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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

CBS News admits Mapes "violated policy" in putting Burkett in contact with Lockhart

Oh, the MSM's long knives in Rathergate haven't been sheathed yet.  But Wednesday's NYT suggests that CBS News is feeding Mary Mapes to them first, hoping that her sacrificial blood will appease the other media deities:

CBS News said yesterday that the producer of its flawed report about President Bush's National Guard service violated network policy by putting a source in touch with a top aide to Senator John Kerry.

"It is obviously against CBS News standards and those of every other reputable news organization to be associated with any political agenda," the network said in a statement....

Privately, network officials said they were caught off guard on Monday when Joe Lockhart, a senior adviser to Mr. Kerry, told reporters that he had spoken to Bill Burkett, the source for the questionable documents, at the behest of Ms. Mapes.

Yes, they're shocked!  Shocked!  A violation of CBS News' hitherto sacred standards!  But is poor Mary to be the only victim?

Some colleagues expressed worry that Ms. Mapes would be a scapegoat and that others, like Mr. Rather; Betsy West, a CBS News senior vice president; and the CBS News president, Andrew Heyward, would not be held accountable.

Let's hope Mary has lots of company in the employment line.  (Hat-tip Carnivorous Conservative.)

Update (Wed Sep 23 @ 8:05am):  LAT gets its knives bloody again today too, as part of which (elipsis in original):

CBS News is expected today to announce an independent panel to review actions by the "CBS Evening News" and "60 Minutes" teams that produced the Sept. 8 report on Bush's Guard service. It would include at least one expert in journalism and another in law, people familiar with the situation said.

In an indication of how deep concern about the issue has become at the network, Chairman Leslie Moonves commented for the first time Tuesday. He said that while CBS News "has a long tradition of responsible journalism … it's clear that something went seriously wrong with the process" in the production of the National Guard story.

I'm pretty sure they won't be calling me as their expert on matters legal.  (Hat-tip to Hugh Hewitt.)

Posted by Beldar at 03:24 AM in Mainstream Media, Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to CBS News admits Mapes "violated policy" in putting Burkett in contact with Lockhart and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» More Bad News for CBS, Mapes from bLogicus

Tracked on Sep 23, 2004 4:10:13 AM

» RNC Chairman Implicates Kerry Campaign from La Shawn Barber's Corner

Tracked on Sep 23, 2004 7:34:13 AM

» Mary Mapes: Designated Victim from Fat Steve's Blatherings

Tracked on Sep 24, 2004 5:18:05 AM


(1) Birkel made the following comment | Sep 22, 2004 3:47:44 AM | Permalink

Let me get this straight. Joe Lockhart freely admits Mapes was the contact who put him in touch with Burkett. That puts the blame squarely on her shoulders. It also shifts blame away from others. Rather shifts blame. Heyward shifts blame. Everyone takes a deep breath.

Tony Coehlo says the Gore campaign had info from Texans back in 2000. This provides the "We knew back then so why would we push this story now?" alibi. The Kerry campaign maintains plausible deniability. Nothing sticks to Kerry or his most intimate advisors. Lockhart is expendable.

Does this tie up with a bow, or what? If there was initial collusion, why wouldn't it continue until today. If all the stories coalesce this nicely, I smell a rat.

I hope Mapes followed John Ellis' advice and got herself a private attorney. I hope she retained a lot of documents. Otherwise, she's getting rolled by people who took 10-12 days to get it all together.

Just a theory. But I don't need tinfoil just yet.

(2) Calliope made the following comment | Sep 22, 2004 4:48:28 AM | Permalink

"Privately, network officials said they were caught off guard on Monday when...."

Maybe Dan Rather can be the one to break this story for us next week sometime.

Oh, and I agree with Birkel, clearly Mapes is being fed into the shredder.

(3) Birkel made the following comment | Sep 22, 2004 5:08:36 AM | Permalink

It's not JUST that she's drawing the short straw. That was going to happen because she's not named Rather. My problem is how, after nearly two weeks of stonewalling (getting their stories straight) Mapes is being outted by the KERRY CAMPAIGN. It's all coming together very quickly.

Rather flies to Texas.
We learn Mapes called Lockhart.
Lockhart confirms the call but claims no wrong doing.
Coehlo drops his comments about the Gore campaign.
The NYT signals Mapes "violated policy."

Mapes gets fired/placed on leave to be fired later.
Lockhart steps down. (maybe-but he's a Clintonite)
MSM pats itself on the back for covering Rathergate.
Business as usual

It's not a stretch to think the Kerry Campaign and CBS knew something about what the other was doing. Is it too much to think that relation stopped dead when the blogs got together and outted the Rather piece?

Perhaps I should just trumpet the left:
I question the timing.

Does that make me a bad person?

(4) steve made the following comment | Sep 22, 2004 7:18:54 AM | Permalink

It's no surprise what Mapes was doing. As any good liberal would do, she was doing what she could to see that the evil Bush was evicted for more click here.

