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September 17, 2004
Houston Chronicle: Burkett A Well-Known Crank

In an article sure to raise blood pressure among CBS and Viacom executives, the Houston Chronicle reports that Bill Burkett -- the main suspect in the forgery scam that CBS propogated -- has a long history of false accusations against George Bush:

Bill Burkett, who has emerged as a possible CBS source for disputed memos about President Bush's Guard service, has a long history of making charges against Bush and the Texas National Guard.

But Burkett's allegations have changed over the years, and have been dismissed as baseless by former Guard colleagues, state legislators and others.

Even Burkett has admitted some of his allegations are false.

If that last sentence isn't bad enough, Michael Hedges provides the background on those charges which Burkett has yet to acknowledge as false:

In an article Burkett wrote for the Internet last year he compared Bush to Hitler and Napoleon as one of "the three small men" who sought to rule through tyranny. "Three small men who wanted to conquer and vanquish," Burkett wrote. Burkett confirmed authorship of that article in the February Chronicle interview.

Some of Burkett's friends and associates say they don't know whether he is the CBS source. ...

During Bush's first White House run in 2000, Burkett told reporters he overheard both ends of a phone conversation between former Texas Guard commander Gen. Daniel James III and Bush's one-time Texas chief of staff, Joe Allbaugh, that he said occurred in the summer of 1997. That was similar to what he told Hunter's committee, the lawmaker recalled.

But that claim changed earlier this year.

In February, Burkett said he witnessed documents from Bush's records in a garbage can at a Guard base in Austin.

"My eyes fixed on the first page," he said in an interview in February. "It had Bush, George W. Lt1. What I did next still bothers me. I browsed through the top five or six pages." ...

Texas Guard officials said no Texas Air Guard records had ever been stored at the facility Burkett named.

And what about the Killian documentation? After all, as I reported yesterday, Burkett wrote on August 25th that he had "reassembled" Bush's Guard file. But earlier, the Chronicle notes that Burkett had looked for anything Killian had written about Bush and come up empty:

One month ago, in an essay posted on a progressive Web site, Burkett theorized that Killian would have been a likely person to know more about Bush's service. But, he conceded, "I have found no documentation from LTC Killian's hand or staff that indicate that this unit was involved in any complicit way to ... cover for the failures of 1Lt. Bush ... " Burkett went on to say, "On the contrary, LTC Killian's remarks are rare."

For someone who has had no trouble making things up before, going to Kinko's and attempting to create Killian "documentation" is hardly a leap -- it fits directly into the man's character. Further, he had the motive and the track record of conducting smears against George Bush.

All of this, it seems, should have been readily discovered by CBS had they attempted to vet Bill Burkett as a source. Of course, Rather also could have vetted Ben Barnes, his other primary source for the preferential-treatment story, to find out that he'd delivered a half-million dollars to the Democrats over the past five years and almost $75,000 to Kerry in this cycle. His own network had run a feature on Ben Barnes and his expectations for delivering big money to Kerry, back in June of this year!

This goes beyond mere incompetence. This string of lunatics and operatives on which Rather and CBS relied demonstrates a willful refusal to practice standard journalistic verification on sourcing as well as a deliberate attempt to mislead its viewers on the background of the people behind this smear. If it wants to keep CBS News alive, Viacom has to wrest control from Andrew Heyward and his gang of idiots before they take the rest of the network with them down the drain.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 17, 2004 10:51 AM

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» Man, it's so hard to find good help. from Milblog
Sure, loyalty from minions is important, but isn't QUALITY just as important?Captain's Quarters In an article sure to raise blood pressure among CBS and Viacom executives, the Houston Chronicle reports that Bill Burkett -- the main suspect in the forge... [Read More]

Tracked on September 17, 2004 11:32 AM

» A Likely Source for the CBS Memos Part II from bLogicus
Previously I documented the possible role that Bill Burkett played in the ongoing CBS Memo scandal [click here]. Since then the MSM has identified Burkett as a possible source and even reported that the memos bore fax markings from a... [Read More]

Tracked on September 17, 2004 12:05 PM

» Houston Chronicle article on possible source of CBS memos from ChuckB's LISNews Journal
Captain Ed points us to an article on Bill Burkett in the Houston Chronicle. [Read More]

Tracked on September 18, 2004 7:04 PM

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