LA Times Wrongly Smears Swift Boat Vets

With less than a year to go until the November elections, it seems a metaphysical certitude any media outlet addressing the campaign efforts of a Republican candidate is going to figure out a way to reference the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

After all, supposedly impartial press representatives in 2004 did everything within their power to discredit the claims against Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) made by this organization, so much so that "Swift Boat" has become both a verb and an adverb in political parlance.

Such was the case Wednesday when the Los Angeles Times published an article about Republican Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani. Even though the piece dealt with an organization opposing the former New York City mayor, it did so by grossly misrepresenting some pertinent facts about Kerry's detractors (emphasis added throughout, h/t Patterico and NBer Bingo):

In an effort reminiscent of the bitter "Swift Boat" campaign during the 2004 presidential race, a group of New York firefighters who lost sons in the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks is organizing a political committee to take on former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in Republican primary states.

[...]

The 9/11 group is already being compared by some political observers to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group that damaged the candidacy of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004 by impugning his Vietnam War service in the Navy. Both groups feature a self-sustaining constituency of passionate supporters and are aided by outside political forces eager to use them as vehicles in the presidential race.

"Starting small doesn't mean you can count them out," said Stephanie Cutter, a political consultant who countered the attacks as Kerry's press aide in 2004. "When the Swift Boat group started . . . they had no money and no plan. In a matter of months they had enough money to go up with an ad buy, and that triggered their relevance."

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth raised more than $25 million for media buys. Some of the money was donated in multimillion-dollar installments from reliable Republican fundraisers, including Texas businessmen T. Boone Pickens Jr. and Bob J. Perry. But last December, the group was fined almost $300,000 by the Federal Election Commission for exceeding spending limits and acting in concert with GOP campaign efforts.

Actually, that's not true as Patterico adroitly identified (emphasis his):

Here is the December 13, 2006 Conciliation Agreement that sets forth the FEC's findings (.pdf). In it, the FEC explicitly found that the Swift Vets did not act in concert with GOP campaign efforts, and they were not fined for any unlawful coordination with the GOP, because they did not engage in any such activities. Rather, the group was fined for failing to properly register as a PAC and follow rules applicable to PACs:

The Federal Election Commission ("Commission") found reason to believe that Swiftboat Veterans and POWs for Truth ("SwiftVets") violated 2 U.S.C. sections 433, 434, 441a(f), and 441b(a) of the Federal Election Campaign Act, as amended, ("the Act") by failing to register as a political committee with the Commission, by failing to report contributions and expenditures as a political committee to the Commission, by knowingly accepting individual contributions in excess of $5,000, and by knowingly accepting corporate and/or union contributions. Following an investigation, the Commission concluded that Swiftvets did not unlawfully coordinate its activities with, or make excessive in-kind contributions to, any federal candidate or political party committee.

Should we expect a retraction or correction? Probably more likely for us to see a negative article about MoveOn.org or Clinton's Center for American Progress, wouldn't you agree?

Instead, as every "non-profit" organization tied to Democrats gets a pass for its activities that should warrant scrutiny by the media as well as the FEC, the electorate is assured of continual press references to the Swift Boat Vets -- none of them favorable, most inaccurate.

Liberal media bias? What liberal media bias?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.