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Saturday, September 18, 2004

"Et tu, WaPo?" gasps Rather, as the MSM assassins thrust and thrust

Says Dan Rather of the current controversy:

Rather also dismissed the notion that CBS was negligent: "I'm confident we worked longer, dug deeper and worked harder than almost anybody in American journalism does."

That's precisely what we're all afraid of, Dan.

Sunday's front-page WaPo story by Howard Kurtz, Michael Dobbs, and James V. Grimaldi — headlined "In Rush to Air, CBS Quashed Memo Worries" — doesn't add any new blockbusters to what the LAT published on Saturday morning, but has more contextual details — none of which make CBS News look good. 

The tone is definitive, and WaPo drops the polite fiction that there's even a remote possibility remaining that the documents are authentic.  Instead, the bright lights are on the misbehavior of Mapes, Rather, and other CBS News personnel.  More signs point to Burkett as the source.

Still unanswered, and even unasked:  What was CBS News' great hurry?  Who else was the forger peddling the documents to?

And what says USA Today?

Update (Sun Sep 19 @ 3:40pm):  Don't miss WaPo's graphic, entitled "The Paper Trail: A Comparison of Documents."

Posted by Beldar at 11:33 PM in Mainstream Media, Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to "Et tu, WaPo?" gasps Rather, as the MSM assassins thrust and thrust and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» The Scandal Monster Grows from La Shawn Barber's Corner

Tracked on Sep 19, 2004 7:25:44 AM

» Rope-a-Dope Yet Again? from CognoCentric

Tracked on Sep 19, 2004 8:18:01 AM

» Rather may win this yet from Media Lies

Tracked on Sep 19, 2004 3:05:31 PM


(1) ctob made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 11:59:05 PM | Permalink

Why not wait a week? That is the question that bugs me. Either they were afraid of being scooped or they knew the memos were suspect. Is there a third option?

(2) Charlie made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 12:03:11 AM | Permalink

We only need the over / under on when the NY Times and Boston Globe have to give it up. I say Tuesday.

(3) The Raving Atheist made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 12:16:00 AM | Permalink

Every expert, including their own, has told them the documents are fake, but they don't believe it until some 86 year old former secretary tells them? And then they have the audicity to point out that she has no expertise in document authentication?

Their conduct was at least criminally negligent the night they aired the piece, and plain old criminal at every moment thereafter.

(4) bullwinkle made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 1:31:05 AM | Permalink

Interesting that you used the term "peddle". I wonder if CBS paid for the documents. If they did Burkett pulled off the crime of the century. Just like ripping a dope dealer off, CBS can hardly call the cops if they paid for false documents. If memory serves, wasn't the Tiffany network accused of paying that wacko child molester for an interview a Few years back?

(5) mikem made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 2:12:35 AM | Permalink

I am over being shocked at CBS' and Dan Rathers duplicity. Nothing they say or do seems beyond any standard of decency that I associate with them anymore. But I am newly shocked by the more than a few mainstream voices that have said Dan Rather and CBS will survive this story with their reputations intact if they admit to mistakenly using forged documents. As if the normal vetting process they use (like SBVT/anti-Kerry/disregard) was somehow cleverly averted by cynical forces. If Rather, Haywood(?) and Mapes are not all forced to resign, this will remain an outrage in my mind.

(6) Samuel R. Walker made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 5:01:56 AM | Permalink

Why was CBS in such a hurry? Look no further than the lust in Dan Rather's heart. He wanted to be the hero-messenger who brought down George W. Bush -- so much so that his reality testing was clouded. He has the clout (cloud?) at CBS.

(7) Trish made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 5:14:47 AM | Permalink


That's precisely what we're all afraid of, Dan.

I just don't understand why they are so afraid of the bloggers (SMILE).

(8) OhMike made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 6:08:03 AM | Permalink

My buddy Occam travels with me everywhere. You'd be surprised at how often he helps me sort things out. He doesn't get things right every time, but it's rare that he leads me wrong.

