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Larry, about your editorial...

Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 7:50 am
by mitch622
Mr. Tobin,

I read your Ups-N-Downs editorial in last week’s (10/5/04) paper. I’m not sure why I did. As a long time reader of the Tomahawk Leader I know that the closer we get to a major election, the more you turn into a tool of the right-wing propaganda machine. But in this election I’ve been really trying to see both sides of the issues. I will grant you your opinion, after all, it was an editorial. However, one line offended me so much that I was driven to Start this topic.

The line was: “…any time other than the one in which he injured himself and got a Purple Heart for it”. Now, granted this is in an editorial, but this phrase is stated as a FACT, not an opinion. I’m sure, Mr. Tobin, as a professional journalist, you have a source for this information. I was not aware that the service gave out Purple Hearts for self inflicted wounds, and I can’t believe that the Swift Boat Vets didn’t pick up on this piece of information that you managed to uncover. Which of John Kerry’s three Purple Hearts was earned in this way?

My reason for writing this is not political. My father was awarded a Purple Heart for his injuries in World War II, and carries the scars to this day. When journalists make statements like you did, they diminish the value of these hard-earned medals. You, Mr. Tobin, wield a weapon as mighty as the guns you sought to defend in your editorial, and just like a gun, you need to look and think before you pull the trigger. There have been so many lies presented in this campaign on both sides, but I expected better from my hometown newspaper.

Steven Mitchell

Re: Larry, about your editorial...

Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 8:37 am
by nugget
Yes, the above post is right. Some people believe if it is printed it is true. Be careful.

Re: Larry, about your editorial...

Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 2:58 pm
by anthrochick
Bravo, Steve Mitchell!

Re: Larry, about your editorial...

Posted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 12:02 am
by Brian
The Swift Boat Liars for Bush have been discredited except among the hard-core zealots of the right wing. They march in partisan lockstep and are not interested in truth. No accusation or smear is beyond them.
Thirty years ago, official Navy reports documented John Kerry's service in Vietnam and awarded him the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts.

They allege that John Kerry's wounds were self-inflicted and not serious enough to justify a Purple Heart. That he must have lied in order to get it. Oh really?

The record shows:

The doctor who makes these claims did not see the incident, did not talk to crewmates who were there and does not even show up as the person who treated Kerry on the only Official Naval Record of the treatment.
Three people were there that night. Not one of them backs up the claims of the Swift Boat Liars for Bush. In fact, all three say they were firing on suspected Viet Cong who disobeyed an order to stop in a free-fire zone. One also called it the most frightening night of his entire service. Kerry earned that first Purple Heart in combat. Whether you like him or not the sacrifices of our combat veterans deserve our respect - not the lies, the mocking attacks, the innuendo, or the disgusting little 'Purple Heart' band-aids you Republicans came up with. You ought to be ashamed.

Re: Larry, about your editorial...

Posted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 12:06 am
by Fushia
Great Job Mr. Tobin! (Larry)

Always enjoy your paper and your column also!

Thanks for having a great newspaper in Tomahawk.

Subscriber for many years! :) :) :) :) :cool:

Re: Larry, about your editorial...

Posted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 10:55 pm
by Dave
Tobin's editorial was well written and adequately supported by the facts. In any case, Kerry threw the medals away so they must have meant nothing to him at all. I suspect that most people know why they meant nothing to him. Good job Larry.

Re: Larry, about your editorial...

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 6:20 am
by mitch622
MJC 135: Thank you for the link. I was not aware that this was among the Swift Boat
Vets charges.

I am hoping however that this is not the source Mr. Tobin used for his statement because it then would bring up an even more disturbing point. You and I on this web board can read and believe whatever we want, but a professional journalist has the responsibility to his readers (or listeners/viewers) to check his sources. If Mr. Tobin is verifying his facts with discredited web pages then his next editorial could well tell us that John Kerry was abducted by aliens and taken off to meet with Elvis.

Fushia: I agree totally with the last 3 lines of your post above. The Tomahawk leader is a first rate and award winning newspaper. I have enjoyed and agreed (or disagreed) with many of Mr. Tobin’s columns. He has every right to be proud of the newspaper he publishes. He also has the right to voice his opinion in his newspaper.

However I don’t think he did a “Great job” presenting as a fact that John Kerry was awarded a Purple Heart for self inflicted wounds. His editorial would have portrayed his beliefs without using this “fuzzy” piece of evidence. Using it calls into question the entire column.

This is really no different from what Dan Rather did a few weeks ago on CBS. The story was there even without the doctored evidence, but using it discredited the whole report. Professional journalists have to be held to a higher standard, whether on national television or our local newspaper.

Re: Larry, about your editorial...

