Conservative pundits wrongly claimed Kerry lied about Vietnam decorations

On May 1, two panelists on FOX News Watch asserted that Senator John Kerry has a “credibility” problem over the issue of whether he threw away ribbons or medals at a 1971 anti-Vietnam War rally, when in fact, an official U.S. Navy website, which displays various medals and ribbons under the heading “The United States Military Navy Service Ribbons” seems to confirm that the Navy regards the two war decorations as interchangeable.

Conservative syndicated columnist Cal Thomas said, “John Kerry [is] trying to make a case through the media that it wasn't medals, it was ribbons. It just doesn't have any credibility.” Newsday columnist Jim Pinkerton -- who has worked for both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, as well as for four Republican presidential campaigns -- went further, stating that the “whole business with the medals back and forth, clearly has got reporters wrangled because they don't like being lied to.”

These assertions follow the April 28 edition of Hannity & Colmes, also on FOX News Channel, in which co-host Sean Hannity said that Kerry's view that military ribbons and medals are interchangeable was a “ridiculous” means of protecting himself from scrutiny:

HANNITY: John Kerry said last week in the “L.A. Times,” one of the L.A. papers, that in fact he never said he threw his medals. Then this tape emerges which contradicts it, and then he lies. And then he comes up with this ridiculous answer that ribbons and medals are interchangeable as a means of covering himself.

The Boston Globe's Thomas Oliphant, who was “4 or 5 feet behind John Kerry ... on the way to the fence where he threw some of his military decorations 33 years ago,” wrote in an April 27 op-ed, “It was clear from our conversations back then [1971] and ever since that Kerry made no distinction among his various decorations, though others have. Some in the military don't either.”