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Good Dogs, Bad Dogs, Lapdogs: How the Media Delivered the Election to Bush by Aiding and Abetting the “Swifities”

by Pamela Leavey

There’s good dogs and there’s bad dogs, big dogs and small dogs. Small dogs are commonly referred to as Lapdogs, they are usually cute and furry and cuddly. But now we have a new breed of Lapdogs… the kind that roll over for Bush and his cabal.

They are not cute and furry, and by no means cuddly, their bark and their bite have caused a lot of damage to America in recent years. Why? Because they became “spooked by allegations of liberal bias” and proceeded to be “afraid of the facts and the consequences of reporting them” during the Bush administration years.

Ron posted earlier today that the Washington Post “reports that George Bush may have Fox News to thank for the 2000 election.” That story in the WaPo is a prime example of what Eric Boehlert’s new book “Lapdogs” is all about. Salon has a 5 page excerpt from “Lapdogs” here.

The HuffPo has a piece on “Lapdogs” as well today, that exposes the truth about the “Swift Boat Hoax” in no uncertain terms.

In his new book, “Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over For Bush,” Eric Boehlert dissects the Beltway media’s culpability during the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth smear campaign from the 2004 campaign and concludes the episode “likely delivered Bush the cushion he needed to win in November” and “represented an embarrassing new benchmark for campaign season reporting.” “Lapdogs” holds the press accountable for the central role it played in enabling a smear campaign that consumed the crucial campaign month of August 2004 — “a media monsoon that washed away Kerry’s momentum coming out of the Democratic convention.”

How, for instance, the Washington Post published 13 page-one Swift Boat stories in 12 days, most of which failed to address the key fact that the Swift boat allegations — that Kerry lied about his Vietnam War record — were riddled with errors and compounded by the veterans’ fanciful, ever-changing stories. Despite the lack of evidence to substantiate their claims, which were floated 35 years after the fact and bankrolled by partisan Republicans, the press refused, in real time, to call out the Swift Boat allegations as a dirty trick.

From the excerpts I have read, it’s evident that Boehlert’s clear reporting on the Swift Boat Hoax and other dirty dealings from the media are astounding even to those of us who get that this has been going on. I expect it to be an eye opener for those who have been just barely paying attention. The truth be told, it’s what we all have known all along, the lies were lies and the media played right into them. Here’s a few quips from the book…

For several crucial weeks during the campaign, journalists turned away from the pile-up of Swift Boat falsehoods and contradictions, rarely daring to call the Swift Boat attack out for what it really was–a farce. An elaborate, well-choreographed, well-funded farce that not only dragged down the Kerry campaign, but played the press for fools. At every turn, military records proved the Swift Boat veterans to be untruthful. But Beltway reporters and pundits for the most part remained hesitant, too timid to speak up, as they propped up the veterans as serious men. Their conduct during the manufactured Swift Boat scandal, which likely delivered Bush the cushion he needed to win in November, represented an embarrassing new benchmark for campaign season reporting. Rather than uncovering the obvious gaps in the veterans’ wobbly allegations and holding the accusers accountable, the press, spooked about being tagged as too liberal, played dumb on an unprecedented scale, much to the White House’s delight.

By the time the Swift Boat story had played out, CNN, chasing after ratings leader Fox News, found time to mention the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth–hereafter, Swifties–in nearly 300 separate news segments, while more than one hundred New York Times articles and columns made mention of the Swifties. And during one overheated 12-day span in late August, the Washington Post mentioned the Swifties in page-one stories on Aug. 19, 20, 21 (two separate articles), 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31. It was a media monsoon that washed away Kerry’s momentum coming out of the Democratic convention.

