Most Media Refused to Expose Kerry's Anti-War Cohort
(CNSNews.com) - If not for a conservative magazine, the complete investigation into John Kerry's anti-war associate Al Hubbard and Hubbard's fabricated Vietnam War record would not have been published in 1971.
Former CBS News reporter William Overend, a writer for the network's anchorman Walter Cronkite, investigated the military background claims of Hubbard, then executive director of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) and found the claims to be fraudulent. Hubbard had appeared with Kerry on NBC's Meet the Press on April 18, 1971 and was featured in Kerry's anti-war book The New Soldier .
Overend's investigation into Hubbard revealed that Hubbard not only lied about his Air Force military rank, but also about his alleged war injuries and whether he even served in Vietnam.
"As a liberally-oriented newsman, sympathetic to the Vietnam vets and impressed by Hubbard's leadership qualities, that came as something of a jolt," Overend wrote in 1971.
Overend's story ended up appearing in the conservative National Review magazine because, he said, several prominent liberal publications turned it down.
"As a liberal, it had occurred to me that raising questions about Al Hubbard might hurt the anti-war movement, but as a journalist, it didn't seem that should be a factor. I was wrong. No one would touch the story. Not David Sanford of the New Republic; not any other editor of any liberal publication I contacted," Overend wrote in his article titled "Who is Al Hubbard" in the June 1, 1971 issue of National Review .
In an interview with CNSNews.com , Overend said the liberal magazine The Nation also refused to run his piece.
"I tried to write it for The Nation initially. But Carey McWilliams, who was the editor then, basically, said 'Why should we run it? We're on the other side,'" Overend recalled.
Overend also tried reporting details of his investigation for his primary employer at the time, CBS News. "But the story required a longer telling than broadcast permits," he wrote in National Review . Overend had written a two-minute radio commentary for Walter Cronkite following Hubbard's initial admission that he had lied about his military rank.
Overend said he was then forced to contact a publication with which he would not ordinarily involve himself.
"I wrote it for National Review because it was a very political time and I had written other stuff for The Nation . And in fact, the week National Review came out with my story, I had another story in the Nation the same week," Overend said.
Tim Graham, director of media analysis for the Media Research Center, the parent organization of CNSNews.com, said he is not surprised that Overend had such a difficult time trying to publish his article on Hubbard.
"Anyone who studies the media coverage of John Kerry in 1971 will see it's about as one-sided and promotional as John Kerry coverage in 2004, perhaps more so," Graham said.
Referring to the lack of interest shown by news outlets other than National Review, Graham noted that, "bias by omission is a powerful media tool."
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