« Renewing Texas drivers licenses online | Main | Review: Beldar & kids see Jim Carrey's "Yes Man" »

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rather seeks trial to promote his revisionist history, but the world still can't look to CBS News for the actual truth

Charles Johnson and Glenn Reynolds are not the only ones who are dismayed by the "revisionist history" being pushed by Dan Rather and uncritically repeated by National Public Radio.

I played a small but enthusiastic part as one of bloggers who were scrutinizing Dan Rather, "60 Minutes," and CBS News during the 2004 Rathergate controversy. As I reminisced earlier this fall:

CBS executive vice president Jonathan Klein had derided the bloggers who were writing daily about the forgeries and CBS News' then-still-ongoing efforts to defend the indefensible — famously saying that "you couldn't have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances [at CBS News and "60 Minutes"], and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing what he thinks."

I was another one of those pajamas-wearing bloggers, and Hugh [Hewitt and others] appreciated the irony that CBS News had nevertheless thought enough of me some years earlier [when I was an associate at Houston-based Baker Botts] to employ me (without pajamas) as its own lead counsel before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, when I successfully defended a summary judgment in CBS News' favor in a defamation lawsuit based on another of its national broadcasts.

But there's still more in my "small world of Rathergate" department: CBS News is now being defended in Dan Rather's lawsuit against it by Jim Quinn of New York-based Weil, Gotshal & Manges. I also practiced in the Houston office of that firm for four years, the last three of those (1988-1991) as Quinn's partner.

Although we were in the same practice area, represented some common clients, and consulted on a few matters, Quinn and I didn't ever work together closely or get to know one another well, and I left that firm in 1992 to return to a Texas-based firm with whose partners I had far more in common. So I have nothing even remotely resembling "inside information," nor continuing connections by which I might even accidentally blunder into any. And the coincidence that more than a decade later, one of Quinn's former partners in a national mega-firm later became a conservative blogger critical of both Rather and CBS News creates no conflict of interest for Quinn or WG&M.

Quinn's had some early success against Rather and his lawyers, and in a November 2008 NYT article, Quinn was quoted confidently talking a good game about his client's odds:

Jim Quinn, a lawyer at Weil, Gotshal & Manges who is representing CBS, said in an interview that whatever Mr. Rather had learned in the discovery process would not help his case. He said it was the network that had gained the most ground, especially in persuading the judge to dismiss five of the seven original claims by Mr. Rather, as well any claims against individual CBS executives. CBS is believed to be spending about as much on its defense as Mr. Rather is spending.

Mr. Quinn also said CBS would consider asking for a summary dismissal of the case, once the process of discovery had concluded. “Either on summary judgment or at trial, we feel very comfortable we’ll succeed,” he said. “We feel the case is meritless.”

And if I may lapse for a moment into the kind of crude language Texas courtroom veterans often use when referring to "New York litigators," Jim Quinn is no only-motion-practice silk-pants candy-ass. He's got his share of scars and the legal street-smarts that can only be acquired by actually trying a fair number of significant cases to a verdict.

The problem, though — as I noted at length when Rather first filed his case, here and here — is that Quinn's hands are effectively tied by the fact that his client was spectacularly gutless in its dealings with the psychotic prima donna who for so long occupied its anchor chair. Quinn's defense for CBS News won't be that Rather and Mapes and their entire team were incompetent, biased frauds who committed the worst kind of journalistic malpractice to change the outcome of a presidential election and then, when caught, tried to cover it up. CBS had ample, compelling, even glorious "good cause" to fire Rather no matter what time term remained on his contract or what other terms it contained to guarantee his preeminence at the network.

But CBS didn't do that. Instead, it convened the Thornburgh-Boccardi Panel, whose ultimate report was far from a bare-knuckled or clear-eyed assessment of the culpability of Rather and CBS News' top brass. CBS News eased Rather out, rather than immediately throwing his sorry butt on the street.

And now, instead of defending itself against Rather by using the awesome mechanisms of the law to prove, once and for all, the essential truths of Rathergate — including the indisputable fact that the Killian memos were pathetically obvious forgeries — CBS News' defense is not that Rather is a crazed scoundrel and a national disgrace, but that CBS fully performed its contractual obligations to Rather. Thus, Quinn was quoted saying in April 2008 that

the contract issue left [after the pretrial rulings dismissing most of Rather's claims] relates to "whether or not we 'benched' him and whether he had sufficient time on 60 Minutes and 60 Minutes II after he stepped down as the anchorperson."

