Media Go Cuckoo For Kerry Accepting Pickens Swift Boat Challenge
Did you hear about that challenge famed oilman T. Boone Pickens made on November 6 when he offered $1 million to anyone that could disprove even one charge made against Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth?
Like most people that weren't at the American Spectator dinner the evening Pickens made the offer, you probably didn't learn about this until Kerry accepted the challenge ten days later.
I guess that's when media outlets figured it was news, for at that point, they circled the wagons, and jumped all over a story that had gone totally ignored for nine days.
As reported by the Associated Press Friday (h/t Dan Gainor):
Sen. John Kerry, whose 2004 presidential campaign was torpedoed by critics of his Vietnam War record, said Friday he has personally accepted Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens' offer of $1 million to anyone who can disprove even a single charge of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
Pickens, who provided $3 million to bankroll the group during Kerry's race against President Bush, responded by saying he won't consider giving Kerry the reward unless he surrenders his combat films, additional military records and wartime journal.
"While I am prepared to show they lied on allegation after allegation, you have generously offered to pay one million dollars for just one thing that can be proven false," Kerry wrote to Pickens. "I am prepared to prove the lie beyond any reasonable doubt."
Buried waaaaaaay down in the tenth paragraph was the following account of when Pickens made this offer (emphasis added):
Pickens issued his challenge Nov. 6 in Washington, while serving as chairman of a 40th anniversary gala for American Spectator magazine, according to two Internet accounts of the gathering and Kerry, who said he spoke to people who were there.
Any wonder why this went completely ignored until now? Yet, since Kerry made his announcement Friday afternoon, Google news identified 283 articles on the subject.
I guess this would have gone totally ignored if nobody accepted Pickens's challenge.
For those interested, this was Pickens's formal reply:
Dear Senator Kerry:
So glad to hear from you regarding the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth political ad campaign, and an offer I made public at an American Spectator dinner in Washington, D.C. last week. I am intrigued by your letter, and am certainly open to your challenge.
My concern at the Spectator Dinner was, and continues to be, that you and other political figures were and are maligning the Swift Boat Veterans, and I want to prevent this important part of American history from being unfairly portrayed.
In order to disprove the accuracy of the Swift Boat ads, I will ultimately need you to provide the following:1) The journal you maintained during your service in Vietnam. 2) Your military record, specifically your service records for the years 1971-1978, and copies of all movies and tapes made during your service.
When you have done so, if you can then prove anything in the ads was materially untrue, I will gladly award $1 million. As you know, I have been a long and proud supporter of the American military and veterans' causes. I now challenge you to make this commitment: If you cannot prove anything in the Swift Boat ads to be untrue, that you will make a $1 million gift to the charity I am choosing -- the Medal of Honor Foundation.
T. Boone Pickens
If it turns out Kerry refuses to produce the information Pickens has requested, do you think media will report it?
Yes, that's a rhetorical question.
*****Update: NBer Gary Hall recommends readers review the following NBC transcript of an interview Lisa Myers did with Adm. William Schachte in August 2004.