Skip to comments.CBS Rathergate Producer Mary Mapes Wins
Posted on 01/14/2005 7:33:29 PM PST by mrustow
Mary Mapes, the CBS News producer from 60 Minutes who gave us Rathergate, has won the first journalism award given in memory of two of the worst rogues in the history of the profession, Walter Duranty and Jayson Blair. Duranty and Blair were both reporters for the New York Times, Americas most corrupt newspaper. To borrow from NBA commissioner David Stern, on his decision to suspend Ron Artest and the other Indiana Pacers thugs in the recent basketbrawl, the vote was unanimous, 1-0.
As previously detailed, Mapes was guilty of no less than three major journalistic offenses -- her Shot in the Dark, Abu Ghraib, and Rathergate productions.
A Shot in the Dark, Mapes first major known hoax, which she produced in 1988 (and which aired on April 14, 1988) in cahoots with her husband, alleged reporter Mark Wrolstad (now with the Dallas Morning News), while at CBS Seattle affiliate KIRO, got her her ticket to ride to CBS New York Black Rock headquarters, where she began working closely with CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather. In Shot, Mapes sought to destroy the career and life of Bob Lisoski, a diligent, big-hearted, Seattle policeman. Though the white officers fatal February 17, 1988 shooting of black drug dealer Erdman Bascomb was determined to have been a justified if tragic use of force, Mapes, the facts be damned, used the fraudulent claims of nearby drunk Wardell Fincher, who had not witnessed the shooting, to portray the police officer as a racist murderer. Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Michael A. Barber and photographer Gilbert W. Arias uncovered Finchers fraud; they had accompanied police on the bust, and encountered the drunken Fincher as he wandered out of the weeds after the shooting, asking the journalists what had happened.
In Mapes hyped Abu Ghraib story, which first aired on Wednesday 60 Minutes/60 Minutes II on April 28, Mapes portrayed the sexual degradation of suspected terrorists in the eponymous detainee facility as if it were on a par with the 1968 My Lai massacre during the War in Vietnam.
And in Rathergate (aka Memogate), which aired on Wednesday 60 Minutes/60 Minutes II on September 8, Mapes claimed to have worked on a story for five years showing that then-Lt. George W. Bush had been an insubordinate and inferior officer in the Texas Air National Guard during the War in Vietnam, who required influential family friends to exert political pressure on his commanders, to sugar coat a supposedly inferior record. In fact, Mapes entire story rested upon forged documents that had come into her possession only four days prior to the broadcast. And she only obtained the documents from Bush nemesis Bill Burkett, after she had asked Burkett to come up with something. In Mapes Rathergate hoax, her purpose was the same as in her Abu Ghraib hype job to win the election for Sen. John Kerry, by hook or by crook.
Last fall, when Mapes skullduggery finally came around to bedevil her, Dan Rather defended her. The Washington Posts Jennifer Frey wrote,
"Mary Mapes earned my trust and the trust of her colleagues with years of excellent, fearless reporting, Rather said in a statement provided to The Post. She is tireless in pursuit of a story and she has proven herself many times."
Freys October 4 story was full of encomiums for Mapes from other CBS News reporters and executives. Such praise tells us much more about the speakers and their politics, and reporter Jennifer Frey, than it does about Mary Mapes.
On Monday, Mapes and three CBS News executives were fired for their respective roles in the Rathergate hoax. CBS whitewashed CBS News President Andrew Heyward and CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rathers involvement in Rathergate.
But Mapes media defenders still found subtle ways to show support for her. In MSNBCs story on the CBS report on Rathergate, and the news that Mapes had been fired, the anonymous reporter wrote,
The investigators found myopic zeal to break the story and faulted the highly respected producer of the segment, Mary Mapes, in explaining why CBS News had produced a story that was neither fair nor accurate and did not meet the organizations internal standards.
That Mary Mapes could be referred to as highly respected after all that shed done, tells you just about everything you need to know about the socialist mainstream media (SMSM).
The Duranty-Blair Award shall be given to any journalist whom this columnist feels has done yeomans work in dragging down the journalism profession. The award may be given at any time, for a body of work or a single story, whether from last week or thirty years ago.
The Great Duranty
From 1922-1941, Walter Duranty (1884-1957) was the New York Times Man in Moscow. Duranty won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932, but rather than reporting what he saw, devoted himself to lying on behalf of genocidal Soviet dictator, Josef Stalin (1878-1953).