(5) Joe made the following comment | Sep 22, 2004 7:33:21 AM | Permalink

Let's not shed too many tears over Mary Mapes' career (while, of course, taking care that she doesn't become _the_ scapegoat and that her downfall doesn't leave Rather, Heyward, etc. off the hook). She was in this business up to her eyebrows and she has a _lot_ of culpability. She's the one who, like Ahab, pursued the story for five years. As producer, she's the one who was in charge of all the nuts and bolts of the report. She's the one who set up the connection between Burkett and Lockhart. Again, she's _not_ the only one who should be punished but she richly deserves everything she's getting.

(6) Patrick R. Sullivan made the following comment | Sep 22, 2004 8:59:45 AM | Permalink

Then there's the little matter of how many campaign finance laws have been broken. I don't think you'd have to be a stickler to see CBS as having donated "in kind" to the Kerry Fortunate Son campaign.

(7) jack white made the following comment | Sep 22, 2004 10:47:39 AM | Permalink

Let's see who has been thrown overboard as of today:

1. Bill Burkett. He will sue CBS.
2. Joe Lockhart. He is being set up to take the heat if and when the CBS/Kerry campaign connections come to light.
3. Mary Mapes. She's still employed but it is obvious CBS will throw this all off on her.

If I were the DNC and the Kerry campaign, I would be sweating bullets right now. My money is they are. CBS--well, it's ruined, so sweating time is over.

(8) Al made the following comment | Sep 22, 2004 11:24:49 AM | Permalink

My question is... what's the best way to start handing out subpoenas quicklike?

CBS won't press charges on Burkett.
Various TX groups could? TX ANG for instance? It was their letterhead being used...
Mary Mapes or Dan Rather could independent of CBS... but neither really want to prove the documents to be forgeries in a court of law.

But... what about 'attacking' the White House? They recirculated the documents - how far out from the actual WH can discovery from a case like that get?

(9) Dan made the following comment | Sep 22, 2004 11:38:24 AM | Permalink

Looks like a decent two-person panel. ex Pres. of AP and former AG. Not bad.

Check out Drudge:

Wed Sep 22 2004 12:06:12 ET

(10) MaDr made the following comment | Sep 22, 2004 12:27:09 PM | Permalink

I feel so reassured knowing the former AP Pres and CEO will be handling the CBS investigation. Just as confident as if they had plucked someone from NYT, LAT, BG, Reuters, or even Dan Blather.

Mapes is toast, but if CBS' golden parachute with "shut yap" clause is lucrative enough, I'm sure Malicious Mary won't talk out of line. She'll be hired again (elsewhere) too.
Didn't she run from Seattle after another hoax she'd perpetrated - straight into the arms of CBS?

(11) Jack Denver made the following comment | Sep 22, 2004 2:48:46 PM | Permalink

Perhaps the news reporters at the Times are not yet ready to sheath their swords, but the Editorial Page folks seem ready to forgive and forget. Read today’s letters to the editor in the NY Times. One single sentence “anti-Dan” letter and 5 “in favor": 1. If Dan should lose his job for lying, so should Bush. 2. Memos are still “fake but accurate” - Bush “failed to do his duty” and “lied". Focus on CBS is a distraction from the “real” story (2 letters) 3. We need journalists who will not cower before the G.O.P. spin machine, so hang in there, brave Dan. Courage. 4. The Chomskian “who profited” analysis: “Karl Rove, President Bush and company should be asked some very direct questions about possible involvement in this setup. ”


This may give you a clue as to what the NY Times (and the LLL) are still thinking. In other words, they are ready to "Move On" from this story.

(12) Davod made the following comment | Sep 22, 2004 4:13:43 PM | Permalink

I just read that the DNC web site in April had direct quotes from one of the Kllian memos. I cannot get back to the site. I am sure one of you will be able to get to it quickly.

(13) KevinM made the following comment | Sep 22, 2004 7:01:30 PM | Permalink

Here's the thing that bothers me about the Mapes/Lockhart connection: Burkett has memos that he believes will sink Bush's chances for re-election. CBS wants to go ahead with the story. This is what he's been waiting years for - but he holds out for a phone call from Lockhart so he can give him some unsolicited advice? I'm not buying it. People have gotten to be Ambassador to France for delivering less to a presidential campaign. Once Burkett delivers the memos he no longer has any leverage. That's why Mapes has to call Lockhart - to let him know that he needs to persuade Burkett to cough up the memos or the story won't run.

Lockhart then calls Burkett and tells him that he'll make sure Burkett is on Kerry's Christmas card list. Or that he's Queen of the May. Almost anything Burkett wants at that point. Can I have my tinfoil hat now?

(14) MaDr made the following comment | Sep 22, 2004 9:36:45 PM | Permalink

Day 3 - Rather has still not denied he is the Queen of the Space Unicorns.

The story must be true.

PS I heard this somewhere today.

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