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CBS should investigate - flagship news program hangs in the balance
St. Petersburg Times ^ | September 18, 2004

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.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 60minutes; aaahhhggggggggg; bloggers; cbs; cbsnews; danrather; forgery; fraud; gotchdan; internet; journalism; killian; networks; news; rather; ratherbiasedcom
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1 posted on 09/18/2004 2:02:52 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
All hail SETUNIM 09 !!

2 posted on 09/18/2004 2:07:26 AM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Even with the false swipes at Bush, the St. Petersburg Times "gets it".


3 posted on 09/18/2004 2:13:28 AM PDT by Diddley (C'mon Dan; 'fess up.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

"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.


4 posted on 09/18/2004 2:15:35 AM PDT by DC Bound
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To: Izzy Dunne; Diddley
The networks truly are in distress, when a LIBERAL rag like the SP Times offers up criticism.
5 posted on 09/18/2004 2:15:38 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: DC Bound
They knew a hearing wouldn't go anywhere but they got headlines.
6 posted on 09/18/2004 2:16:30 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

They are circling around, hoping to eat up CBS and knock it off their liberal competition.


7 posted on 09/18/2004 2:16:45 AM PDT by Kornev
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To: Izzy Dunne

59 Minutes of News.... 1 Minute for Apologies!!!!


8 posted on 09/18/2004 2:19:05 AM PDT by coconutt2000
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To: DC Bound

Actually, its a job for the FBI.


9 posted on 09/18/2004 2:24:28 AM PDT by DB ()
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
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.

10 posted on 09/18/2004 2:30:12 AM PDT by samtheman (www.swiftvets.com)
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To: DB

No matter who does the investigation, if the left manages to control the language, this will get buried.


11 posted on 09/18/2004 2:33:25 AM PDT by DC Bound
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To: samtheman

Exactly the issue.


12 posted on 09/18/2004 2:35:51 AM PDT by DC Bound
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To: samtheman

They can't bury it but they want to bury it.


13 posted on 09/18/2004 2:37:52 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
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.

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.

14 posted on 09/18/2004 2:40:29 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army and Proudly Supporting BUSH/CHENEY 2004!)
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To: DC Bound
***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." ***

They didn't "manage" it very well with that statement. They've outed ABC and The WP as LIBERAL news sources.

15 posted on 09/18/2004 2:43:31 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: xzins
Big "scandal?" The accusation is laughable! - Dad's note adds to Guard flap - Ex-president expressed pride in son's attitude

Dubya's military service? Complete and honorable! - The Facts about Bush and the National Guard - The Democratic charges fall apart.

16 posted on 09/18/2004 2:48:40 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Formerly CBS, now KBS. (K for Kinkos.)


17 posted on 09/18/2004 2:50:22 AM PDT by samtheman (www.swiftvets.com)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

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.


18 posted on 09/18/2004 2:56:11 AM PDT by DC Bound
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"... the same way the New York Times and USA Today exhaustively reported the plagiarism of reporters Jayson Blair and Jack Kelly."

This is such Barbra Streisand. I beleive they did not do any investigation because they merely had to write out what happened. In both cases,the actions were by design of the fish wrappers!
19 posted on 09/18/2004 2:58:28 AM PDT by leprechaun9
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To: DC Bound

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?


20 posted on 09/18/2004 3:00:16 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: leprechaun9
Drip.

Drip.

Drip.

The CBS/forgery story must feel like a tsunami to them.
21 posted on 09/18/2004 3:01:21 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

A tsunami or a leaky faucet? Or water torture.


22 posted on 09/18/2004 3:02:56 AM PDT by DC Bound
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To: DC Bound

They all work for me.

Bump!


23 posted on 09/18/2004 3:03:52 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I guess what I'm rooting for is that the left will crash so hard that they seek new leadership from folks like Zell Miller. Then, if the republicans had a little bit of competition on conservative values, they'd move a little farther to the right. The far left would be free to join the green party or the communist party, and we could make a little progress.


24 posted on 09/18/2004 3:15:53 AM PDT by DC Bound
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: Cincinatus' Wife

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.

Bulldingy, if so, he would not have received an Honorable discharge so he must have met his service requirements.


