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September 11, 2004
60 Minutes Trolling For Left-Wing Political Groups

CBS has not yet learned its lesson from the Killian forgery debacle, according to CQ reader Retired Military. RM saw the following notice in the Killeen Daily Herald's on-line user forums, which is the newspaper for the community near Fort Hood. Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson are scouting for 60 Minutes producers, who want to hear any stories they can find that cast the military in a bad light:

Dear Military Families,

We received the email below from Leslie Cockburn, a producer for CBS's 60 Minutes. She is looking into the lack of supplies, equipment, maintenance of vehicles/equipment, etc. in Iraq. If you are interested in contacting her, her email is
and her phone number in Washington DC is 202 342 9488.

In Peace and Solidarity,
Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson,
for Military Families Speak Out

According to this post, Cockburn's objective approach to CBS News investigations are displayed for all to see in an e-mail sent to Lessin's organization, the anti-war Military Families Speak Out. Cockburn starts with a belief and rather than test the hypothesis honestly, Cockburn trolls for only that testimony which will support the CBS position:

As per our conversation, I am producing a 60 Minutes piece (with Kroft) which addresses the following:

In light of our recently passed 416 billion dollar defense appropriations bill, I am disturbed to hear stories of lack of the most basic supplies among the troops in Iraq.

These include out of date weapons, lack of radios, inadequate water supplies, problems with vests, humvees, troops forced to purchase their own equipment etc. I would like to hear from any family
who knows of such problems. I am particularly interested in shortages within the last few months.

I am also interested in maintenance problems...backlogs of repairs on
vehicles and helicopters that may put troops in danger.

In looking at the stories from the field, I am trying to determine whether the Guard is experiencing more difficulties than other forces and also whether these problems continue regardless of promises to fix them.

If any of the families have documentary evidence of problems, photos from the field , home videos and letters etc, I am of course interested.

my [sic] email is (I am based in Washington DC. 202 342 9488)

Many thanks,


If you're curious about who MFSO is and who supports them, their Links page should tell you how far to the left MFSO runs. The various groups all lead back to, Greenpeace, Feminist Majority, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and many other groups that have an explicit anti-Bush strategy. It's very revealing that when CBS looks around for help on a story about the military that their producers look to these sources first.

Using this manner of journalistic ethics, winding up with forged documents and no credible attempt at authentication does not appear to be an exceptional event at CBS. In fact, if this is how the Tiffany Network practices journalism, it would be a wonder if CBS ever presented a true picture on any issue it approaches.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 11, 2004 11:22 AM

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