Mark Steyn’s latest, on the CBS scandal, is very funny, and you should read it all. But the point comes at the end:
Why has CBS News decided it would rather debauch its brand and treat its audience like morons than simply admit their hoax? For Dan Rather? I doubt it. Hurricane Dan looks like he’s been hit by one. He’s still standing, just about, but, like a battered double-wide, more and more panels are falling off every day. No one would destroy three-quarters of a century of audience trust and goodwill for one shattered anachronism of an anchorman, would they?
As the network put it last week, ”In accordance with longstanding journalistic ethics, CBS News is not prepared to reveal its confidential sources or the method by which ’60 Minutes’ Wednesday received the documents.” But, once they admit the documents are fake, they can no longer claim ”journalistic ethics” as an excuse to protect their source. There’s no legal or First Amendment protection afforded to a man who peddles a fraud. You’d think CBS would be mad as hell to find whoever it was who stitched them up and made them look idiots.
So why aren’t they? The only reasonable conclusion is that the source — or trail of sources — is even more incriminating than the fake documents. Why else would Heyward and Rather allow the CBS news division to commit slow, public suicide?
Whatever other lessons are drawn from this, we ought at least to acknowledge that the privileged position accorded to ”official” media and the restrictions placed on the citizenry by McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform are wholly unwarranted.
How could the source be more incriminating than the forgery? The only way I can think of is if the source is the John Kerry campaign. It’s one thing to fall for a forgery; it’s something worse to participate in a fraud for the sake of trying to help a Presidential candidate. But it increasingly appears that that is exactly what CBS did.