Man Without Qualities

Monday, September 20, 2004

Big Media Rot In Action II: "Independence" Day

Now CBS has Rather's statement, too, along with an evasive CBS Statement and a largely-stonewalling story that, embarrassingly for CBS, continues to cite Mr. Barnes as a "respectable" source and without mentioning that his own daughter has called him a liar and many other problems with his credibility. From the CBS Statement:

Bill Burkett, in a weekend interview with CBS News Anchor and Correspondent Dan Rather, has acknowledged that he provided the now-disputed documents used in the Sept. 8 "60 Minutes Wednesday" report on President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard.

Burkett, a retired National Guard lieutenant colonel, also 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.

Burkett originally said he obtained the documents from another former Guardsman. Now he says he got them from a different source whose connection to the documents and identity CBS News has been unable to verify to this point. Burkett’s interview will be featured in a full report on tonight’s CBS Evening News with Dan Rather (6:30-7:00 p.m., ET/PT).

In light of this and other developments reported by CBS News and other news organizations, CBS News President Andrew Heyward issued the following statement:

... "Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report. We should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret. Nothing is more important to us than our credibility and keeping faith with the millions of people who count on us for fair, accurate, reliable, and independent reporting. We will continue to work tirelessly to be worthy of that trust.”

CBS News and CBS management are commissioning an independent review of the process by which the report was prepared and broadcast to help determine what actions need to be taken. The names of the people conducting the review will be announced shortly, and their findings will be made public.

Gee, will they be people from inside CBS News whose careers are controlled by Dan Rather? Will CBS actually reinstate the poor guy who was already fired because he made the obvious observation that Dan Rather's story stinks?

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