Sinclair's Hyman rehashed Kerry falsehoods during commentary


In the October 25 edition of "The Point," a one-minute commentary by Sinclair Broadcast Group vice president Mark Hyman that is broadcast daily on the 62 TV stations Sinclair owns or operates, Hyman revived numerous falsehoods about both Senator John Kerry's Silver Star and an October 14 broadcast of ABC's Nightline on the events that led the Navy to award Kerry that medal.

Hyman again claimed that Kerry earned the Silver Star for killing a "wounded man as he retreated from battle." As Media Matters for America noted the last time Hyman made this false claim, Kerry in fact earned his Silver Star for "extraordinary daring and personal courage ... in attacking a numerically superior force in the face of intense fire," as reported. This is according to Kerry's Silver Star citation, which, as explained, "shows Kerry was not awarded the Silver Star 'for simply pursuing and dispatching' the Viet Cong."

And, as MMFA noted, accounts by the Vietnamese villagers -- who Hyman falsely claimed could not "corroborate Kerry's version of events" -- in the Nightline segment strongly refute the claim that the man Kerry killed was weak and retreating. The Vietnamese witnesses described that man as "one of the 12 [Viet Cong] reinforcements sent to the village by provincial headquarters," who was armed with a rocket launcher, "wore a black pajama," and was "big and strong."

Hyman also claimed falsely that Kerry's version of the events "conflicts with official Navy records and with eyewitness accounts." As MMFA has demonstrated, there is little difference between the "official Navy records" of the after-action report that Hyman cited in his commentary and Kerry's version of the events as described on the Kerry-Edwards '04 campaign website.

Further, Kerry's version is entirely consistent with other eyewitness accounts: Fellow swift boat commander William B. Rood, who was present for the events leading to Kerry's Silver Star, backs Kerry's account of the events. Hyman's "eyewitness accounts" claim appeared to refer to the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth, but no members of that group were actually present for the events that led to Kerry's Silver Star. Nonetheless, while Hyman claimed in "The Point" that Nightline told "our own American servicemen who were abused and tortured in Vietnam that it cannot afford the time to speak with them," the ABC segment did include a 15-minute interview by Ted Koppel with Swift Vets and POWs for Truth co-founder John O'Neill.

Hyman's false assertions are of a piece with the anti-Kerry film Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, which contains scurrilous distortions of Kerry's post-Vietnam record. Excerpts of Stolen Honor were broadcast by 40 Sinclair affiliates on October 22 as part of Sinclair's program A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media.

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.
Mark Hyman
Sinclair Broadcasting, 2004 Elections
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