You realize, of course, that if John Kerry loses as a result of this Swift boat nonsense, a year or so from now there'll be mewling, abject mea culpas from the media -- just like the ones The New York Times and The Washington Post published this year on pre-war Iraq coverage.
The mea culpas won't be from the elite newspapers, which have done a reasonably good job on this story. They'll be from Dan Rather and Aaron Brown, or maybe from suits at the networks or cable channels.
"In retrospect," one or more of these men will say, in a tone of regret before a gathering of broadcast insiders, "it appears that we failed to do due diligence on many of the claims advanced against Senator Kerry. And while we certainly challenged some of the assertions of Senator Kerry's critics, undue emphasis was placed on the charges and inadequate attention devoted to asserting their truth value."
This speech will take against the backdrop of the second Bush recession, or the descent into quagmire of the third Bush war. It will be politically safe to say these things. And it will be far too late.