26 posted on 09/18/2004 3:34:36 AM PDT by garylmoore (Repeat: They made a mistake, they didn't count of George W. Bush.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I've read the St. Pete Times for decades. The Times is a liberal fish wrap. If the St. Pete Times is bucking c.b.s. and Rather, then the network really does have problems. In nearly every other instance I can remember the Times has always backed the liberal cause.
Go back to texas and drool there danny boy.


27 posted on 09/18/2004 3:34:58 AM PDT by Joe Boucher (4 more years)
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To: Izzy Dunne
Rather: "I'm not a journalist but I play one on TV. Besides, last night I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express."
28 posted on 09/18/2004 4:26:18 AM PDT by Malesherbes
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To: DC Bound
 No matter who does the investigation, if the left manages to control the language, this will get buried.

The left does not control the language. Not any more.

DC Bound
Since Sep 15, 2004
 
Welcome to the FreeRepublic.


29 posted on 09/18/2004 4:27:51 AM PDT by dinasour (Pajamahadeen)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
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.

And why won't CBS do so?

The only reasonable conclusion is that the source -- or trail of sources -- is even more incriminating than the fake documents. MARK STEYN SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
30 posted on 09/18/2004 4:31:46 AM PDT by The Great Yazoo (Hey! Hey! J-eFing-K! How many Vets did you Diss today?)
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To: DB
I agree with DB. The Dims would turn any Congressional hearing into a circus. I'd rather (no pun) the FBI investigate the forgery of official documents and the Killian family sue CBS. (I assume the documents purported to be official since they carried the heading and address of a National Guard unit.)
31 posted on 09/18/2004 4:32:18 AM PDT by Malesherbes
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Oh, sure, ask the fox to investigate the hen house.

The last time I checked, forgery and fraud were still crimes in this country. Where the heck are the cops?

32 posted on 09/18/2004 4:33:48 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Here's what the local owner had to say:

"Thanks for your note.

To say the least, we are very concerned about the authenticity of the memos used as the basis for the CBS story about President Bush's National Guard service. There is every appearance that they are not authentic and that, therefore, CBS has failed to meet the most basic standards of journalism. That is a serious failure indeed, if it should prove to be the case.

We have received a number letters and emails like yours, as have, I am sure, the rest of the affiliate stations across the country. CBS is feeling the heat.

As for WCAX-TV News, which is solely our responsiblity, we will continue to provide complete, accurate and unbiased local news to our viewers. Please bear in mind that we have no authority over CBS News, nor it over us.

Thanks again for writing." Peter Martin General Manager, WCAX-TV Phone: 802-652-6400 Fax: 802-652-6319

33 posted on 09/18/2004 4:34:24 AM PDT by JimVT (I was born a Democrat..but then I grew up)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
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.

Oh yeah. And the NYT and USA Toady are now paragons of objective reporting.

My recommendation would be for CBS to forego the investigation, and keep on doing what it is doing - spew DNC propaganda. The deeper the collective media credibility goes, the better.

34 posted on 09/18/2004 4:40:07 AM PDT by Cboldt
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To: Diddley

The St. Petersburg Times is a liberal rag that hates Bush. If they "get it", it is only because they have been dragged in it. You notice what they moan about is that the memo flap "overshadowed" other documents that they feel proved the same thing.

It's sort of funny to hear them come out and castigate CBS, when they are shilling for the DNC just as much as CBS is.

They are really, really biased. As bad as the NY Times. And that is saying a lot.


35 posted on 09/18/2004 4:50:18 AM PDT by I still care (Proud member of the FR branch of the Pajama brigade.)
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To: xzins
I agree. I noticed the same blatant false allegation and I actually sent my local fish-wrap an email calling them on it.

However, I of course expect not to hear back from them and I'm positive it will not be corrected.
36 posted on 09/18/2004 4:52:26 AM PDT by Pox
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To: mewzilla
The last time I checked, forgery and fraud were still crimes in this country. Where the heck are the cops?

I've looked into this in some detail, and at this point my studied opininion is that no crime has been committed.

It's a stunning conclusion, isn't it.

Journalistic fraud is not illegal. That is self-policed by the so-called profession.

