Let me add my observations regarding Mary Mapes’ abject performance on “Reliable Sources” this morning. Mapes undoubtedly is the most pathetic figure on public display (for a few more weeks, anyway). Not because of her unwillingness to acknowledge her role in a fraud. Stridently insisting that the false is true would not, in itself, be cause for any serious reversal of fortune. Joe Wilson has been exposed as a liar (not merely, like Mapes, a purveyor of the lies of others), yet he remains a hero to the left, and is still taken seriously by much of the MSM. No, Mapes is abandoned, and thus pathetic, because (unlike Wilson whose lies led to one indictment of an adminstration official), her efforts blew up in the face of the left.
Indeed, the left holds Mapes partially responsible for Bush’s election, and that’s a sin for which there can be no redemption. It wants to believe that the poor reporting of Mapes and Rather shifted the focus away from the merits of the debate over Bush’s military service, thus enabling the president to “skate.” Eric Boehlert, the lefty “political writer” who appeared with Scott following Mapes, apparently has written a book that castigates the MSM for being “cowed” out of pursuing the “truth” about the Texas National Guard story in the aftermath of Rathergate.
This meme is deeply cynical, and even unfair to Mapes. Democrats had attempted unsuccessfully to derail Bush over his military service in three different elections, and had never gotten to first base. Only new and clear evidence held any prospect of success on the fourth go-round. Mapes stepped up to the plate with such evidence. Inconveniently, the evidence turned out to be a crude forgery, but her critics can’t point to anything better that she or others might have used. And try to imagine what the lefties would have said if Mapes, having been handed a smoking gun, had failed to shoot it. Mapes comes off as mad as hell at just about everyone — bloggers (especially some guy who goes by “Big Kahuna”), Mike Wallace, CBS executives, Richard Thornburgh, Howard Kurtz, etc). The one group she has a right to angry with is the anti-Bush left whose bidding she did, but which holds her in such contempt. How galling it must have been for Mapes, after laboring this morning to demonize her critics, to hear Boelhert admit that the conservative bloggers “hit a home run” at her expense.
Mapes, for her part, struck out on three pitches. How did she respond to the fact that one of her document examiners accused her of untruths and another said that, given his very narrow expertise, he couldn’t possibly say whether the documents Mapes used were real or fake? By characterizing their statements as showing only that the authenticity of the documents could not be established with 100 percent certainty. How did she respond to the findings of the Thornburgh panel? By noting that Thornburgh is, gasp, a Republican and that the other guy was the head of a news agency, not a line employee. Mapes also found it relevant that the lawyer who first questioned the documents on Free Republic is a Republican too. But she blasted the Thornburgh panel for considering her political orientation.
Mapes is the victim of the Republican-free bubble she inhabited at CBS. She became so used to the praise (Peabody awards, as she reminded Kurtz) she received for her hit pieces that she still can’t understand how she wound up jobless and with no defenders for her ultimate liberal hit piece. Like I said, Mary, it’s because the hit piece missed.