In 1929, Stalin began what he called, the elimination of the kulaks as a class. The kulaks were Ukrainian peasants who ran modestly successful, independently-owned, family farms, and who resisted Stalins collectivization policy. As Robert J. Stove wrote in his recent book, The Unsleeping Eye: Secret Police and Their Victims, To Stalins regime, with its collectivist mania, the very notion of peasants being allowed to continue owning small farms was an abomination . In 1932 the truly exterminationist, deliberately engineered famine began . At the lowest possible estimate, it killed six million. This did not stop Stalin, during the famines early stages, from writing the remarkable first sentence to the USSRs first official culinary guide, The Book of Healthy and Tasty Food: Life has become better, life has become merrier.
As Arnold Beichman wrote in a 2003 article in the weekly standard, one year after Stalin had begun murdering as many as 200,000 kulaks per week (Durantys own figure) through forced starvation, Duranty reported,
"Any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda."
--New York Times, August 23, 1933
And as John Berlau wrote in the July 7, 2003 issue of Insight magazine,
In 1933, at the height of the famine, Duranty wrote that village markets [were] flowing with eggs, fruit, poultry, vegetables, milk and butter. ... A child can see this is not famine but abundance."
Stalin also ordered the murders of tens of millions of other Soviet citizens, none of which Duranty reported. But other reporters, at newspapers abroad or with less influence on American politics than the New York Times, did tell of Stalins genocide at the time. As John Berlau wrote,
[Robert Conquest, author of The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, on Stalins genocide against the kulaks], himself a Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities, also points out that many other newspapers and journalists got the story right at the time. In spite of everything, full or adequate reports appeared in the [British papers] the Manchester Guardian and the Daily Telegraph; [the French papers] Le Matin and Le Figaro; [the Swiss papers] the Neue Zuericher [sic] Zeitung and the Gazette de Lausanne; La Stampa in Italy, the Reichpost in Austria and scores of other Western papers, he writes. In the United States, wide-circulation newspapers printed very full firsthand accounts by Ukrainian-American and other visitors (though these were discounted as, often, appearing in right-wing journals); and the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Herald Tribune (and the New York Jewish Forwaerts) gave broad coverage. The now-defunct Chicago American even ran pictures of the pale, skeletal Ukrainian children and the fields littered with corpses.
Granted, Duranty won the Pulitzer for stories from 1931, but they were every bit as dishonest, in their shilling for Stalin and his five-year plan, as anything he wrote during the genocide in the Ukraine.
In 2003, after considering revoking Duranty and the Times Pulitzer, the Pulitzer Prize Committee ultimately decided to let the newspaper keep the fraudulently won award. Meanwhile, as John Berlau reported, the Times was still in denial, regarding Durantys lies.
An e-mail sent to Insight by Catherine Mathis, vice president of corporate communications at the New York Times Co., explains: The Times has not seen merit in trying to undo history by returning the Pulitzer. The e-mail insists: The Times has reported often and thoroughly on the defects in Duranty's journalism, as viewed through the lens of later events.
Times staffer David P. Kirkpatrick also lied on Durantys behalf that year, insisting, as Roger Kimball observed, that Duranty was merely credulous, and did not know about Stalins genocide, when it was already a matter of public record that Duranty had told the British embassy in 1933 that Stalin had killed 10 million kulaks during the previous year alone, and that Duranty talked about the mass murder to colleagues (rationalizing it as but a small price to pay for progress) and even at dinner parties. The most famous line on Duranty comes from Malcolm Muggeridge, who had seen him in action in Moscow: "The greatest liar of any journalist I have met in fifty years of journalism." In other words, he would have fit in perfectly at Pinch Sulzbergers New York Times.
Jayson Blair was a New York Times reporter who, in May 2003, was exposed as having written at least 36 (and possibly hundreds) of stories based on his plagiarism of the work of real reporters, or on his having simply made up stories. Although Blair had a history of dishonesty and unreliability going back at least as far as college, and had lied about graduating from college, he was accepted, based solely to the color of his skin, to a coveted Times internship, hired as a reporter, promoted, and retained, in spite of repeated red flags and complaints.
The Times brass responded to Blairs every misstep, by promoting him!
