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Dereliction of Duty

Bush may have gone AWOL in the 1970s, and NewsMax and WorldNetDaily would rather you didn't know about it.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/21/2000

Once again, NewsMax and WorldNetDaily continue their policy of downplaying stories that run contrary to their political agenda in their treatment of George W. Bush's Air National Guard service record in the early 1970s.

On May 23, the Boston Globe reported that there is no record of Bush attending required drills at an Alabama base, where he transferred in May 1972. And on June 18, the London Times reported that Bush failed to take a medical exam that included a drug test in 1972, preventing him from flying.

NewsMax actually ran a story on the Times report (they also linked for a day to the New York Post version of the story), but tried to defuse it by adding that no witness has yet come forward who saw Bush using drugs, while there are several people who say they saw Bill Clinton using drugs.

Never mind that Clinton's alleged drug use has nothing at all to do with Bush's stateside military service. This is what is called a non sequitur.

WorldNetDaily, meanwhile, linked for a day to the Times story, which means the story no longer exists in its eyes since it doesn't archive outside links. No mention at all of the Globe story can be found at either site; the original story may have been linked at one time, but since neither site archives outside links, there is no proof.

Both organizations, though, have shown in interest in a presidential candidate's military record in the past -- well, some candidates, anyway. A search for "Clinton" and "draft" on WorldNetDaily turns up 101 hits, while on NewsMax, the same search brings up a whopping 254 hits.

Why? The only logical answer is pure bias. (As if we needed any more proof of that.) Would the story be as ignored by NewsMax and WorldNetDaily if the candidate with this record were Al Gore instead of Bush? Not likely; check out the "slumlord" stories about Gore both sites are flogging, a relatively unimportant issue in comparison.

Heck, they aren't even bothering to attack the "liberal media," one of their favorite bogeymen. Actually, they can't in this case; the London Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch, revered conservative who also owns the New York Post and the various Fox TV networks.

The interesting sidelight to this is that both NewsMax and WorldNetDaily like to brag about themselves, their number of readers and the amount of time they spend on their sites. WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah is particularly boastful, saying: "... our site's vision for gathering and presenting new can impact our world in a revolutionary and positive way. In fact, I believe that without this kind of vision in the media, freedom itself is doomed." He calls WorldNetDaily's readers "part of the New Media revolution that may be our last hope for rekindling makind's struggle for freedom."

Sounds a little like the Rev. Sun Myung Moon taking credit for stopping the Cold War through his establishment of the Washington Times, doesn't it?

Ignoring or downplaying news that conflicts with one's political viewpoint is hardly a great "vision." And the readers that NewsMax and WorldNetDaily so treasure will eventually figure out they're being swindled.

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