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Source of "Medal Scandal" Video: RNC

Howard Kurtz lets us know that the 1971 video interview of John Kerry was released to the press by the RNC:

In this case, copies of the tape were provided to two news organizations by the Republican National Committee, according to several media staff members familiar with the situation who, not surprisingly, said they could not be identified.
Bush-Cheney campaign proxies, of course, claimed that "Disney and ABC" dug up the interview on their own.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN): Look, the truth here is -- and John Kerry just this morning on "Good Morning America" talks about $60 million in attack campaigns. Well, unless Disney and ABC are now part of the Bush campaign, what was on national television today was John Kerry's own words in 1971 in which he said that he threw six, seven, eight or nine of his medals into the wading pool in front of Congress, despite the fact that he spent 20 years denying doing that.

Kurtz's little essay, in talking about campaigns feeding opposition research to the media, has a gaping hole. He discusses how the media try to source the research to a campaign, but never discusses the media's obligation to actually verify, or contextualize, the research. RNC talking points are regurgitated by the media as a matter of course, with only a cursory fact checking, despite being egregious distortions.

The media has an obligation not to regurgitate partisan talking points, but to discuss the strategies of the campaigns unveiled by their research pursuits. If the RNC is feeding media outlets criticisms of Kerry's Vietnam record, the headline of the story should be: "RNC attacking Kerry's Record in Vietnam."


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