That Dog Won't Hunt

It’s out! Dan has apologised! Ring the bells! Stop the press! Sing hosannas to the highest!
Yeah right.

“Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY story about President Bush’s time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question-and their source-vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome.
Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where-if I knew that what I know now-I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.
But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.
Please know that nothing is more important to us than people’s trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.”

It only took just under two weeks for this watered down piece of drivel to hit the street. If this was a high school or even a college newspaper or radio station, I would be more excepting after all they are just starting out on their life’s adventure and idealism is very much apart of folks that age. And it does tend to get in the way of the facts and or reality.
But, I can hear the liberal masses crying, isn’t it enough Dan apologised?
No, it is not.
This gentleman, along with his news organization, was considered by many to be the paramount of journalistic excellence. “The house that Murrow built”. One wonders if Ed has taken up smoking again, on the other side of the pearly gates, as frustration over what his alma mater has turned into, must be severely trying the patience of journalism’s patron saint.
Rather reaches millions every time he is in front of the cameras. His words (and as written, his bias) touch all who watch, in subtle and not so subtle ways depending on the viewer. He has a responsibility to rise above the partisan politics on both sides of the political fence, to give his audience as realistic a picture on any given topic as he can.
Ok, I will give him, to a degree at least, the subtle bias of how his phasing may be nuanced to the left of center. There are other stations who nuance to the right. As there are newspapers who do the same on both sides of the fence. That it is wrong to the journalistic (or traditional journalism if you will) creed is a given, but it is how it is in *the real world*.
Where, Rather stepped over the line, as others have before him in print and elsewhere, is in the use of out and out forgeries, and a refusal to back up his story with anything approaching credibility. The facts were not checked. That is a given, had they been, the memos would not have seen the light of day. It is my personal belief, the story went beyond *just being skewed to the left*, to out and out political partisanship, and the willful intent of damaging a sitting President.
That is what needs to be atoned for. That is what needs to be legally addressed. That is why Dan Rather, his producer, his sources, and any and all information germain to this story needs to be subject to, at the very least, some type of a grand jury or perhaps special congressional investigation.
In the adult world, all the Rathers and those who would follow in his path of unprofessonalism, need to be brought to task. A simple “Oh, gee I’m sorry.” is not going to cut it.
But let me put it into words Dan might better understand: “When you knock over the milk pail, a spoon and a promise ain’t gonna get things back to rights.”
It seems the RNC may be on the same page…though they are more civil than I in their comments.


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