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September 10, 2004
Is The Chicago Tribune Cleansing Its Archives Of The CBS Scam?

NOTE: This post has been substantially updated -- see below.

The blog Threshold -55 does some crack investigative work on the Chicago Tribune, which appears to be attempting to "disappear" the Killian-memo story from its archives. Beth and Terry explain how the ChiTrib (whose parent, I believe, also owns the LA Times) keys its archives to allow for searches and how that has been manipulated here:

A Threshold -55 examination of the Chicago Tribune website reveals that the newspaper appears to have quietly removed all references to a September 10th front page article that called into question President Bush's military service during Vietnam.

The article, "Questions Raised About Bush Guard Service" has been completely replaced with a new article titled, "Bush Piloted Guard Trainers Before He Quit". The new one tries to paint the President as a poor flyer who frequently required multiple approaches to land his jet.

The removed article makes passing mention of the doubts surrounding the authenticity of the CBS Dan Rather/memo debacle. But in a stunning twist of partisan reporting the Tribune plays down the doubts as they continue their never ending quest to discredit President Bush. Read the Threshold cached copy in full to see the hatchet job in action.

The bias of the AP article or that of the Chicago Tribune is nothing new to readers of Threshold. We wonder if it is possible that the newspaper changed the link to prevent people from making references to the original report. Perhaps the AP article is even too biased for the Tribune.

Eventually people outside the blog world are going to start questioning the credibilty of the major liberal media news outlets. This event will be long overdue.

Beth and Terry demonstrate cleverness and tenacity as they track down the missing and altered stories at the ChiTrib. Read the entire post, and marvel at the foolishness of the newspaper and its complete lack of understanding how publishing to the Internet affects their transparency.

UPDATE: No conspiracy, just the Internet and the difference between AP stories (which the ChiTrib doesn't archive) and their original content (which the ChiTrib archives for seven days), according to the Tribune's rep, Charles Meyerson:

As far as we can tell, Beth and Terry have confused one of Web site's updating "pointers," which present whatever AP's editors consider the top stories of the hour (and which therefore have a brief shelf life, and which are not archived), with actual Chicago Tribune newspaper content, which lives on the Web for (typically) seven days.

In this case, the newspaper's Thursday front-page story -- which also led the Web site for hours on Thursday (with a photo of Bush) -- can still easily be found here:

... or by searching for various combination of the words

bush "national guard" memos zeleny silva

(Zeleny and Silva are the co-authors of the story.)

No conspiracy here -- liberal, conservative or otherwise. Just a continued commitment to a continually updated Web site that combines breaking news with the day's print content, hindered by technological limitations that prevent the archiving of absolutely everything AP generates.

So the culprit on the shifting stories is not the Chicago Tribune but the AP, as it edits its feed during the day (I noted that on another story today). My apologies to the Tribune, and a hat tip to Meyerson, and Jim Manno for forwarding me the response.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 10, 2004 5:45 AM

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