Monday, January 10, 2005

CBS Releases Report On Memogate

In a 234 page report on the President Bush National Guard memo fiasco, the Tiffany network has determined that "CBS News failed to follow basic journalistic principles in the preparation and reporting of the piece," then "compounded that failure with a 'rigid and blind' defense." The producer of the piece was fired, and three high-level executives were "asked" to resign. The timing of the story prompted charges of political bias against CBS News. The investigating panel said that while some actions taken by CBS News encouraged such suspicions, “the Panel cannot conclude that a political agenda at 60 Minutes Wednesday drove either the timing of the airing of the Segment or its content." Huh?

The story was planned to hit just before the election, to cause maximum damage to the President while allowing virtually no time for defense. The papers were contained serious allegations, but no serious attempt was made to authenticate them. The producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, had been working on this story since 1999 with absolutely no success, until these papers suddenly appeared. The network, news staff, and Dan Rather himself blindly swore allegiance and loyalty to the papers, even as it became clear they were fake.

All involved made an attempt to damage the reputation of the President and influence the election. If this wasn't politically motivated, where were CBS's disclaimers about the documents? And where were CBS's attempts to get other sides to this story? Not political my a..