Skip to comments.CBS should investigate - flagship news program hangs in the balance
Posted on 09/18/2004 2:02:52 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
Not long ago, pundits feared ongoing allegations about President Bush's National Guard service would hijack the campaign, forcing the candidates to waste precious pre-election time talking about a 30-year-old war. Instead, days after CBS News admitted that it may have featured forged documents in its blockbuster story on Bush's guard activities, something worse has occurred: We are wasting time talking about CBS' coverage of Bush's Vietnam War-era service.
It may have been one of the most rapid disintegrations of a major news story since Jayson Blair. Within hours of the 60 Minutes story Sept. 8 alleging family influence got Bush into the Texas Air National Guard, where he then failed to meet performance requirements, Internet bloggers already were challenging the validity of documents at the center of the program.
By that week's end, several major news outlets had unearthed document specialists or relatives of the documents' reputed author, now-deceased National Guard Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, to dispute CBS' assertion that Killian wrote several memos critical of Bush while resisting pressure to "sugarcoat" his time in the Guard.
On Wednesday, after ABC News featured two experts who said they tried to warn CBS of doubts regarding the memos, anchor Dan Rather offered another defense. The memos may be fake, but the story was right.
In other words, Rather and CBS News want viewers to believe their conclusions, even though crucial evidence offered as proof may not be valid.
Such trust would be a stretch, even for a news organization that hadn't used up so much goodwill by insisting for days that criticism of its now admittedly flawed report was unwarranted.
Worse, the controversy over CBS' story has overshadowed valid Department of Defense documents obtained by the Boston Globe and Associated Press last week showing President Bush failed to meet his service requirements in the Guard and wasn't punished. Such disclosures only confirm longstanding rumors about Bush that many voters have already heard and considered.
However this flap is resolved, many will now see the CBS memo scandal as the story of a liberal-leaning media outlet getting its comeuppance. The Wall Street Journal said as much Thursday, downplaying the role of mainstream outlets such as ABC News and the Washington Post in challenging CBS. The Journal proclaimed "the liberal media establishment has ceased to set the U.S. political agenda." Fortunately, efforts by some GOP lawmakers to initiate a congressional investigation so far have been rejected by Republican leaders.
There's history here. Rather has been a target of conservatives ever since a contentious interview with then-presidential candidate George H.W. Bush 16 years ago. A Web site dubbed RatherBiased.com was among the harshest critics of the memos report, sending out daily updates on the controversy to supporters.
Though CBS News has promised to find out if the memos are fake, a spokeswoman says the network has no plans to launch an internal investigation on how such flawed material wound up in an important story. But that is exactly what CBS should do, in the same way the New York Times and USA Today exhaustively reported the plagiarism of reporters Jayson Blair and Jack Kelly.
And if the network can confirm that its copies of Killian's memos are fakes, CBS should reveal who provided them. Promises of confidentiality should vanish when a source deliberately lies, and viewers deserve the explanation.
Melodramatic as it sounds, the credibility of CBS News, its star anchor and its flagship news program hangs in the balance.
Even with the false swipes at Bush, the St. Petersburg Times "gets it".
"Fortunately, efforts by some GOP lawmakers to initiate a congressional investigation so far have been rejected by Republican leaders."
Yeah, that's great for a constitutional republic--undermine the electoral process at a time of war. Just like the MSM pimped for Clinton and said it was about sex, not perjury, they are now doing it for the DNC, claiming it is bad reporting, not treason.
They are circling around, hoping to eat up CBS and knock it off their liberal competition.
59 Minutes of News.... 1 Minute for Apologies!!!!
Actually, its a job for the FBI.
Fortunately, efforts by some GOP lawmakers to initiate a congressional investigation so far have been rejected by Republican leaders.Why "fortunately"? Why shouldn't this be investigated by congress... or by the Justice Department?
Watergate was the break-in of an office by one political party to spy on the campaign plans of another political party. This is worse. This is a felony forgery attempt to actually influence a federal election.
This story is bigger than Watergate and bigger than the current election. This is Big Media caught operating as the propaganda arm of a political party. This is huge. This is not going away, even with the efforts of establishment types everywhere, including congressional Republican leadership, to ignore its importance.
No matter who does the investigation, if the left manages to control the language, this will get buried.
Exactly the issue.
They can't bury it but they want to bury it.
There were no documents released showing that the Pres. failed to complete his duty.
That is a crock and this article is a subtle vehicle designed to agree that Rather is wrong, but plant pure misinformation at the same time.
The Globe's document was proven wrong. Pres. Bush had no obligation to serve in Boston when at Harvard. He had been given a discharge.
And you can bet that if the Pentagon had released papers showing the Pres. had not fulfilled his obligation, that Dan Rather wouldn't HAVE NEEDED forged documents.
The Pentagon released a paper called an Honorable Discharge. THAT is proof that no matter what anyone else says, someone looked at the record long ago and decided the obligation had been fulfilled.
They didn't "manage" it very well with that statement. They've outed ABC and The WP as LIBERAL news sources.
Dubya's military service? Complete and honorable! - The Facts about Bush and the National Guard - The Democratic charges fall apart.
Formerly CBS, now KBS. (K for Kinkos.)
I read that sentence differently. WSJ ignores the roles of ABC and WP in challenging CBS. The liberal media--discounting those ignored in previous sentence--has ceased to set the agenda.
Either way, infighting among media giants or not, the left will try to turn this into just another case of bad reporting. Our battle isn't against bad reporting--we already knew we were getting that, and the capitalist system will punish CBS for it. Our battle is against treason, and I'd rather have Justice or Congress or Ken Starr takle that.
The train of public opinion has left the station.
The LIBERAL media has been judged by the people and found guilty.
This is better than giving the Left a forum where they will beat up the truth.
The judgment is in, why give the Left a chance to sway the jury?