Truth and Consequences: When Republicans Can't Stop Bad News
Flash forward to the Sept. 8, 2004 60 Minutes II report on Bush and the Guard. The report included some memos that added to the overwhelming evidence that Bush had simply walked away from his sworn duties and responsibilities to the Guard in 1972. The memos were immediately attacked as forgeries, first by right-wing bloggers. Just like the Nixon White House, the Bush White House moved immediately to use these accusations to discredit all reporting on Bush's tenure in the Guard. Let's just say that the Bush effort was far more successful than Nixon's effort. The times had changed.
Even if the documents could be criticized (falsely, it turns out), we can draw a close parallel with Woodward and Bernstein's story on Haldeman: the story about Bush abandoning his service in the Air National Guard was also true.
Attacks on Truth from CBS, Viacom and Bush allies have already begun. The Bush family has gone to great extremes over the years to try to hide Bush's National Guard secrets. That the man who led the nation into the disastrous war in Iraq had himself shirked his military duty when young is not something they will leave unchallenged. This is especially true in a year in which his brother, Jeb, is running for president.
TODAY WE ARE happy to announce a monumental legal victory for Mother Jones: A judge in Idaho has ruled in our favor on all claims in a defamation case filed by a major Republican donor, Frank VanderSloot, and his company, Melaleuca Inc. In a decision issued Tuesday, the court found that Mother Jones did not defame VanderSloot or Melaleuca because "all of the statements at issue are non-actionable truth or substantial truth." The court also found that the statements were protected as fair comment under the First Amendment.
This was not a dispute over a few words. It was a push, by a superrich businessman and donor, to wipe out news coverage that he disapproved of. Had he been successful, it would have been a chilling indicator that the 0.01 percent can control not only the financing of political campaigns, but also media coverage of those campaigns.