Monday, March 15, 2004

Why would Bush need paid media?

When he has the SCLM? In "Kerry's stances on Cuba open to attack," Peter Wallsten proves that the press will lie for free:

Kerry volunteered: "And I voted for the Helms-Burton legislation to be tough on companies that deal with him."
It seemed the correct answer in a year in which Democratic strategists think they can make a play for at least a portion of the important Cuban-American vote -- as they did in 1996 when more than three in 10 backed President Clinton's reelection after he signed the sanctions measure written by Sen. Jesse Helms and Rep. Dan Burton.
There is only one problem: Kerry voted against it.

Except Kerry voted for the Senate version, even if he did vote against the final version.

In the next paragraph, Wallsten does get around to this fact:

Asked Friday to explain the discrepancy, Kerry aides said the senator cast one of the 22 nays that day in 1996 because he disagreed with some of the final technical aspects. But, said spokesman David Wade, Kerry supported the legislation in its purer form -- and voted for it months earlier.

But not without first having presented Kerry's original, true statement as a political, calculated lie.

Of course, Kerry does himself no favors by not elucidating the substantive difference between the two versions, and why his vote changed as a result - his spokesperson apparently references "final technical aspects," but nothing more.

Nevertheless, when the Republican Congress has shown itself willing to wholly rewrite legislation in conference, you might expect the press to be more hesitant to assume that there are no significant differences between two versions of a bill, rather than brand a Senator a liar for having voted for one and not another. You might even expect the press to report those differences, if they exist.

But then, you might expect the press to be honest, too. Given Wallsten's reporting, even that is clearly too much to expect.