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September 20, 2004

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Lesley

Tom, poor Mary Mapes may have bigger problems on her hands than the loss of a job: American Thinker, September 17, 2004 "Rathergate producer Mapes needs to get a lawyer."

The Lapsed Randian

I was struck by the term reporting "without fear or favoritism..." Just like every Marine on patrol in Baghdad, I'm sure ole Danny has had to look "fear" in the eye so many times in his life. Such courage it takes to be an anchorman. Why, the man must have ice water in his veins... His unintentional self-regard is exceeded only by his intentionally cheap use of language.

Brian

Not that I am trying to defend what was a seriously awful lapse in judgment, but what did his producers know that he didn't know?

Patrick R. Sullivan

Aka, the modified, limited, hangout. Or:

http://flyunderthebridge.blogspot.com/2004/09/cbs-to-ny-times-dans-career-is.html

"Courage".

Cecil Turner

If this e-mail is legit, it's the first confirmation that the source was Bill Burkett (isn't it?):

CBS News has done extensive additional reporting in an effort to confirm the documents' authenticity. That included interviews with Marian Carr Knox, secretary to the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, the officer named as the author of the documents; an interview with Bill Burkett, the former Guard officer who provided the memos to 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY; and a further review of the forensic evidence on both sides of the debate.
If so, it'd make CBS's confidence in the story even less explicable. I wonder when we'll get around to tracking down the forger?

jamesbray

I'm thinking that Dan's CBS associates are giving him copies of Tom Clancey's(sp) "Without Remorse" where, at the end, the scumbag caught in his lies steps in front of bus; but I could be wrong.

George

Here's a comment I posted over at "Oh That Liberal Media":

[A] lot of people like and trust Dan Rather. They are called liberals. They want Dan to stay right where he is. CBS is aware of this; the right-of-center blogosphere is not.

The denizens here can fuss and fume all they like, but their perspective is different from that of CBS. There are monetary factors involved which many blogs don't acknowledge or perhaps don't recognize.

Russ

I keep wondering to myself, at what point can bloggers declare victory?

Every statement from Rather and CBS seems designed to backtrack as little as humanly possible. Consequently, they are dying the death of a thousand cuts rather than just getting it over with in a manner more likely to preserve the shreds of their credibility that remain.

As some have noted, think of how Johnson & Johnson behaved during the poisoned Tylenol incident.

I suspect CBS will never, ever, under any circumstance offer a retraction of the story itself, despite the complete lack of evidence for their assertions.

"Without fear or favoritism," my ass.

Brian

"There are monetary factors involved which many blogs don't acknowledge or perhaps don't recognize."

George, I assume that you are talking about a rush to get this on the air and thus get higher ratings and all of the goodies that come along with it. Does it excuse what CBS did? Not really, no. It does explain why they did it.

And while right-wingers can dance about for some time over this, it's not going to be a permanent blow to CBS. If making misleading, distorted, or downright false statements were massive black marks that could not be overcome, the editorialists (and certain columnists) on The Wall Street Journal editorial page would have been out on their asses a long time ago.

BumperStickerist

"... and while we may never know for certain the source of the documents which were used as the documentation for our story of how George Bush shirked his military duties and disobeyed orders during a time of war, we do apologize.

Chiron: Those responsible for the initial vetting of the story have been sacked.

As a newsman for forty years, I have been in the forefront of holding public officials accountable for their actions. Firm, but fair. An honest broker for the truth, a truth I bring to you nightly, a truth like the truth that I've known George W. Bush for about thirty years. Hell, I'm a Texan. You think I don't know about Texans. George Bush is no Texan, just a fancy-pants New Englander with a swagger. Hell, my dick swaggers more than Bush, cuz I'm a TEXAN.

Chiron: Those responsible for the sacking of the people who were sacked, have been sacked. The news will now be read by Ralph The Wonder Llama.

Tom Bowler

In the new interview Burkett, a retired National Guard lieutenant colonel, also admitted that he deliberately misled the CBS News producer working on the report, giving her "a false account of the documents' origins to protect a promise of confidentiality to the actual source," CBS said.
What a surprise! There's a confidential source to be protected! In keeping with "longstanding journalistic ethics" of course.

George

George, I assume that you are talking about a rush to get this on the air and thus get higher ratings...

