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Down the memory hole with the Beeb

As pointed out by Rush Limbaugh, the BBC story on the Kerry intern scandal "US campaign begins to get dirty" appears to have had a bit of a "transformation" when we weren't looking.

Here's a section of the original version:

The Kerry story

The story is about whether Senator Kerry had a recent affair with a young woman intern. (Interns are young people, often students, who take short-term, unpaid jobs in political and other offices in order to get experience. Monica Lewinsky, of course, was one.)

The question, it appears, was first raised by aides in the campaign of retired General Wesley Clark, who himself was quoted as saying that Kerry's campaign might "implode". It has not so far and Clark has even endorsed Kerry himself.

Senator Kerry himself said initially: "There is nothing to report" and then when that was challenged as a Clinton style non-denial, he stated clearly enough: "I just deny it categorically. It's untrue."

His supporters hope that this is an end to it. His opponents perhaps hope that he will be caught out. Lying in these cases is usually far worse than the original offence.

Mainstream media defence

The Washington Post London correspondent Glenn Frankel, a Pulitzer Prize winner and former editor of the Post's Sunday magazine, defended his newspaper's editorial judgment.

"We've been down this road many, many times before. We are extremely reluctant to follow this kind of thing up unless there is a really, really compelling public interest. We don't feel there is any reason to until it reaches a threshold.

"All we have at the moment is that the woman's parents, who are republicans, don't like Senator Kerry.

"In any case, nobody would be too shocked if Kerry lied about an affair. Even if someone came to us with photographs we still wouldn't run it. Lying to Don Imus [the radio host to whom Kerry gave his initial denial] is not a federal offence."

The early jousting holds the promise of a campaign with few holds barred. It is a delicate game because it can backfire and allegations are often floated through the undergrowth of the internet to see how far they get. Both campaigns muster big teams to counter whatever might emerge.

A long tradition

Dirty tricks, though, are part of American political life...

And, here's the same section from the new and improved version:

The Kerry story

The story was about whether Senator Kerry had a recent affair with a young woman.

The question, it appears, was first raised by aides in the campaign of retired General Wesley Clark, who himself was quoted as saying that Kerry's campaign might "implode". It has not so far and Clark has even endorsed Kerry himself.

Senator Kerry himself said initially: "There is nothing to report" and then when that was challenged as a Clinton style non-denial, he stated clearly enough: "I just deny it categorically. It's untrue."

The young woman herself then issued a statement saying that there never had been a relationship. Her parents even said they would vote for Mr Kerry. End of story, really.

Mainstream media defence

The Washington Post London correspondent Glenn Frankel, a Pulitzer Prize winner and former editor of the Post's Sunday magazine, defended his newspaper's editorial judgment, which has proved correct.

"We've been down this road many, many times before. We are extremely reluctant to follow this kind of thing up unless there is a really, really compelling public interest. We don't feel there is any reason to until it reaches a threshold," he said.

Making accusations is a delicate game because it can all can backfire. Allegations, rumours even, are often often floated through the internet to see how far they get. In the Kerry case they have got nowhere. Both campaigns muster big teams to counter whatever might emerge.

A dirty trick which went wrong has already been exposed. This involved a photograph showing a youthful John Kerry sitting alongside Jane Fonda as she made a speech during an anti Vietnam war rally.

It turned out that two photos had been put together. In the original one of John Kerry, he is sitting on his own.

A long tradition

Dirty tricks, though, are part of American political life...

BTW, I didn't compare this line by line, but if I were going to I would probably use the free CSDiff program from ComponentSoftware.

Politics · Tue, 02/17/2004 - 11:30 · Importance: 1