Skip to comments.Rathergate Scandal Worse Than Previously Known
Posted on 01/12/2005 1:00:01 AM PST by kattracks
Accuracy in Media said today that the newly released report on how CBS News handled the Bush National Guard story contains a bombshell that further undermines the credibility of CBS News anchorman Dan Rather and his close collaborator and associate, producer Mary Mapes.
The report reveals on page 130 that Mapes, one of those fired because of the scandal, had documented information in her possession before the controversial September 8 broadcast that George W. Bush, while in the Texas Air National Guard, "did volunteer for service in Vietnam but was turned down in favor of more experienced pilots." This information is critical because Dan Rather, in the broadcast, insinuated that Bush was among the "many well-connected young men [who tried to] pull strings and avoid service in Vietnam."
AIM Editor Cliff Kincaid explained the significance of the panel's revelation: "Mapes, who was very close to Rather and enjoyed his confidence, had the evidence exonerating Bush of this malicious charge. The report shows that there were multiple credible sources to prove that Bush did not try to avoid Vietnam by going into the National Guard and that he was in fact willing to go to Vietnam as a pilot. However, CBS News deliberately kept this information from its viewers and conveyed an opposite impression because Rather, Mapes & Company were trying to depict Bush as a coward who, as Commander-in-Chief, was sending American soldiers to their deaths in Iraq."
The report reveals that Rather assured CBS News President Andrew Heyward that he, Rather, had not "been involved in this much checking on a story since Watergate," and that it was "very big." The report says that Rather assured Heyward that the story was "thoroughly vetted" or documented and verified.
Kincaid explained, "Rather saw this as a Watergate-style story that could damage the Bush campaign and sink the President's chances for re-election, as Americans were fighting and dying in Iraq. He seemed to be making a virtual guarantee that the story would be a smoking gun that would usher John Kerry into the White House. Instead, the story backfired, implicating Rather and his associates in a sleazy political operation, with links to the Kerry campaign, that was intended to mislead and misinform the American people as they prepared to vote on issues of war and peace. Even Al Jazeera couldn't have concocted a more sinister and dishonest attack on the President of the United States."
The "Rathergate" affair involved Dan Rather narrating a pre-election September 8 CBS "60 Minutes" story, based on forged documents, charging that President Bush not only used connections to join the Texas Air National Guard to avoid service in the Vietnam War, but didn't fulfill the terms of his Guard service.
When questions surfaced about the authenticity of the documents, CBS stonewalled, covered-up, and eventually apologized. An "Independent Review Panel" was formed to investigate. Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former Associated Press president Louis Boccardi were in charge of the probe.
Now, three months later, the findings have been issued and four mid-level employees have been fired. They are Senior Vice President Betsy West, "60 Minutes Wednesday" Executive Producer Josh Howard, Senior Broadcast Producer Mary Murphy, and producer Mapes.
However, other major players in the fiasco were not fired. They are Heyward, Rather, and CBS News White House correspondent John Roberts. Rather is retiring in March and Roberts is said to be in the running as Rather's successor.
Kincaid noted that CBS chairman Les Moonves, who issued a statement on the matter, insists that Heyward should stay in his job "during this challenging time." Kincaid said, "It's like rewarding the skipper of the Titanic for promising not to hit an iceberg again. Heyward was the captain of the CBS news ship and he and Rather have survived only because Moonves has thrown the women and children overboard."
Kincaid was amused by several references in the report to how hard Dan Rather was working at the time, as if this gets him off the hook for narrating the discredited report. "I understand it is par for the course in network news magazine shows for a network star to put his face on the work of others," Kincaid said. "But the report also quotes Heyward as saying that Rather had assured him that the story was solid, documented and verified. So why are Rather and Heyward still in their jobs?"
While the report claims no hard evidence of anti-Bush political bias on the part of CBS News, Kincaid said the report is full of evidence of such bias. "Why is it that CBS News and so many other news organizations cited in the report were so anxious to do a story attacking President Bush's National Guard service?" asked Kincaid. "Why is it that the same news organizations were not eager to attack Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's failure to release all of his military and medical records? The answer is simple: they wanted Kerry to win and Bush to lose. This is partisan political bias, pure and simple."
The report notes that other news organizations on the Bush story were the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, Associated Press, and USA Today (which published a story using the same dubious documents that the dubious CBS source, Bill Burkett, had given to CBS. USA Today has not apologized for running this story.)
