May 16, 2004
Not to dismiss Seymour Hersh's latest accusation against Donald Rumsfeld, the Bush administration, and the U.S. military (his previous Abu Ghraib stories seem to have held up), realize that this prize-winning investigative reporter isn't perfect. Last year in a story accusing the administration of misusing intelligence, he maintained the myth that President Bush claimed Iraq was an "imminent" threat. The closest critics came to proving this was an encounter between Rumsfeld and Tom Friedman on Face the Nation, and that was a stretch.
Next, we look at Hersh's book on John F. Kennedy, The Dark Side of Camelot. Hersh almost "proved" a JFK/Marilyn Monroe affair based on evidence proven to be a forgery. That didn't stop him from making his claims which amount to "unsubstantiated celebrity rumors" in the words of Edward Jay Epstein. Hersh then bases claims that JFK was a bigamist and was in cahoots with the mob to kill Castro on witness memories that appeared only recently.