Can anyone come up with a coherent theory that accounts for all these things? Why CBS rushed a story based on obviously-forged papers on the air, even while its own experts were tellimg them to be cautious? Why after the documents were proved to be faked, Dan Rather clings to the fantsay that the memos are real and he wants to be the one to break the story if they are not? Why Rather would risk flogging a story that the rest of the world already knows is based on forgeries? Why the zeal that CBS claims to have for the truth about what happened 30-plus years ago doesn't extend to finding out if Kerry lied to get phony Purple Hearts or to cover up the killing of a Vietnamese child? Why CBS has interviewed a partisan old lady whose statements are internally contradictory, but John O'Neill might as well have his face on a milk carton as far as the network is concerned?

I wish somebody would synthesize the answer to these questions into one RATIONAL theory that still maintains Dan is too principled to knowingly use forgeries, lies, and mischaracterizations to try to bring down a President.

Occam is betting it can't be done.

(9) d made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 7:15:03 AM | Permalink

Rather had to rush to get the documents out because the DNC had a TV ad ("Fortunate Son") coming out the next day on the same topic and mentioning the same memos. It is called coordination.

If they had many forged memos as Pierce said, then Rather was probably planning a long series of attacks on Bush going right up to the election.

(10) The Drill SGT made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 7:51:31 AM | Permalink

The WaPo story in print is actually more impressive than in the e-version.

It starts as a "below the fold" page 1 story and then goes to a 2 FULL page spread later in the first section. For those who no longer read the WaPo or other MSM, section 1 is 90 percent ads. This article is 2 FULL Pages, only part of 1 of which is in the e-version. The rest are pictures of the key players on the text page and another FULL page that does a side-by-side document comparison that points to all of the problems between Real 70's Killian memos and these. The sort of Jury exhibit that I'm sure Beldar has built and used many a time. I think the article is a masterpiece. Pulitzer grade.

(11) The Drill SGT made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 8:08:13 AM | Permalink


CBS defense of Rather hints at bigger story

September 19, 2004


Of all the loopy statements made by Dan Rather in the 10 days since he decided to throw his career away, my favorite is this, from Dan's interview with the Washington Post on Thursday:

''If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story.''

Hel-looooo? Earth to the Lost Planet of Ratheria: You can't ''break that story.'' A guy called ''Buckhead'' did that, on the Free Republic Web site a couple of hours after you and your money-no-object resources-a-go-go ''60 Minutes'' crew attempted to pass off four obvious Microsoft Word documents as authentic 1972 typewritten memos about Bush's skipping latrine duty in the Spanish-American War, or whatever it was.

The following day Charles Johnson of the Little Green Footballs Web site drove a stake through your phony '70s memos by overlaying them with modern MS Word documents, whose automatic word wrap is amazingly an exact match with Lt. Col. Killian's ''typewriter.'' And every document expert agreed with Johnson your memos are junk, including your own analysts.

By now just about everybody on the planet also thinks they're junk, except for that dwindling number of misguided people who watch the ''CBS Evening News'' under the misapprehension that it's a news broadcast rather than a new unreality show in which a cocooned anchor, his floundering news division and some feeble executives are trapped on their own isle of delusion and can't figure out a way to vote themselves off it.

So the only story you're in a position to break right now is: ''Late-Breaking News. Veteran Newsman Announces He's Recovered His Marbles.'' And, if last week's anything to go by, you're in no hurry to do that.

Instead, Dan keeps demanding Bush respond to the ''serious questions'' raised by his fake memos. ''With respect, Mr. President,'' he droned the other day, ''answer the questions.'' The president would love to, but he's doubled up with laughter.

I was prepared to cut the poor old buffoon some slack a week ago. But Dan's performance has grown progressively more outrageous, to the point where it's hard not to conclude he's colluding in the perpetuation of a massive if ludicrous fraud. Dan's been play-acting at being a reporter for so many years now -- the suspenders, the loosened tie, and all the other stuff that would look great if he were auditioning for a cheesy dinner-theater revival of ''The Front Page''; the over-the-top intros: ''Bob Schieffer, one of the best hard-nosed reporters in the business, has been working his sources. What have you managed to uncover for us, Bob?'', after which Bob reads out a DNC press release. Dan's been doing all this so long he doesn't seem to realize the news isn't just a show.