"We obviously say we gave him all the time in the world," says Quinn.

So: No one can expect Quinn or his client to win this case via the righteous, straightforward path. CBS long since forfeited the absolute high ground, and it's left instead trying to stick to a comparative high ground, in which it must rely on establishing that Rather is merely being unreasonable and greedy (instead of crazed, corrupt, and paranoid).

This case may provide some fine moments of legal theater. But no one should labor under any misconceptions that it's even remotely about justice.

Posted by Beldar at 09:16 PM in Law (2008), Mainstream Media | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Rather seeks trial to promote his revisionist history, but the world still can't look to CBS News for the actual truth and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» What's the frequency, Dan? from THE TEXAS SCRIBBLER

Tracked on Dec 25, 2008 3:05:33 AM


(1) WJ made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 2:07:13 PM | Permalink

Thank you for the update and insight.

(2) GM Roper made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 2:09:26 PM | Permalink

IIRC Rather made his bones standing in the winds of a Hurricane in Texas. Guess he's still got a lot of that wind in him. Either that or he's just a gas-bag. :-)

(3) Mike K made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 2:18:33 PM | Permalink

Rather plays a small part in fellow Texan BG Burkett's "Stolen Valor," which contains a boot camp photo of Rather as a Marine boot shortly before he was dropped from the Corps as unsuitable. Maybe the Corps found out something CBS should have known.

(4) Joe made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 2:33:45 PM | Permalink

What worries me is that if Rather wins the case on the merits of whether CBS violated his contract the MSM will then spin the decision as a legal validation of the forged memos.

You know they'll do it.

(5) Mike K made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 2:44:02 PM | Permalink

Here's another bit of Rather nuttiness. He is getting a bit odd, don't you think ?


(6) bobby b made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 2:47:53 PM | Permalink

But proving that Rather was a frothing BDS'er trying desperately to foist fraudulent documents upon an unsuspecting public for the specific purpose of creating a last-minute dishonest controversy about his nemesis Bush's military service would be poor strategy for CBS in this lawsuit, since it would only tend to show that Rather was in complete conformance with his employer's values and goals, and that he had honored his contractual promises to CBS.

No, CBS's main point truly must be "sure, he was a dishonest, spittle-flecked loonytunes, no doubt, but in spite of that, we had to let him go."

(7) Mike StudioCity made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 3:01:57 PM | Permalink

Washington Post did an excellent front-page roundup of all the flaws in Rather's story a few years ago. The article is now lost behind their archive-search wall. Kind of scary in a way that this stuff vanishes.

(8) Glenn made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 5:00:23 PM | Permalink

Correct me if I'm wrong. One of the thin reeds that Mr Rather is hanging his hat on is that the documents were never proven false. My understanding is that Mr Boccardi was an employee of a law firm representing CBS and as such could not put anything in his report that would definitively state that the documents in question were in fact false without violating cannons of legal ethics. Hence ths weasel wording in the report quoting document experts as not being able to determing etc. due to being unable to examine originals.

(9) Comment made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 5:44:45 PM | Permalink

The basis for Rather's claims, in part, appear to me (a non-lawyer) to be based on the fact that the basis for the particular memos (related to the flight physical) actually exists. Bush did not take the required physical. Col. Killan, as his commander, would be obligated to order him to do so -- even if he had no intention of sanctioning Bush for non-compliance other than taking him off flight status.

So the Fake [document] but True [event] meme proffered could reasonable be true.

I have come to believe that the flight physical part was an attempt to provide substantiation for the MEAT of the report -- that Bush got preferential treatment. Anybody producing alleged CYA memos by Col. Killan, attesting to apparent external pressure to favor Bush, from alleged personal files, would have a problem proving provenance simply because they were at odds with previous statements/opinions by Col. Killan. How does anyone know that the memos were not clever forgeries?

The flight physical memos -- so we are to believe that Col. Killan made a habit of secreting copies of what might be relatively routine orders in his personal files -- were meant to confirm the general form and format of the CYA memos and serve as a surrogate for having someone testify how they had access to his personal files.

(10) watched this closely made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 5:52:49 PM | Permalink

Neither side wants to litigate the authenticity of the memos. CBS never wanted to show the truth: that the memo was so obviously forged that no half-intelligent person would have believed in them. CBS adopted that posture back when it commissioned the report, and it has zero interest in impeaching both the report and the original story by finally coming clean. Dan Rather is taking full advantage of that, arguing that "no one has proven them false." Sad.

(11) Glenn made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 6:26:00 PM | Permalink

Incidentally it took my wife, who had long experience with typewriters and computers about 20 seconds of looking at the PDF of the alledged Killian memo on the CBS website to say "No way that was typed on a typewriter"

(12) Steve Gregg made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 7:49:40 PM | Permalink

The heart of the argument of the faked documents is wrong. They didn't test for drugs in flight physicals back in 1973. They didn't start that until the 1980s. Also, even in the 1980s regime and after, your blood was tested periodically through the year. About every three months we Air Force air crews would have to go to the base hospital to have our blood drawn. So whatever scenario the crazed Bush haters are laying down, they're wrong.

(13) Rex made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 7:51:48 PM | Permalink

Don't be mis-lead by the flight physical issue. One had to get a flight physical every year, and missing it simply meant you came off of flight status. Any "orders" to go on active duty to take the flight physical can be declined without penalty (except for coming off of flight status).

(14) nodakboy made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 8:25:57 PM | Permalink

Kudos to all bloggers who pointed out the dishonesty of the Rather report.
But let's not lose the big picture, because it does explain why Rather and others got so crazy about this.
Bush no doubt did get preferential treatment, as most important young men did at that time in the Guard. That's not illegal, per se, not quite wrong; sort of the way life works.
Also, the key period in question is when the military in general and Guard units particularly were overloaded, trying to cut down and actually WANTED guys to not show up for duty and sort of gave them tacit understandings that things were winding down, we got nothing for you to do, so chill. That's what I've been led to believe by what I've heard and read.
It makes sense; the numbers by which the military downsized in the early 1970s were drastic.
My point is that, while Bush may have technically missed some duty calls, it wasn't dereliction of duty, it was part of a general laxity across the Guard as they basically stood down as Vietnam wound down. So to a large degree, the whole question Rather was chasing is sort of moot, sort of stupid.
Like, did guys smoke dope in Vietnam a lot after 1968? Duh.
Did things get slack in the Guard and Reserve in the early 1970s. Well, yeah.
Could Bush have done more than he did? Sure; he could have volunteered as a grunt in 'Nam. That would have been really admirable, no doubt.
But what he did was honorable military service and he did what he was told to do. Don't knock it.
Or you're knocking what tens of thousands of fine young men did.

(15) sherlock made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 8:27:38 PM | Permalink

How delicious that CBS could consclusively prove Rather's suit to be without merit by the simple expedient of proving its own reputation to be utterly worthless.

Sometimes s**t happens in the strangest ways.

(16) GB made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 9:35:35 PM | Permalink

So intervene.

The court has a right to know the truth.

Let those guys produce the famed and so far fictional Lucy Ramirez.

(17) Fresh Air made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 9:59:59 PM | Permalink

An important point missed in the discussion over MS Word, fonts, etc. is that the content of the memos was ludicrous. A pilot physical was a several-hour affair, including a stress test. A pilot about to come off active duty wouldn't want to undergo that unless absolutely necessary. The headers were wrong, the style was Army not Air Force, their were anachronisms, and so on. Burkett was a nut and the fraud Rather aired for him was inexcusable.

(18) Oxbay made the following comment | Dec 24, 2008 11:29:56 PM | Permalink

I know someone who, around that time, was offered the option of 90 days of active duty instead of 2 years. The catch being he had to extend his reserve status. He said yes. The reserve weekends, when it became obvious that no one was going to war, became extended party weekends, for the most part for most people. I'm sure this is common knowledge.

I think the main reason Rather is suing is because he hopes to depose Bush and force him to admit that when he was in Alabama he was mostly partying. Bush wouldn't be any different than anyone else but Rather hopes this would be damaging to Bush in a historical sense. Also, Rather thinks this would vindicate him. It might to a certain extent because he would want to say look look see see: an irresponsible frat boy. Bush is not someone who deserves to be the future president of the United of the States, fake but accurate.

