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Rave Reviews for Delivery and Substance of Kerry's Speech --7/30/2004


1. Rave Reviews for Delivery and Substance of Kerry's Speech
Rave reviews for the delivery, and mostly too for the substance, of Democratic Party presidential candidate John Kerry's Thursday night convention speech. "This is the best speech I have ever heard John Kerry make," CBS's Bob Schieffer decided. "The best speech I've ever seen John Kerry deliver, by a mile," echoed ABC's Mark Halperin after George Stephanopoulos agreed Kerry "drew blood" with his remarks, pointing to how Kerry said "that he will wage the war with the lessons he learned in war. That's going to be tough for the Republicans to respond to." ABC's Dan Harris passed along how the look on the face of a Kerry speech writer was "rhapsody throughout." Dan Rather championed how there was "an almost literal thunder inside the hall, shaking the Fleet Center in a way that it seldom shakes, if ever, even during a Celtics basketball play-off game." To MSNBC's Chris Mathews, "it may have been a home run." An awed Tom Brokaw opined: "He opened his remarks by saluting this crowd and saying 'John Kerry, reporting for duty.' And on this occasion he fulfilled his duties."

2. Sycophantic Pitts Passes Along Fawning Spin Points About Kerry
CBS's Byron Pitts, in a sycophantic class to himself. Just before John Kerry emerged into the hall on Thursday night, Pitts passed along fawning spin points from Kerry operatives about how before every important event Kerry will "make a sign of the cross, then kiss the St. Christopher's medallion his mother gave him as a child." Plus, Kerry always keeps with him his "Vietnam dog tags" and "a four-leaf clover that a voter in Iowa gave him in January when he was trailing badly." After the speech, Pitts relayed how John Kerry had supposedly reminded his sister that on her deathbed their mother told him, "integrity, that's what matters," and "tonight," Pitts truckled, "John Kerry tried to show that integrity."

3. ABC Puts Up Live Kerry Speech as Broadcast by Al-Jazeera
ABC: "Al-Jazeera Broadcasting Company" Twice during John Kerry's Thursday night Democratic convention speech, ABC News dropped their regular feed for a few seconds and put Kerry up in a split screen of side-by-side frames displaying Kerry as he was being broadcast by Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.

4. FNC: Delegates More Liberal Than Party, Applaud Bush-Bashing
FNC's Major Garrett pointed how the instances when delegates "rose to their feet most enthusiastically were the times when John Kerry was most aggressively negative against" President Bush. Garrett reasoned that's because the delegates "tend to be more liberal than the country at large and are also more liberal than the party at large." A bit later, Greta Van Susteren asked Robert Kennedy Jr. if Kerry's liberalness is "going to hurt him as he crosses the country and campaigns between now and November?"

5. CNN Touches on Swift Boat Vets Against Kerry, CBS Ignores Again
Despite the airing Thursday night by all the cable networks of the John Kerry biography film narrated by actor Morgan Freeman, only CNN gave any time to Kerry's swift boat colleagues who oppose his candidacy, though they got only a fraction of the air time of the Kerry backers and reporter Kelly Wallace then allowed a Kerry supporter to denounce his critics. Earlier, on the CBS Evening News, Dan Rather trumpeted "John Kerry's band of brothers from Vietnam on one last mission." Rather made only a fleeting reference to Kerry's incendiary 1971 remarks accusing his fellow soldiers of war crimes: "Today John Kerry says he regrets some of his words but not his choices." ABC's World News Tonight featured an interview of Kerry by Peter Jennings about Kerry's Vietnam experience, but Jennings acknowledged that "there are a few who served with him who dispute his record and question his leadership" and promised that "we'll hear from them in the weeks ahead."

6. Matthews Rejects Idea Kerry Filmed in Vietnam to Promote Himself
Kerry's Super 8 filming of himself in Vietnam got brief mentions on CNN, FNC and on MSNBC where Newsweek's Howard Fineman painted that as "a sense of destiny," but host Chris Matthews rejected the notion that Kerry "was out to promote himself." On FNC, Chris Wallace wondered whether the filming was "just young men involved in commemorating what they were involved in, or was John Kerry already preparing for a campaign ad?"

7. End of Political Civility Coincided with "Gingrich Revolution"?
Blaming Newt Gingrich for the lack of civility in politics? Or liberals and those in the media who demonized him and his conservative agenda? After a taped interview with former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, CNN's Judy Woodruff, on Thursday's Inside Politics, informed viewers that Weld told her that civility "started to go out the window in '94.'" Woodruff added: "Which, we noted, was the year of the Gingrich Revolution."

8. "Top 10 Ways Kerry Celebrated Winning the Democratic Nomination"
Letterman's "Top Ten Ways John Kerry Celebrated Winning the Democratic Nomination."


Correction: The first item the July 29 CyberAlert Morning Edition stated that "the moment Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards finished his Wednesday night speech, the convention organizers cranked up a CD of Stevie Wonder singing 'you can feel the love all over.'" Apparently, I'm not up on lyrics to 1970s music, at least not when composing that item at 4am, and mis-heard the background music. I was correct about the name of the performer, but, in fact, Wonder's lyric in the song, "Sir Duke," is, "you can feel it all over," with the "it" referring to music. So much for my clever analogy to how "the love for Edwards and John Kerry could certainly be felt from some network reporters," though the media's ebullience certainly was on display.

