On the October 14 edition of FOX News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal producer Carlton Sherwood denied being a "conservative filmmaker" and denied that his film "stretch[es]" the truth. Sherwood also suggested that Senator John McCain would "absolutely" join the POWs featured in the film in attacking Senator John Kerry for his 1971 Senate testimony about atrocities committed in the Vietnam War, but that Sherwood did not ask McCain to be in the film because he wanted to keep it "out of political hands" and "as clean of politics as possible."
McCain has said that he would not, and has not, attacked Kerry's 1971 testimony before the Senate foreign relations committee. He set the record straight on that point September 5 in response to the false claim made by some conservatives that he had, in 1973, labeled Kerry's testimony "the most effective propaganda [his North Vietnamese captors] had to use against us." McCain has never criticized Kerry's 1971 testimony, and he has said he doesn't want the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign to suggest that he has done so. Furthermore, McCain has defended Kerry's right to protest the Vietnam War, indicated that the issue of Kerry's antiwar activities is no longer a focus for him, and called an ad by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth questioning Kerry's service "dishonest and dishonorable."
As for Sherwood's denial that he is a "conservative filmmaker": Sherwood is a former official of both the Bush and Reagan administrations, as well as the administration of former Pennsylvania Republican governor and current Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge. As Catchegory documented, Al Neri, editor of The Insider, a newsletter about Pennsylvania politics, noted in June 2003 that Sherwood is "a former [Tom] Ridge confidant and administration official" who was "tapped to create and manage a new Fed website -- www.firstresponder.gov -- a key Bush Administration public outreach program." (Firstresponder.gov is not yet operational. According to the American Public Works Association, it was supposed to be live by March 2004, but it has apparently been delayed.) According to the website for wvc3 Inc., a firm focusing on homeland security and counterterrorism of which he is executive vice president, Sherwood "served as Special Media Advisor to the Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan Administration." The Associated Press documented on October 11 that Sherwood "spent 11 months in 1986 as the chief investigative reporter for the Washington Times." As Media Matters for America has noted, Sherwood's book Inquisition (Regnery, 1991) defends Reverend Sun Myung Moon, owner of the conservative Washington Times.
Sherwood and the prisoners of war featured in his film have recently joined forces with Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, an anti-Kerry group with significant connections to the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign.
And as for Sherwood's denial that Stolen Honor "stretch[es]" beyond anything that Kerry said or did when he returned home from Vietnam, as MMFA has noted in its review of the film, Stolen Honor makes numerous false accusations against Kerry -- that Kerry labeled all veterans war criminals; had a secret meeting with the North Vietnamese in Paris; was strongly linked to actress and prominent antiwar activist Jane Fonda -- as well as the false allegation that the Winter Soldier Investigation was fraudulent and discredited.
From the October 14 edition of FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: And you are -- would you call yourself a conservative filmmaker?
SHERWOOD: No, not -- I wasn't a conservative filmmaker up until the last few weeks, no.
O'REILLY: All right. So the POWs -- now McCain -- was he still being held at that point? Did you get him?
SHERWOOD: Oh, he was still being held. No, I didn't have him on the doc --
O'REILLY: Because he likes Kerry. McCain.
SHERWOOD: Well, I -- the reason I didn't have -- I didn't ask Senator McCain to come on is the same reason I didn't ask Senator -- or former Senator Jeremiah Denton. I was trying to keep -- as I kept the funding of this completely out of political hands, I wanted to try to keep the participants as clean of politics as possible as well.
O'REILLY: OK, but is it safe to say that all of them are going to criticize Kerry for his testimony?
SHERWOOD: Well, absolutely, because there were direct consequences to them while they were being held right there.
SHERWOOD: Nothing in this documentary goes beyond anything that John Kerry was reported as saying or doing. So there was no stretch.