Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Gives Bob Mintz Yet Another Free Pass

Filed under: 2004 Election,Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:17 am

The Los Angeles Times has a long piece on Bush’s National Guard service this morning, titled An Agile Pilot Who Flew Under the Radar. Clever, huh?

Hasn’t this paper covered this story extensively already? Why, yes it has! So why another story on this topic? Blame the “growing chorus”:

A growing chorus of Bush critics has emerged in recent weeks, saying his youthful conduct then is freshly relevant today.

I have warned you that such language is a signal that the paper agrees with the criticism. When the paper disagrees with criticism of a candidate, it is portrayed as an attack by political opponents. When the paper agrees with the criticism, the criticism becomes a mysterious and disembodied (but ever-growing) entity. Doubts grow. Criticism emerges. The L.A. Times has always portrayed the criticism of Bush’s National Guard record this way.

What we don’t learn in today’s story is that a major voice in the “growing chorus” has sounded a discordant note. That voice belongs to Bob Mintz of the “Texans for Truth” group. For about the fifth time, the folks at the L.A. Times manage to mention Mintz and his commercial without mentioning Mintz’s previous contradictory statements — even though I told them about those statements over two weeks ago.

At Dannelly Air Base in Montgomery, Alabama Air Guard pilots of the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group heard that a Texas pilot was due in to begin several months of nonflight training.

. . . Pilot Bob Mintz looked for the new man, hoping the Texan would join him and friends for drinks and dinner. But none of those men remember seeing Bush at the time.

Mintz revived the issue weeks ago when he appeared in an anti-Bush television ad by a group called Texans for Truth.

Yes, he did. And in that ad, Mintz concluded that Bush was not there, saying: “It would be impossible to be unseen in a unit of that size.”

But — Tom Maguire soon observed that Mintz was already on record saying something different:

I cannot say he was not there,” Mintz said. “Absolutely positively was not there. I cannot say that. I cannot say he didn’t do his duty.”

I wrote the L.A. Times Reader’s Representative about this, and she acknowledged receipt of my e-mail, saying that she would “forward it” — she didn’t say to whom — and would keep me posted on what she heard back.

Four days after sending the e-mail and receiving the acknowledgment, I noted two more pieces that specifically mentioned the Texans for Truth ad without mentioning the apparent contradiction of its main spokesman.

I see today’s piece as conclusive proof that the paper is never going to mention this.

Here is my e-mail to the Reader’s Rep on the issue:

Ms. Gold,

I have read several more stories mentioning the Texans for Truth ad (and Bob Mintz) — most recently today’s front-page story — not one of which mentioned Mintz’s previous statements. Obviously, the paper is never going to tell its readers that Mintz has admitted that he can’t say Bush wasn’t there or that Bush didn’t do his duty. If these statements were ever going to be mentioned, today’s story was the obvious place to do it.

I don’t have a clue how the paper justifies this. You folks were purporting to discredit Swift Boat Vet Larry Thurlow with citation language that he never wrote, on the basis that he didn’t contest it. But when the main spokesman of Texans for Truth has his main point undercut by his own words — and you are told about it — that fact never appears in your paper. If this is the result of “news judgment” then I have to tell you that it seems awfully one-sided.

Patrick Frey

In the event that I hear something in response, I’ll let you know.

7 Responses to “L.A. Times Gives Bob Mintz Yet Another Free Pass”

  1. As we reported yesterday at Calblog, the L.A. times described one expert as a member of a London think tank without noting that the think tank had puclished pro-Hamas and pro-Arafat articles. Yet this was the only British expert opining that the Bush administration was filing in the war on terror.

    In this article, besides the usual cast of characters with mixed memories of National Guard service, the LA Times doesn’t identify the growing chorus of experts. Unless and until they identify them, be very skeptical.

    Justene (ddff14)

  2. Here are two more beauts:

    1. Mentioning that Bush “checked the box stating ‘do not volunteer for overseas'” when he enlisted, but NOT mentioning that he later volunteered to go to Vietnam.
    2. Mentioniong that Bush scored a bare-minimum 56 and 50 points in his last two years of service, without mentioning his total points or average for his entire period of service.

    Nope, no bias there. Just a “growing chorus” of Times writers in search of a story.

    Xrlq (816c74)

  3. My blood pressure went crazy when I saw the original story. Then I checked your blog, and I am breathing easier. God bless you, Pat, for making sure that some of us older voters will live at least until Nov 2.

    PIMom (ff78a1)

  4. Hats off for showing how the LAT has framed just about every story during the Bush presidency.

    I’ve been waiting for this one:

    Critics decry release
    of greenhouse gases

    tvd (71b784)

  5. Seems like the “growing chorus” gambit is a favorite of the left internationally. The America bashing German “news” magazine Der Spiegel, uses it all the time. For example, from Spiegel on Line, June 3, 2003, “Die Bedrohung durch irakische Massenvernichtungswaffen stellt sich mehr und mehr als Propagandagespenst heraus.” (More and more, the threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction is being revealed as a phantom of propaganda.) It seems the pressure has been “ever increasing,” “greater and greater,” and “more on more,” on Bush since he took office. Must be in the megabar range by now.

    Helian (92dde1)

  6. Hmm. Just a sec. Yes, it IS an anagram: “the growing chorus” is actually “the grouch is wrong.”

    Maybe that’s what they really mean: they’re grouchy and they’re wrong. It all makes sense now.

    ras (edf21c)

    does its run-up-to-the-election hit piece on Bush’s Guard service. The Times weirdly calls Bush’s Guard service a “tour”, in an effort, it seems, to evoke David Brinkley’s “Tour of…

    PRESTOPUNDIT -- "It's a team sport, baby!" (84db7a)

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