Rave Reviews for Delivery and Substance
of Kerry's Speech

Dem. Presidential Candidate John Kerry Rave reviews for the delivery, and mostly too for the substance, of Democratic Party presidential candidate John Kerry's Thursday night convention speech. "This is the best speech I have ever heard John Kerry make," CBS's Bob Schieffer decided. "The best speech I've ever seen John Kerry deliver, by a mile," echoed ABC's Mark Halperin after George Stephanopoulos agreed Kerry "drew blood" with his remarks, pointing to how Kerry said "that he will wage the war with the lessons he learned in war. That's going to be tough for the Republicans to respond to." ABC's Dan Harris passed along how the look on the face of a Kerry speech writer was "rhapsody throughout." Dan Rather championed how there was "an almost literal thunder inside the hall, shaking the Fleet Center in a way that it seldom shakes, if ever, even during a Celtics basketball play-off game." To MSNBC's Chris Mathews, "it may have been a home run." An awed Tom Brokaw opined: "He opened his remarks by saluting this crowd and saying 'John Kerry, reporting for duty.' And on this occasion he fulfilled his duties."

Newsweek's Howard Fineman mimicked Brokaw, as did FNC's Brit Hume. On MSNBC, Fineman asserted: "He won the night from the very first moment from where he said, 'I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty.'" FNC's Hume concluded: "The image of an old soldier reporting once again for duty in wartime to serve his country is an enviable one to have in this election, and John Kerry obviously is reaching for it."

Time's Joe Klein, on CNN, claimed "I just knew" in advance, that he would "nail this, and he did. I have never seen the man speak so well." CNN's Judy Woodruff and Jeff Greenfield asked a Kerry operative why Kerry skipped over his Senate career.

Several reporters marveled at how Kerry had united the Democrats. On ABC, Stephanopoulos heralded: "They came united though in opposition to President Bush. They are going to leave this convention united behind John Kerry." CBS's Rather said he saw the Democrats "united in a way the Democratic Party has not been for about half a century." Over on FNC, Hume maintained: "It had been said that this was a convention, a gathering of people who were animated more by their dislike of George Bush than their affection for and loyalty to John Kerry. For this moment on this night, however, he seems utterly, for the moment at least, to have captured them."

Brokaw, on NBC, delivered the oddest observation of the night, this self-contradictory claim about how Kerry avoided bashing Bush: "No Bush-bashing in this speech tonight, but lots of lines that brought the crowd to its feet, especially when he took on the President, the Defense Secretary and the Attorney General who will honor the Constitution, he said, in his cabinet."

Though the costs of Kerry's proposals were discussed some on the cable networks and in passing on NBC, the term "liberal" was never uttered on ABC, CBS or NBC in the minutes after the speech. NBC's Tim Russert on NBC, and Tom Brokaw and Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, preferred the term "populist" to describe Kerry's tax-raising economic agenda.

A rundown of post-speech commentary mostly issued over live video of Kerry and his supporters celebrating inside Boston's Fleet Center:

-- ABC News:

# Peter Jennings: "It has been quite a week for the Democratic Party, here in Boston. They have relentlessly hammered away at the notion that John Kerry is an able, ably-qualify commander in chief. George stephanopoulos, I'm going to suggest and let you fill in the blanks -- maybe they drew blood with the Republicans."
George Stephanopoulos: "I think they did tonight. I think Republicans have to focus on this. At the end of the speech, I was already getting called from top Republican operatives who were saying, 'listen, he has a problem on national security. He didn't answer the fundamental question: Why did he vote the way he did in Iraq before? And what is his position now?' But he delivered a blistering attack on President Bush on Iraq. He said that we were 'misled into war,' that we went into war 'because we wanted to not because we have to' and 'we went into war without a plan to win the peace.' That was a very, very tough attack. And he says that he will wage the war with the lessons he learned in war. That's going to be tough for the Republicans to respond to."

# Jennings: "John Kerry they say is a good finisher. This has to qualify as a good finish to this convention week. All the talk of whether or not he would deliver a good speech, he delivered a good speech. It was a tough speech. It was biographical. Some people had wanted him to talk about his mother and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, who joins him on the podium, and he did. But most of all, he said, as George implies, 'I defended the country as a young man, I can defend it as President.'"

# Mark Halperin, ABC News Political Director: "That was obviously a very strong speech. It was very well-written, the best speech I've ever seen John Kerry deliver, by a mile."

# Dan Harris: "I had the privilege of standing about 20 feet away from the speech, as it was being delivered. I can tell you, having watched this candidate for four months now, that he was able to sustain a level of emotional intensity I've not seen him achieve heretofore. One other observation, I was standing next to the young speech writer who worked with Kerry on this speech, a young man named John Ghotheim (sp?). The look on his face, rhapsody throughout. I don't know how this was perceived at home. But here in the Massachusetts delegation, where I was standing, it was perceived very well."

# Kate Snow: "Peter, I talked to a young woman from Dayton, Ohio, before the speech tonight she told us she was very nervous about this speech. She wasn't sure if kerry could pull it off. I just talked to her again. She thought he did very good. She thought he got more into it as the speech went along. And she said, I don't know how the speech played at home. That's what matters."

