The Kerry Tree
©2004 Patrick Rooney
If a politician's image falls down in a media forest and no one reports it, will the pol actually fall?
Something's strange in Kansas. Matt Drudge reveals he was tipped that Time Magazine, ABC News, the Washington Post, The Hill, and the Associated Press are seriously investigating a story about an alleged affair between Democratic frontrunner Senator John F. Kerry and a young woman who recently fled to Africa, reportedly at the prodding of Kerry himself!
But once Drudge pops the story, the major media is nearly mum. The stories that do come out typically blame the right, though according to Drudge it was a Democrat, Clinton hand puppet General Wesley Clark who told a dozen reporters, "Kerry will implode over an intern issue."
So was the media prepared to actually go forward and report the Kerry bombshell once they got their ducks in a row, or were they going to sit on it, the same way Drudge claimed Newsweek spiked reporter Michael Isikoff's expose of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair?
After ABC News' website's political column "The Note" recently admitted in jaw-dropping candor the obvious left-leaning biases of the major media, there can be little doubt that these institutions are not thrilled at the thought of exposing Senator Kerry's alleged moral failings, unless, of course, they are interested in seeing the dramatic entrance of one ex First "Lady".
Meanwhile the establishment media continues to hound President Bush about his National Guard service in the Vietnam era. It's a nonstory-the territory has been rototilled, the President has now released a voluminous file in his own defense. Besides, isn't it slightly more relevant what the President is doing NOW, like kicking the living daylights out of dangerous terrorists?
Accusations that the President went "AWOL" are being made by DNC head Terry McAuliffe and are being taken seriously by the press, while it is widely known that the de facto head of the Democratic party, Bill Clinton, led protests against his own country on foreign soil, and that the current frontrunner Kerry participated in anti-war protests with "Hanoi" Jane Fonda and made a show of chucking his war medals over a fence!
So is the media going to go after the Kerry affair story with the same fervor it's going after the Bush National Guard story? What do you think? But shouldn't we know if the man who wants to lead the free world cheated on his heiress wife and then urged the young woman in question to leave the country? No, not as important as President Bush's dental records, apparently.
We know at least that the woman's father reportedly called Kerry a "sleaze ball" and said that the senator pursued his daughter. When asked about the affair by Don Imus, Kerry originally produced a weak response, "Well, there is nothing to report, so there is nothing to talk about. I'm not worried about it. No." Of course nothing in this statement says it didn't happen. Sounds eerily like another Woodstock-era politician I'm thinking of…
Clearly the establishment press has a dilemma here. On one hand they have a candidate who at this stage of the game appears to have a reasonable chance of becoming President of the United States. Unleashing damaging reports about him would likely torpedo those chances.
On the other hand, to ignore a story that everybody's talking about, and one that the world press is picking up, would make them look irrelevant.
Of course there is also the additional possibility that exposing this story creates the Kerry wreckage that blazes the trail for a "Draft Hillary" campaign, sweeping in the Wicked Witch of the East in an evangelistic fervor. Even if the media believed the Kerry affair rumors were coming from the Clinton camp, the temptation to go for all the marbles on the biggest horse may be too great for them to ultimately care.
So buckle your seat belts. The latest twist in the mother of all election campaigns just may force "My Big, Fat Obnoxious Fiancée" and the Michael Jackson fiasco to take a back seat for the moment. Only in America.