Troops, Lies and Videotape

Tim Graham, writing on National Review’s The Corner, criticizes John Harris of the Washington Post for this line in his account of President Bush’s new attack ad: “Bush’s TV ad accused Kerry of voting against legislation to pay for military needs in Iraq after originally supporting the U.S. invasion.” Asks Graham (doing his best impression of Campaign Desk): “Can’t the reporter suggest to readers that it’s not an accusation, but fact, that Kerry voted against the $87 billion supplemental bill for the war?” And he complains “Notice how Kerry gets more words in quotes.” It’s bias, we tell you, bias!

But Josh Marshall’s thoughts on the Bush ad offer a clue as to why Harris might have framed the issue as he did. Marshall points out that Kerry “voted for an alternative bill which would have funded these needs by rescinding part of the Bush tax cuts.” He also argues that President Bush had to be cajoled into supporting funding for many of the very items that the ad attacks Kerry for voting against. Josh calls the ad “truly a milestone in the long bilious history of gall.”

Meanwhile, Kos makes the case that “the GOP has consolidated its hold over” Florida, and refers to a “growing belief within the [Democratic] party that Florida is too expensive, too difficult, and too time-consuming.” Instead, say these observers, Kerry should focus on the industrial midwest, “particularly Ohio where unemployment is high, unhappiness with the president growing and 21 electoral votes are at stake.” Kos concludes, “I don’t think we can or should abandon [Florida] altogether — but Kerry would likely be more effective focusing his attentions elsewhere.”

Mickey Kaus has finally found someone else to do his Kerry-bashing for him. The Slate blogger posts an email from a reader who speculates on the chances of a “delegate revolt” at the Democratic Convention this summer, perhaps “on a wide enough scale that John Edwards would end up receiving the nomination?” Kaus bursts with glee at the very thought, pointing out that, “the late substitution of a more palatable candidate for a sure loser — even after formal nomination — worked well enough for the Democrats of New Jersey in the 2002 Senate race.”

And finally, Instapundit wades into the Medicare video news release brouhaha. According to IP, “If actual journalists stuck to journalism, and didn’t ‘praise the benefits’ of laws on a regular basis, these ads wouldn’t work. The real problem isn’t that people issue video news releases, it’s that it’s hard to tell the real news from a video news release.” In other words, don’t blame the government for sending out incredibly misleading “news releases,” or the stations for getting duped into running them. Or, as President Bush once put it, “[F]ool me once … shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

Zachary Roth

Correction, 3/17, 5:20 p.m.: The above has been corrected to note that Tim Graham is the author of the post on National Review’s “The Corner,” not Kathryn Jean Lopez as originally suggested.

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Zachary Roth is a contributing editor to The Washington Monthly. He also has written for The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets.