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Friday, September 17, 2004

NYT corrects Van Os quotation

I haven't posted, or commented, on the quotation as originally attributed by the New York Times to Bill Burkett's lawyer, David Van Os, in which Mr. Van Os was speculating about the possibility that the Killian memos were forged.  But others in the blogosphere have, and many of them have argued — undertstandably from the original quotation — that it suggested a lack of ethical sensitivity on the part of Mr. Van Os.  In the interests of fairness and distributing more accurate information, I reprint here the NYT's correction of its original quote (hat-tip to PrestoPundit):

An article on Wednesday about disputed memos obtained by CBS News that cast doubt on aspects of President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard truncated a quotation from David Van Os, a lawyer for Bill Burkett, a retired National Guard officer whom Newsweek called a source of the memos. Asked what role Mr. Burkett had in raising questions about Mr. Bush's military service, Mr. Van Os posed a hypothetical chain of events in which someone — not Mr. Burkett, he said — reconstructed documents that the preparer believed existed in 1972 or 1973. Mr. Van Os then asked "what difference would even that make'' to the "factual reality of where was George W. Bush at the times in question and what was he doing?''

I continue to maintain that CBS News' use of forged documents is itself an issue of genuine public concern.  But while Mr. Van Os was obviously trying to change the subject, it does not appear that he was impliedly endorsing or dismissing outright the actions of the documents forger, whoever that may turn out to be.

A couple of my readers have emailed me with inquiries about Mr. Van Os.  I don't know him personally, and have only limited second-hand knowledge of his credentials, background, and reputation.  Mr. Van Os is indeed the Democratic Party's nominee for a seat on the Texas Supreme Court, running against an incumbent appointed by Gov. Perry, Scott Brister.  I strongly support Justice Brister's reelection, having appeared before him on many occasions while he was a state district judge here in Houston, including two complicated jury cases that were tried to final verdicts.  From personal experience, my opinion is that Justice Brister is an extremely bright, knowledgeable, hard-working, and no-nonsense judge who well deserves to keep his position on the Texas Supreme Court, and I endorse him without reservation.  I'm confident that the voters of Texas will agree come November 2nd — which will leave Mr. Van Os free to continue representing Mr. Burkett, who may have need for a good lawyer from time to time.

Posted by Beldar at 12:49 AM in Mainstream Media, Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink

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Comments

(1) thinker made the following comment | Sep 17, 2004 5:51:14 AM | Permalink

Burkett confesses.

See: http://www.rathergate.com/

(2) jack white made the following comment | Sep 17, 2004 10:29:09 AM | Permalink

I think Mr. Van Os is simply doing what a good attorney should do. He is laying out a pre-emptive defense of his client's actions if one ever should be needed. Mr. Bill Burkett did it for the greater good, if he did it at all, you see.

Here's the deal, though. CBS probably didn't go with these documents solely because they came from Burkett, if he was the source. Someone higher up the foodchain vouched for their authenticity, and a likely candidate appears to have been someone close to the Kerry campaign who also had some familiarity with the TANG. My money is on the gentleman who is vice chairman of the Kerry campaign and who appeared on the air with Dan Rather. It's the oldest trick on Earth. A crank faxes CBS forgeries, and a hostile witness verifies their authenticity. CBS, of course, thought the story too good to check (to quote Kitty Kelley).

Folks, this is the real scandal brewing here. Forgeries appear to have been pushed by a Kerry campaign operative to Dan Rather. CBS' hubris, rank stupidity and political bias are a separate, and quite humorous, sideshow, and Rather probably deserves his fate. But don't lose sight of the possible ramifications of a presidential campaign using forged documents to try to win an election. This is Watergate stuff if it pans out.

(3) Jim Bender made the following comment | Sep 17, 2004 1:27:38 PM | Permalink

My concern is that stonewalling might be allowed to work in this instance. We might be reduced to hoping that Michael Isikoff can find something.

He is a decent "Investigative Correspondent", as they call him, but he is yet another Liberal member of the MSM. On the other hand, he DID do the job with Clinton, before fading into oblivion.

I agree that it is "Watergate stuff", but only if we have a clear way to nail these guys (and gals, given that Mary Mapes is involved).

(4) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 17, 2004 2:58:12 PM | Permalink

I've deleted a trackback that contained a quote with an open-italics .html command which left everything (including all the comments) on this thread italicized. (If TypePad has a way to edit trackback text, I can't seem to find it, so deletion seemed to be the alternative.) The trackback — for which, as always, I'm grateful — read:

A Likely Source for the CBS Memos Part II from bLogicus: "In the interest of fair reporting, I note a disagreement with the our interprestation of Mr. Van Os' statements. 'I continue to maintain that CBS News' use of forged documents is itself an issue of genuine public concern. But while Mr. Van Os was ...'"

(5) Dan Kauffman made the following comment | Sep 17, 2004 7:51:31 PM | Permalink

a hypothetical chain of events in which someone — not Mr. Burkett, he said — reconstructed documents that the preparer believed existed in 1972 or 1973. Mr. Van Os then asked "what difference would even that make'' to the "factual reality of where was George W. Bush at the times in question and what was he doing?''
**********************************************sWell gee Senator Joe McCarthy ALSO forged documents to make "his" case. Do you mean that now 50 years later this has become acceptable?

We have come full cirlce BlackList Joe and Baghdad Dan Rather used the same tactics. ;-)

I am REALLY waiting to hear the "BUT, but , Rather---"
rotflmao

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