He would take that even though he wouldn't get the whole glorious raison d'etre for broadcasting the story: electing John Kerry president.

(19) Glenn made the following comment | Dec 25, 2008 12:45:50 AM | Permalink

So does anybody know th answer to my question? And Merry Christmas to all.

(20) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Dec 25, 2008 1:18:13 AM | Permalink

Dear Nodakboy: You've put your finger on the issue that's always irked me about this mess: I don't want to defend Geo. W. on this issue. Parsing National Guard Service carefully does lead you to the conclusion that Geo. W's service was honorable. What, then, do we call John Kerry's service, which put Kerry in danger of life and limb? "Extra-honorable?" How about John McCain's tour? "Super-duper-honorable?" Think what you will of Kerry (he's a swinish clown who betrayed his fellow soldiers and sailors for his own political career, in my view), he faced a possibility of dying or being wounded while serving in a way that Geo. W. never did. Calling Geo. W.'s service honorable diminishes the service of anyone who actually went to Vietnam. Who can doubt that if Geo. W. had been determined, he would have gotten to Vietnam? But he didn't. You could argue that it was chance that kept him from going. But the "chance" Geo. W. took was with loaded dice. Geo. W. was never likely to go to Vietnam, but he put in a fair amount of time and energy making sure "never likely" became "never." Had he put the same effort into running toward the sound of the guns as he did in making sure he would not be called, he would have arrived in Vietnam. Who knows what would have happened then?

Here, I must declare an interest. Born in 1958, I am one of those men who has never been subject to a draft. I have never served in the military. This does not stop me from pontificating on Geo. W.'s service. But the opinions I express are cheaply obtained.

The military services recognize that valor in battle deserves recognition, and have created a series of awards to honor such valor. These awards are carefully graded, and are taken quite seriously. Admiral Jeremy Boorda, the American Navy's Chief of Naval Operations, wore a decoration that he did not deserve. He committed suicide when his deception was uncovered. That shows you how seriously the services take decorations and honor. How seriously does Geo. W. take his honorable service? How seriously should we? I think Geo. W.'s service was a disgrace. He was far from being alone in his ducking and bobbing. But "everyone does it" doesn't really persuade the conscience, though it may work sometimes in a court of law, particularly when sentencing is coming up. Geo. W.'s military career is far closer to Billyboy's than to Kerry's, let alone McC's.

That said, the gross falsifications Rather & Co. tried to foist on the public are a worse sin than any Geo. W. committed in his service. Characteristically, the press in general has been silent about Rathergate in a way it never would be should the political tables be turned. See, e.g. The One and His Chicago Political Friends. Rathergate, more than anything else, convinced me that the press, in general, with many honest exceptions, is composed of corrupt liars and cheats who are on the make, wanting to make big money while feeling virtuous about it. The long-delayed comeuppance seems much nearer with hard times rolling over the press. The easily understandable joy all of us on the Right feel about the liars finally getting rough justice, should not blind us to the need for accurate, hard reporting. The blogosphere is not up to this task day after day. The many honorable bloggers who try to prove me wrong are in the same position of a newspaper that relies exclusively on online ads. There's just not enough muscle there to do the job that needs doing.

What's the answer? I don't know.

Next, please.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(21) Lee Reynolds made the following comment | Dec 25, 2008 2:32:21 AM | Permalink

An organization that is one of the major powerhouses in broadcast journalism blatantly lied to the American people in order to alter the outcome of an election.

At exactly what point does this not constitute treason?

We the people are ultimately the font from which the authority of the government springs. Attempting to deceive us at a time when we are choosing our leaders is treason because this is a direct attack upon the democratic process that is the very foundation of our nation.

(22) BeckoningChasm made the following comment | Dec 25, 2008 10:48:29 AM | Permalink

I have a feeling one of the reasons CBS chose not to bring the heavy guns against Rather was for the simple reason that they would be placed in the position of defending Bush. No one in the media would want to be seen doing that.