Forgery only plays when the forgery has legal effect. That is, if genuine, the forgery could give or take some right, power, priviledge or value - or would affect active records. Forging titles, wills, deeds, money, etc. is illegal. These forgeries are forgeries of history, and that is not illegal.

Fraud only plays when a person has given up something on fraudulent pretext. So, if CBS paid for the forgeries, CBS has a claim against the forger, and the forger may have committed a criminal offense (not sure, see, e.g., art forgery. I don't know if that is criminal).

I've also checked the narrow "forging government documents," and "misuse of a government seal." So far I have found no law or case that makes what CBS did into a crime on those counts. A "seal" is just the emblem, and can't be used on matchboks, toys, etc. The seal is for official use only. Forging government records has to have a legal effect, in order to become criminal.

I can think of one class of forging government history that would be criminal, that being birth and death records. But none of what CBS aired fits that. In fact, 3 of the 4 documents were memos to self, or for the record. Only the forged order to Bush could affect his legal rights.

The only arena these forgeries operate in is the political arena.

So, what could be brought? GWB has a defamation claim (civil law) against CBS. CBS would have a fraud claim against the forger, if CBS paid for the forgeries. ANd Viacom shareholders have a claim against CBS if CBS News' actions meet the requirements for "irreseponsible management" and the stock goes down in value BECAUSE of CBS News' actions.

37 posted on 09/18/2004 5:02:28 AM PDT by Cboldt
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
showing President Bush failed to meet his service requirements in the Guard and wasn't punished.

Wishful thinking....They showed that he stopped flying for lack of an airplane where he was allowed to go. He still accrued all of the National Guard points he needed to fulfill the requirements.

This whole story is a turkey and has been from the beginning. Rather just pulled feathers, that's all.

38 posted on 09/18/2004 5:04:14 AM PDT by Tom Bombadil
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To: Diddley

Donate to Swift Boat Vets for the Truth HERE.
Sign Petition against CBS & Dan Rather HERE.
My Campaign Button Page
and My Toons Page [Updated 9-15 / 10:45PM CST]

39 posted on 09/18/2004 5:10:18 AM PDT by sonofatpatcher2 (Texas, Love & a .45-- What more could you want, campers? };^)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

"Melodramatic as it sounds, the credibility of CBS News, its star anchor and its flagship news program hangs in the balance."

This sentence would be correct if the last three words were dropped.


40 posted on 09/18/2004 5:13:16 AM PDT by labard1
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To: Cboldt
CBS et. al. should thank their lucky starts it wasn't my family they screwed with.
41 posted on 09/18/2004 5:24:04 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

With the tears from the Red Rag dripping off my monitor, it's over.


42 posted on 09/18/2004 5:28:41 AM PDT by snooker (French Fried Flip Flopper still Flouncing, be careful out there.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

bump


43 posted on 09/18/2004 6:15:14 AM PDT by newsgatherer
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To: snooker

LOL

Dum dum dum da dum....


44 posted on 09/18/2004 6:18:49 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: sonofatpatcher2

LOL!!


45 posted on 09/18/2004 6:19:09 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: JimVT

Good! They're feeling the heat.

Old media is sweating.


46 posted on 09/18/2004 6:21:24 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Its not just the end of Dan Rather; its the end of Dan Rathers.


47 posted on 09/18/2004 6:24:50 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Sure - CBS should investigate itself for Fraud.

That makes as much sense as "Fake But Accurate"


48 posted on 09/18/2004 6:38:21 AM PDT by Fenris6 (3 Purple Hearts in 4 months w/o missing a day of work? He's either John Rambo or a Fraud)
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To: Cboldt
Thanks for the note.

If, as you say, there's no law against forging documents to affect a political race, then I think Congress should make such a law.

If this forgery had been so well done that it changed the Presidential race, that has a FAR worse impact for the country than things that are already illegal, like a forged will or deed.
49 posted on 09/18/2004 6:40:59 AM PDT by 68skylark
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
This just in:

Donate to Swift Boat Vets for the Truth HERE.
Sign Petition against CBS & Dan Rather HERE.
My Campaign Button Page
and My Toons Page [Updated 9-15 / 10:45PM CST]

50 posted on 09/18/2004 6:46:07 AM PDT by sonofatpatcher2 (Texas, Love & a .45-- What more could you want, campers? };^)
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