Actually, I had something more prosaic in mind. CBS News is part of the liberal media (yes, THAT liberal media). CBS News approaches the news from a liberal point of view. Its viewers (by and large) share or accept that point of view.

The CBS News audience (again, by and large) DOESN'T CARE very much that faked documents were promoted as authentic by Dan Rather. From their perspective, you win some and you lose some - and in any event, they don't believe Dan was aware, a priori, of the fraud. They've been watching Rather for over 30 years and they're comfortable with him, thank you. These liberal viewers have no desire whatsoever in seeing CBS News turned upside-down.

Cecil Turner

"And while right-wingers can dance about for some time over this, it's not going to be a permanent blow to CBS."

It won't be if they actually come clean on it. But it's far worse than any distortion I can think of from the WSJ Editorials . . . and news programs are usually held to a bit of a higher standard.

And again, if the source was Burkett, CBS has some serious explaining to do. Considering him credible, especially after he'd previously attempted to tout the "files in the wastebasket" story, is frankly incredible. It's also too bad CBS is finally admitting error. I'd looked forward to slapping 'em around for a bit longer. (Now we see the violence inherent in the system . . .)

Les Nessman

"..the editorialists (and certain columnists) on The Wall Street Journal editorial page would have been out on their asses a long time ago."

Is Rather an editorialist or a reporter?

Did he say 'This is just MY opinion...' or did he say 'This is a news report that you can believe...'?

Give it up. Admit Rather and CBS made a huge mistake and move on with your life.

MaDr

I vote for firing Mapes and letting Blather linger on. You fire delusional Dan and you've created a martyr for the Left (and the MSM). You left Dingo linger, and the independent investigation dither while the MSM cries "MoveOn, it's being handled" - you've got the perfect Rovellian trap set to spring. Won't this expose even more of the partisan Left media?

Smaack

The BIG question:

Rather said tonight of Burkett that: "He didn't come to us - we went to him."

So WHO told CBS to go to Burkett?

WHO would CBS believe to be an "unimpeachable source?" A crank with two nervous breakdowns who's compared Bush to Hitler and Napoleon?

Or a former Secretary of Veteran's Affairs and US Senator?

WHO did Burkett call about having information?

WHO hates Bush so much that he would make a fool of himself begging in front of the Crawford Ranch for Bush to disavow the Swifty's ads?

Who?

Well... at the risk of "attacking his patriotism"...

Max Cleland?

George

Interesting, smaak -- but not a very big deal, imo. Cleland is highly partisan, but so are lots of people; Cleland (probably) hates Bush, but so what else is new?

The difficulty with this whole insider-conspiracy thingy is that...even if the "documents" were valid, and Bush got preferential Guard treatment, and if Bush didn't report for some physical exam as he (allegedly) was told to do...none of it amounts to a hill of beans. Not one single voter's opinion is or could be swayed by "docu-gate". Sorry.

Brian

"Actually, I had something more prosaic in mind. CBS News is part of the liberal media (yes, THAT liberal media)."

Oh, brother.

Brian

"Is Rather an editorialist or a reporter?

Did he say 'This is just MY opinion...' or did he say 'This is a news report that you can believe...'"

Ah, this lovely defense. The fact that editorialists are giving opinions does not entitle them to make shit up.

"Give it up. Admit Rather and CBS made a huge mistake and move on with your life."

Are you fucking kidding me? I am NOT defending Rather. I thought that much was clear.

Yes, he did make a big mistake, and it will be a sour patch in his life, no matter what. But it won't be the end for him.

The thing is, no matter what CBS or Rather's mistakes are, I know that Bush's military record isn't as rosy as everyone likes to believe.

Bostonian

George, I think you're wrong.

I think this case could potentially open the eyes of some voters and make them wonder how else the mainstream media has lied to them. These people might decide to discount some of the things they've heard in the press and vote differently.

I know one such person, anyway. Rathergate has contributed to a slow, gradual change of view. It is a clear piece of evidence of the MSM's distortion of facts, and she's quite shocked by it, actually.

Cecil Turner

"Not one single voter's opinion is or could be swayed by "docu-gate"."

Not many would get excited about the merits of Guard service, surely. But a conspiracy to commit fraud to influence an election? Or even covering it up? That's a horse of a different color. If the perpetrator were the President, it'd be an impeachable offense . . . and if it was the challenger, it'd be a disqualifier. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a single-digit swing vote negatively influenced by perceived DNC dirty tricks. And in fact, that may explain some of the current shift.