(23) stan made the following comment | Dec 25, 2008 11:43:30 AM | Permalink

Bush got no preferential treatment. He joined an air natl guard unit which had only 50% of the pilots required. It took no special pull to join as a pilot. Pilot slots were open because pilots had to agree to serve for a longer period.

Air natl guard units just like Bush's were in Vietnam at the time he joined. It was likely that his unit would be over there at some point. It didn't happen, but Bush didn't know that when he joined.

(24) Mike K made the following comment | Dec 25, 2008 2:32:33 PM | Permalink

"Think what you will of Kerry (he's a swinish clown who betrayed his fellow soldiers and sailors for his own political career, in my view), he faced a possibility of dying or being wounded while serving in a way that Geo. W. never did. Calling Geo. W.'s service honorable diminishes the service of anyone who actually went to Vietnam."

THis is your opinion and you have a right to it but it is BS. Do you know what "honorable" means ? It is not the same meaning as heroic, for example.

Bush served honorably and we will never know what his chances of going to Vietnam were if the war had not wound down about the time Bush joined the service. He flew jet fighters and the odds of a pilot trainee dying at some time in his period of service were higher than the odds of Kerry dying in combat.

What is indisputable, except by mindless Kerry partisans, is that Bush never claimed hero status and Kerry did. That was the difference and only incredible hubris on Kerry's part could have convinced him that he could run as a war hero and not be challenged by all the men who knew better.

(25) nodakboy made the following comment | Dec 25, 2008 6:49:28 PM | Permalink

Koster: You are making a false choice. Saying that what Bush did is honorable in no way detracts from the honor with which active duty combat soldiers served.
By your logic, if you told one of your children you loved them, then you couldn't love any of the others.
However, saying Bush's service wasn't honorable DOES tarnish all Guard and Reserve soldiers.
Cause thousands did the same thing as Bush.
Sure, it might have been a way of avoiding going to "Nam.
But it was military service and he could have been sent over.
You don't have to sign up to be a hero to serve with honor.

(26) Fen made the following comment | Dec 25, 2008 8:04:37 PM | Permalink

"Think what you will of Kerry, he faced a possibility of dying or being wounded while serving in a way that Geo. W. never did."

No. For starters, the ANG flew 40,000+ sorties over Nam, and Bush did ask to be transfered to them. And you're ignoring just how dangerous CAP can be, regardless of where it is.

As for Kerry, HE ADMITS he only joined the Swiftboats b/c he thought he'd be in the rear with the gear, waterskiing far away from the FEBA. When his unit was retasked with dangerous litoral ops [coastline and river penetration] he started looking for a way out [by exagerating self-inlficted wounds for PHs]. He's a poser.

Also, you DO understand that the film footage of Kerry tromping through the jungle was from his own camera? He and his buds would find a safe zone, then dress up and pretend to be Marines.

Just saying, don't let peeps feed you with a shovel.

(27) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Dec 26, 2008 1:47:58 AM | Permalink

Dear Nodakboy: Do you think that John Kerry, who served in Vietnam as Geo. W. did not, served honorably?

Next: you write:

"But it was military service and he [Geo.W.-- GK] could have been sent over."

This gives the impression that Geo. W. was helpless, a pawn of forces, unable to control his fate. A large point of National Guard service 1964-73 was to avoid combat service. Geo.W. is also the son of a serving US Representative (GHW Bush served in the House 1967-71.) His father is an authentic war hero (World War II) who knew how to pull strings (I'll discuss that later.) I think, without being able to prove it, GHW Bush did pull strings to get Geo. W. into the National Guard. Geo. W's student deferment from the draft expired in May 1968, with the Vietnam war raging, and the number of combat troops still rising. Calling Geo. W's service honorable downgrades the meaning of the word. It ties you into knots; by your definition, John Kerry's service was also honorable, something I reject. Kerry served, but always had an eye out to escape. I think, from what I've read of what Kerry's naval colleagues have testified, that Kerry grabbed for Purple Hearts, not so much as proofs of heroism, but as an exit visa. I can't prove this. What makes Kerry's service dishonorable in my view was the backstabbing he did before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971 and afterward.

Comparing the string pulling of GHW and Geo. W. is instructive. GHW was in the Navy before he was 18, a prep school graduate, and a commissioned officer. He had to pull strings, or much more likely, have his father, the future Connecticut US Senator, pull them for him. But no one objects to this sort of string pulling, because it is done so GHW could run toward the sound of the guns.

