Skip to comments.CBS: Bush Memo Story A 'Mistake'
Posted on 09/20/2004 3:42:40 PM PDT by Former Military Chick
CBS/AP) CBS News said Monday it cannot prove the authenticity of documents used in a 60 Minutes story about President Bush's National Guard service and that airing the story was a "mistake" that CBS regretted.
CBS News Anchor Dan Rather, the reporter of the original story, apologized.
CBS News claimed a source had misled the network on the documents' origins. The network pledged "an independent review of the process by which the report was prepared and broadcast to help determine what actions need to be taken."
In a statement, CBS said former Texas Guard official Bill Burkett "has acknowledged that he provided the now-disputed documents" and "admits 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."
The network did not say the memoranda purportedly written by one of Mr. Bush's National Guard commanders were forgeries. But the network did say it could not authenticate the documents and that it should not have reported them.
"Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report," said the statement by CBS News President Andrew Heyward. "We should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret.
"Nothing is more important to us than our credibility and keeping faith with the millions of people who count on us for fair, accurate, reliable, and independent reporting," Heyward continued. "We will continue to work tirelessly to be worthy of that trust."
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said President Bush had seen the CBS statement. "We appreciate that they (CBS) deeply regrets ... but there are serious questions still to be answered,'' McClellan told CBS News' Jeff Goldblum.
Additional reporting on the documents will air on Monday's CBS Evening News, including the interview of Burkett by Rather. CBS News pledged "an independent review of the process by which the report was prepared and broadcast to help determine what actions need to be taken."
In a separate statement, Rather said that "after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically.
"I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers," he said.
"We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry," Rather added.
The authenticity of the documents four memoranda attributed to Guard commander Lt. Col. Jerry Killian has been under fire since they were described in the Sept. 8 broadcast of 60 Minutes.
CBS had not previously revealed who provided the documents or how they were obtained.
Burkett has previously alleged that in 1997 he witnessed allies of then-Gov. Bush discussing the destruction of Guard files that might embarrass Mr. Bush, who was considering a run for the presidency. Bush aides have denied the charge.
In the statement, CBS said: "Burkett originally said he obtained the documents from another former Guardsman. Now he says he got them from a different source whose connection to the documents and identity CBS News has been unable to verify to this point."
Questions about the president's National Guard service have lingered for years. Some critics question how Mr. Bush got into the Guard when there were waiting lists of young men hoping to join it to escape the draft and possible service in Vietnam.
In the Sept. 8 60 Minutes report, former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes a Democrat claimed that, at the behest of a friend of the Bush family, he pulled strings to get young George W. Bush into the Guard.
Other questions concern why Mr. Bush missed a physical in 1972, and why there are scant records of any service by Mr. Bush during the latter part of 1972, a period during which he transferred to an Alabama guard unit so he could work on a campaign there.
The CBS documents suggested that Mr. Bush had disobeyed a direct order to attend the physical, and that there were other lapses in his performance. One memo also indicated that powerful allies of the Bush family were pressuring the guard to "sugar coat" any investigation of Lt. Bush's service.
Skeptics immediately seized on the typing in the memos, which included a superscripted "th" not found on all 1970s-era typewriters. As the controversy raged, CBS broadcast interviews with experts who said that some typewriters from that period could have produced the markings in question.
Other critics saw factual errors in the documents, stylistic differences with other writing by Killian and incorrect military lingo.
Some relatives of Col. Killian disputed that the memos were real. His former secretary said the sentiments regarding Mr. Bush's failures as an officer were genuine, but the documents were not.
Some document experts whom CBS consulted for the story told newspapers they had raised doubts before the broadcast and were ignored. CBS disputed their accounts, pointing to the main document expert the network consulted, Marcel Matley.
Matley insisted he had vouched for the authenticity of the signatures on the memos, but had not determined whether the documents themselves were genuine.
Last week, CBS News stood by its reporting while vowing to continue working the story. The network acknowledged there were questions about the documents and pledged to try to answer them.
Mr. Bush maintains that he did not get special treatment in getting into the Guard, and that he fulfilled all duties. He was honorably discharged.
On Saturday, a White House official said Mr. Bush has reviewed the disputed documents that purport to show he refused orders to take a physical examination in 1972, and did not recall having seen them previously.
In his first public comment on the documents controversy, the president told The Union Leader of Manchester, N.H., "There are a lot of questions about the documents, and they need to be answered."
The Bush campaign has alleged that their Democratic rivals were somehow involved in the story. John Kerry's campaign denies it. In an email revealed last week, Burkett said he had contacted the Kerry campaign but received no response.
Meanwhile, a federal judge has ordered the Pentagon to find and make public by next week any unreleased files about Mr. Bush's Vietnam-era Air National Guard service to resolve a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Associated Press.
The White House and Defense Department have on several occasions claimed that they had released all the documents only to make additional records available later on.
©MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Who did Burkett get the documents from??? Gee Dan, now there's a story for ya.
I shed a tear, NOT!! Pointing fingers at each, just what I expected .. now where we do go .. Dan is over -- stick it with a fork ...serve to the viewers
after we got caught lying amid increasing questions about the fake authenticity of documents used to fabricate in support of a 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to find someone to blame for re-examine the documents in questionand their sourcevigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome if we can't lie our way out of this .
Now, after extensive
attempts to cover this up by acting like we're doing additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence anyone is going to believe these fakes in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have got caught been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers from the DNC. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point whereif I knew then what I know nowI would not have I would have come up with better fakes. gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly will use professional forgers next time would not have used the documents in question.
But we did use the documents. We made a
got caught mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of lying trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of presenting clever lies investigative reporting without fear being exposed by the liberal media. or favoritism.
Please know that nothing is more important to us than
DNC's people's trust in our ability to fool the masses. and our commitment to trick the public. report fairly and truthfully. Note: act like a victim!
Yep, that would be the whole point, in a bunch of nothing he said nothing .. so I am no more informed than I was 5 minutes ago.
Here is the statememt ....:
Bill Burkett, in a weekend interview with CBS News Anchor and Correspondent Dan Rather, has acknowledged that he provided the now-disputed documents used in the Sept. 8 "60 Minutes Wednesday" report on President Bushs service in the Texas Air National Guard.
Burkett, a retired National Guard lieutenant colonel, also admits 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.
Burkett originally said he obtained the documents from another former Guardsman. Now he says he got them from a different source whose connection to the documents and identity CBS News has been unable to verify to this point. Burketts interview will be featured in a full report on tonights CBS Evening News with Dan Rather (6:30-7:00 p.m., ET/PT).
In light of this and other developments reported by CBS News and other news organizations, CBS News President Andrew Heyward issued the following statement:
'60 Minutes Wednesday' had full confidence in the original report or it would not have aired. However, in the wake of serious and disturbing questions that came up after the broadcast, CBS News has done extensive additional reporting in an effort to confirm the documents authenticity.
That included an interview featured on last weeks edition of "60 Minutes Wednesday" with Marian Carr Knox, secretary to the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, the officer named as the author of the documents; the interview with Bill Burkett to be seen tonight; and a further review of the forensic evidence on both sides of the debate.
Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report. We should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret. Nothing is more important to us than our credibility and keeping faith with the millions of people who count on us for fair, accurate, reliable, and independent reporting. We will continue to work tirelessly to be worthy of that trust.
CBS News and CBS management are commissioning an independent review of the process by which the report was prepared and broadcast to help determine what actions need to be taken. The names of the people conducting the review will be announced shortly, and their findings will be made public.
©MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
They both sat there and LIED through their TEETH tonight. Still NO apology to President Bush for besmirching his character.
There's got to be some reason that CBS won't admit these are forgeries. I suspect some dark or sinister motives.
Oh, BTW, when he was being "ambused by a FOX reporter he was in TX, ummm interviewing Burkett, which means if we go to the time line ...
Near total, complete vindication for what FReepers have been saying all along. Kudos to all those on this fine forum who first called CBS and Mr. Blather on this!
While there still are many unanswered questions...I appreciate Dan saying he was sorry on national tv. That is exactly what Hannity asked him to say...
the issue is not CBS. It was who was responsible for trying to screw up this election with nationally broadcast fraudulent documents that ultimately --- undercut --- legitimate arguments against *'s war record. Think who really benefits from this farce. It must have been planned to break open just like it did.
[Ah yes! Poor little Dan Rather became entangled in a devious KARL ROVE plot.]
The truth remains that FratBoy was AWOL at the very least, and most probably a deserter, during a period of time when Americans were still dying in Vietnam. That is IRREFUTABLE. Period.
[YUP! It's IRREFUTABLE and I bet you have the forged documents to prove it.]
As I said in the other thread... It is going to come out that Max Clelan gave the docs to CBS...What are we going to say then?
[Need you ask? Just say what you have been saying....KARL ROVE forged those docs as part of a devious ROVIAN plot to discredit Kerry.]
Max Cleland is the triple amputee former Senator from Georgia who is working for the DNC now. It is being reported that Bill Burkett told a group of Texas Democrats in a mailing list that he had given Max documents to counter-attack the Swift Liars. It is implied that he is the "unimpeachable" source from CBS. CBS then simply got the documents from Burkett for sure, but it was Cleland who gave it credibility for CBS to run with it...so the story goes
[I detect a hint of rationality from this DUmmie. For that he MUST be banned from the DUmmie board!]
CBS has been working on this story for five years... ...are you trying to tell me or anyone else that CBS didn't already have these documents and more "unimpeachable sources" than just Max Cleland? Give me a break. I seem to also recall that Rather stated that the CBS lawyers were all over the documentation before they would allow it to go on the air.
[And yet that whole effort was destroyed in just a few minutes by a few pajama clad bloggers.]
No...I'm just wondering what the response will be if Cleland is at least one "unimpeachable source." It seems like this could be devastating if it starts getting coverage...or worse if it is provable.
Rather screwed the pooch on this one. And he hurt Kerry. This took up WAY too much time and drowned out way too much of Kerry's message. The sooner Rather admits he was conned, the sooner we can get back to Kerry getting his message (jobs, health care, end of the war) out there.
[And the pooch Dan Rather screwed was a French Poodle.]
Your man Rather is an idiot who got duped. I hope CBS fires his sorry ass. Thanks to his incomptence, it will now look to some that the media can't be trusted to report anything negative about Bush; that if they do say something negative, it's because they have a vendetta. If this was a Rove trap, that moron Rather walked RIGHT into it. He totally ruined CBS' credibility in reporting on Bush's (non)service record.
[So somehow it is Karl Rove's fault that Rather is a biased jerk?]
Excuse me, but CBS backed Rather's report and employed four.... ...different lawyers to ensure that the facts checked out. They're not going to fire Rather because Rather will break their balls in court. You can bet your bottom dollar that Rather understands the phrase "CYA documentation"...and you can also bet that Rather knows where a lot of bodies are buried.
[The just don't come any better in the art of blackmail than Dan Rather.]
The massive stupidity of CBS. And Repugs are already floating around that the DNC had a hand in this, if so.......I'm almost afraid to imagine.
[Close your eyes and IMAGINE you are in a faraway place.]
This will help Kerry in a big way, I think. A real issue here is censorship and intimidation of American media. THAT is extremely important. This thing has not finished playing out yet.
[Correct. It hasn't played out yet. And dream on about it helping Kerry my naive little DUmmie.]
EVERYTHING going on, except this one issue, makes Frat Boy look bad. But NOOOO, CBS had to drag this out, and focus on the ONE thing that makes Bush look better?!?!?! You know all the Repugs were all, "Whew, close one, Thank God It's Fraudulent!" I wouldn't be surprised if TGIF was now a WH mantra. This is going to be an even steeper uphill battle now. And it's all thanks to CBS and those of you who encouraged CBS to "stand their ground." I hope it was worth it, I hope the feeding frenzy over the TANG documents was worth possibly costing us the election.
[Poor little frustrated DUmmie. Better take your Meds little frustrated DUmmie. Control your anger little frustrated DUmmie. But don't stop doing your Little Frustrated DUmmie act. It's funnier than a puppet show!]
Burkett is trying to pass blame and apparently is a coward for not owning up to his actions.
[SNIFF! And to think that just a week ago Burkett was a hero to all you DUmmies. Oh how the (not so) might have fallen!]
Thanks a lot, Burkett you f*cking idiot..... I imagine Rove is sending him a "Thank you" card as we speak.
["Dear Bill Burkett---Thank you for falling prey to my intricate ROVIAN plot and sucking in CBS News, Dan Rather, and almost all DUmmies. Your stupidity has been enormously helpful and will ensure the defeat of John Kerry. As an expression of our gratitude permit me to send you an invitation to President Bush's Inaugural Ball this January. Sincerely yours---Karl (Rovian Plotter) Rove."]
Damn CBS! How could they cave in like that? They should have stayed strong! I feel betrayed!
[Now we know why you are called DUmmies.]
Michael Moore and who else?
The worst thing about this statement is that while they talk about alleged confirmation of the "substance" of the memos by Knox and Barnes, they don't bother to mention the substantive denials by Staudt and by Killian's own family. Still trying to present one-sided evidence....
Dan Rather makes another blunder. In tonight's broadcast he described Burkett as a former member of the Texas AIR National Guard. In fact, Burkett was in the Texas ARMY National Guard. Was Dan trying to obscure the fact the Burkett could have no personal knowledge of President Bush's service or was it just another example of Dan's sloppy journalism? I've reported, you decide.
They sure did, even reading the statement without inflection offers no hidden insight .. it was a *feel sorry for me* and not a hint of what this caused a sitting President that is just WRONG!
The fallguy has been found.
The coverup is almost complete.
Who in the media will pursue the list of 20 questions to CBS posted on ratherbiased.com?
Dan's seems to throw the allegations out yet once again, only this time with the disclaimer to only disregard the documents, not the accusations!