George

George, I think you're wrong.

I think this case could potentially open the eyes of some voters and make them wonder how else the mainstream media has lied to them.

Interesting, and not out of the question.

But I'd still suggest that the CONTENT of "docu-gate" -- and the very, er, antiquity (relatively speaking) of that content -- make the whole thing, for most Americans, simply a tempest in a teacup ... excepting those few devotees of media conspiracy theory.

(the other) John Hawkins

I think George's point is worth considering. I mean, Michael Moore makes tons of money and his fans don't mind that most of what he says is made-up, out of context, or otherwise misleading. They just care that he validates their world-view, and they're willing to pay for that.

CBS was already in last place among the broadcast news networks, and losing viewers. Why not retrench and try to capture the Michael Moore demographic. Preach to the chior.

TomCom

Brian

You say:

"The thing is, no matter what CBS or Rather's mistakes are, I know that Bush's military record isn't as rosy as everyone likes to believe."

Um, Brian, how do you know? (And when did you know it! But, of course, you always knew it!)

Typical Liberal crap: "Republicans are guilty of.... I know it, golly, I just know it, & you members of the VWRC can't make me stop believing it. So there. (By the way, Bush is too beholden to irrational Fundamentalists who accept everything on faith, the dummies!)"

TomCom

Brian

"Why not retrench and try to capture the Michael Moore demographic. Preach to the chior."

To try to become a mainstream Michael Moore or Ann Coulter - a paradox, it might seem - would a stupid move for CBS, for a reasons. It'd get no major advertisers, credible guests, and its prize news stars, like the "60 Minutes" people, would flee. All of that would create a web of negative spin. More than that, regular CBS programming, such as "CSI" or "ELR," would suffer, and that would drive Viacom nuts, before it went out of business. I could go on and on. And the Republicans know all this.

You can only cater to a niche demographic all the time on cable. "The O'Reilly Factor" may be the King of Primetime Cable, but he'd never survive with his ratings on a major network like CBS.

Let's get real.

To sug

J_Crater

I expect this stuff to come up in some completely unrelated story someday, when the interviewee get boxed in and retorts something about "how you and CBS didn't seem to have any trouble doing the same thing I did".
Of course, it will end up on the editing room floor.

J_Crater

"Lockhart, the second Kerry ally to confirm contact with retired Texas National Guard officer Bill Burkett, said he made the call at the suggestion of CBS producer Mary Mapes."
So, is Joe Lockhart the "unimpeachable" source ?

Brian

TomCom,

Go read that devastating US News piece, for starters.

Brian

"So, is Joe Lockhart the 'unimpeachable' source ?"

What are you suggesting? It can't be what I think.

Tim

Perhaps, if CBS does create a panel and investigate, scrutiny should shift to USA Today? Who was their source of these same six memos? What's their story?

ATM

Whatever Bush did or didn't do is more than canceled out by Kerry's manipulation of the 3 Purple Heart rule with what is likely to be two unearned Purple hearts and anti-war activities back home and in Paris.

Frankly I don't know why Kerry is trying to promote his Vietnam service. It's clear to everyone that a very large number of military and veterans see his slander against fellow servicemen as a disqualification for the presidency. The public sees that veterans and the military don't care much for him, and have taken this into consideration in evaluating his military service.

Brian

ATM,

Didn't the Navy just rule that the medals were properly awarded?

Also, Kerry's service was emphasized to prove that he would defend the country, that he was not the pansy that the Bush people want to portray him as, and maybe even that Bush is a pansy (accurate, by the way). And so on. Do you get the idea?

J_Crater

Now we have Joe "king-size-jerk" Lockhart, doing the leg work for CBS. Fire them all .. all the way up to and including Sumner Redstone. Strip CBS of it's press credentials for Congress and the White House. The message that CBS and this a..hole from the Kerry campaign need to hear, and needs to be impressed on the entire press corps, is there is a price to be paid for colossal stupidity.

Does Joe Lockhart actually have s..t for brains ? It must be true. This cretin should be fired more than once by the Kerry campaign. "Political death" is too good for him.

Brian

J Crater,

What evidence is there that Lockhart did anything wrong? Burkett wanted to contact hi; CBS helped. And did he forge the memos?

Les Nessman

'"Is Rather an editorialist or a reporter?