I've often wondered how GHW felt about Geo. W's time in the National Guard. Call Geo. W's actions and military career honorable, but they are diametrically opposed to GHW's actions and career. Again, calling both "honorable" downgrades the word. I don't accept your notion that for the sake of all the thousands who have enlisted in the National Guard in times of peace and war, we must give Geo. W. a pass. If even Abraham failed to persuade the Lord God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of one righteous man, I decline to pass Geo. W. for the sake of unnamed thousands who served in the Guard.

Finally, your notion that:

"By your logic, if you told one of your children you loved them, then you couldn't love any of the others."

Love is a peculiar emotion to try to understand logically. I could love all my children while simultaneously recognizing that Sam was bad today while Fred and Janet were good.

For Mike K: Your argumentative skills are suffering from anemia. Viz: you write:

"Bush served honorably and we will never know what his chances of going to Vietnam were if the war had not wound down about the time Bush joined the service."

Geo. W. joined the National Guard in May 1968, just about the time his student deferment at Yale expired. This coincidence is a fertile ground for cynicism to flourish. But you are living in a different universe than the rest of us if you think Vietnam was winding down in May 1968.

Next, you write:

"He flew jet fighters and the odds of a pilot trainee dying at some time in his period of service were higher than the odds of Kerry dying in combat."

I bow down before such godlike judgment, but that's because doing so conceals the derisive incredulous snort such zaniness brings forth. Do you have any figures that support this, e.g. Geo. W. had a one in twenty chance of dying while flying trainers versus Kerry's one in fifty chance of kicking off. I pull these figures out of the air, just as you have.

Next, there's this gem:

"What is indisputable, except by mindless Kerry partisans, is that Bush never claimed hero status and Kerry did."

I think that is true if you use narrow minded literal thinking. Without having read all of Geo. W's public speeches and statements, I agree with you: he has never said, "I am a hero." But tell me this: why did Geo. W. don a naval aviator's flight suit, get into a Navy jet, and fly, piloting the plane for part of the journey, and land on the ABRAHAM LINCOLN, when it was only two hours from port? No words were spoken claiming hero status, but as usual, actions speak far louder than words. Geo. W. wore the suit, flew the plane, landed on the ship to associate himself with the services, a warrior PrezNighStays giving his successful fighters a thumbs up, from one who knows.

Piffle (a word you have to reach for, unlike BS.)

Geo. W. was not then, nor ever has been, a military hero. His action that May 1 was a blunder. He paid a high price for it. The nation paid an even higher price, becoming more divided, making the fight against Islamic extremism far harder.

In my view, Geo. W. has been a disastrous Prez domestically, whether it is immigration reform, tariffs on steel, unsustainable tax cuts in a time of conflict, appointing poor US Attorneys whom he had to fire later on, or even preserving a GOP majority. Only his judicial appointments shine form this muck.

His foreign achievements are miles better. From 2001-2003, he was a great leader. But the 1 May "Mission Accomplished" was his high water mark. Since then the long struggle in a swamp has exhausted him and the nation, with the big mission most definitely not accomplished. He leaves office with great progess in Iraq, but the conflict with Islamic extremism far from settled. For all the progress in Libya, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, Russia, and China are more dangerous today than they were on 10 September 2001.

Whether history rates Geo. W. a hero or a bum is going to be uncommonly dependent on what The One does. It may superficially please Geo. W. that The One will make Geo. W. look good by his inept grasp of foreign affairs. But the price the nation will have to pay for this uupward revision of Geo. W's reputation will be enormous. I'm reminded of Kennedy, poised on a slippery slope where Eisenhower had left him. Eisenhower had the skill and reputation to move on the slippery slope without falling. Kennedy did not, making Eisenhower look good---but at a ferocious price to the nation.

The rest of your posts are solid gold. I think we must all admit that.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

PS: Mr Dyer, the only way I can post comments is to type them, then cut and paste them into a second window, as the authenticating code never comes up in the first window. This is a nuisance.

