CBS overboard

As Rocket Man noted below, ABC News has taken up the allegations that CBS relied on forged documents in its 60 Minutes report on President Bush’s time in the National Guard. Ted Koppel had his turn on Night Line. To be sure, the forgery issue was subsumed within a larger report about “opposition research” and “negative campaigning.” But it was hardly buried. Koppel began by noting that if he had received the information about George Bush that Dan Rather obtained, and if it had checked out, the story would have run on Night Line. This was followed by a report from Chris Bury in which both the widow and son of Lt. Col Jerry Killian insisted that Killian would not have written or retained the memos. Bury then touched briefly on some of the reasons why, based on the appearance of the memos, they may well be inauthentic. Bury’s report could have been more hard-hitting, but he made the basic points.
Koppel returned to the forgery issue late in the show during an interview with former Gore operative Chris Lehane. This was the damage control segment but, significantly, the damage being controlled was not that inflicted on CBS, but rather the potential damage to the Kerry campaign. Koppel and Lehane agreed that the campaign almost certainly was not responsible for the forgery because the consequences of being caught are too high. (Lehane even floated the idea that the Bush campaign might have been responsible). Under this analysis, the Nixon campaign couldn’t have been behind the Watergate break-in either — it must have been the work of Democrats or the CIA. But, again, the real point is that the MSM and the Democrats have figured out that CBS and its report are probably lost causes, and that the key thing now is to protect the Kerry campaign. It looks as if the campaign that wants so desperately to go back on the offensive after weeks of being pounded may have to play some serious defense for a while longer.

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