CBS Lets Down the Side

Tomorrow’s Los Angeles Times features an editorial criticizing CBS News for letting down the liberals by publicizing a forgery–well, not so much a forgery, but an obvious forgery: “A Black Eye for CBS News”:

CBS News has been had. It’s hard to reach any other conclusion about newly discovered documents that CBS and anchor Dan Rather are defending as revealing the truth about George W. Bush’s military service.
Despite Rather’s statement Monday that the network “believes the documents are authentic,” the evidence keeps mounting that they are not. As The Times reported, conservative bloggers detected glaring inconsistencies, such as a Microsoft Word type style. So many other discrepancies have since emerged that it would require a willful suspension of disbelief to take them as merely coincidental.

What outrages the L.A. Times, however, is not so much that CBS tried to perpetrate a fraud, as that it failed to help the Kerry campaign, as it intended:

CBS’ real error was trying to prove a point that didn’t really need to be proved. It doesn’t take documents for anyone to realize that Bush pulled strings to get into the National Guard. And, during the Vietnam draft, nobody went into the National Guard out of passion to defend his country. It also doesn’t take new documents to establish that Bush shirked even his National Guard duties when he moved to Alabama and then to Harvard Business School.
CBS may have managed to place Bush’s Vietnam-era service off-limits as a campaign issue, after weeks when John F. Kerry’s impressive record has been under savage attack. Bush gave a smirky speech Monday to the National Guard Assn., waxing on about the patriotic sacrifices of the Guard’s men and women over the years.

It’s somewhat revealing that the Times acknowledges that President Bush’s inadequate National Guard service “didn’t really need to be proved.” Really? Why not? The Times says it doesn’t take documents to show that Bush “pulled strings to get into the National Guard,” but the fact is that there is no evidence whatsoever, documentary or otherwise, of such string-pulling. And the Times’ claim that Bush “shirked…his National Guard duties” when he went to Harvard Business School is ridiculous, since he had been honorably discharged from the Guard by that time.
And what’s with the “smirky speech” to the National Guard Association, in which President Bush was “waxing on about the patriotic sacrifices of the Guard’s men and women”? Is it really news to the Times that National Guardsmen make sacrifices? Is there something inappropriate about the President recognizing those sacrifices? And what, exactly, was “smirky” about the speech? What sort of speech does the L.A. Times think a President of the United States should give to the National Guard Association?
It is revealing that even a hard-left, unreconstructed Republican-hating organization like the L.A. Times, while gnashing its teeth in impotent rage over what looks like the impending defeat of its candidate, John Kerry, still feels compelled to admit that the CBS News documents were forged.

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