Skip to comments.Westmoreland vs. CBS (CBS has a history of bad news reports)
Posted on 09/16/2004 12:18:43 PM PDT by BMC1
The months of charges, counter-charges, investigations, and denials following the airing by CBS-TV of The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception on January 23, 1982, took a step toward resolution when retired General William C. Westmoreland filed a $120-million libel suit against CBS. Westmoreland contends that CBS committed the libel by portraying him as the principal villain in a conspiracy to falsify and suppress critical intelligence data describing Vietnamese strength before the Tet attack. Like Tet, the road to the courts has already had a tangled history, but unlike Tet, the last shot has yet to be fired.
...THE months of charges, counter-charges, investigations, and denials following the airing by CBS-TV of The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception on January 23, 1982, took a step toward resolution when retired General William C. Westmoreland filed a $120-million libel suit against CBS...
...On November 24, 1967, Brigadier General Winant Sidle, General Westmoreland's Public Affairs Officerafter the Hawaii OB conference, after the Saigon conference, after the SNIE was published, and with apparent inter-agency clearance-met with the press in Saigon...
...On August 10, 1982, General Westmoreland asked CBS for a public apology, to be accomplished by his appearance on the network for forty-five unedited minutes, plus unspecified monetary compensation for the damage done to his reputation...
...Nonetheless, CBS reported on the air eight months later that "in an interview General Westmoreland surprised us by contradicting his official record...
Thanks. I was thinking about this case the other day.
If someone wants more information on CBS and their LYING HIT PIECES, Check this out. It's a VERY long article, but very interesting.
For the younger crowd - the media, who generally sat on their butts in Saigon got daily briefings from the brass. To give you an idea where the media's ideaology was, they referred to the briefings as the "5 O'clock follies".
No, no prejudice there.
General Westmorland got an out of court payment from CBS. Wonder how much it was ?
Nobody ever said how much Westmorland got, but it was so large, CBS lost their liability insurance.
The New York Times (of all things!) coverd this fiasco. It found that CBS repeatedly mislead Westmorland as to subject and content of the interview, that CBS shopped around for a "researceher" (sound familiar?) that would trash Westmorland and strongly imply that Westmorland was at best incompetent and dishonest, at worst a traitor.
The "researcher" was put on the payroll as a "consultant", apparently in violation of the network's own rules. Moreover, the "consultant" was allowed to see video of Westmorland's surprise grilling (he had no idea that CBS was going to accuse him of deliberately low-counting NVA troops and materiel) and then given time to rehearse rebuttals. Westmorland, clearly taken aback, looks like an imcompetent ass, and is then slandered by a guy (on the CBS payroll, mind you) that not only did not fight in the Vietnam war, but didn't even have access to the same intel reports that Westmorland's MACV command had.
Years later, after many book about the Tet offensive (which CBS blamed on Gen. Westmorland) were published, the real story came out: the U.S. was long aware of preparations for a North Vietnamese offensive against our military there, and was prepared to engage the enemy heads up (a difficult task up to that point)in a decisive battle that would hopefully end the war. Westmorland was doing what any competent commander would do: he was waiting for the enemy to expose himself in a stand-up battle.
Instead of taking place a Khe Sanh, it avoided the U.S. forces and struck South Vietnamese civilians lived in the cities. At any rate, the Viet Cong were decimated; something like 25,000 were killed in less than a month's fighting. Despite this, our TV networks declared the Tet offensive a major victory for our enemies and this permanently turned the American public against the war. (Do I have to tell the name of the CBS correspondant to Vietnam in those days? He's in a little bit of trouble with some forged documents these days)
After Westmorland filed libel against the network,CBS behaved childishly and arroganty (sound familiar?)throughout. They also scolded the reporters from the Times that investigated CBS' dirty deeds. An amusing sidebar to the story of "60 Slanders" unbecoming conduct came when the Columbia School of Journalism awarded its version of the Oscar to the two Times reporters that covered the story. CBS bleated and whined, but by then the damage was done.
For me, it marked the last time that I ever watched 60 Minutes.