# Jennings: "This party, this week, has done more than at any time I've seen it since 1964, done a magnificent job of holding itself together. George, do you agree?"
Stephanopoulos: "There's no question about it. They came united though in opposition to President Bush. They are going to leave this convention united behind John Kerry."

-- CBS News:

# Dan Rather: "John Kerry working himself literally into a sweat. Or as my high school English teacher would prefer, into a high state of perspiration. An almost literal thunder inside the hall, shaking the Fleet Center in a way that it seldom shakes, if ever, even during a Celtics basketball play-off game or a Bruins hockey play-off game. These Democrats, as the speech built, having what amounted to what amounted to maybe a three thousand gallon attack about every three minutes, united in a way the Democratic Party has not been for about half a century."

# Bob Schieffer: "This is the best speech I have ever heard John Kerry make. I listened to a lot of speeches back there in the primary. This was the best. This was a very deft critique of policy. But underlying that critique of policy was a message about trust and what John Kerry seemed to be saying tonight, frankly was, you can't trust these people and you can trust me. I think that was the message here tonight. It was very personal on several fronts it seems to, like when he said, you know, we can no longer be dependent on overseas oil. He didn't say Mideast oil, he said Saudi royal family oil. That's a clear jab at President Bush and allegations that his father has been very close to the Saudis."
Rather: "The direct quote was, 'I want an America that relies on its own ingenuity and innovation, not the Saudi royal family.' In a night in which there was rolling thunder of applause, that may have been the biggest of a number of big applause lines."

# John Roberts: "But in the type of speeches that we've seen this week, which may play well with some undecided voters, there's also been a buzz in the Democratic Party they should have gone after attacks that were more slashing than they did against President Bush, feeling that there were a lot of opportunities to exploit openings that they didn't."

# Rather: "Well, we have heard a lot this week about how tonight John Kerry would have to deliver the speech of his life. And about a quarter of the way in this evening, when making the case as he sees it that his Democratic Party is an optimistic party, the party of hope and help on the way, John Kerry seemed to hit his stride and just may have cleared the high bar that has been set for him."

For Byron Pitt's obsequiousness, see item #2 below.

-- NBC News

# Tom Brokaw: "He opened his remarks by saluting this crowd and saying 'John Kerry, reporting for duty.' And on this occasion he fulfilled his duties, delivering a strong speech, touching all of the themes important to the Democratic Party and reaching beyond the party as well with his references to what he would do as the Commander-in-Chief. And making a direct appeal to President Bush, that in this campaign they both move to a higher ground. John Kerry demonstrating what has been known about him in his political career. That he gets stronger as the campaign goes on. He said he would never hesitate to use force when required and never give another nation or institution a veto over American national security."

# Brokaw: "Tim, he touched on all of the important domestic themes, talking about a middle class tax cut but also saying he would add 40,000 active troops to duty but not send them to Iraq. He didn't spell out in detail how he would work through Iraq..."

# Tim Russert: "Tom, the populist economic message continues, and trying again to almost move to the right of President Bush on defense and security issues, increasing the military continues, re-enforcing what John Edwards said last night. But I think the most important thing that happened tonight for the Democrats, is that they nominated John Kerry even though they may have, in their hearts, preferred another candidate in individual primaries as delegates. They chose Kerry because they thought he could win. In recent weeks there were questions raised: Does he have the passion? Does he have the toughness? And tonight, I think John Kerry stood before this party and said I am tough enough to go tow-to-toe with George Bush and I have the passion on the issues that really matter to you. When he said 'I will restore trust and credibility to the White House,' that's exactly what George Bush said about Bill Clinton. And when he said 'help is on the way,' that's what Dick Cheney said about the U.S. military in the year 2000.
"This race has been clearly defined. There are differences on tax cuts, on healthcare, on Iraq, on military spending, on civil rights, civil liberties. The race is engaged and it is a 50-50 election going into tonight and now we will find out how exactly the American people feel about make no doubt about it, this nomination was worth winning."

# Brokaw: "No Bush-bashing in this speech tonight, but lots of lines that brought the crowd to its feet, especially when he took on the President, the Defense Secretary and the Attorney General who will honor the constitution, he said, in his cabinet."

-- CNN, as gathered by the MRC's Ken Shepherd:

# Jeff Greenfield, just after 11pm EDT: "A speech as hawkish as any Democratic President has given probably in 40 years. In terms of biography versus agenda, the speech, and the daughters, and the film, heavy on Vietnam, heavy on family, but very light on Senate service."

# Judy Woodruff asked Kerry operative Tad Davine about the missing decades: "What about this notion, Tad Devine, though, that once again John Kerry did not talk about the last 29 years that he has spent in the United States Senate? Even some Democrats acknowledge that he has had a career that has been at times less than outstanding. That it's been a mediocre Senate career. You know, you heard Ed Gillespie say it again, he devoted almost no time in the speech to what he's done with his life for the last three decades."

# Greenfield followed up: "But Tad, I want to pursue that. It's Jeff Greenfield. I really have never, rarely heard an acceptance speech where 20 years of a guy's life in the U.S. Senate is kissed off in three sentences. In fact, the Bush campaign points out in this particular document that he forgot in the biography to mention that he'd been the Lieutenant Governor to Michael Dukakis...I just found that very striking that there was nothing in 20 years that's worth more than two and a half lines in an almost one hour acceptance speech. And I can't figure that out. Explain that to us."

