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Columnists Gone Wild

Hatred of John Kerry seems to have driven a pair of ConWeb writers 'round the bend.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 9/3/2004

Some folks are so rabidly anti-Kerry, as they were about Clinton, that they not only get their facts wrong, they misfire horribly on basic concepts.

Case in point: Craige McMillan of WorldNetDaily. His July 15 column, called "Will America commit hara-Kerry," takes a break in the midst of bashing "the political left" and "financial nutcases who have raped and pillaged their way to billionairedom" and claims that said leftists have been "reduced to strafing civilians and voters via media operatives with their ignorant, deceitful and outrageous claims of 'lies' of every sort imaginable (and many well beyond imaginable)."

McMillan then proceeds to make his own deceitful, outrageous claim about Teresa Heinz Kerry – wondering "just how Mrs. Kerry might be using her first husband's money to buy the election for her second husband. No one seems concerned about how Mrs. Kerry might benefit financially from her husband's election as president. Indeed, no one seems concerned how she might have benefited from his votes as a U.S. senator."

But people have checked -- and there's no evidence that Kerry has used his wife's money in his political campaigns. That's because he can't. As USA Today and Media Matters for America have reported, federal campaign law bars Kerry from using assets solely under his wife's name, and it also bars Heinz Kerry from transferring those assets to her husband for the purpose of influencing the election. And the Boston Globe reported that Kerry’s method of funding his 1996 Senate campaign was to use his home as collateral on a $1.7 million loan.

As for whether Heinz Kerry "benefited" from her husband's votes as senator, McMillan offers no evidence that she does anything that a Senate vote would benefit from; after all, she's not involved in day-to-day operations of the Heinz company.

But that's not the most egregious error McMillan makes in his column. Among references to "[t]hese reporters -- most of whom are nothing more than Democratic Party operatives being paid by their respective news agencies," he repeatedly refers to the “fifth estate” as the folks who should be rooting out all this alleged stuff he cites. He means the media, near as we can tell -- but the media has been traditionally referred to as the "fourth estate."

The term "fifth estate," as used in places like a Canadian television show and an anarchist magazine, seems to be defined as a watchdog of journalists. In other words, to clear things up a bit for Mr. McMillan: WorldNetDaily is the fourth estate; ConWebWatch is the fifth estate.

Over at NewsMax, however, Joan Swirsky is mostly content to just regurgitate long-discredited factoids about Kerry and his wife. In an Aug. 13 column, she recycles those incorrect WorldNetDaily stories about how Teresa Heinz Kerry "gave more than $4 million to the Tides Foundation, which supports ...." well, you know, those groups. Never mind, of course, that there's no evidence that Heinz Kerry's money actually went to those groups (as ConWebWatch has documented). And for good measure, Swirsky describes Heinz Kerry as "depressed and angry, sort of a Bella Abzug on Prozac and one too many tranquilizers."

Swirsky later thunders: "What about the conflicts of interest that would arise as a result of the nearly two-hundreds Heinz plants in foreign countries (among them France, Germany, Russia and the People’s Republic of China) and the zillions of dollars of revenue they rake in? Wouldn’t this compromise dealing with these countries in a way that is best for America?" What about the fact that (as noted earlier) Heinz Kerry does not own a controlling interest in the H.J. Heinz Co. and isn't involved in management or operations? Heck, even the Washington Times figured that out.

Swirsky also prattles on about John Kerry's war record and gets a lot of stuff wrong in the process. "Whatever aggression was concealed behind the facade of his Swiss boarding school and Ivy League educations emerged full bore in Vietnam, as evidenced by his own testimony to having slaughtered innocents, torched villages and committed war crimes (which he then, weirdly, went back and re-enacted for the camera)," she writes, confusing recounting of what others have testified to as personal experience as well as shooting boring personal footage for trying to become the next Coleman Francis.

Swirsky goes on: "In a sustained rush of adrenaline over a period of four months, he 'earned' a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts, remarkably sustaining no scars, no internal injuries, no surgery and not one day off to 'recover.'" Except, of course all for that shrapnel, some of which is still in Kerry's leg.

Eventually, Swirsky goes completely off the rails with her psychoanalysis of the Kerrys: "I believe that underneath their sophisticated, educated, privileged pasts, they are people who, in the secret recesses of their beings, hate themselves." Not to mention suffering from "pathological narcissism" and the embodiment of "the Empty Barrel/Hollow Man syndrome," whatever that is.

Swirsky might look up another psychological concept: projection. You have to wonder if Swirsky is telling us more about herself with her bizarrely obsessed Kerry writings.

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