Skip to comments.WAS SAD MAX THE PART OF THE PHONY DOCUMENTS SCAM?
Posted on 09/20/2004 7:41:52 AM PDT by NotchJohnson
WAS SAD MAX THE PART OF THE PHONY DOCUMENTS SCAM?
How long has it been now? Two weeks? Two weeks ---- and Dan Rather is still stonewalling. Even though CBS seems to be ready to admit that it was duped, Rather is holding fast. He still has not admitted that those documents he so proudly flourished on 60 Minutes II the week before last were fakes. Forgeries. Phonies.
This past weekend CBS came up with a rather unusual twist. It was yet another glorious explanation of just why Dan Rather used those documents ... and how he was so terribly, absolutely, completely right to do so. See if you can follow this. Before the ill-fated 60 Minutes II show was aired some CBS reporters showed the documents to the White House and asked for comments. Since the White House didn't charge that the documents were forgeries at that time that must mean that they were real. So, you see, it was all the fault of the White House.
This morning we have the New York Times saying that CBS is preparing an announcement .. possibly for today ... that they were duped; that they had been deceived as to the origin of the documents. Unidentified CBS officials told Times reporters that the report was too flawed to go on the air. This turn-around was apparently prompted by the results of a weekend interview of retired National Guard Lt. Col Bill Burkett by Dan Rather and a CBS executive. Burkett is the man identified as the possible source of the CBS documents.
So .. now CBS is the victim? After two weeks of drinking their own Kool-Aid...insisting that the documents were accurate, and trotting out experts who supported their claims, suddenly CBS is the victim here? CBS wasn't duped - their viewers were. The documents were obvious forgeries, and CBS ignored the warnings from their own experts that they didn't look authentic. In other words, they're acting like they accepted a $100 bill drawn with a green crayon and were deceived. We're going to buy that, aren't we?
The story out today says that Rather still believes that what is in the documents is accurate. Sorry, but there's no logical way to arrive at that conclusion. The man who didn't write the memos died 20 years ago. His surviving kin (son and wife) say there's no way he wrote them. Yet we're supposed to believe Dan Rather and CBS News that the memos might be fake, but hey the contents are accurate! So why would they think that?
Because they want to believe it. Such is their pent-up Bush-bashing hatred that they are willing to broadcast a false story based on forged documents to advance a political cause. Dan Rather wanted revenge...and he smelled blood. This was going to be his big story to go out on....the news story that brought down a sitting president and led to his re-election defeat. Instead, their carefully constructed fantasy collapsed - and with it what was left of a major media institution's integrity. In the end, Rather didn't take down George W. Bush, he took down CBS News and his career.
The mystery has been just why Rather has seemed almost afraid to step forward and admit that the documents are forgeries! At this point virtually everyone else in the media -- and that includes the DC and NYC press corps -- knows the documents are fakes, his CBS bosses are about to capitulate, yet Rather is still using his "the documents may be fake, but they're correct" escape valve?
Dan Rather is perhaps the most partisan of the major broadcast network news anchors. His hatred of all things Bush approaches the pathological. I would submit to you that Dan Rather's burning desire to see John Kerry elected this fall has clouded his news judgment. He was all-too-eager to jump on a story that he thought could wound or possibly cripple Bush. I don't think for a moment that Rather would intentionally present documents he knew to be forged to his audience, even if he thought those documents would help his chosen candidate. Rather's eagerness to hurt George Bush caused him to stumble blindly into the forged documents scandal.
Stand by, folks. This story just might get far more interesting. CBS can't be allowed to get by with a "we were duped" admission. If they admit that the documents were forged, then the documents, who forged them, and how they got to CBS become the story. There should be no pretense at protecting sources. You don't protect sources who feed you bogus documents. To maintain even a sliver of journalistic integrity CBS will have to divulge just where those documents came from.