# The Boston Globe's Nina Easton during the "Browntable" on NewsNight with Aaron Brown, which started at about11:15pm EDT: "Well, it's interesting, Aaron. I think he relied on a tried and true formula that has worked for him for the past couple decades, which is to take his four and a half months of combat in Vietnam and to tie it to his qualities and to show himself as a leader, somebody who could protect the nation. I was surprised that he wasn't able to go farther than that, although I have to say one interesting thing was he did address that whole issue of how he over-nuances issues, or flip flops as some might say. He turned it around and turned it against the Bush White House by saying they're simple-minded. And he of course raised the issue of, or the event where they were on the Air Force carrier and said that the mission was accomplished in Iraq. So he pointed that out as a sort of a simple-minded way to approach things and he's a complex thinker. So he did hit that right on. He also, I think, came off as pretty human, both in the speech and in the introductions by his two daughters."

# Time's Joe Klein on NewsNight: "Look, I covered John Kerry's first campaign for Congress in 1972. From that day to this, people who served with him in Vietnam said, 'you can't believe what he's like in battle. He just changes. He gets this look over him.' And when I saw him walking down the aisle tonight on the way in to the speech, I said, 'oh yeah, there's that look.' And, uh, I just knew at that point that he's going to nail this, and he did. I have never seen the man speak so well."

-- FNC, as gathered by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

# Brit Hume: "It had been said that this was a convention, a gathering of people who were animated more by their dislike of George Bush than their affection for and loyalty to John Kerry. For this moment on this night, however, he seems utterly, for the moment at least, to have captured them, to have thrilled them with his speech, a speech which may be remembered as much as anything else for its opening moment, a moment which was not in the text of his remarks distributed to journalists earlier when he stood and said his name was John Kerry and he was reporting for duty. The image of an old soldier reporting once again for duty in wartime to serve his country is an enviable one to have in this election, and John Kerry obviously is reaching for it....
"And then seemed to leap forward to his presidential years with only the briefest mentions of his career in the Senate. There was only a couple of sentences in this speech as well about his days in the United States Senate, which of course is the bulk of his political career, and certainly all of his career as a national political figure."

# Morton Kondracke noted Kerry's lack of a policy prescription: "I would say, on the negative, and probably this is the most important thing about this whole election and the future of America, is foreign policy, and he led in with that, and what struck me is how he told us again and again and again what he would not do, that he would never mislead us into war, that he would never go to war because we want to, only because we have to, that we would only go to war if there were a real and imminent threat and we were attacked, you know. Now, I thought that last night John Edwards was a much more forceful wartime vice-presidential candidate than John Kerry was a wartime presidential candidate tonight. John Edwards said last night, you terrorists, we're going to hunt you down, and we're going to destroy you. Tonight, what John Kerry said is we're going to get our allies together and when we get everything in place, we're going to win and you're going to lose. I mean, that's not as forceful."

-- MSNBC, as gathered by the MRC's Geoff Dickens:

# Howard Fineman: "He won the night from the very first moment from where he said, 'I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty.' This was the most pro-defense, pro-military, pro-patriotism, pro-flag-"
Matthews: "Pro-I'm running for Commander-in-Chief."
Fineman: "-I'm running for Commander-in-Chief, shot from the gun turret, in the boats. He sang, 'my bravery, my service will be for the country now.' That's, there hasn't been a Democratic Convention like this with a speech like that."

# Tom Brokaw, on MSNBC after NBC left the air at 11:04pm EDT, six minutes earlier than ABC and CBS: "Well we've been talking up here, as well, about what he tried to do here tonight. And it seems to me that he had, as Tim and I were talking about, these counterbalancing themes. He was trying to signal to the rest of the country that he is strong enough to protect the national security of America going back to his days. He made no less than six references to his personal experiences in Vietnam, saying he would add 40,000 American Army troops to, 40,000 troops to active duty but not send them to Iraq. He would not hesitate to use force. He wouldn't let any foreign nation or institution have veto over us. But at the same time there was a strong strain of economic populism. Tax cuts for the middle class, health care, help for the elderly. So those are the twin themes that this party feels that it has to go forward for from here."

# Tim Russert: "Not only did John Kerry continue those themes on economic and health care but also reinforced this whole notion that the Democrats are also strong on national defense. Increase the size of the military, double size of special forces. But I think he also did something else for this convention hall. He had to show the Democrats that he had the passion and the toughness to wage a really good campaign over these next several months. People been very concerned and talking privately about over-caution in the Kerry campaign. After tonight they have seen a candidate who is willing to take the battle to George W. Bush. When he said, 'restore trust and credibility to the White House,' that's what George Bush said about Bill Clinton. When he said, 'help is on the way,' that's what Dick Cheney said about the Clinton administration in 2000 about military spending. And so I think Democrats, tonight, heard what they needed to hear..."

# Andrea Mitchell: "He's made a choice. In this speech he made a choice tonight on both trade and taxes which is to go for the populist wing of the party which is to contradict a lot of what he has been in the past. And I think he's gonna have to answer for that."