And when he allegedly returned from hopscotching around the country on stories (which he had actually e-mailed in from New York cafes), nobody at the Times noted that he never had any hotel, car rental, or airline ticket receipts.
Eventually, Blair was made the lead reporter on the Washington, DC sniper case, where he invented out of whole cloth a story claiming that sniper John Muhammad had been about to confess to local authorities, just as the feds came to take him into federal custody.
Five days after the confession by then-executive editor Howell Raines, that Blair owed his job to his race, Times op-ed columnist and newsroom race enforcer Bob Herbert not only denied that race had played any role in the Blair Affair, but went on the offensive:
"Listen up: the race issue in this case is as bogus as some of Jayson Blair's reporting.
"But the folks who delight in attacking anything black, or anything designed to help blacks, have pounced on the Blair story
"And while these agitators won't admit it, the nasty subtext to their attack is that there is something inherently wrong with blacks.
"There's a real shortage of black reporters, editors and columnists at The Times. But the few who are here are doing fine and serious work day in and day out and don't deserve to be stigmatized by people who can see them only through the prism of a stereotype.
"The problem with American newsrooms is too little diversity, not too much. Blacks have always faced discrimination and maddening double standards in the newsroom, and they continue to do so. So do women, Latinos and many other groups that are not part of the traditional newsroom in-crowd. [In other words, youd better see ALL those groups through the prism of a stereotype or else!]
"So let's be real. Discrimination in the newsroom - in hiring, in the quality of assignments and in promotions - is a much more pervasive problem than Jayson Blair's aberrant behavior .
"And the correct response is not to grow fainthearted, or to internalize the views of those who wish you ill. The correct response is to strike back - as hard and as often as it takes."
As I wrote at the time, for Herbert, criticism of incompetent blacks who were hired (not to mention retained and promoted) based on the color of their skin, is proof that the critic is a white supremacist (or a non-white Uncle Tom), and should properly be addressed by even more aggressive race-baiting.
Poor Blair called himself a victim of racism and got a six-figure book deal.
More recently, Blairs publicist, Ted Faraone, has sought to rehabilitate his clients reputation, claiming in a December 12 e-mail to me that Blairs misdeeds were due to his suffering manic depression, that he was a good reporter when healthy, and that he is now receiving proper treatment.
Dear Mr. Stix:
The otherwise excellent analysis in your December 12 column [Ruthless People] misses the mark in one matter of fact. No political significance can be attributed to the Jayson Blair scandal. At the time of his journalistic fabrications -- which, incidentally, were in the nature of making up color and details of stories, not the gist of the stories themselves -- he was suffering from untreated manic depressive disorder, which brought about a deepening psychosis. This led to a mental breakdown which played out in a 13,000 word story in the Sunday Times on Mothers Day, 2003.
I know Jayson very well. He covered a number of my clients during his stint at the Times. A few months ago I took him on as a client in my media relations business. When he was running on all ight cylinders, he was a good reporter. His professional problems coincided with his worsening mental condition, a condition he tried hard to hide from his bosses out a combination of fear and pride.
It is troubling both to Jayson and to me that pundits at both ends of the politcal spectrum cite Jayson as an example of what is politically wrong with mainstream media. This obscures his condition, news of which should serve as a cautionary tale. Jayson, along with some two million other Americans, is a manic-depressive. Untreated, manic-depression is a dangerous illness, which can often end in suicide. Fortunately, Jayson, who was not diagnosed until after his professional demise, is under the care of an excellent psychiatrist and has been treated with medications that control the disorder.
Given the facts of Jayson's case, citing him in a political analysis undercuts, rather than supports the analysis.
Your points on Mary Mapes are well taken. To my thinking, in the memo mess she was beating a dead horse. The "Bush as son of privilege who got a sweet deal in the National Guard" story played out in the 2000 election. By 2004 it was old news. It would have been news if Bush had no strings pulled on his behalf, given his family's position.
Despite the questions raised about the George W. Bush of the 1970s, the voters of 2000 elected him president. If that were not enough said, the voters of 2004 repeated the decision by a larger margin. That should be the final word on what Bush did in the Guard a generation ago.
New York City
Ted Faraone is obviously a bright man, much brighter than the last publicist who wrote me, Hard Hittin Harry, who works for pro-Al Qaeda rapper KRS-ONE. But Faraone is still a publicist, i.e., an advocate who, like a defense attorney has the duty of putting the best public face on his client. While researching the three-part series I wrote on Blair in spring 2003, I was unable to find any period in which he was a legitimate journalist (Part I, Part II, and Part III).
