Hey- don’t blame us – We were lied to.
After days of expressing confidence about the documents used in a “60 Minutes” report that raised new questions about President Bush’s National Guard service, CBS News officials have grave doubts about the authenticity of the material, network officials said last night.
The officials, who asked not to be identified, said CBS News would most likely make an announcement as early as today that it had been deceived about the documents’ origins. CBS News has already begun intensive reporting on where they came from, and people at the network said it was now possible that officials would open an internal inquiry into how it moved forward with the report. Officials say they are now beginning to believe the report was too flawed to have gone on the air.
This is no excuse. None. Zero. Nada. I’ve worked in a newsroom. People call every day giving reporters “tips” about some juicy news story. After your first 20 minutes in a newsroom you learn there is a technical term for these folks. Cranks.
The fact that these documents magically appeared 8 weeks before an election (after 30 years ‘missing’) should have made CBS extraordinarily cautious. Instead, we learned from Kurtz yesterday that CBS used that fact as proof they were legit. No reporter in their right mind would do that.
The only thing more amazing is that Document Dan relied on a guy who has a history of mental problems and a well documented grudge against Bush — then Rather called him “unimpeachable” on the air multiple times.
When disparaging talk radio and bloggers, members of the big media often use the “gate keeper” argument. That mere mortals will just say anything and it takes a seasoned professional to know when a story is true or not. There needs to be a “gate keeper” to make sure the claims are true. That argument just when down in flames.
If you are on the fence about whether Dan should resign, maybe this will help:
But they cautioned that CBS News could still pull back from an announcement. Officials met last night with Dan Rather, the anchor who presented the report, to go over the information it had collected about the documents one last time before making a final decision. Mr. Rather was not available for comment late last night. …
Mr. Rather and others at the network are said to still believe that the sentiment in the memos accurately reflected Mr. Killian’s feelings but that the documents’ authenticity was now in grave doubt. …
Rather is still in there swinging. Clearly the facts of the case are meaningless. Getting George Bush is all that matters. The kicker is, Dan Rather is sitting on a major scoop. Someone tried to steal the election and he knows who. Rather than try to defend their story, CBS should have turned a very bright light on its source and reported on the real story. – Well, assuming they were a news organization and not a left wing mouth piece for the Democratic party.
CBS will try to play the victim here. 10 days ago that might have worked. Now they look like a kid who got caught with their hands in the cookie jar and are telling their mommy, “The devil made me do it.”
I dunno, I’ll read their arguments in depth when I have a few more moments.