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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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Originally posted at Media Matters

Fox News is distorting Sen. John Kerry's record in an attempt to discredit his possible nomination as Defense secretary. But Fox's criticism is based on the misleading and false claims of a disgraced 2004 Swift Boat campaign against Kerry and on the misrepresentation of past Kerry remarks.


Wash. Post: Obama May Choose Kerry For Defense Secretary

Wash. Post: John Kerry Being Considered For Secretary Of Defense

A November 12 Washington Post article reported that President Obama was considering asking Kerry to serve as his next secretary of Defense.

President Obama is considering asking Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) to serve as his next defense secretary, part of an extensive rearrangement of his national security team that will include a permanent replacement for former CIA director David H. Petraeus. [The Washington Post11/12/12]

Fox News Responded By Distorting Kerry's Record 

CLAIM: 2004 Swift Boat Allegations Uncovered Troubling "Facts"

Megyn Kelly Cast "Swift Boat Controversy" As Credible To Argue Kerry Appointment Would Be Seen As "A Thumb In The Eye" By Military. 

On Fox's America Live, host Megyn Kelly introduced a segment on Kerry's possible nomination by highlighting the Swift Boat controversy and claiming that his nomination as Defense secretary could "be taken as some sort of a thumb in the eye by some who are actively serving us":

KELLY: The Washington Post reporting that Senator John Kerry is being considered for the Secretary of Defense. Senator Kerry, a Navy veteran, was very involved in the president's reelection efforts, but he also was at the center of a controversy during his own 2004 presidential run. That's when the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group challenged Senator Kerry's record as a war hero and slammed his testimony before a Congressional Committee back in 1971, claiming it was false, misleading, and impugned their reputations.

[...]

KELLY: I remember the whole Swift Boat controversy. This was covered in great deal by a lot of reporters, including at the time our own Major Garrett who was with Fox News, and there were some really troubling reports and there were a lot of veterans who didn't have anything to do with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth who were upset with Senator Kerry as those tapes and other facts emerged.

If the president does choose to go with him, understanding that the president gets his choice and we should defer to him, will that be taken as some sort of a thumb in the eye by some who are actively serving us, do you think? [Fox News, America Live11/13/12]

FACT: Swift Boat Allegations Were Found To Be Dishonest

Factcheck.Org: Swift Boat Claims "Are Contradicted" By Former Crewmen, Navy Records. 

Factcheck.org reviewed several of the claims made by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and found that they were "contradicted by Kerry's former crewmen, and by Navy records":

A group funded by the biggest Republican campaign donor in Texas began running an attack ad Aug. 5 in which former Swift Boat veterans claim Kerry lied to get one of his two decorations for bravery and two of his three purple hearts.

But the veterans who accuse Kerry are contradicted by Kerry's former crewmen, and by Navy records.

One of the accusers says he was on another boat "a few yards" away during the incident which won Kerry the Bronze Star, but the former Army lieutenant whom Kerry plucked from the water that day backs Kerry's account. In an Aug. 10 opinion piece in the conservative Wall Street Journal, Rassmann (a Republican himself) wrote that the ad was "launched by people without decency" who are "lying" and "should hang their heads in shame."

And on Aug. 19, Navy records came to light also contradicting the accusers. One of the veterans who says Kerry wasn't under fire was himself awarded a Bronze Star for aiding others "in the face of enemy fire" during the same incident. [Factcheck.org, 8/6/04]

Veterans Who Served With Kerry Documented 10 "Lies Told By People Who Were Not There And Never Bothered To Talk With Us." 

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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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