Divulging the source of those documents would be no problem to Dan Rather if that source was operating independently of the Democratic Party or of the Kerry Campaign. That appeared to be the case last week when Burkett was identified as a probable source. Burkett was known to hold a grudge against George Bush for some perceived wrongs during Burkett's service in the Guard. In some of his writings Burkett had compared Bush to Hitler. So, if Burkett supplied the documents, then we can expect to see CBS finger him sooner rather than later.
But what if CBS didn't get those documents from Burkett? What if there was an intermediary? What if there was a intermediary who commanded enough respect in the CBS newsroom that the authenticity of the documents was merely assumed? After all, if Burkett had been the source of those documents, don't you suppose that the CBS producers might do just a bit of research on Burkett before they used them? Wouldn't that research reveal the "Hitler" remark and other troubling aspects of Burkett's past? Would Rather use documents provided by a relative unknown with a demonstrable grudge without some fairly heavy duty vetting? So ... again; maybe the documents didn't come from Burkett, at least not directly.
Enter the man not named in this morning's New York Times story. Enter Max Cleland.
This weekend we learned that Bill Burkett developed an itchy keyboard finger a few weeks ago and decided to do a bit of bragging to his Texas Democrat friends. On August 21st Burkett wrote an email to a group of Texas Democrats saying that he had passed some information to a former senator who was out there working for John Kerry. Burkett said that he initiated a contact with the Kerry campaign that resulted in him getting a phone call from Max Cleland. Cleland, as you probably know, is the obsessively bitter Vietnam War veteran who lost his first race for reelection to the U.S. Senate representing Georgia. The Georgia voters resented the manner in which Cleland became a lap dog to Tom Daschle and his choice to work to strengthen government employee unions at the expense of a strong Department of Homeland Security. In his email message Burkett said that he gave Max Cleland information that could be used to mount a counterattack against the critics of Kerry's service in Vietnam.
Information? What information? Isn't it perfectly logical to believe that the information that Burkett is talking about is, in fact, the forged documents used by Dan Rather?
Here is where we see a possible reason for Rather's stonewalling.
Is it possible that Max Cleland is actually the source of those documents? Possible, yes. Proven, no. Could Burkett have passed the documents to Cleland who then made them available to CBS News? I'm just saying it's possible, folks. But this scenario would explain why Rather had circled the wagons. Max Cleland is part of the Kerry campaign team. It was Max Cleland that John Kerry sent to the gates of the Bush Ranch in Crawford, Texas for a publicity stunt. Kerry is Cleland's instrument of revenge against the Republican Party that deprived him of his seat in the U.S. Senate, and the Kerry Campaign knows all-to-well how to take advantage of an eager dupe. If ... and I'm saying IF ... the source of the documents was Cleland, then the Kerry Campaign is directly implemented in the scandal. Turn out the lights.
Let me add that I hope that the scenario I put forward here is completely false. I've known Max Cleland for years. I love the man, truly .. though I doubt that he would throw a glass of water on me if I caught fire. I and many other Georgians watched in total despair as he sold his very soul to Tom Daschle and the Democratic Party. Cleland would have been Georgia's Senator for Life if he had simply put the interests of the country and his state above the interests of his party and government employee unions. Some of us hope that one day the kind, gregarious and gentle man that was Max Cleland will come home.
If CBS does, in fact, admit that the documents were fakes, and that the vaunted CBS news team was tricked, we can't let the story end there. It can't end with an apology for airing the memos, a statement that the content of the memos are still believed to be accurate, and a producer thrown to the wolves. If CBS continues to cover up where the documents came from ... the entire chain of possession ... then we'll know that the bigger story hasn't yet seen the light of day.
The argument that the documents are "bogus but valid" holds just about as much water as alleging that a counterfeit 100 dollar bill may be fake, but still good enough to buy a steak dinner for two.
If CBS continues to cover up where the documents came from ... the entire chain of possession ... then we'll know that the bigger story hasn't yet seen the light of day.