The survival of CBS News White House correspondent John Roberts, rumored as a possible successor to Rather, is also curious. The report says that Roberts had interviewed Burkett for a February 12, 2004 CBS Evening News broadcast¯months before the anti-Bush hit piece aired¯and aired a portion of that interview, even though Roberts had found Burkett "unreliable."
As we have explained in a previous release, Roberts was the personal representative of CBS News, sitting in for Dan Rather, in a meeting with White House communications director Dan Bartlett, at a critical time when CBS News was developing its fake "story." In the meeting with Roberts, Bartlett was told that he was supposed to confirm or deny authenticity of the National Guard documents that turned out to be bogus. When Bartlett did not immediately denounce them as forgeries, Roberts provided that information to "60 Minutes" producer Mary Mapes, as if Bartlett's refusal to disavow the documents meant that they were authentic. This was seen as the critical green light for Mapes (and Rather) to go ahead with the bogus story.
Bartlett later explained that CBS News provided documents that CBS News had said had "come from the personal file of a former commander" in the National Guard and that Roberts expected Bartlett "to authenticate them." The White House received the documents only three and one-half hours before Bartlett was interviewed by Roberts about them. Bartlett commented that "CBS had the obligation to authenticate them before they were used. They could have also given them to the White House much earlier so we had more time to verify them as well."
Kincaid commented, "John Roberts was in a position to stop this fraudulent story before it aired. He did not."
The new panel report sheds some light on this controversy, noting that Roberts said the Bartlett interview had "gone well and that he had not disputed the authenticity of the documents " The panel said "this reaction" by Roberts and CBS "seriously misplaced responsibility for making sure that the documents were authentic."
So John Roberts, the likely successor to Dan Rather, was guilty of helping to perpetuate this journalistic fraud. The facts are clear.
I think you might want to see this.
Here's the bombshell: it was CBS that broadcast the original Nixonian "White House memo" that was supposed to detail each step of the Ellsberg burglary (he was the leaker of the Pentagon Papers, what "Watergate" was all about in the first place). That memo, on White House letterhead, told the Plumbers everything from when to hit the shrink's office to which filing cabinet to search.
Now lets just pause for a moment and ask ourselves, Who among us today (knowing what we now know about CBS broadcasting forged Bush National Guard memos) would believe that President Nixon told his secretary to type up, on official White House letterhead, a memo detailing how his Plumbers should burglarize that office to obtain Ellsberg's psychiatrist's records?!
Today, after CBS has been busted with forged Bush National Guard memos, that old "White House memo" purportedly from Nixon himself just doesn't pass the smell test.
Who was the star reporter for CBS covering that White House scandal at the time? Dan Rather.
CBS, did you forge Watergate, too?
This half-assed whitewash is only going to worsen CBS' credibility hemorrhage.
FINALLY .. someone is really addressing this CBS Report and asking the real questions that many in the media/press have failed to do so far
(Of possible interest) Pings!
Boy, my brain cells are getting a workout this morning! I am having enouh rouble recalling all the facts of the Berger file-stealing incident, and now you are reminding me of the Pentagon papers!
We're told in the Bible that someday all our sins will be made public. Oh, but if we couldn't see all of Dan's--and Hillary's--and Bill's--and the whole DNC's NOW!
I also am having trouble typing. Sorry for the errors!
Ya know ... considering Dan's history on reporting .. I wouldn't rule that out .. anything is possible with Dan The News Man
I just posted an Op-Ed/vanity--pass it on if you know anyone who might find it of interest....
Clear evidence of bias. Fair and balanced journalism went out the window. The law of the harvest lesson is unfolding before our eyes. The boomerang of life has landed.
Perhaps it's because too many of them are riddled with amoral CEOs such as those heading up CBS.
Birds of a feather........
This is good work by FrontPageMagazine and AIM. I'm wondering when someone in the conservative media is going to fully address ExitPollGate, which appears to be just as serious as Rathergate. In Rathergate, CBS News personnel apparently tried to rig a presidential election through a phony story using forged documents. In ExitPollGate, an exit polling firm (probably in collusion with others in the MSM and/or the DNC) apparently tried to rig the presidential election with phony exit poll data designed to suppress the turnout of Bush supporters. Are the conspirators in ExitPollGate going to get off with no punishment whatsover? I certainly hope not.
"However, I believe his reputation is forever tarnished over this"
You're assuming that he had one.
The Thread that broke the Camels Back:Post 47, and the Freepers who busted C.B.S.
Free Republic ^
Roberts' survival and promotion: He knows where other bodies are buried, who put them there....only question is, did he make a verbal threat or just look mean?
If the polling firm was VNS (Voter News Service), it's OWNED by the media!
