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In two separate statements, CBS and Dan Rather apologized for using documents that they failed to authenticate in their George Bush-TANG investigation:
CBS News said Monday it cannot prove the authenticity of documents used in a 60 Minutes story about President Bush's National Guard service and that airing the story was a "mistake" that CBS regretted. ...
In a statement, CBS said former Texas Guard official Bill Burkett "has acknowledged that he provided the now-disputed documents" and "admits that he deliberately misled the CBS News producer working on the report, giving her a false account of the documents' origins to protect a promise of confidentiality to the actual source."
CBS still cannot bring itself to use the word "forgeries," preferring to stick to the less-egregious assertion that they should have worked harder to authenticate the documents before going to air. They now acknowledge that their "unimpeachable" source was lunatic-fringe ranter Bill Burkett, who has a history of unsubstantiated and debunked claims against George Bush and the Texas National Guard. But Andrew Heyward talks about "forensic evidence on both sides of the debate" as if any reputable forensic expert has authenticated the Killian memos.
In other words, CBS can't admit what the entire world already knows -- that the documents were forgeries, and such bad forgeries that if we are to believe that CBS thought for a moment they were genuine, Viacom should initiate vision testing and brain scans for everyone involved.
The Dan also apologized today for fronting this story, but makes no mention of his "personal" assurances of the authenticity of the Killian memos:
Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where-if I knew then what I know now-I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.
But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.
No one at CBS wants to take responsibility for the debacle which they caused. Specifically, none of the following are mentioned in the various apologies and statements:
* No apology or even mention is given for the repeated "personal" assurances of Rather and Heyward that the documents were genuine. All of a sudden, they speak in the passive voice: "We were misled ..."
* Neither CBS nor Dan Rather apologized for smearing the critics of the documents as "partisan". Neither have acknowledged that the critics were correct, either.
* Neither give an explanation as to why their own experts were ignored when they raised questions about the documents.
* No one has explained why Ben Barnes was used as a source for this story, given Barnes' status as a major Kerry fundraiser and his contradictory public statements on this issue in the past.
* Andrew Heyward, as President of CBS News, has the responsibility to ensure that CBS News employees use proper journalistic practices and research their stories carefully under all circumstances. Heyward has yet to tell how he accomplished this in light of the fiasco that occurred.
* Dan Rather, as managing editor, has the responsibility to ensure that stories are well-researched and accurate prior to publication. Rather gave no explanation, other than claiming to have been "misled", as to how he fulfilled his responsibilities in this case.
In fact, the apologies are nothing more than a "gee, we're sorry" one would expect to hear at a department store when a product failed to perform. This is no faulty toaster; this was a deliberate attempt (at least on Burkett's part) to skew an election through the use of forgeries, and every system that reputable journals use to prevent libel and slander appear to have been deliberately bypassed at CBS News for this story. That's not just lousy journalism; that's fraud.
CBS now promises an independent review, about ten days too late, and has committed to a public release of the findings. But as long as the division president (Heyward), managing editor (Rather), and the producer (Mary Mapes) continue in their positions at CBS, their work will have no credibility whatsoever. CBS must fire Heyward, Rather, and Mapes, and must do so immediately, if it intends on rescuing its credibility.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Dan Rather Speaks, CBS Expresses Regret from bLogicus
CBS News said Monday it cannot prove the authenticity of documents used in a 60 Minutes story about President Bush's National Guard service and that airing the story was a "mistake" that CBS regretted. CBS News Anchor Dan Rather, the... [Read More]
Tracked on September 20, 2004 12:52 PM
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Tracked on September 20, 2004 1:29 PM
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» The Moonbats that Aren't Barking from infidel cowboy
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Tracked on September 20, 2004 1:45 PM
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Tracked on September 20, 2004 3:12 PM
Tracked on September 20, 2004 3:32 PM
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Tracked on September 20, 2004 11:09 PM
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