The "Unsubstantiated" Swift Boat Allegations Rise Again

A flashback to the Times' 2004 campaign coverage -"unsubstantiated accusations" again Sen. John Kerry from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

It was a Vietnam flashback in Thursday's news pages, as reporter Jim Rutenberg deployed 2004-era Times languageto attack the veracity of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the Vietnam veterans group that successfully challenged John Kerry's Vietnam war record. The story concerned Sam Fox, Bush's nominee for ambassador to Belgium, who was forced to withdraw from consideration after Sen. John Kerry made a stink that Fox donated $50,000 to the Swifties. Bush took advantage of the Congressional recess to install Fox as ambassador without waiting forSenate approval.

Rutenberg: "President Bush used the Congressional recess on Wednesday to push through his choice to be ambassador to Belgium and to fill two domestic policy positions, provoking Democratic ire with all three appointments.

"The ambassadorship will be filled by Sam Fox, a major Republican donor who had withdrawn his name for the job in late March when it became clear that Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee were lining up against him.

"Mr. Fox donated $50,000 to the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that opposed Senator John Kerry during his 2004 presidential campaign. The group attacked Mr. Kerry's record in the Vietnam War with advertising that included unsubstantiated accusations that he had not earned his war medals."

Sound familiar? As Times Watch revealed in a 2004 special report "Double Standard: Times Tars Swift Boat Vets, Plugs False 'Bush AWOL' Story," the Times stuck that exact samewarning label ("unsubstantiated") on the Swift Boats Veterans no less than 20 times during the campaign.

By contrast, not once did the Times describe the Democrat's false Bush-was-AWOL from the Texas National Guard charges as "unsubstantiated."