Not to worry, Dowd, Ivins, Krugman, Jackson, Rooney, etal will be all over this story excoriating CBS and demanding the firing of Dan Rather for CBS's hamhanded and obvious attempt to defame, smear, and unseat a sitting president. I'm sorry folks, I've been taking some strong medication lately, and I'm beginning to hallucinate.
I think the most ignored aspect of this story is the collusion between the Democratic National Committee and CBS. The DNC ran campaign ads based on this fraud at the same time CBS "reported" it.
I want someone to really look into the dating of this report. They keep throwing out this line that they've been looking for this story five years. How do we know that during that five year period, that Mapes didn't know that this guy had these documents, but that she would not use it because she knew it was too good to be true - she had to suspect they were not really authentic.
If she knew, what propmted her to cross the line and use the documents. Was it a phone call from Dan Rather? Was it a phone call from the Kerry campaing? Think about the time frame. The Swiftees were exacting their pound of flesh. John Kerry was being painted as someone who lied about their war record. Then Kerry had to own up (in a roundabout way) to the fact that he lied on the Senate Floor about his Cambodian Christmas.
The Kerry Campaign was sitting there getting pounded. Dan Rather was seeing that the man who could get George Bush out of the White House was being seriously hurt by the accusations. How do we know that Dan Rather didn't call Mapes and tell her to pull the trigger, to put together the report she had been looking into for five years. Maybe he told her to "find something with impact" and she let herself cross the line to please Mr. Rather.
We need to look at the dates. The dates are very important in proving that this story was politically motivated. I think that someone could argue that the public has the right to know exactly what happened on their airwaves, and be able to see every call between all parties, look at any expense reports or schedules or any other document that could possibly relate to this offense. If we can follow the date trail, we can find out and PROVE what happened.
Only then will the truth be known and Dan Rather laughed into old age as the butt of every anti-media joke told from this day forward.
Without the internet and talk radio, Bush would not have been reelected.
I want to know why CBS is not trying to find out where the forged documents came from to begin with!!! They don't seem to be the least bit curious. That is STRANGE!
It would seem likely that a careful analysis of the practices of CBS would reveal a lot of irregularities. Just think...if the Internet had existed in the 1960s and Freepers had been able to checkmate CBS then, we probably would have won the Vietnam War. "Where were you during Vietnam, Dan???"
Email to all news organizations:
This absolutely makes me shudder at the deception of CBS News, 60 Minutes and the Democratic Party.
This is terrible, just terrible.
Are they going to get away with trying to throw an election?
This is a low life action and a detraction on all of our Main Stream News Media.
It also shows the depths to which the Democratic Party lowered itself to win an election.
Too bad those memos would not be in Times New Roman.
FoxNews is just now reporting on this, and telling the part about CBS having the evidence that President Bush VOLUNTEERED for VietNam service.
They are telling how Roberts is tainted by this: how he set up Bartlett in the interview.
It's Cliff Kincaid, AIM.
The fish rots from the head down, at CBS. Heyward, Rather, Moonves, the whole sleazy bunch, must go.
And FWIW, I think they forged the Nixon Watergate letter too. I wouldn't believe them if they told me it was daylight at noon, without checking for myself. These people are liars and should resign, because the entire world knows it.
As far as credibility goes, they have bled out. If they announced the sky is blue and water is wet, I'd have to double check.
This whole thing reminds me of an old saying: "If you're going to assassinate a king, make sure he dies" or something like that. Since CBS tried to "Kill" the President, but failed, what is the White House doing to punish CBS? It seems to me that President Bush is simply turning the other cheek. While I admire President Bush's Christian temperament, I do want to see him kick some a$$, Texas-style. Anyone know how the White House is treating this whole story, and what if anything they're doing in regard to CBS?
I don't know how the WH is treating this.
What I suspect is that CBS is going to have bigtime sponsor trouble.
Who wants their products associated with corrupt news?
Or maybe I'm just hoping...
Very good point and question! LOL
Is the FCC failing in their obligations to the American Public ?
Abu Ghraib broke the same day that the Swift Boat Vets made their first press conference, and they were relegated to no coverage. Whether that was to provide additional cover for the candidate of choice, that remains to be seen.....
Isn't it ironic that C-BS's logo is a "Black Eye"!
What are you putting in your coffee this morning?
I'd like some if it can make me believe corporations are going to protest the excuse for a news organization called CBS news.
Corporations don't protest based on a political agenda. They make decisions by where they spend their money, getting the best ROI, not what political agenda they favor.
As CBS slides into the tank, if they do, dollars will flow elswhere