(28) Mark L made the following comment | Dec 26, 2008 5:26:49 PM | Permalink

Bush was flying F-102s. Those were underpowered delta-winged beasts with the glide rate of a brick. Had one of the worst accident rates of the Century series. (F-104 was worse.) They also carried nuclear missiles when being used for Continental air defense.

Not exactly a risk-free job.

(29) GaryC made the following comment | Dec 26, 2008 10:34:48 PM | Permalink

Gregory Koster:

Parsing National Guard Service carefully does lead you to the conclusion that Geo. W's service was honorable. What, then, do we call John Kerry's service, which put Kerry in danger of life and limb? "Extra-honorable?" How about John McCain's tour? "Super-duper-honorable?" Think what you will of Kerry (he's a swinish clown who betrayed his fellow soldiers and sailors for his own political career, in my view), he faced a possibility of dying or being wounded while serving in a way that Geo. W. never did. Calling Geo. W.'s service honorable diminishes the service of anyone who actually went to Vietnam. Who can doubt that if Geo. W. had been determined, he would have gotten to Vietnam? But he didn't.

I use a scale going from -10 to +10. On this scale, Bud Day (and any other Medal of Honor winner) is a +10. John McCain is a +9. John Kerry is a net -2, based on a +5 for his actual service in Vietnam, and a -7 for his lies to Congress and other activities after he returned to the US. George W. Bush is a +3, while Dan Quayle is a +1. George H. W. Bush is a +7, Al Gore is a +3, Bob Dole is a +7, John F. Kennedy was a +6. Bill Clinton is a -4, based on his dodge of the draft by signing up for ROTC to get an illegal deferment after he had already received his second induction notice. Bill Ayers is a -9.

(30) Carol Herman made the following comment | Dec 28, 2008 8:52:55 PM | Permalink

Not only was Rather given all the time in the world! He also got oodles of money; so that he doesn't mind hiring lawyers ... which at this point ... has cost him a few millions of dollars. At least.

Of course, the publicity, to Dan Rather, must be worth something! And, since his reputation got flushed IMMEDIATELY ... what he gets by prolonging his time on the stage ... is a chance to sort'a stay in the limelight.

I'm sure he has fantasies of giving the See-BS honchos plenty of heartburn. It wasn't as if they were able to close the door on this episode.

So for Rather? Just being a news item is worth the price.

As for the "theater" of justice; given that the judge has tossed a lot of the meat out the window ... what he has left is a spitting contest.

He can bring forward the fact that he got a lot of face time on See-BS. And, he wasn't fired for walking off one day, in a huff, while the show was still ON!

If you were doing a psychological? Rather would be true to form. He didn't think walking off in the middle of a show was a fire-able crime ... SO what is?

Just re-writing history is not enough. Because? Well Rather attracts headlines.

And, even if this judge stinks. Even if this judge BOUGHT his seat. He also knows the price he will pay WHEN his name goes up in the headline box. As soon as something appears out of this courtroom.

You think this guy wants to be Judge Ito?

It's possible, too, the judge didn't toss the case because he wants his fair share of publicity. Getting his name known as a judge that hears a famous case. (Though if you asked me who the judge was in the Skopes Trial, I wouldn't know. And, I probably wouldn't remember that Bryan died a week after the verdict came in. That trial is wall to wall monkeys. And, Clarence Darrow.)

What can the judge do? He'll take whatever he can, and then he'll hope he can come off looking like Solomon. On Rather's dime.

Too bad for See-BS. You know the company's crapped out if they're not the biggest draw in the courtroom. SO far? That's Dan.

ANd, that's what keeps Dan a happy man.

This far in, what would a loss look like?

Do you think, in the end, Dan spends $10 million? Where's the downside when the client can afford this?

When you're in law school studying very hard, don't rich people with money to burn (and motive), look like dream clients?

And, hey. He's not mafia. He won't kill you if you lose his case.

(31) A.W. made the following comment | Dec 29, 2008 8:06:01 AM | Permalink

This is almost a case for allowing amicus in as additional trial counsel. Those of us interested in the truth have our own advocates, maybe even some willing to take on Rather and his goon lawyer.

What we should have done at the time was file a defamation suit agianst Rather and CBS, when Rather denied they were fakes. I am being very specific in that timing; not when he aired the fakes, but when he denied they were fakes. Now the best we can do is take out a large ad saying "Dan Rather sold us fakes and we challenge him to sue us for defamation and prove otherwise." See what happens.