Embraced by the Republican’s far right media noise machine, led by Fox News, the Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh, and the New York Post, the mainstream media refused to stand up to those forces. Instead, the press played along, letting the right wing set the media agenda, and pretending the media’s primary duty was to accurately record the Swifty allegations, call the Kerry camp for comment, and then proclaim the story too tangled to figure out. USA Today, for instance, threw up its hands, declaring, “A clear picture of what John Kerry did or did not do in Vietnam 35 years ago may never emerge, given the fog of war, the passage of time and the intense partisan sentiments of the players.” A headline on Aug. 27 for Hotline, the daily D.C. media tip sheet announced, ” VIETNAM: JUST LIKE THE WAR ITSELF, THIS STORY’S NOW A QUAGMIRE.”
Read on here…

On November 1, 2005, I wrote a piece here, “How the Mainstream Media Got Bush Re-elected – And Screwed America.” On that day, columnists in the Boston Globe, L.A. Times, and Washington Post all had pieces that made it “very clear that Patrick Fitzgerald had the goods to indict White House aides for obstructing justice in the CIA leak case as of October of last year.”

Each one of the columnists notes that the MSM was complicit in preventing Fitzgerald from doing so.

Media giants like the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC, and others all played the Pre$$titute roll and had they not, John Kerry would most assuredly be President today. These OP/ED’s are all must-read pieces about the White House’s obstruction of justice, how the MSM is complicit in it, and how it impacted the outcome of the 2004 presidential election.

That was just another fine example of what Eric Boehlert has laid out in his book, “Lapdogs.” I’m not sure if I want to laugh or cry that someone has taken the pains to lay out in print all of the rotten things the MSM has done over the years to the American people. I do know however, that I plan on reading “Lapdogs,” and for what it’s worth, I hope to hell that American’s start waking up and the MSM stops rolling over for this lying bunch of crooks in the White House.

The Disinformation Society polluted the minds of Americans at a time when, had the truth prevailed, informed voters would have made a different choice. They continue to do so today. They are complicit to every lie that has come out out the White House and they know it. As Boehlert says in Lapdogs, “Reporters had the power the knock the phony Swift Boat story down fast and reveal it for the dirty trick it was, but too many chose not to.”

Stephen Colbert had the balls to stand up and call them on their shit on Saturday night at the White House Correspondents Dinner, and I stand with the many who applauded his truth telling. I’m one of those American’s who wants their country back. The media’s job is to report the truth and they have failed us every step of the way due to fear and lack of moral reasoning.

I’ve never been a fan of those little cuddly, furry lapdogs — they yap too much, just like the lying media shills do.

8 Responses to “Good Dogs, Bad Dogs, Lapdogs: How the Media Delivered the Election to Bush by Aiding and Abetting the “Swifities””

  1. Another one for the files to go with the article on Kerry campaigning for Democratic candidates that Ron posted


    Eventually, we may just have to use the printed out versions to stuff into the open mouths whining about Kerry snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

  2. Ginny

    We don’t want anyone to choke though.

    My head is still spinning from the excerpts from Lapdogs. It’s nothing I didn;t already know but it is.

  3. Pamela,

    I doubt they would choke on my paper imagination. And No, I would not want to have to force myself to do a Heimlich on them.

    The media wimps are the same ones who snark about the Dems not standing up to the GOP. Being afraid they won’t get re-elected. I can see a difference even if they can’t.

  4. The quotes posted are so good. It is great to have someone writing this because it really does show that the problem was the media which ignored that the official record backed Kerry completely.

    To me, it would be like if my boss asked me to prove that I really got the grades listed in my transcript, mentioning that someone who claimed to have been in the class with me disputed them.

    The really ugly thing is that they did this with his service. They totally mocked the pain and injuries he got serving his country and called him unpatriotic. That the media let them is beyond disgusting.

  5. karennj, and that same media is upset that Steven Colbert wasn’t “funny” and didn’t amuse them. Agreed. Beyond disgusting.

  6. FOX BREAKING NEWS — They have finally found the WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION in DC
    — The members of the Republican Party in the white house, senate and congress.

  7. karennj, and that same media is upset that Steven Colbert wasn’t “funny” and didn’t amuse them.

    Reply: That is because they lack the ability to laugh at themselves.
    Stephen Colbert is wonderful…I just love
    his sense of humor!

  8. Jill

    They lack the ability to report the news and laugh at themselves.