Monday, January 17, 2005

Think I'm Back; CBS Is Outed

The last few days I didn't care much about posting anything, feeling sick and dopey like I did. I think it's all finally clearing up, so here we go...

One thing I did get to do this weekend, miserable tho' I felt, was to read through the CBS internal investigation report (PDF file) on the President Bush - Air National Guard memo scandal. The news stories I've read about the report all quote this line from the report:

"... 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."
That sounds well and good, but if you look at the report itself, all 200+ pages of it, there can be little doubt. This memo story was meant to be a one-sided hit piece, inflicting damage on President Bush, and was either politically or personally directed. There can be no denying it. Read the report yourself.

Mary Mapes and her team rushed to get this on the air, misrepresenting facts to her bosses and to people who were interviewed. She ignored or buried interviews with people who stated clearly and unequivocably that then-Lieutenant Bush did not receive preferential treatment getting into the Texas Air National Guard. The report lists all the reasons the story never should have aired, from reporting irregularities to failure to validate simple source background facts.

It was a Keystone Kops version of journalism, and CBS is reamed in this report. The only disappointing aspect to the report is the failure to directly blame political bias for the disaster. There is more than enough evidence laid out in this report to go beyond a reasonable doubt. The report might not draw that conclusion, but it's certainly there.