Round about the middle of last week, he was reduced to shoring up his collapsing fantasy with Bill Glennon, a Cliff Claven figure who was a typewriter repairman in the '70s. But, because every other CBS expert had abandoned Dan's sunk ship, Bill suddenly found himself upgraded to ''document expert.'' This guy's been insisting that you could produce Dan's bogus memos on a 1972 IBM typewriter: ''The Model D had a lever that when pushed put a rubber stopper in front of the keys so they did not strike the paper. You centered the paper using the paper scale, put the carriage on the middle mark of the front index scale, typed your heading and then made note of the number it stopped on. You then moved the carriage back to the corresponding number on the left side of the index scale and retyped your heading and . . .''

Yeah, right. Every time I want to type a memo saying Bush is unfit to be president, that's what I do, too. Look, if Dan thinks this guy's theory is correct, let's put him and his IBM Model D and me and my computer in a room at CBS News for an hour and see which one of us emerges with the closest replicas of these four documents. I'll give him ten thousand bucks for every memo he reproduces exactly, and round it up to an even 50 grand if he gets all four right.

Any takers, CBS?

So the question now is why won't Dan and Co. just admit their docs are crocks and let it go? On Wednesday, CBS News head honcho Andrew Heyward, in a slippery statement, announced that ''we established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate.'' Note that word: not ''genuine'' but ''accurate'' -- i.e., if Lt. Col. Killian had had one of those IBM Model Ds and been willing to remove the carriage return and replace it with a rubber stopper on the front index scale while turning the crank, etc., these are the memos he would have written. Rather and Heyward are adopting the rogue-cop defense: The evidence is planted, but the guy's still guilty. Or as the New York Times' headline put it: ''Memos On Bush Are Fake But Accurate.''

Why has CBS News decided it would rather debauch its brand and treat its audience like morons than simply admit their hoax? For Dan Rather? I doubt it. Hurricane Dan looks like he's been hit by one. He's still standing, just about, but, like a battered double-wide, more and more panels are falling off every day. No one would destroy three-quarters of a century of audience trust and goodwill for one shattered anachronism of an anchorman, would they?

As the network put it last week, ''In accordance with longstanding journalistic ethics, CBS News is not prepared to reveal its confidential sources or the method by which '60 Minutes' Wednesday received the documents.'' But, once they admit the documents are fake, they can no longer claim ''journalistic ethics'' as an excuse to protect their source. There's no legal or First Amendment protection afforded to a man who peddles a fraud. You'd think CBS would be mad as hell to find whoever it was who stitched them up and made them look idiots.

So why aren't they? The only reasonable conclusion is that the source -- or trail of sources -- is even more incriminating than the fake documents. Why else would Heyward and Rather allow the CBS news division to commit slow, public suicide?

Whatever other lessons are drawn from this, we ought at least to acknowledge that the privileged position accorded to ''official'' media and the restrictions placed on the citizenry by McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform are wholly unwarranted.

As for Heyward and Rather, the other day I came across a rare memo from April 20, 1653, typed on a 17th century prototype of the IBM Selectric. It's Oliver Cromwell's words to England's Long Parliament:

''You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!

(12) max made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 9:14:58 AM | Permalink

Why the hurry?

I've read (sorry no link) that John and Teresa are very upset about the Swift Boat Vets campaign and wanted to stike back. Since they could not challenge the truth of 90%+ of the Swift Boat Vets' ads and book, they took the low road of trying to trash their opponent. They may well have been aware of the 'story' about Bush's National Guard service and very eager for it to come out, and may have pushed both CBS and the DNC to move quickly.

There also appears (to me at any rate) coordination (illegal?) between CBS and the DNC - given how quickly the 'Fortunate Son' ads were released after the 'story' was aired.

I assume that the Washington Post and the NYT were also prepped by CBS/DNC given how they covered the story the morning after the 'story' was aired by CBS.

