Something came to me while I was responding to Eric in the comments below. It's important enough that I thought I'd post it to the big board. He had pointed out that Sovay begins one post by saying that the matter is over her head. I replied:
Well, it's over almost everyone's head. Almost no one [that really should read, "relatively few"... there are some of us who do have, but a minority of Americans] has the background in military science to evaluate these claims, and thereby to recognize the trouble with some of Kerry's statements. The class of people who don't understand why his statements are probably false includes not just Sovay, but most American citizens, and very nearly all American journalists (NYTimes, call your office).I think this says a lot about the reasons why we aren't getting more traction with this story in the mainstream press. They honestly lack the background to evaluate the claims. All they can do is what they usually do: look for conflicts of interest, and pretend that human cynicism explains everything.
Bloggers who are trying to evaluate these claims tend to forget that. It's not just that these people are carrying water for Kerry--although many of the journalists seem to be--or that they just want to believe that Kerry is clean, and the SBVs are making "outrageous" claims. They don't have the faintest idea how to evaluate the claims themselves, so they fall back on what they do know -- which is why the NYTimes piece focuses on friendships and connections between certain SVBs and Republicans, or tracking the financing of the SBVFT. That's all they know how to do.
Because there is almost literally NO military expertise in journalism today, the whole field of investigative reporting is closed to them. The single most productive field for inquiry is unavailable, because even if they dug up the information, they wouldn't know what to make of it.