Monday, January 10, 2005

Heads Roll at CBS (Updated)

I know everyone will be writing about this, but I've got to get my licks in, too.

According to a CBS News report, three CBS executives and a senior producer have been booted because of the Rathergate fiasco.

Remember, Rather & Co tried to influence the election of a president through consistently biased reporting, culminating in Rather's using forged documents in a final attack on the incumbent President. Even after he was caught red-handed (no pun intended), Rather made a fool of himself by pompously claiming that even if the documents the story was based on were fake, the story itself was true.

The independent investigating panel created by CBS said:

The piece was aired during a tight and hotly contested presidential race between Mr. Bush and Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry. The timing of the story prompted charges of political bias against CBS News.

While the panel found that some actions taken by CBS News encouraged such suspicions, “the Panel cannot conclude that a political agenda at 60 Minutes Wednesday drove either the timing of the airing of the segment or its content.”

Right. And pigs can fly.

UPDATE: There's a very good analysis at Power Line of the independent panel's report on CBS.

12 Comments:

Blogger Zelda said...

Hey Tom,
I posted about this as well. The panel blamed CBS's "myopic zeal" for being the first to get out a story, etc. At least Mary Mapes was fired.

3:57 PM, January 10, 2005  
Blogger Junebugg said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog and linking! I love all music but a good guitar rules. Fender is right up there on the list. Drop by anytime. I don't get very political but I talk about most everything else.

6:49 PM, January 10, 2005  
Blogger Mandy said...

Hey! I came through on BE and thought I would say hello!

Some actions may have been suspicious...what about ALL the actions were suspicious?

8:13 PM, January 10, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pity that no one has come down on fox news for doing similar things. if anything, someone should call them on the blatant, over-the-top spin they put to all their stories. fair and balanced indeed.

circe

8:36 AM, January 11, 2005  
Blogger Kevin said...

In point of fact, the documents haven't been proven to be forgeries. Nor, it's worth pointing out, did the CBS commission (led by a Republican) say or insinuate that the documents are forgeries.

10:17 AM, January 11, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Oy, Kevin! Give it up. I admit there's been no trial yet, and no judge or jury has pronounced them to be forgeries. But when it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's not unreasonable to believe it's a duck. Do you really think CBS would have fired three executives and a senior producer and criticized the great Dan if they thought it was a swan?

Circe, I'm not a defender of Fox News. They're biased, too. All I can say for them is they're more open about it. And, from the little I've actually seen of Fox, a lot more entertaining.

11:46 AM, January 11, 2005  
Blogger cass said...

I did think that news company had some particular beef, airing that story when it did. I ignored it, though, as I ignored all political bs during the campaign. I will continue to watch the CBS Evening News, just because I always have. It's not the be-all and end-all of the news I get, though. Lately, I've been turning off the news.

12:07 PM, January 11, 2005  
Blogger Kevin said...

Yes, Tom, I do think they would. CBS is more interested in not getting blackballed by the Bush admin. Why else do you think they caved on the Reagan movie?

How do you think they could justify paying the going rate for a White House correspondant if that correspondant never got to ask any questions?

As for the "forgeries" meme...

What if I said that the Moon is made of cheese? Would you believe me, or would you defer to demonstrable facts? What if.... say 3 billion of my fellow humans all got in on the meme and also started asserting that the Moon is made of cheese. Would that make a difference?

The "forgeries" meme was started and pushed by those with every political incentive in the world to obfuscate the issue. That a whole bunch of them all got on the same meme doesn't change anything.

1:21 PM, January 11, 2005  
Blogger Gindy said...

Frankly, I think Rather knew they were fakes the minute the first questions were raised. He was just stalling to see if it would blow over.

1:27 PM, January 11, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Pshaw, Kevin.

Gindy, I don't know about that. I don't doubt that at some point before the broadcast Mapes knew or strongly suspected the documents were forgeries, and I wouldn't be surprised to find she knew they were fake from the beginning. As for Rather, I'm sure he had doubts early on--how could he not have? But it's not surprising that this pampered media superstar, divorced from reality for so many years, would ignore the facts to advance his own ideological agenda.

It's interesting to watch the fall of these arrogant mainstream media behemoths. The New York Times and CBS are now discredited, along with slightly lesser lights like the L.A. Times. Others, I'm sure, will follow. But, as I've said before, I think the Washington Post is more professional, and it may emerge intact from all this.

6:39 PM, January 11, 2005  
Blogger cass said...

Personally, I think that the four fired people are scapegoats (and embarrassingly three of them were female! What does that say about the glass ceiling?). Just like with Peter Arnett, he blamed his producer(s) rather than himself (where the buck stops). I find it VERY hard to believe that these "reporters" don't do some of the legwork themselves. Maybe they don't. *shrugs* It still seems very irresponsible for these reporters to go ahead with stories of iffy quality. I think that for some news organizations, "getting the scoop" is far more important than getting all the facts straight. Just my opinion, of course. :)

9:40 AM, January 12, 2005  
Blogger Gindy said...

Tom: I don't know. I started reading blogs about two weeks prior to this event. I was pretty sure they were fake within a day or two. Not because I am so smart, but because the evidence seemed to point to a fraud. Within a week there was no doubt in many peoples mind. Especially when LGF made that graphic that fit right (perfectly) over the fraudulent document. Just to clarify, I don't think he knew before hand. I just think he refused to see the truth once the proof began to show itself.

Cass: interesting observation. I didn't think about that.

12:57 PM, January 16, 2005  

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