This brief essay by Professor Hanson is going to lave a mark. Several, in fact.
ABC News’ Mark Halperin does not believe that military –active duty or veterans– have any special standing here:
HH: And given that I’ve done an hour of radio tonight, I probably had fifteen calls from veterans and active duty, including one non-com just got back from a second tour there, a medic, a combat medic, seething with outrage. They’re not buying the apology. They believe it was premeditated. Should their point of view find a prominent place in your news coverage?
MH: The point of view should find a prominent…or a place in all news coverage. But again, as important and valuable as the troops are, as much as all Americans, and we respect them, that’s not always…they’re not necessarily the best arbiters of Senator Kerry’s sense of humor.
Halperin could not be more wrong. The men and women slandered are the very best judges of what Kerry said and what he meant. Refusing them the opportunity to tell their story makes MSM abettors of the slander. I did not see any active duty military on any network last night, but they called and e-mailed my show in great numbers, as did their husbands and wives, mothers and fathers and children. And they are angry.
Old media could completely ignore Kerry’s slander, and it would not make a bit of difference. Once the tape was played on one radio station, it instantly traveled to the net and from the net to all radio stations and then cable land. My guess is that less than 75% or more of active duty members of the military have already heard or been told about Kerry’s slur and his explanation, and that their take on it is what I have been hearing and airing –a near universal rejection of his explanation and disgust that he has not abjectly and repeatedly apologized.
That part of the civilian world that has not heard and absorbed Kerry’s slur will get it today, and get it again tomorrow because Kerry’s rejection of personal responsibility and failure to acknowledge his slander obliges men and women in uniform to stay focused on the slur, and if they stay focused, the civilians stay focused.
The American military did not deploy half way around the world to free 50 million people at the cost of 3,000 of their comrades killed and thousands more wounded to allow a has-been politician to insult them and a leftwing media excuse it away.The military does carry on the vast war so that Kerry has the freedom to make such slanders, but I very much doubt if they and those they love or those who admire and respect what they do will be accepting a whitewash any time soon.
Dick Durbin slimed the military, and only after a belated and weepy Senate floor concession and apology did the relentless scrutiny let up, and the taint still follows him. Kerry’s arrogance is much greater than Durbin’s, but the end result will be the same. Signs demanding an apology will follow him wherever he goes, and a thousands excuses and explanations won’t extinguish the controversy.
During and after the Vietnam War, the left and the MSM it captured routinely slandered the military and its conduct of that war. Hollywood went out of its way to indulge every stereotype of the military that the left had used to force the surrender of the south to the north.
There is a deeply rooted anger from those years that manifests itself on occasions like this one. Kerry won’t be able to skip away because the military, the veterans and their friends and family won’t let him.
Mark Halperin and the rest of his “Gang of 500” may not “get it,” and may not care that they don’t get it.
But they don’t matter much if at all, and their indifference will in fact fuel the controversy. No group in America can be slandered and the slander excused by a lame excuse that it was just a joke except the military and the religious. In the old days, MSM could decide which slurs to excuse and which required confession and penance. In the old days, Lott, and Allen and Rush could be pursued until the MSM judged their contrition complete.
The MSM doesn’t get to make the choice anymore. The public makes the choice. And the public does not believe Kerry, does not approve of the party that is sheltering him and refusing to condemn his remarks, and holds in utter contempt the Manhatten-Beltway elite that don’t understand what all the fuss is about.
“There is, Hugh,” ABC’s Terry Moran told me last year, “I agree with you, a deep anti-military bias in the media. One that begins from the premise that the military must be lying, and that American projection of power around the world must be wrong.”
We know that the MSM doesn’t care that Kerry slandered the military, and many suspect that it doesn’t care because it shares Kerry’s assessment of the men and women in uniform. Abetting Kerry’s defense of his slander is just one more bit of evidence of the MSM’s detachment from and outright hostility to the center-right of the country. The slap registered, as does the media’s refusal to call it slap.