Remember the Swift Boat Vets? I know, the memories… but reading through a fun blog, World O'Crap, I came across a piece on Hollywood winger-producer Harry Kloor, that brought me back to last summer.
Mr. Kloor, who now makes part of his living discussing his political efforts for conservative cruise audiences, ran last spring to the Swifties to offer his ‘B’-series interviewing services. His contribution was to extract bile from former Viet Navy men for their commercials. Courtesy of World O’ Crap, I came across a Knight-Ridder story by Tom Infield and Meg Laughlin that fills out a vet’s actual Swiftie experience vs. the television reality America saw last year on our screens.
Submitted for your approval, the interview experience of one Larry Thurlow, portrayed finally on air as an angry, betrayed Navy Swift Boat veteran. Thurlow later accused Kerry of lying about his battle experience, but appears to have been of a different frame of mind until worked on by the Swifties’ core members and producer:
“In a defining moment, on July 9 and 10, dozens of veterans, the group's top advisers and a film-making crew descended on a Marriott hotel in Rosslyn, Va., to film raw material for later commercials.
Swift boat veteran Larry Thurlow flew in from Bogue, Kan., after the group offered to pay his and his wife's expenses. Thurlow said he was hesitant to become involved but (Adm. Retired) Hoffmann kept asking him to join the group.
"The admiral helped me to see in hindsight what was really going on with Kerry," Thurlow said.
The veterans and a Studio City, Calif., film producer, Harry Kloor, moved to a Washington studio to film interviews for a later commercial that would be put together by LaCivita and another political ad man, Rick Reed, a member of a team that had worked for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in his 2000 campaign for president.
Thurlow said the vets were told some of what to say, with the caveat that they weren't expected to say anything they didn't believe.
"I was told to say, `On the river that day, Kerry fled.' But `fled' connotes fear and I understood why Kerry left, then returned, so I didn't use that word," Thurlow said.
Each of the veterans talked from five to 20 minutes - giving the film crew enough footage for 10 commercials.”
I work in the television business and this snippet is enough to tell me that with dozens of veterans being flown, expenses paid, into the DC area, amped-up to imagine Kerry as a traitor after conversations with Admiral Hoffman (and John O'Neill, a professional Kerry-hater) a producer could create ANYTHING.
Extracting statements similar to the one Mr. Thurlow rejected about Kerry ‘fleeing’ battle, there would be enough footage to edit together the vituperative Swiftie commercials, even if most of the vets were guys like Thurlow, in town to enjoy the sights, say a few qualified things, and head home, but meanwhile being led into at least one or two over-the-top statements that would become the thread of the stories portraying Kerry as the monster he became on air.
Remember this the next time we see an attack campaign, perhaps the coming part 2 of the current anti-AARP effort to support the Social Security phaseout effort later this year.