# Fineman contradicted Brokaw's claim about no Bush-bashing: "He basically stood there and without saying it in so many words said, 'I live in the real world, I fought in the real world. The man who is the President of the United States lives in a fantasy world. He doesn't believe in science.' I couldn't believe that he said that in this speech, to say he doesn't believe in science. Okay that's the key to this speech and the way the Republicans will counter-attack is to say, 'that you are not the man you say you are. You're budget doesn't add up, your voting record doesn't add up. It's all well and good to attack us for lack of truthfulness but you're the one who's the flip-flopper.' What this reminds me of in a totally different context is Jimmy Carter in 1976 trying to be the truth-teller, trying to bring truth back to Washington..."

Sycophantic Pitts Passes Along Fawning
Spin Points About Kerry

CBS's Byron Pitts, in a sycophantic class to himself. Just before John Kerry emerged into the hall on Thursday night, Pitts passed along fawning spin points from Kerry operatives about how before every important event Kerry will "make a sign of the cross, then kiss the St. Christopher's medallion his mother gave him as a child." Plus, Kerry always keeps with him his "Vietnam dog tags" and "a four-leaf clover that a voter in Iowa gave him in January when he was trailing badly." After the speech, Pitts relayed how John Kerry had supposedly reminded his sister that on her deathbed their mother told him, "integrity, that's what matters," and "tonight," Pitts truckled, "John Kerry tried to show that integrity."

CBS's Byron Pitts A bit past the 10pm EDT start time for what ended up as 80 minutes of coverage on CBS News, Pitts related from the floor, as he stood near where Kerry was set to emerge and shake hands with delegates as he made his way to the podium:
"A senior member of Senator Kerry's staff told me that he's taking the unusual step of coming in through this entrance. He insisted on it despite objections by the Secret Service, because he wanted to talk through the crowd and touch and thank the people who got him to this point.
"A lot of people don't know this, but Senator Kerry is a very superstitious man. Just before he steps into the hall, he will do what he has always done before a major moment in his life. He will make a sign of the cross, then kiss the St. Christopher's medallion his mother gave him as a child. As he walks in, notice his left pocket. Inside his left jacket pocket are two things Senator Kerry always keeps with him: The Vietnam dog tags he wore in Vietnam, still wrapped in the black gaffers tape he used in Vietnam to keep those dog tags quiet as he went on patrol. And a four-leaf clover that a voter in Iowa gave him in January when he was trailing badly in the polls. To those who know Senator Kerry, they say both those items are reminders this evening that often in his life John Kerry has been down, but he always finds a way to get up. Tonight, he has to be up."

As Pitts said how Kerry "will make a sign of the cross, then kiss the St. Christopher's medallion," Pitts acted out both procedures as he made the sign hand motion and then kissed his fingers.

CBS's Byron Pitts Following the Kerry address, from the floor but off camera, a toadyish Pitts told viewers: "It was four years ago during the Democratic convention, not far from where we stand tonight, that John Kerry stood near his father on his deathbed. Earlier, as the family was preparing to leave John Kerry's home in Boston, I'm told he whispered to his sister, 'remember the words of our mother on her deathbed when she said, 'John,' knowing he would run for President some day, 'remember, John, integrity, that's what matters.' Tonight, John Kerry tried to show that integrity."

If only Pitts and CBS News had the integrity to not treat uncorroborated self-promotional Kerry campaign spin and real news.

ABC Puts Up Live Kerry Speech as Broadcast
by Al-Jazeera

John Kerry being broadcast on Al-Jazeera & Al-Arabiya ABC: "Al-Jazeera Broadcasting Company? Twice during John Kerry's Thursday night Democratic convention speech, ABC News dropped their regular feed for a few seconds and put Kerry up in a split screen of side-by-side frames displaying Kerry as he was being broadcast by Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.

The MRC's Rich Noyes alerted me to the unique ABC News packaging of Kerry.

ABC first jumped to the double view from the two Arab channels as Kerry was speaking about how there's a "right way and a wrong way to be strong" and the U.S. must "know the reach of our power." It occurred again when Kerry referred to how the people of the U.S. "rely on foreign countries for 53 percent of what we consume."

FNC: Delegates More Liberal Than Party,
Applaud Bush-Bashing

FNC's Major Garrett pointed how the instances when delegates "rose to their feet most enthusiastically were the times when John Kerry was most aggressively negative against" President Bush. Garrett reasoned that's because the delegates "tend to be more liberal than the country at large and are also more liberal than the party at large." A bit later, Greta Van Susteren asked Robert Kennedy Jr. if Kerry's liberalness is "going to hurt him as he crosses the country and campaigns between now and November?"

Following Kerry's address, Major Garrett checked in from the floor with his take on what he saw and heard: "I'm standing in the middle of the Oregon delegation. To my left is the New York delegation. And I'll tell you, the times they rose to their feet most enthusiastically were the times when John Kerry was most aggressively negative against the President of the United States. When he implied that the President was dishonest about the war, they rushed up to their feet. When he said that the Attorney General of the United States, John Ashcroft, or implied at least, had dishonored the Constitution, they rose to their feet. When he said that the President's support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was just petty politics, not anything about principal, they rushed to their feet.
"There has been throughout this four days of this convention a discernable amount of tension between what was said at the podium and what the delegates here on the floor actually believed. They tend to be more liberal than the country at large and are also more liberal than the party at large. Tonight, I think in some measures, John Kerry brought them to their feet for a reason. He knows his victory begins with his base. And I think, to a surprising degree, at least to my ears, he appealed to that base probably more than I thought he would when he took to the podium tonight."

