The headline on The Seattle Times article is:
Kerry accepts “swift boat” challenge
The punctuation is wrong. It should be:
Kerry “accepts” swift boat challenge
If Kerry had really accepted it, he would have provided evidence that the Swift Boaters lied. But he has not done that; therefore, that term should have been put in quotes.
And it’s cute the way that James Rainey, the writer of that article, is hedging. It suggests that Kerry is an embarrassment to the media/Democrats and they know it, but still they have to stand up for their guy. He writes:
Since the 2004 campaign, Kerry and other Democrats have come to label what they believe are unwarranted political attacks as “swift boating.”
You gotta love that term, “unwarranted.” That’s a loophole big enough to drive a slow boat through. According to dictionaries, the term can mean “incapable of being justified or explained.” Of course, if Kerry would release his military records, the attacks could either be explained or justified better. Or they could be refuted, and Pickens would have to cough up his million dollars.
The term can also mean “lacking justification or authorization.” I suspect (through process of elimination) that the latter is what Rainey means. The Swift Boaters weren’t authorized by the Democrat/Media/Celebrity machine to say nasty things about him; therefore, they should not have said those things.