If you declare race politics off limits in the discussion of Jayson Blairs career, it is impossible rationally to explain how he ever got so much as an interview, much less how he got away with so much.
Faraones defense of Blair reminds me of the way my mother used to defend her late neighbor, Jean: Shes wonderful, when shes sober. The only problem was, there was no record of anyone (perhaps outside of Mom) ever seeing Jean sober. And so it is with Jayson Blair for as long as he was writing, it was always something. This one says drugs, that one says manic depression.
In one respect assuming I understand Faraone correctly he is right. Unlike Mary Mapes, Jayson Blair was not seeking through fraud to undermine the American electoral system.
Equally to blame for the Blair scandal was the Times communist publisher, Arthur Pinch Sulzberger Jr., who when he inherited the job from his liberal father, Punch, imposed a regime of diversity whose first casualty was truth. During the Vietnam War, Little Lord (Pinch) Sulzberger had supported the North Vietnamese communists killing every American fighting man they encountered, and is as red today as he ever was. Pinch has seen to it that the Times still depicts traitors such as the communist spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, who were caught giving our archenemy, the Soviet Union, secrets for building atomic bombs as victims of anti-communist hysteria and McCarthyism, as it did on the fiftieth anniversary of their execution, on June 19, 2003, and calling their case, including the execution of Julius, an injustice.
At the Times, treason against America isnt a serious crime.
Walter Duranty, Jayson Blair, and Mary Mapes had in common that each worked for politically corrupt bosses who were uninterested in honest reporting. And in each case, after there could be no doubt as to the crooked journalists misdeeds, he had cheerleaders who sought to cover up those misdeeds and to rehabilitate his reputation.
I apologize to Pinch Sulzberger for not giving the first Duranty-Blair to any of his many worthy staffers. I had hoped to give the first award to a Timesman, but Mary Mapes contributions to the corruption of journalism were simply overwhelming. But dont worry, Pinch, Ill catch you later.
I'm tired of hearing about journalistic offenses. Weren't crimes committed? Wasn't the memo in question a government document? You can't forge government documents can you?
"Weren't crimes committed?" Oh, absolutely! CBS feels they've atoned, because four people got fired.
Sarcasm well taken but didn't Ken Lay of Enron fame also get fired? Did that save him from facing prosecution?
It is a felony to forge any military document.
Shouldn't Herbert Matthews get an Dishonorable Mention?
Yes, Ken Lay did get fired, and he did face prosecution, and so should everybody at CBS who had a part in this.
I had heard this before, and Charles Krauthammer did an excellent column on it, saying this story is at least 5 years old, having even been looked into by his opponents during the time President Bush was governor of Texas and even during the 2000 campaign. If it had legs, shouldn't it have taken off then? The Texas ex-guardsman nut (his name escapes me now) who gave these phony documents to CBS should be prosecuted, also.
CBS hopes to bypass any action of the sort by saying they still haven't been proven to be false, even though they haven't proven to be true, and that their phony investigation didn't really prove bias. It's disgusting!
Congrats to Mapes for this first award, or should we call it the "Bullitzer Prize"?
I'm tired of hearing about journalistic offenses. Weren't crimes committed? Wasn't the memo in question a government document? You can't forge government documents can you?
You're right. The writer was sorely remiss. I tell you, even the conservative attack dogs have gone soft!
Oh, I dunno. To borrow from a FReeper above, what Duranty did wasn't a felony, and Mapes was guilty of more than just the forgeries, but of seeking though fraud to throw an election. On the opther hand, Duranty did cover up about 50 million murders, give or take a mil. In any event, Mapes and Duranty are clearly devils of the first magnitude.
P.S. I think it's great, that the Times still holds on to its Pulitzer. That helps make it easier for the Times' critics to clarify things for the uninitiated.
And the perky one ... lest we forget.
I love it!
Exactimiento! It's the House of Duranty.
Perhaps the whitewashing of Rather's involvement was not aimed at protecting his involvement but to save him from embarassment that he wasn't. That is: Rather claimed to have personally checked this and that but what if he realy was an empty suit and did much of nothing but read the teleprompter? You can see why that wouldn't be discussed in the report.