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth also caught this question, at about 11:20pm EDT, from Greta Van Susteren to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.:
"We've heard an awful lot about John Kerry being more liberal than your uncle, Ted Kennedy. Is that going to hurt him as he crosses the country and campaigns between now and November?"

CNN Touches on Swift Boat Vets Against
Kerry, CBS Ignores Again

Despite the airing Thursday night by all the cable networks of the John Kerry biography film narrated by actor Morgan Freeman, only CNN gave any time to Kerry's swift boat colleagues who oppose his candidacy, though they got only a fraction of the air time of the Kerry backers and reporter Kelly Wallace then allowed a Kerry supporter to denounce his critics. Earlier, on the CBS Evening News, Dan Rather trumpeted "John Kerry's band of brothers from Vietnam on one last mission." Rather made only a fleeting reference to Kerry's incendiary 1971 remarks accusing his fellow soldiers of war crimes: "Today John Kerry says he regrets some of his words but not his choices." ABC's World News Tonight featured an interview of Kerry by Peter Jennings about Kerry's Vietnam experience, but Jennings acknowledged that "there are a few who served with him who dispute his record and question his leadership" and promised that "we'll hear from them in the weeks ahead."

At about 8:30pm EDT, CNN inset to the side of a live picture of the hall, a taped piece by Kelly Wallace on Kerry's "band of brothers." Wolf Blitzer set it up, as tracked down by the MRC's Ken Shepherd:
"One of the themes that we're going to be hearing a lot about tonight is Vietnam, the Vietnam War, John Kerry's role in that Vietnam War when he volunteered to become a sailor and he served as a commander on a so-called swift boat that moved up the Mekong Delta. CNN's Kelly Wallace has been taking a look back and seeing what's been going on."

Wallace began: "John Kerry's band of brothers: four of the men who served with him in Vietnam."
Veteran: "He wanted to blend in with us, he wanted to fit right in. So, he came through as being just one of the regular guys. I like that."
Another veteran: "He'd come up and he'd put his hand on you, ask you how you're doing, you okay, after a rough day. I never heard the man scold anybody for what they was doing."

Wallace soon explained their connection to Kerry: "They served aboard swift boat 94, which then-Lieutenant Kerry commanded in early 1969. Fred Short says Kerry gave one call before each mission along Vietnam's dangerous canals."
Fred Short: "He would say, 'Saddle up, tigers,' and that was our cue to load our guns, put our helmets on, put on our flak jackets, we were going into harm's way."
Wallace: "They remember coming under heavy fire, February 28, 1969. Kerry ordered helmsman Sandusky to beach the boat, something a swift boat officer is not supposed to do. Kerry's target, an armed Viet-Cong soldier."

Wallace asserted that "Kerry ran after and killed the enemy soldier which earned him the silver star." Wallace also relayed: "And they remember the day in March 1969 when Green Beret Jim Rassman went overboard during a firefight. Kerry, shot in the arm, came to his rescue. A move which would earn him the bronze star."

After Sandusky explained what Kerry did, Wallace noted: "Other swift boat veterans say Kerry was looking to build a political career and politicked for his three purple hearts, which allowed him to leave Vietnam early."
John O'Neill: "He never suffered any serious wound of any kind, his wounds, if at all, were trivial and inconsequential."
Wallace: "Another critic, one of Kerry's former commanding officers."
Commander Grant Hibbard, USN retired: "He's basing much of his political career on four months and 12 days that he spent in-country."
Wallace, with a leading question, turned to two of the pro-Kerry veteran for a retort: "How angry does that make you?"

I'm guessing on Hibbard as the one in the soundbite. CNN didn't carry the names on screen, but the guy on CNN looked like the man identified as Hibbard on this page of the Web site for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth: www.swiftvets.com

Back on live, Jeff Greenfield added: "There are 21 swift boat veterans who have been attacking Kerry. The Bush campaign is walking a tight rope. They want nothing to do with that officially, but they are perfectly happy to hear other veterans say, you know, when he came back home, he didn't protect the Vietnam guys by protesting the war."

ABC's Peter Jennings acknowledged the veterans who don't admire Kerry, but didn't recite their concerns on World News Tonight and he didn't utter a word about them during ABC's prime time 80 minutes.

Jennings introduced his last World News Tonight piece: "Finally this evening, the war hero takes on the wartime President. John Kerry's campaign certainly believes that his service in Vietnam is a huge asset in this campaign. There are a few who served with him who dispute his record and question his leadership. We'll hear from them in the weeks ahead. We interviewed Mr. Kerry at length some months ago. We asked him then to tell his Vietnam story."

Two of the questions posed by Jennings:

-- "And is it true what they say, that killing someone changes a man?"

-- "You were decorated for your service in Vietnam. What did you do to warrant the decorations?"

Over on the July 29 CBS Evening News, as observed by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, Dan Rather plugged an upcoming story: "Coming up next on the CBS Evening News from Boston: John Kerry's band of brothers from Vietnam on one last mission. We'll give you the 'Inside Story.'"

