campaign press release disguised as a news report the wire service's Susan Haigh put forth yesterday? Or is there more going on?
As to Blumenthal's "dispute," here's a clue for both the AP and the Nutmeg State's AG: There is no "dispute." There are only these facts and direct quotes:
"We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group (veterans and senior citizens) gathered in Norwalk (CT) in March 2008."
... In 2003, he addressed a rally in Bridgeport, where about 100 military families gathered to express support for American troops overseas. “When we returned, we saw nothing like this,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “Let us do better by this generation of men and women.” (Returned from where? The PX? -- Ed.)
... In at least eight newspaper articles published in Connecticut from 2003 to 2009, he is described as having served in Vietnam.
... And the idea that he served in Vietnam has become such an accepted part of his public biography that when a national outlet, Slate magazine, produced a profile of Mr. Blumenthal in 2000, it said he had “enlisted in the Marines rather than duck the Vietnam draft.”
It does not appear that Mr. Blumenthal ever sought to correct those mistakes.
These Times-delivered facts and quotes are not subject to "dispute." They are part of the historical record.
But before anyone goes overboard handing out props to the Old Gray Lady, one can't help but notice that the report's timing "just so happens" to be quite helpful to Blumenthal. That's because, as the AP's Haigh notes, "(Connecticut) Democrats (will) meet this weekend to endorse a candidate for the seat." With only four days to think about it, will party bigwigs dare to withhold or deny an endorsement to its highest state officeholder? That doesn't seem likely.
Once endorsed, Blumenthal's false claims about Vietnam will instantly turn into "old news" that can't be brought up again without the establishment press characterizing any such effort as an "unfair attack." Blumenthal's road to victory in November, while of course not assured, nonetheless looks pretty comfortable, in no small part because of the pathetic-looking crop of potential GOP opponents.
Brilliant. It's almost as if the whole thing's coordinated. Nah -- the AP and the Times wouldn't do that ... would they?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.