Did he say 'This is just MY opinion...' or did he say 'This is a news report that you can believe...'"

Ah, this lovely defense. The fact that editorialists are giving opinions does not entitle them to make shit up.'

If you won't see the huge difference between editorial comments and a supposedly 'hard' news story, then perhaps you are just trying to deflect some of the deserved attention from CBS's deception.

"The thing is, no matter what CBS or Rather's mistakes are, I know that Bush's military record isn't as rosy as everyone likes to believe."

'EVERYONE likes to believe'? Got anything approaching proof for that statement? No, you don't. Bush, nor anyone here, have never bragged about what a rosy military record he had three decades ago. Kerry has been doing exactly that and he got into trouble when a lot of his fellow veterans came forward and said he was a fibbing glory-hound. Which is why CBS dredged up this hoary old story about Bush. Funny how CBS made a 'mistake' using fake documents that *just happens* to be negative against Bush. Just like the 'fake turkey' story last Thanksgiving. If it was just a 'mistake' we'd see fake negative stories about Kerry, too.

What it really is is 'mistakes' based on bias Bush.
(The last was an editorial comment on my part.)

I drop f-bombs too, but just remember that we're having an Argument; no vitriol meant from me.


Cecil Turner

"Didn't the Navy just rule that the medals were properly awarded?"

Not exactly. The investigation found that the procedures were followed properly:

"In particular, the senior officers who awarded the medals were properly delegated authority to do so. In addition, we found that they correctly followed the procedures in place at the time for approving these awards."
It was rather less definitive over whether they were actually earned:
"Conducting any additional review regarding events that took place over 30 years ago would not be productive. The passage of time would make reconstruction of the facts and circumstances unreliable, and would not allow the information gathered to be considered in the context of the time in which the events took place."
Rough translation: "we want no part of this . . . argue it out amongst yourselves."

"Also, Kerry's service was emphasized to prove that he would defend the country, that he was not the pansy that the Bush people want to portray him as . . ."

Yeah, the Band of Brothers thing. Real smooth. Did that sound like a good idea to you? Because most folks I know find 35 year-old military records nearly irrelevant to the presidency . . . and would be a lot more comfortable with an actual position on the War on Terror (and especially how Iraq fits into it).

Les Nessman

argh!

It should read '..bias against Bush.'

sheesh.

(the other) John Hawkins

Brian,

Advertisers are already fleeing broadcast TV. Mitsubishi just pulled all advertising from broadcast. Too expensive, and a shrinking audience.

Broadcast ain't what it used to be. Another five years and CBS would kill to have O'Reilly's ratings.

TomCom

Brian

I just read what you said again:

"Bush's military record isn't as rosy as everyone likes to believe."

That statement is meaningless & thus impossible to address.

TomCom

PS: No one has refuted the fact that Bush served honorably in the NG, & that he had an MOS which was far from chicken-s**t. That's satisfactory, if not rosy, enough for most of us.

TomCom

Brian

You say to J. Crater:

"What evidence is there that Lockhart did anything wrong? Burkett wanted to contact hi; CBS helped. And did he forge the memos?"

I'll let JC answer for himself, but, entre nous (a little French in honor of Kerry!), are you a member of the DNC? You'd say the same thing if it developed that Karl The Evil Genius had called Rush L. on some GOP attack point, right?

TomCom

Brian

"PS: No one has refuted the fact that Bush served honorably in the NG, & that he had an MOS which was far from chicken-s**t. That's satisfactory, if not rosy, enough for most of us."

Uh, go read that US News piece, for starters.

Brian

Les,

"If you won't see the huge difference between editorial comments and a supposedly 'hard' news story, then perhaps you are just trying to deflect some of the deserved attention from CBS's deception."

Oh, brother. I do see the difference. Your problem is, you imply that editorialists should be held to lower standards than straight reporters when it comes to facts. That's nonsense.


"Got anything approaching proof for that statement? No, you don't"

Go read the US News piece.

Also, do you deny that he received special treatment when it comes to getting into the Guard?

Brian

Cecil,

I more or less agree that it should be irrelevant and/or that most people would find it irrelevant, in the grand scheme of things, but it's not too idiotic of a strategy. It makes a lot of sense, in fact.

I bet Kerry didn't expect people to come out and smear him and lie about him, though. Or maybe he felt that their nonsense wouldn't stick.