Rather introduced the subsequent story which he handled: "To understand Senator John Kerry's journey to the podium here tonight, among the things you need to know is about his first appearance -- in the Senate. He was a witness giving personal testimony of jungle combat. Those who served with him in Indochina are still with him now. They are part of what goes on inside John Kerry. And it's tonight's 'Inside Story.' John Kerry went to war and came home a changed man. A decorated wounded warrior who became an anti-war leader."
John Kerry, in 1971: "Just how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam?"
Rather to Kerry in interview conducted last week: "Today John Kerry says he regrets some of his words but not his choices. Can you be a war hero and be a leader of an anti-war movement?"
Kerry: "I was."
Rather: "And you're proud of that?"
Kerry: "You bet I am."
Rather: "Make any mistakes in that regard?"
Kerry: "Yes. Some language that I used, I've said before, I think was a little, it was reflective of a young man who was angry."
Rather: "But 30 years later, Kerry's party has come full circle. From the party of protest to political soldiers counting on the strength of their candidate's war record. Nothing makes the transformation clearer than Kerry's band of brothers greeting him each step of the way."
Del Sandusky, Kerry crew mate: "John Kerry saved our lives on that river boat, and we saved his."
Rather: "At its center, the men who followed him into battle in aluminum-sided swift boats on the rivers of Vietnam."
Sandusky: "We were up in the river boat. We'd go up and get in two or three or four firefights or ambushes a day. It took a special kind of a leader, a special kind of a man for us to follow him and get up and go do it again day after day after day."
Jim Wasser, Kerry crew mate: "John Kerry, for lack of a political term, is a real deal."
Rather: "His crew mates will stand up for him tonight, led by former Senator Max Cleland, a fellow wounded Vietnam veteran."
Former Senator Max Cleland (D-GA): "They see in him something real, something that they hunger for. Genuine leadership that will tell them the truth and be honest with them, and who has been there, done that, and gotten a few holes in his T-shirt."
Rather: "Some Republicans say they see Kerry's turn from war hero to protester and back again as, quote, 'hypocritical.' Kerry's band of brothers doesn't flinch at the attacks."
Cleland: "Now they're going after John Kerry -- wrong on defense, weak on defense, you know, that kind of stuff, which is ludicrous."
Sandusky: "If you attack John Kerry, you're going to have to go through us first. We're a little older now and a little grayer, but, you know, we're still, you know, warriors, we're still patriots inside."
Rather: "They call the campaign their final tour of duty. And when he introduces Lieutenant John Kerry tonight, Max Cleland says it will be tough to keep his emotions in check."
Cleland: "You can't get John Kerry up there and those incredible crew mates up there without powerful emotion. My job is to just keep my emotion under control because I'm deeply moved by what I'm a part of here."
Rather concluded: "Thirteen of John Kerry's combat crew mates will be on stage with him here tonight."

As documented in recent CyberAlerts, CBS News has steadfastly avoided the swift boat veterans, excerpt on the one occasion when CBS smeared them:

-- April 22 CyberAlert: A lot more skeptical of Bush than Kerry on Vietnam-era service. Back on February 10 when the White House released George W. Bush's National Guard records, the networks stressed how they only "raise more questions." But with Kerry, the networks ignored for a week questions raised last week in the Boston Globe about whether he deserved one of his Purple Hearts, and then prompted by Kerry's release of his records finally got to the story on Wednesday, but were satisfied with the records despite the lack of documentation for his first Purple Heart. "We'll take 'A Closer Look' tonight at John Kerry's distinguished war record," ABC anchor Charles Gibson promised Wednesday night in stating as fact a claim that is in dispute. Gibson then shifted the burden to Kerry's critics: "His opponents are trying hard to use it against him." CBS didn't even consider Kerry newsworthy, but NBC and CNN ran stories. See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- April 23 CyberAlert: CBS on Thursday night caught up with the Kerry campaign's release of his Vietnam military service records, but reporter Jim Stewart avoided the very allegation from Kerry's former commander -- that he really didn't suffer a combat wound for which he was awarded his first Purple Heart -- the charge that fueled the document release. Instead, anchor Dan Rather stressed how the records "show glowing evaluations of him during combat in the Vietnam War." Stewart reminded viewers of Kerry's Senate testimony 30 years ago and noted how "a lot of veterans got mad at Kerry," but avoided citing Kerry's most incendiary claims which so angered his comrades, that Americans regularly committed atrocities in Vietnam, as he asserted that Kerry is "still trying to explain the path that led him from war hero to anti-war activist." Stewart even painted Kerry as a victim, recalling how "Kerry suspected there would be a price" to pay for his anti-war activism. See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- May 5 CyberAlert: CBS on Tuesday night tried to discredit some Vietnam veterans critical of John Kerry by impugning them as partisan activists tied to the Bush campaign, though the only link seems to be a public relations firm involved in the 2000 campaign, and tarring all of them with the supposed dirty work for Richard Nixon of one. Very McCarthyistic. FNC's Carl Cameron, however, managed to avoid innuendo as he undermined the credibility of specific vets by showing how in the past they had praised Kerry. CBS's Byron Pitts went back to 1971 as he recalled how John O'Neill, who debated Kerry about Vietnam on ABC's Dick Cavett Show, "was handpicked by the Nixon administration to discredit Kerry." Pitts added, without any explanation, that "the press conference was set up by the same people who," in 2000, "tried to discredit John McCain's reputation in Vietnam service." Then Pitts connected the anti-Kerry veterans to a presumed nefarious "strategy" they had nothing to do with implementing: "It's the same strategy used to go after Georgia Senator Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam." See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- July 23 CyberAlert: Dan Rather prompted John Kerry to expound on how he's angry at President Bush for criticizing his Vietnam service while Bush avoided the war. On Thursday's CBS Evening News, in a second installment of his Wednesday interview, Rather asked Kerry: "Have you ever had any anger about President Bush, who spent his time during the Vietnam War in the National Guard, running, in effect, a campaign that does its best to diminish your service in Vietnam?" Kerry replied, "Yup, I have been," and went on to confirm it "grates a little bit" and is "irritating." See: www.mrc.org