Very well said.
The Rather interview of Burkitt was designed to take the heat off of Dan by implying he was out of the loop until now. Won't work since Rather was in the loop enough to insult critics of the documents and stand arrogantly firm in his assertions for mor ehtan a week. So I will not wash that he now talk to Bukitt and has begun to have doubts.
One way or the oither damn was lying about the documents when he knew they were a farce or he was lying about the quality of ther work and the extent of validation he and his staff do at CBS.
Dan promises to break the story...
Which impossible-to-prove scenario is more likely: that the memos are not forgeries, or that Max Cleland is the source?
(hey, It's almost 10:00 am CDT, who wants to play grenade toss?)
I'm sorry, that was mean spirited :-(
I want to run something up the flagpole here. Just suppose for purposes of speculation that those phony documents were deliberately left for Burkett to find in that NG office. I've never understood why someone so flaky as him would be allowed in there with such sensitive documents. Knowing that Burkett was an unstable flake it would follow that at some point he couldn't restrain himself and would release these phony documents. Whoever, took the bait and CBS, anxious to torpedo Bush, went with the story. The WH was ready for this story by issuing a non-denial, that since CBS was a "credible news network" they wouldn't take issue with the documents. This was the "proof" that CBS had to run with the story.
Either way, it is hard to see how Rove could go wrong with phony documents since the news organizations could never establish the veracity of them. If they weren't published, no harm. If they were published, more the better. This would eat up a lot of campaign time and Kerry is damaged by his association to the MSM.
Am I nuts?
Rather and CBS made very much of the unimpeachable character of the source of these documents.
Now, that doesn't sound like they were describing Burkitt, does it? CBS simply wouldn't have known enough about the man to give him that kind of blanket endorsement.
Burkett may have been the forger, but it strains credulity to take him as the immediate source.
I disagree. Dan is a commie, and has even said himself he has no problem with the idea that a lying person is an honest person.
Oh, no!! Did Max get blind, stinking drunk and do something really stupid again?
It would have taken a lot of foresight to have planted those documents there, what, seven or eight years ago, as bait in a scheme to come to fruition only now. I'm not biting.
Let's apply Occam's Razor- the simplest explanation is probably right. Burkett was bitter and vindictive, and he made the documents up to help Kerry, maybe even basing them on scuttlebut and rumor he heard floating aroung the TANG back in 1973. This seems the simplest explanation, and it's all I need.
Hasn't Burkett long been a thorn in Bush's side? I'm still trying to understand why he was left alone with those documents. I've never understood that.
you and everyone who suspect Rove or other Republicans are nuts - the forgeries were so bad, that I wouldn't have expected even my High School paper to ave beleived them. Who would have believed CBS could have been so stupid?
CBS wasn't duped -- their viewers were.
Possibly Burkett shopped his information to all and was rebutted because there was no proof. He then, after discussing with Mapes, finds "proof". He then faxes or presents to Mapes who faxes to CBS, the DNC or Max and they run with the "proof".
Coming from Mapes, CBS ignores the skeptics and goes with it. Yet - I still think Rather is involved in the whole thing and that it is tied in as part of a planned onslaught with the DNC "Fortunate Son".
How long does it take to make an ad like "Fortunate Son"?
They tie in to each other too conveniently not to have been coordinated. So, if it took them 3 wks., we then know that 3 wks. ago these plans were in the works.
Someone forged the documents. Will Burkett admit to that? Cleland? That would put them in jail for certain.
I was under the impression that Burkett was grinding this ax for Bush since about 1992.
I think that a good politician wants to know who his enemies are. What do they say? Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer?
Burkett would be the perfect vehicle for a strategic thinker to use to bring down an opponent in a close race. Think about WWII and the phony documents and corpse that washed up on the shore in Europe. And remember also what Churchill said. "The Truth must be protected by a bodyguard of lies."
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.