MSNBC correspondent David Shuster and host Chris Matthews discredited the latest Swift Boat Veterans for Truth anti-Kerry attack ad. On the September 23 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Shuster and Matthews pointed out the inaccuracy of the ad's accusation that Kerry "secretly met with enemy leaders in Paris." The Washington Post and Media Matters for America noted this false attack on September 22.
The following exchanges illustrate the disparity between Shuster's and Matthews's analysis of the Swift Boat Vets' ad and the perspective shared by FOX News Channel co-host Sean Hannity and CNN host Robert Novak. From the September 23 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
SHUSTER: This is from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. They have an ad trashing John Kerry. Here's their latest spot.
VIDEO CLIP: Even before Jane Fonda went to Hanoi to meet with the enemy, John Kerry secretly met with enemy leaders in Paris. Though we were still at war and Americans were being held in North Vietnamese prison camps.
SHUSTER: The problem, according to historians, is that Kerry went to France not to meet with the North Vietnamese but because he was a newlywed. He did accept a briefing invitation just like other Americans, including Senator Eugene McCarthy months before. But the meeting was not secret. Kerry talked about it in open testimony later. And historians say Kerry didn't negotiate or attend any peace talks. And by all accounts, Kerry talked about an initiative by the Vietnamese to release POWs.
But nonetheless, Chris, as you know, these ads can be pretty effective.
MATTHEWS: I think it made him [Kerry] look like a traitor, when in fact he disagreed with U.S. policy and made that very clear in his testimony to the Senate, which included an acknowledgment he had met with those North Vietnamese. It wasn't secret in the sense that it was subversive -- this ad makes it look that way.
Hannity on the September 23 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes:
BOB BECKEL (Democratic strategist): [D]o you agree, yes or no, the swift boat ads are way out of line?
HANNITY: No, because the swift boat ads are true. These are eyewitness accounts.
Novak on the September 22 edition of CNN's Crossfire:
NOVAK: I don't believe they've [Swift Boat Vets] been discredited on any -- on any account.