FAIR asks why Kerry's "missteps" are a story for the media and Bush's representations aren't: Time magazine's May 10 story, "What Kerry Meant to Say," is a typical example of recent Kerry coverage. After noting Kerry's opportunities to score points against a White House besieged by questions about Iraq, the September 11 commission and the Supreme Court, reporter Karen Tumulty asks, "'But what did the challenger find himself talking about for three days?' The answer is whether or not Kerry threw away his medals or his ribbons in the early 1970s." Tumulty attributes this story line to a personal flaw in Kerry: The campaign has been largely about the "traps that the Bush campaign is adept at setting for Kerry, and the personality trait that makes Kerry walk right into them." In fact, of course, it's up to the media to decide what questions to ask candidates and which issues to run stories about. And again and again, the press corps has latched onto stories of dubious importance in order to portray Kerry as faltering or changing course.


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