The potential bomb the blogosphere has been abuzz with has landed.

Suddenly in question is this quote, made by Kerry in the second presidential debate:

“This president hasn’t listened. I went to meet with the members of the Security Council in the week before we voted. I went to New York. I talked to all of them, to find out how serious they were about really holding Saddam Hussein accountable.”

Joel Mowbray, in a special to the Washington Times, writes:

“But of the five ambassadors on the Security Council in 2002 who were reached directly for comment, four said they had never met Mr. Kerry. The four also said that no one who worked for their countries’ U.N. missions had met with Mr. Kerry either.”

The strength of Mowbray’s revelation is significantly weakened, however, by the admission by the (then) French UN Representative Jean-David Levitte that Kerry met with him and the British UN Rep. If Mowbray’s research is correct, then at most Kerry met with a “few” ambassadors on the Security Council and those in one-on-one meetings.

Two things to watch for:
1) It’s presumable (by virtue of the nature of the story) that the blog-world won’t be able to have the sort of “fact-checking” power or effect like they did with Rathergate. Rather, their influence will be limited to debating the effects of the revelation and parsing the statements by the various “players.”
2) This is going to be a blow to Kerry, even if it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) fly. I’m not convinced the charge (in this case) does. Kerry doesn’t claim (in the quote above) that he met them all at once. His claim that he did meet them “all” could be explained as a sort of “rhetorical overstatement” (the word for this, again, escapes me) of the sort that might be permissable in debates. If not permissable, it’s at the least traditional. Regardless, it will reinforce the shadows that hang over Kerry in a new way and give people something else to wonder about. Psychologically, the shadows that hang over Kerry will give this greater force in the voters mind.

At any rate, watch the blogosphere explode. My hope? Timid claims from the right. Mowbray’s article doesn’t demonstrate that Kerry was lying, but it does cast more doubt on his credibility. I doubt we will limit our claims to this, but one can hope.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

3 Comments

  1. Joel Mowbray, in a special to the Washington Post…That’d be the Washington Times, which is reason enough to question its credibility. Honestly, other papers may be subtly biased, but the Times leaves nobody guessing.

    (And guess who owns it?)

    Reply

  2. Post edited accordingly. Thanks.

    The Moonies, eh? Woohoo! I am not decided which media approach is better–the American or British. At least in Britian, everyone knows that the newspapers are either “liberal” or “conservative.” Thoughts?

    Reply

  3. Maybe it’s just that American newspapers aren’t as partisan, mostly, as their British counterparts; the whole striving for objectivity, fraught with human peril as it may be, is honest. And maybe it’s like Al Franken has pointed out, time and again–the biases toward infotainment, fast and furious, toward the Big Scoop, the New Angle, override political biases.

    Case in point: the Seattle Times endorses Dino Rossi, a Republican, for governor, but John Kerry for president–and this is the paper a liberal coworker called “conservative, so conservative it’s sickening” after hearing the former. (That papers endorse candidates at all is what makes the above first “maybe” a very “maybe” maybe.)

    Anyhow, a little time spent reading the Washington Times will make it gallingly clear that the rag is conservative agitprop, comparable to the Left’s The Nation for its strident, echoing prejudice against moderation. If it waddles, quacks, and sports feathers and a bill, should it have to wear a DUCK placard?

    Reply

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