McCain POW Footage Released

The French National Archive has released video footage of John McCain being interviewed as a Vietnam POW. 

The Sky News report opens rather amusingly:

The video portrays the Republican as a hero but the message may be tarnished as he is filmed smoking a cigarette.

I suspect he’ll be forgiven.

He also describes being shot down over Hanoi in 1967, and parachuting into a lake. At times, when speaking of his family, McCain’s lower lip trembles and his voice breaks. “I was on a flight over the city (Hanoi) … and I was bombing and I was hit by a missile or anti-aircraft fire, I’m not sure which,” he said, adding that his plane “went straight down”. After landing in the lake, McCain said he “was picked up and taken to the hospital, where I almost died”.

This is rather odd:

French reporter Francois Chalais conducted the interview , which was first broadcast on French television program Panorama in January 1968.

The journalist’s widow, Mei Chen Chalais, is seeking payment from several television broadcasters in France and the US for the unauthorised use of the footage. Her lawyers have even written to the McCain campaign as its website features a few seconds of the footage, which Chalais said was done without her approval.

One would think the subject would have some rights to use the footage.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, US Politics, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    James;

    Is there any indication what her motivation is on this? Seems to me the money involved can’t be over-large.

  2. Anderson says:

    The cigarette remark puzzled me too; I guess the notion is that he didn’t have it THAT hard if he got a cig. Which is silly of course.

    That said, it’s possible to exaggerate anyone’s courage, even McCain’s:

    That was when the keeper of McCain’s biography, Mark Salter, took the floor. There’s a reason McCain bucks his party, McDonald remembers Salter arguing. It’s because he puts his country ahead of party. Then the speechwriter, who is not known for his dispassion, began to yell: “We’re talking about someone who was willing to die before losing his honor! He would die!”

    Of course, McCain did in fact break under torture and give a statement impugning the U.S. But Mr. Salter seems to have gotten caught up in his own imagination.

  3. G.A.Phillips says:

    The cigarette remark puzzled me too; I guess the notion is that he didn’t have it THAT hard if he got a cig. Which is silly of course.

    It seems obvious that the interviewers gave him the smoke. Remember not to long ago you could smoke anywhere.I think he was being PC.

  4. mnotaro says:

    Of course Obama’s camp and the liberal illuminati media would find something wrong with McCain’s video….”He was smoking and smoking is bad for you”…blah blah blah….who cares!! They are just grasping at straws here trying to find something Anti-McCain from that video. They knew that video would make people have respect and sympathy for McCain and realize how much that man has gone through and what a hero that video proves that McCain is!

  5. Anderson says:

    Oh yeah, Sky is sure part of the liberal illuminati:

    Sky News is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation via his holding in British Sky Broadcasting

    That liberal illuminatus, Rupert Murdoch.

  6. Jim Henley says:

    hey knew that video would make people have respect and sympathy for McCain and realize how much that man has gone through and what a hero that video proves that McCain is!

    Certainly the video gives me sympathy for McCain: the look of terror and grief on his face is deeply human. The video doesn’t prove him to be a hero in any sense, any more than McCain’s apparent violations in the video of the letter of the military code of prisoner conduct at the time prove him to be a weakling or villain – the military later changed the rules based on experiences like McCain’s. Nor does it prove that he’s up to the job of being president. It’s just a fascinating look at a particular moment in time, and a particular case of human suffering.