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 9:32 am
by Dave
MJC is correct regarding the medals issued in Vietnam. Not to denigrate the achievements and sacrifices of those who served, but there was a definite difference in philosophy regarding the award of decorations between Vietnam and previous conflicts. Virtualy all personnel who were actively involved in combat operations received what we in the military personnel business called "The Vietnam Package". It consisted of a Bronze Star, a Vietnam Service Medal, a Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry (foreign award). The award of Silver Stars in Vietnam versus WWII was even more out of proportion than the Medal Of Honor with over twice the number being awarded. In addition, the Navy had what we called an "administrative rule" regarding the Purple Heart. Three awards and you were reassigned out of the theater. Kerry claims he was not aware of this rule, and we will never know if he was or not, but knowledge of the rule by him would certainly help to explain his insistance that the Purple Heart be awarded for any and every scratch, chip, or dent he received; and it is difficult to believe that as an officer he had no knowledge of a rule that every enlisted man in the theater was aware of. Anyone doubting the difference in medal award philosophy need only drop by the bar at any VFW or American Legion Post and seek out a WWII combat veteran. You will be absolutely amazed what many of these old soldiers did and what they suffered without recognition anywhere near what their counterparts in Vietnam received. Again, this is not meant to denigrate the service of anyone, but things need to be properly interpreted in the context of the time and the rules in use. I agree that this could all be put to rest if the entire record was released complete with the working papers that are in Mr. Kerry's military personnel file. We will never see those, and based on the old maxim that there is always a good reason for everything, one can imagine why we will never see them.

Re: Larry, about your editorial...

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 1:45 pm
by jimbo71
Wether Kerry was in 'Nam 4 hours, 4 days or 4 months, at least he VOLUNTARILY went in harms way where the lead was flying. Where was GWB? And where was L. Tobin at that time? I think LT owes an apology to every GI that has been awarded a apurple Heart. But apparently LT has information that the US Navy didn't have that approved the medal. :mad:

Re: Larry, about your editorial...

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 2:19 pm
by jcg2
The swift boat "liars" as they have been called make a very good case. A pro John Kerry person would discredit them at once, but anyone with an open mind who reads what they write would have to note they have a firm story that has yet to be refuted from the Kerry camp, as I am sure Mr. Tobin did.
What are you talking about? A very good case? The "Swift Boat Veterans" have been completely discredited from all parties. John McCain came forward and said that the claims were insane. Kerry's records were accessible to the public, even the Bush administration (after some time and public pressure) acknowledged that these adds were unacceptable and needed to be pulled. (by the way, did you know that one of Bush's lawyers was the major funder for the SBVFT, even though GW claimed he had no ties to the media campaign).

Ask yourself, why would John Kerry, a young man fighting in Vietnam, make false claims to recieve extra medals? What would be his motivation? To pad his resume for a political career over the next 40 years? He was a kid in a war, not a liar trying to milk the system for another medal. The people who question Kerry's service are political hypocrits, turning a blind eye to Bush's obvious air national guard b s, and grasping at straws with Kerry.
I don't care how many medals were handed out in WWII as compared to Vietnam. Kerry recieved several medals in Vietnam. It's been confirmed from many, many sources that he was involved in intense fighting. I salute him for serving in Vietnam, and he deserves the respect that every veteran shoud receive.

Re: Larry, about your editorial...

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 2:44 pm
by anthrochick
The point that I took away from Steve's posts that I think he is trying to reiterate is the idea that although Larry's piece was an editorial, statements that are made need to be backed by credible resources. His comparison of the editorial to the CBS/Dan Rather fiasco of late is pointing to the practice by some journalists of using vague evidence and substandard sources. By not providing the source for his comment, I thought that Steve was saying that Larry was doing a disservice to his readers.

The adage, "The pen is mightier than the sword" applies here. I believe Steve is right in saying that journalists have a far greater power in influencing thought and opinions in their readers and I think that, as well as many of you may, that a journalist needs to carefully document his/her resources, regardles of who or what the article, editorial, essay, is about. We've seen a few instances in the last couple years, the New York Times comes to mind, where writers, in the interest of a great story, or dollars, numbers, etc. tweak their information or provide vague sources.

I thought Steve's post was in reference to fairness in journalism not a political agenda as he already stated for everyone and what some post-ers here have taken it to be. It is an especially hot political season and many of us are ready to jump at the chance to further our own political opinions. And I think that Steve's opinion has been unfairly misconstrued.

<small>[ October 10, 2004, 02:52 PM: Message edited by: anthrochick ]</small>

Re: Larry, about your editorial...

Posted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:32 am
by jcg2
first, when the swift boat adds were airing, Bush came out and made the statement, "John Kerry should be proud of his service to America". He said that 527 adds were bad for the system,,, in response to the specific "swift boat veterans" topic. Also, I believe McCain probably knows a bit more about Kerry's records than you, I or most of the public. Why would he put himself out there, as a republican supporting our current administration in an election year? He did it because he knew the truth.

your story about Bush visiting Wausau reminded me of the Ohio factory shutdown. President Bush visited a Timken Company manufacturing plant in Ohio to press for passage of the tax cuts that he said would spur the economy. During the speech Bush said that "the future of this company is bright and therefore, the future of employment is bright for the families that work here" Less than a year after the tax cuts for the wealthy passed, that same factory shut down putting about 1,300 people out of work.
As for the farm bill you were speaking of, I think you're referring to the MILC (milk income loss contract) . Basically, money for dairy farmers during tough times. Did you know that President Bush opposed the creation of that program under the 2002 farm bill? Did you know that the USDA has publicly stated that MILC will be removed if Bush is re elected. Larry Salathe of USDA's Office of the Chief Economist, and William March and Milton Madison of FSA told the American Dairy Products Institute that the Administration would not act on dairy policy before the
election in order to maximize votes in swing dairy states such as Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.