(32) PC14 made the following comment | Dec 29, 2008 5:42:32 PM | Permalink

If you eliminate Kerry's non-combat, training time in Vietnam, he served about 3 1/2 months. During that time he collected 5 medals.

That would be more than 1 medal every three weeks.

Therefore, maybe Kerry is our all-time, most-highly-decorated, veteran.

As if...

(33) hunter made the following comment | Dec 30, 2008 10:02:39 PM | Permalink

Bush served honorably, did what he was asked to do, and did it pretty well.
He served longer than Kerry, for instance, and there is no doubt about his record: Bush released his. And in flying the type of jets he was trained to fly, was more at risk than many who served in the same period.
Yet all who served during that period, as now, served honorably.
Whether Guard or Active, the men and women who served....served.
The parsing I see here, and saw in 2004, about 'fake but true' is disgusting.
A check is not 'forged but OK'. Either the claims made against Pres. Bush for his service in TANG are true or they are not.
Since the alleged evidence is obviously forged, the charges are not true.
If someone wishes to make the case that Bush served dishonorably, get some evidence. Or STFU.

(34) Carol Herman made the following comment | Dec 31, 2008 9:11:04 PM | Permalink

For whatever it's worth, Rather is IN a courtroom. And, the court room has a judge. Hearing the case. Wouldn't you think it mattered that most of Rather's claims have already been thrown out the window? This judge is looking to HEAR specifics. (I know it's not "believe it or not.") And, you disregard what the judge does at your peril.

Rather, as the screaming plaintiff has to PROVE that he "got less work" ... and the reasons were INVALID. Seems to me, since Rather once PURPOSELY WALKED OFF THE SET ... and was not fired ...

Means that C-BS could be seen as a bunch of pussy-cats. Too afraid of doing something to Rather; and yet forced to do it. Because the news coming in made the network look like a bunch of jerks.

No. We're not debating if Bush is liked. Or not. Or that by dint of luck, Bush pulled out a win ... from 2nd place. (He was behind Gore in terms of raw numbers. Because about 500,000 more voters voted for Gore.) Gore also lost Florida because the voters in Palm Beach were STUPID! And, if you think they've got a good excuse that they were fooled by a butterfly ballot, iimagine how they feel now FLEECED, not just fooled by Bernie Mad'off. The guy who made off with their money. Happens.

And, time doesn't fly backwards. So you can't exactly get "do-overs."

Anyway, Rather is fighting the last war. Hope he thinks the publicity he generates changes anything. Hope the judge on the case isn't a total dork.

While the current BIG ONE is BLAGO. And, he's got Fitzmas out there ... all over again. As if Plame wasn't a fiasco for him.

Bush has survived! That's the real story. He survived the 2000 election. He survived being blamed for "leaking a CIA agent's name to the press." And, even Cheney was INNOCENT. Not that there's a department where you can ever go to reclaim your reputation. But as we start a new year, who knows what's ahead? Except surprises. We're always surprised by the way things turn out, no matter what happens.

As to Rather, exactly what can he win? The judge is limited in how he will rule, given that so much of the case, as I said, got tossed out the window. Good work if you can get it though. Go to law school. Get big bills. Then, go to work in firms that suck the blood out of ya. And, after that? Go out looking for clients who can support your lifestyle.

It's almost a given that the ones with real money got there by a lack of ethics. Oh, yeah. Rather included. I'd even bet he had to go to bed with Paley, to get placed in Cronkite's chair. That's fame for ya. Doesn't amount to a hill of beans. For SHOW TIME, buy popcorn.

(35) Kent G. Budge made the following comment | Jan 1, 2009 1:56:20 AM | Permalink

Bush flew a combat jet. That's more dangerous than anything I've ever done or am ever likely to, even if his squadron happened not to get called up to fly in a combat zone (a very real possibility until the war started winding down.) Operational losses are still losses.

Suggesting his service was a disgrace is, well, disgraceful.

(36) bobby b made the following comment | Jan 3, 2009 10:27:36 PM | Permalink

"The court has a right to know the truth."
- - - -

Courts don't have rights.

The comments to this entry are closed.