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Fox News Kicks Off "Swift Boat" Campaign Against John Kerry Ahead Of Possible Defense Post

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Headlined to H3 11/15/12

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  • Pickens Donated Millions To American Crossroads. On October 25, the Huffington Post reported that Pickens donated $1 million to Karl Rove's American Crossroads, the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC. [Huffington Post, 10/25/12

Big GOP Backer Harold Simmons Donated $3 million To Swift Boat Group. 

In a profile of Texas billionaire Harold Simmons, Politico noted that he donated $3 million to bankroll the Swift Boat Veterans' attacks on Kerry in 2004:

Spending big on political campaigns is nothing new for Harold Simmons.

The Texas billionaire who has outspent every other super PAC donor this season is something of a pioneer in the world of big outside money.

Simmons has contributed more than $14 million to super PACs this presidential cycle alone. Most of that money, $12 million, went to the super PAC American Crossroads, associated with Republican strategist Karl Rove. The rest, a little over $2 million, went to super PACs supporting Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

This is just the latest time Simmons has ponied up millions to outside groups. In 2004, he chipped in $3 million to a group that aired the Swift Boat attack ads against John Kerry. Then in 2008, he contributed $2.87 million to a group that sponsored controversial ads suggesting Barack Obama supported the Weather Underground. [Politico2/23/12]

NY Times: "Documents Show A Web Of Connections To The Bush Family." 

The New York Time reported in August 2004 that "[a] series of interviews and a review of documents show a web of connections to the Bush family" and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth:

A series of interviews and a review of documents show a web of connections to the Bush family, high-profile Texas political figures and President Bush's chief political aide, Karl Rove.

Records show that the group received the bulk of its initial financing from two men with ties to the president and his family -- one a longtime political associate of Mr. Rove's, the other a trustee of the foundation for Mr. Bush's father's presidential library. A Texas publicist who once helped prepare Mr. Bush's father for his debate when he was running for vice president provided them with strategic advice. And the group's television commercial was produced by the same team that made the devastating ad mocking Michael S. Dukakis in an oversized tank helmet when he and Mr. Bush's father faced off in the 1988 presidential election. [The New York Times8/20/04]

Swift Boat Founder, Member Had Extensive Ties To GOP.

John E. O'Neill, founder of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, had extensive ties to the Republican Party, including ties to the Nixon administration and contributions of more than $14,000 to GOP campaigns. Member Ken Cordier was also found to have GOP ties, including serving as a member of the Bush-Cheney '04 National Veterans Steering Committee and being named to a Bush administration POW Advisory Committee. [Media Matters8/24/04]

FACT: Swift-Boating Is Shorthand For Dishonest Political Attacks

Time Magazine: "Swift-Boating's Essence Is A Particular Kind Of Dishonesty." 

Time magazine article described "swift-boating" as "a particular kind of dishonesty":

There have, of course, been dirty politics and outrageous infamies since the beginning of the Republic. Swift-boating is not about that. Nor is it merely negative campaigning. There's nothing wrong with criticizing your opponent if the criticism is accurate and important. Swift-boating's essence is a particular kind of dishonesty, or rather a particular combination of shadowy dishonesties. It usually involves a complex web of facts, many of which may even be true. It exploits its own complexity and the reluctance of the media to adjudicate factual disputes. No matter how thoroughly a charge may be discredited, enough taint remains to support an argument. The fundamental dishonesty is the suggestion that the issue, whatever it is, really matters. This is how swift-boating differs from its cousin McCarthyism, which deals in totally baseless charges that would be deeply serious if true. Swift-boating is McCarthyism lite. [Time Magazine6/12/08]

NY Times: "'Swift Boat' Has Become The Synonym For The Nastiest Of Campaign Smears." 

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Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.
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