Drudge continued to push false report tying Boston Globe reporter to book by Kerry-Edwards campaign -- even after Globe set record straight

Internet gossip Matt Drudge has gone after Boston Globe staff reporter Michael Kranish, continuing to falsely portray him as a paid operative for the Kerry-Edwards '04 campaign in the wake of Kranish's August 6 article, which quoted George Elliott -- one of the anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for Truth featured in a recent TV ad -- as saying that Elliott had made a “terrible mistake” in signing an affidavit suggesting Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star for his actions in Vietnam.

On the same day that Kranish's article was published, Drudge wrongly reported that "Boston Globe journalist Mike Kranish has been commissioned to write the foreword of the Kerry-Edwards campaign book." Drudge's report included a link to Amazon.com's listing of the book, which had mistakenly credited Kranish as its author.

The Globe set the record straight in an August 7 article by Globe staff reporter Susan Milligan: “Kranish had no connection to the Kerry campaign book and did not write its introduction.” Milligan noted that “Amazon, the online bookseller, apparently contributed to the confusion with a listing for the Kerry-approved campaign book indicating Kranish as the author. PublicAffairs' [the book's publisher] officials said yesterday that Amazon had agreed to revise the listing immediately.” Amazon.com has corrected the book's listing, now indicating Senators John Kerry and John Edwards as the sole authors.

Our Plan for America: Stronger at Home, Respected in the World (Public Affairs, 2004) was commissioned by the Kerry-Edwards campaign. As Globe editor Martin Baron noted in a statement (which the Globe reported on August 7), while Kranish initially signed on to contribute an introduction to an independent and unauthorized account of the Kerry-Edwards platform and policies, “when PublicAffairs [the would-be publisher of the proposed independent account] subsequently struck an agreement with the Kerry campaign to do an official campaign book, Kranish's relationship with the project immediately ended.” Kranish did not contribute to Our Plan for America, but he did contribute the introduction to a planned unauthorized book, Kerry and Edwards: Their Plans and Promises (Perseus Books Group, 2004).

According to an August 6 article in the New York Daily News, plans for that book have now been shelved.

Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, however, Drudge continued to push the false claim. After the Globe exposed that Kranish did not write the introduction to Our Plan for America and Amazon.com corrected the error on its website, on August 9, Drudge posted the headline "Boston Globe 'reporter' Kranish still listed as Kerry/Edwards book author..." with a link to a Barnes & Noble description of the other book -- Kerry and Edwards: Their Plans and Promises -- to which Kranish did in fact contribute and which, as the Globe reported but Drudge ignored, was independent and not commissioned by the Kerry-Edwards campaign. The link has since been amended by Barnes & Noble to link to Our Plan for America.

Drudge's attempt to portray Kranish as a paid supporter of the Kerry campaign was echoed by several other conservative pundits. On the August 6 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, host Joe Scarborough said that it has been “reported that he [Kranish] will be writing an introduction to a book soon to be released by the Kerry-Edwards campaign. Now, if Mr. Kranish is allowed to do that while covering the Kerry campaign, it will certainly cause many readers in Boston and across America to question his credibility as a reporter on that same campaign.”

Radio host Rush Limbaugh went further on his August 6 radio show, accusing Kranish (RUSH 24/7 subscription required) of writing an entire campaign-sponsored book, not just an introduction: “Mike Kranish has also written the yet-to-be-released official campaign book for Kerry-Edwards. It is entitled Kerry-Edwards.” Limbaugh later stated that Kranish is “being paid by the [Kerry] campaign, while a reporter on The Boston Globe.”

On the same day that the Globe ran the article in which Kranish reported that Elliott recanted his prior affidavit, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth fired back. Swift Boat Veterans co-founder John O'Neill posted a letter on the group's official website asserting that Kranish's report was “totally false,” and also posted a second affidavit by Elliott disputing the Globe story. The Globe responded on August 7, when "Globe Editor Martin Baron released a statement saying 'the Globe stands by the article. The quotes attributed to Mr. Elliott were on the record and absolutely accurate.'" In addition, the Annenberg Political Fact Check reported that the second Elliott affidavit is “misleading” and contains “an incorrect characterization of the official basis for Kerry's Silver Star."