Once again, the Star Tribune lives down to my expectations, this time via a cartoon by Steve Sack, depicting the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as a group of GOP elephants in a barge dumping garbage into the water under the banner "Operation Smear Kerry" (Unfortunately, no link available at this time. It will probably show up online in a few days.). I guess this is Mr. Sack's audition for the Ted Rall scholarship at the Stupid Cartoonist's Institute. It fails at that too, if only because Sack is a much better artist. In terms of content, it lacks the true malice necessary to aspire to Ralldom. What it does not lack, however, is ignorance and hypocrisy.
Let's start with the ignorance first. What factual justification could he have for this cartoon? Since no one has actually debunked the claims of the Swift boat vets, how does he know what they are doing is a smear? So far, the Kerry camp's reply to the Swifties has been ad hominem attacks and legal threats. Perhaps he should have waited for his compadres in the press to actually, you know, investigate the Swifties' claims? Maybe, before drawing this cartoon he should have actually looked into their claims and the motives for making them, like this letter (via the Captain) from John O'Neill sent to TV stations in reply to a threat from the Kerry campaign to sue if the stations ran the Swifties' ad attempts to do. But that would involve work and even intellectual honesty, qualities often missing from the Star Tribune editorial pages. It's much easier and faster to suck down a Kerry Kool-Aid instead.
Hypocrisy. Sack (and the Star Tribune) spent some considerable effort reporting and opining on the bogus Bush AWOL 'scandal'. In fact, here's a Sack cartoon on the very subject. What is it about the Swift boat vet's claims that allow them to be so easily dismissed, as Kevin Drum does by calling them lunatics? Thier claims are at least as good as the ones that got the press in a tizzy for weeks trying to prove President Bush was AWOL. Is the swift boat vets' Vietnam experience somehow less valid or less valued than Kerry's, so they can be discounted? Or, doesn't our objective press want to investigate credible claims against their favored candidate?
Every one of those lefty bloggers and newspapers that were demanding every effort be made to verify Bush's Air National Guard Service should be demanding that the allegations made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth be given the same type of attention. Anything else is a demonstration of their hypocrisy.