|Thursday, August 5, 2004
13:17 - What's going on here?
So InstaPundit just discovered that the Kerry campaign has faxed legal threats to stations airing the "Swift Vets" ad—the fax is strongly worded, as one might imagine, but claims adamantly that not a single one of the people portrayed in the ad actually served with Kerry, and that as such it's just slander.
And if you go to the Swift Vets site, the main page with the movie still comes up—but the "index.php" page with all the background material times-out and/or throws an SQL error. Overload? Misconfiguration? Emergency "maintenance" and rewriting of content?
Boy. I don't know what to think about this; one way or the other, this is going to be a bloodbath. If the Swift Vets are lying, then it'll be Kerry's biggest coup to date and a fiasco for his opponents. But if the Swift Vets are telling the truth and the Kerry campaign is issuing threats which are themselves based on false claims, then he's just amplified the ad's effect tenfold.
Either way, this ain't gonna be pretty.
UPDATE: SwiftVets.com now says "We are moving to much faster servers. We'll be right back."
I'm on pins and needles here. This isn't some subjective argument, where both sides have a reasonable case and losing is no big deal. This is a binary disagreement over objective facts. One side's claiming it's sunny and the other is claiming it's cloudy; in a minute we're going to open the curtains, and one side will be proven absolutely, incontrovertibly, dead wrong.
How can either side, knowing the truth would come out, give the other side ammunition of this magnitude? Conceptually, this development absolutely staggers me.
UPDATE: The best point I've seen from this LGF thread is from Fenway_Nation:
Wonder if this form letter being faxed by the DNC is just a formality that would give the 'Mainstream' media outlets the opportunity to weasel out of airing the swiftobat vet's ad.
"Gee, we'd LIKE to air this, but we got this scary fax from the DNC counsel...."
That would explain the hysterical language, and why the Kerry campaign is faxing the C&D orders to the TV stations airing the ad, rather than to the Swift Vets themselves—which is what you'd expect them to do if the vets were lying, wouldn't you? And the SwiftVets.com site has been online and saying the same things for months before the ad came out; Kerry had forever to C&D them if what they were doing was provably libelous.
Still no official response from the vets, but I'm seeing more reasons to be suspicious of Kerry than of them.
UPDATE: So John McCain demands that Bush disavow the Swift Vets' ad, and Bush does not do so; meanwhile, the Vets respond to McCain via Drudge, in a more or less content-free way. Any response yet to the fax from Kerry's legal team?
UPDATE: Unless I'm reading this incorrectly, the vets have been giving affidavits to the stations that air the ad, affirming the authenticity of their claims. Someone who's listening to Hewitt ought to be able to confirm this...
Oh, and evidently Fox News is about to present the ad (with rebuttals from both sides) shortly.
UPDATE: The original InstaPundit post has lots more details that have been coming out, such as this expansion on Fenway_Nation's theory (above), by Kevin Greene:
This will backfire, and is surely why the Internet is the medium of our time. More people, I suspect, will see this ad because of the controversy over the attempt by the Kerry camp to keep it under wraps.
Yup. Remember how many Google searches there were on "Daniel Pearl" and "Nick Berg"? Let's be tallying the "Kerry Swift Vets Video" searches in the near future. And this one's got an official site, too.
Glenn's also got this rather inconclusive interview between two of the Vietnam vets in Kerry's Swift Boat squadron, conducted on CNN. Summary: lots of bullets flying around, and nobody's sure what the hell happened.
But that's neither here nor there, compared to the histrionics of the Kerry lawyers' fax. Are they splitting hairs, trying to get stations to ditch the ad because certain claims that the video never even made are incorrect (like whether the one guy was "a doctor" or "Kerry's doctor" or whatever)? Or are they just playing the left-leaning media like a well-tempered klavier, giving them a soothing "there, there" so they won't feel obligated to give those nasty right-wingers a platform?
UPDATE: One last thought. It occurs to me that this (and this) are illustrations of what Kerry and Michael Moore et al. meant when they said they'd be hiring teams of "fact-checker" lawyers to make sure that they'd be ready for any attacks that might come.
They meant it in the sense of "check your facts at the door".
This is a private party, and facts aren't welcome here. Just leave them with the fact-checker over there. Complain, and we sue yo' ass. We got lawyers!
"Bring it on" indeed.
UPDATE: The Swift Vets' response is now available.