Brian

Cecil,

Oh yeah, I realized that I was way too murky on the Navy investigation deal. But don't you think it means anything positive for Kerry?

Brian

"Broadcast ain't what it used to be. Another five years and CBS would kill to have O'Reilly's ratings."

I follow media stuff pretty closely, and I know that broadcast ratings are down, but that doesn't mean it would be wise to try and cater to a nice audience. Even if The CBS Evening News continues to tank, they have other valuable properties that would be destroyed if they tried something like that.

TomCom

Brian

Nice Try.

No one, US News, The NYT, The DNC Gazette, Moveon.org, Dan Blather, or all the kings horses, has "refuted the fact that Bush served honorably in the NG, & that he had an MOS which was far from chicken-s**t. That's satisfactory, if not rosy, enough for most of us".

You can't even state your Bush Nat Guard points, whatever they are, in plaintext, for crying out loud. For instance, what do you mean by "special treatment"?

TomCom

PS: You won't answer my Q about your posture if CBS had had contacts with Karl The Evil Genius as opposed to its real contacts with Joe Lockhart. I guess that, like your candidate, you won't answer hypothetical QQ!


Cecil Turner

"I realized that I was way too murky on the Navy investigation deal. But don't you think it means anything positive for Kerry? "

No. In fact, the more attention it draws to the story, the more it hurts him. His problem has nothing to do with the number of shiny things he's authorized to wear on his chest, it has to do with a perception that he's puffing up his resume for political gain.

The military-loathing types just don't get this one. They seem to think service is a medals contest, and their guy has more! Most veterans don't value medals (much) . . . they value service. There are many questions with Kerry's, but the biggest is that he seems to be a bit too concerned with the welfare of number one, sometimes to the detriment of the team. (And while there's plenty of "careerism" in the Services, it grates.)

By Rassmann's admission, Kerry's last purple heart was a friendly grenade fragment, and not during a firefight. None of the witnesses in his first purple heart incident reported seeing enemy fire. At best, those are questionable. It's not a big deal, but most veterans aren't impressed, and most non-military types who care about it will ask a veteran. He'd do himself no end of favors by changing the subject.

Brian

TomCom,

Go read the goddamn US News piece. Now.

And Tom, just what the hell do you think I mean by "special treatment"?

Brian

Cecil,

I think you missed my point.

So you don't think he served honorably and didn't deserved his medals?

At this point, it would be good for the campaign to focus on something else, since the Swift Boat Liars have smeared him so much.

Cecil Turner

"I think you missed my point."

Maybe. I'm pretty sure you missed mine. His overall service was honorable (just like the President's, by the way). His harping on it as a campaign issue is idiotic. (And the same can be said for those who harp on Bush's Guard service, which, fairly or not, causes a backlash that hurts Kerry.)

"At this point, it would be good for the campaign to focus on something else, since the Swift Boat Liars have smeared him so much."

This is a big part of what's hurting Kerry. A pained look, and a "I'm sorry they feel that way . . . I was young, then, and a bit overzealous . . . but I had only their best interests at heart" would have totally defused the attack and made him look gracious in the midst of a misunderstanding. Calling them liars (especially when they're scoring rather better than the Kerry campaign on verifiable points) is idiotic. Kerry's medals are a bit puffed--but that was common at the time. The medals don't matter. Again, they just don't get it: the 35 year-old stuff just doesn't matter . . . but the reaction to it today does.

Les Nessman

""The thing is, no matter what CBS or Rather's mistakes are, I know that Bush's military record isn't as rosy as everyone likes to believe."

'EVERYONE likes to believe'? Got anything approaching proof for that statement? No, you don't. Bush, nor anyone here, have never bragged about what a rosy military record he had three decades ago.

Go read the US News piece.""

So Brian, you admit you are wrong? 'Not EVERYONE likes to believe'like you do.


Give it up already. You're fighting 35 year old battles and covering for present day scandals that should have been put to rest years ago.
Look to the future, or at least to the present.

Brian

"Give it up already. You're fighting 35 year old battles and covering for present day scandals that should have been put to rest years ago."

Oy. Do I personally think Bush is a bad person because he didn't do everything he should have done? Not really. It just annoys the shit out of me that (a) he gets unadored respect from both outside and inside the military when he doesn't deserve it all and (b) that his administration and its supporters impugn the patriotism of those who dare to question it. And other stuff like that.

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