(13) MaDr made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 9:28:58 AM | Permalink

Either Mapes is the biggest villain in this fraud or WaPo is starting to deflect some of the responsibility from Rather. Consider the following taken from the article:

“Rather said he grew more confident when Mapes began speaking with retired Col. Bobby W. Hodges”

“Emily Will of North Carolina, one of the experts CBS had asked to examine the memos, sent Mapes an e-mail outlining her concerns over discrepancies in Killian's signature.”
“Howard said Mapes told him the analysts' concerns had been addressed. “
"We asked core questions -- about reliability, authenticity, motivation, could the source have had access to the documents," West said. The executives were satisfied by Mapes's answers, and she began writing the script.
“CBS got hold of Knox and had her on a plane to New York on Wednesday. Rather started the hour-long interview at 4 p.m., …… Mapes had three hours to edit the interview for that night's "60 Minutes."
“Independent experts contacted by The Post were surprised that CBS hired analysts who were not certified by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners, considered the gold standard in the field.”
Was Mapes the only one that talked to Hodges or was she only guilty of misleading him over the phone, thereby setting the stage?
It sounds like Mapes selected all the experts who didn’t have the best credentials for the task at hand. Hadn’t she ever, in her long illustrious career, needed document experts before? Wouldn’t she have known what credentials were required?
I hadn’t known before that the Will email was sent to Mapes. I’d thought it was to the nondescript “CBS”. Was Mapes also the gatekeeper for all the experts’ communication?
My, my. Mapes edited the Knox interview. How much additional Rather prepping and leading fell on the cutting room floor?

(14) Gary B. made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 10:23:09 AM | Permalink

Well, now there's proof that danny boy does Rather lousey fact-checking and evidence gathering, he might need to provide us all of the documentation and files pertaining to other stories he'd reported on over the years that might have seemed suspicious. Over his career, I bet 40% would have flawed evidence just as this one does.

Kerry has spent the last 35 years living in fantasyland and impersonating a war hero for personal political gain. If it was ten years earlier, the bloggers would'nt have verified the charges made by the SwiftVets.

Dan Rather apparently believed he was entitled to live in his own personal fantasyland that included fabricating stories in order to advance his own personal professional career as well as those who serve in his chosen political party. With him scheduled to retire this fall, he almost got away with us never having any proof that he had ever falsified the evidence of his reports in order to advance his biased political agenda. Thanks Dan.

(15) OhMike made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 10:58:13 AM | Permalink

Yes, I don't doubt that Kerry--and his acolytes--are upset about the Swiftvets. But they learned the wrong lesson from this incident. They keep saying that their mistake was in not responding soon enough or hard enough. Now they want to make up for that by smearing the President.

The problem is that the Swiftees' ads worked because they are telling the truth, and Kerry is a contemptible human being, a liar, and a phony war hero.

The fever swamp Dems think all they have to do is follow the Swiftvets' template, and they'll have a similar efect. Except that leads them to trying to fight truth with lies. And they don't understand why it's backfiring.


(16) d made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 11:04:18 AM | Permalink

I think much more attention needs to be paid to the DNC ad called "Fortunate Son" (FS). I haven't seen FS, but am told that FS mentions the memos. Does FS also say it was approved by John Kerry? When was composition on the ad started? Who produced it? What is the timeline for this ad? It seems like it is a strong indication of a tie between the DNC and CBS and seems like illegal corrdination. I think it is a big story that no one is paying attention to.

(17) The Drill SGT made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 11:15:54 AM | Permalink


They don't as I see it, use Rathergate memos

They use
other meo's as icons, not as readable text

(18) Al made the following comment | Sep 19, 2004 3:16:13 PM | Permalink

Is there anything _else_ Dan's reported on lately that makes him a useful icon in an ad?

I don't see an overnight major ad campaign. And if it isn't overnight... why does it have _Dan_ in it?

(19) observer made the following comment | Sep 20, 2004 5:28:44 AM | Permalink

Yes, why is Dan in the ad? and what memos have been prominently in the news?
I thought the supposedly incriminating documents had been logs and reports, not memos.
Perhaps Dan's unimpeachable source was not Burkett, but the DNC?

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