Matthews Rejects Idea Kerry Filmed in
Vietnam to Promote Himself

Kerry's Super 8 filming of himself in Vietnam got brief mentions on CNN, FNC and on MSNBC where Newsweek's Howard Fineman painted that as "a sense of destiny," but host Chris Matthews rejected the notion that Kerry "was out to promote himself." On FNC, Chris Wallace wondered whether the filming was "just young men involved in commemorating what they were involved in, or was John Kerry already preparing for a campaign ad?"

Just past 8:30pm EDT, following the story by Kelly Wallace about Kerry's band of brothers and how some swift boat vets don't think much of Kerry (see item #5 above), CNN's Jeff Greenfield commented on the then-upcoming biography film on Kerry: "A lot of controversy about all this. Charges revealed today on the Drudge Report that perhaps some of that was deliberately shot, as Kelly's piece implied, for political reasons. They've accused him of re-enacting some of this."
Wolf Blitzer quickly interjected: "They flatly deny that."
Greenfield acknowledged: "Right, and the evidence seems to be against that."

On MSNBC a few minutes later, the MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed, Andrea Mitchell insisted: "And that extraordinary footage from Vietnam, the, the personal movies that were threaded together so evocatively."
Howard Fineman: "The other, the other interesting thing, the other interesting thing is I think most of them were taken with an 8 millimeter camera that Kerry himself brought to Vietnam. Ponder that for a minute."
Joe Scarborough: "What are you suggesting Howard?"
Fineman: "I'm suggesting a self-consciousness. I'm suggesting a sense of destiny. I'm suggesting a guy who went to Vietnam honorably to serve and was proud of his service."
Chris Matthews wasn't persuaded: "Let me offer you a middle case. You know back in the '60s when he served a lot of families had, had an 8mm cameras. It wasn't particularly a luxury item. It wasn't unusual to bring them on trips."
Mitchell: "We all did-"
Matthews: "Was going to see the Far East. I don't think I can jump, I cannot connect those dots with such alacrity that he was out to promote himself."
Fineman: "Well I, I didn't say that, quite. I didn't."
Matthews, laughing: "You did, you did buddy."
Fineman self-deprecatingly quipped: "It was nuanced, it was more nuanced than that."

At about 9:20pm EDT on FNC, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth noted, Chris Wallace observed: "One of the staples of a convention for years now has been the campaign bio film. This afternoon, I watched the nine-minute John Kerry film, and I had a sudden urge for popcorn. It's a slick Hollywood production. Steven Spielberg helped put it together. Morgan Freeman narrated it. Very powerful in portraying Kerry as a war hero, a loving father, and a leader. I will also say that there is some controversy because some of the shots from Vietnam were taken after the fact. They didn't re-enact them, but he and his unit went back and shot some of their places where they were in battles. Was this just young men involved in commemorating what they were involved in, or was John Kerry already preparing for a campaign ad?"

End of Political Civility Coincided with
"Gingrich Revolution"?

Blaming Newt Gingrich for the lack of civility in politics? Or liberals and those in the media who demonized him and his conservative agenda? After a taped interview with former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, CNN's Judy Woodruff, on Thursday's Inside Politics, informed viewers that Weld told her that civility "started to go out the window in '94.'" Woodruff added: "Which, we noted, was the year of the Gingrich Revolution."

The MRC's Jessica Anderson caught this afterthought from Woodruff, back on live, following a taped session with the Republican: "And a post-script. When I asked Governor Weld about the state of civility of politics today versus a decade ago, he told me, quoting here, 'It's a different world now. Civility,' he said, 'started to go out the window in '94.' Which, we noted, was the year of the Gingrich Revolution."

Sounds like she was blaming the "Gingrich Revolution" and how it gained power.

"Top 10 Ways Kerry Celebrated Winning
the Democratic Nomination"

From the July 29 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Ways John Kerry Celebrated Winning the Democratic Nomination." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Got big "nominee" tattoo on his ass

9. Everywhere he went he'd shout, "democratic nominizzle in the hizzouse"

8. A little flippin', a little floppin'

7. Wore something special under his suit to make him feel "pretty"

6. Hung out with Bill Clinton and 30 coeds from the University of Massachusetts

5. Joined former Democratic rivals to feast on the spit-roasted carcass of Dennis Kucinich

4. Received engraved watch from Edwards; out of habit, threw it away

3. While taking congratulatory phone call from Bush, got to hear President crash his bike again

2. Botox 'til he couldn't see straight

1. "Caucused" with Teresa, twice

-- Brent Baker, with the night/overnight team of Geoff Dickens, Brad Wilmouth and Ken Shepherd; plus Mez Djouadi on the early morning posting shift