Nagging Questions About Kerry's Military Records Released to the Public--

Thomas Lipscomb of the Chicago Sun-Times has a column on nagging doubts about the Kerry releases of military records to the Boston Globe and the LA Times (tip to Powerline).

An excerpt:

Now that the Boston Globe has in its possession what it claims are Kerry's "full military and medical records" is the Globe ready to make these much-anticipated records available to the public? Managing Editor Mary Jane Wilkinson replied, "It is my understanding that Kerry will release these papers to anyone else now that he has signed the Form 180. The Boston Globe is not going to make available the papers we have received."

But "the onus is on the Globe to explain why they are not releasing the records. They at least ought to give the public some reason," according to former journalism dean and Fordham University Larkin professor Everette Dennis.

"With the opportunity to release the Kerry material on the internet inexpensively, there certainly is no physical problem preventing the Globe from publishing them," Bill Gaines, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Knight Professor of Journalism at the University of Illinois, told me. "The decision they have made certainly doesn't seem to be in the interest of their readers and not very good journalism."

Both the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times claim that Kerry will release any papers in their possession to anyone else who applies. But that isn't what The New York Sun's Josh Gerstein found when he called Kerry's able press representative, David Wade. Gerstein reports: "Asked whether the senator would permit release of the records to The New York Sun, Mr. Wade said, 'The issue is over.'"

But it isn't. And it won't be until the public has access to the SF-180 which procured release of the papers. Freedom of Information Act requests for it are now under way. Those requests will most likely be successful, perhaps as early as next week. And there is nothing barring its release before those requests are processed but John Kerry, and The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe. ...

And The Boston Globe made several calls to editors at the Chicago Sun-Times, complaining that I was giving them the kind of unpleasant treatment reporters give sources who stonewall on questions about matters they think are of vital public interest. They were right. I was. And those questions got the Globe to admit they had the SF-180 two days later.

Perhaps now they will release it and even Kerry's worst critics will find it in order and finally be silenced. In that case, David Wade may be right: "The issue is over."

I guess I was surprised that there were no military records that cleared up issues previously raised about Kerry's Carter-era discharge records.

I also have a post on Kerry's grades.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Bush and Kerry Grades at Yale.--
  2. Nagging Questions About Kerry's Military Records Released to the Public--
Bush and Kerry Grades at Yale.--

My belated take on Bush's and Kerry's Yale grades:

One question struck me about even the one issue that people discussed about the Kerry release: his Yale transcript. The press reports compared Bush's grades for 3 years to Kerry's for 4 years, yet both Kerry and Bush were depicted as starting poorly and improving over the 4 years. If one excludes Kerry's last year average of 81, and compares the first three years only, then from the rounded numbers reported by the Globe, Kerry's average would be about 74.3 and Bush's would be about 77, a somewhat bigger difference than reported. Of course, there could have been a little bit of grade inflation in the two year difference (though probably not much).

According to a Google cache of a discussion list (sorry, my attempts to link failed), the grades for Bush's last year (1967-68) were reported by the New Yorker in 1999 as 6 High Passes and 4 Passes. My experience at Yale starting in 1970 was that Passes when instituted were supposed to be the normal grade combining most Bs and Cs, but within a few years at least, a Pass became equivalent to a C, a High Pass to a B, and an Honors (perhaps called "Superior" in 1967-68) equivalent to an A. For summarizing grades for LSAC (law school) transcripts, that was the conversion used in 1973 at least: Pass=C and High Pass=B. So if Bush's last year were converted to the same numerical system used his first three years, then he would have had a 4-year average at least a point higher: 78.

One of my first blogging posts (What Kerry was doing at Yale) was about two different accounts of Kerry's years at Yale, both probably with more than a grain of truth in them.