Allow me to follow up on the piece that ran today in the Washington Post on the Kerry/Rassman episode.
As I noted earlier, the headline of the piece -- and some of the editorial remarks in it -- tried to give the impression that the Kerry camp had omitted key information, when the article itself provides no evidence of that at all.
Considering the piece a bit more, though, it strikes me just how clear an example this is of the poverty of what passes as journalistic objectivity -- the effort to find a point of balance when the facts themselves provide no basis for it.
Let me explain.
If you wade through the article, it's easy to lose track of this. But what does the article itself say? Kerry says one thing, his critics say another. But are Kerry and O'Neil really equal in this?
The military records all back up Kerry. Back in the old days -- i.e., last month --official military records used to be considered at least presumptively accurate. Now, everyone knows or should know that every after-action report or medal citation isn't necessarily the product of an exhaustive investigation. Yet, they're not meaningless. At a minimum one would assume that the burden of proof would lie with those who dispute their veracity.
So, as I say, all the Navy records support Kerry's account. On top of that, all the people who were in Kerry's boat support his version of events.
Think about that for a minute. All the people in Kerry's boat means all the people closest to the action in question support Kerry's account. Some others who were tens or hundreds of yards away, or not even present, contradict his account. Is it really so hard to distinguish between the quality of evidence and testimony that both sides are bringing to the table?
(One could, of course, add to this the fact that two people -- one of whom the Post interviewed -- from the boat behind Kerry's have now come forward to vouch for his account. And the folks doing the accusing are hardly disinterested observers since they are quite open in their contempt and animosity toward Kerry over his post-war anti-war political activism.)
If this were a civil suit, and this was accusers' evidence, it wouldn't even pass the laugh test. And yet the Post portrays the two 'sides' as if they have equal standing. As though it were he said, she said.