Well, interesting goings on at CBS News these days. It seems like the much-touted Bush memos may have been fake. To recap: Last week, CBS News reported on fascinating and newly discovered documents that purported to show that George W. Bush did not perform his military service in the Texas National Guard adequately and that political influences got him off the hook.
The alleged memos–from Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian, Bush’s Texas National Guard squadron commander–are almost certainly fakes. Their fakeness was uncovered by a series of blog postings on a variety of old and new blogs. Within a couple of days, the news about the probably forged memos had gone full circle to become stories that the mainstream media was reporting. Even The New York Times conceded that Dan Rather had almost certainly been hoaxed to some degree or other.
One of the best and most dogged blogs that has helped expose the truth are the folks over at powerline. It’s worth a look. What this means for the mainstream media isn’t for sure. It certainly isn’t the first time a journalist has been punked and it probably won’t be the last. The real interesting part of this is how CBS is handling the rapidly falling house of cards. Don’t they realize that trying to coverup something is worse than being punked in the first place?
ABC, which has also played a creditable role in exposing the 60 Minutes hoax, reports:
Two of the document experts hired by CBS News now say the network ignored concerns they raised prior to the broadcast of 60 Minutes II about the disputed National Guard records attributed to Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who died in 1984.
Emily Will, a veteran document examiner from North Carolina, told ABC News she saw problems right away with the one document CBS hired her to check the weekend before the broadcast.
“I found five significant differences in the questioned handwriting, and I found problems with the printing itself as to whether it could have been produced by a typewriter,” she said.
Will says she sent the CBS producer an e-mail message about her concerns and strongly urged the network the night before the broadcast not to use the documents.
“I told them that all the questions I was asking them on Tuesday night, they were going to be asked by hundreds of other document examiners on Thursday if they ran that story,” Will said.
But the documents became a key part of the 60 Minutes II broadcast questioning President Bush’s National Guard service in 1972. CBS made no mention that any expert disputed the authenticity.
“I did not feel that they wanted to investigate it very deeply,” Will told ABC News.
Mmm. They didn’t want to investigate further. Shocking, I say. ABC further reports:
A second document examiner hired by CBS News, Linda James of Plano, Texas, also told ABC News she had concerns about the documents and could not authenticate them.
“I did not authenticate anything and I don’t want it to be misunderstood that I did,” James said. “And that’s why I have come forth to talk about it because I don’t want anybody to think I did authenticate these documents.”
And how did CBS News respond to this new information? The denial and outright anger at the very question about their integrity continues:
“CBS News did not rely on either Emily Will or Linda James for a final assessment of the documents regarding George Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. Ms. Will and Ms. James were among a group of experts we consulted to assess one of the four documents used in the report and they did not render definitive judgment on that document. Ultimately, they played a peripheral role and deferred to another expert who examined all four of the documents used,” the network said in a statement.
So, they took the position that they liked and went with it. What are they, Fox news?
I’m not so angry with them for being duped and not really that angry or surprised that they are now trying to cover their asses. That doesn’t surprise me in the least. The sad thing is that this might end up helping George Bush and I don’t want that. Their is not doubt in my mind that political influence exercised by his father or other cronies helped George stay here and not go to Vietnam. I would bet money on it.
Should that be a central issue of the campaign? Probably not. How about Mr. Bush’s economic policies that have pushed the deficit to record levels or how about the fact that we went to war in Iraq for dubious reasons at best? Or, how about his abysmal environmental record or the fact that he wants a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage? Let’s focus on the real issues people. George Bush wants to take the country in the direction of exclusionary elitism where a handful of white males control everything and basic freedoms are compromised one by one.
That’s not the America that I want to live in and I hope it isn’t the America that you want to live in either. I don’t think John Kerry is the second coming or anything but I do think that he could not possible do a worse job than President Bush. One other thing that does make me angry is the idea, even exposed by our Vice President, that if John Kerry becomes President we will be attacked. The fact that someone would even say that shows just how ignorant they are.
Their will never be another President as long as we are a country who will not take defense seriously. We were attacked. Everyone knows this. No President will ever forget it or lay down and relax about defending this country. To suggest otherwise is asinine and is simply a blatant scare tactic that will hopefully backfire.
We need to forget all this small-time bullshit and concentrate on the real issues. If we do that, John Kerry just may be the next President.