In 2004 Mary Mapes was the celebrated CBS News producer responsible for stories that had won her the recognition of her peers. In September that year she produced Dan Rather’s 60 Minutes II report on President Bush’s military service that was exposed as fraudulent the following day.
CBS commissioned an internal investigation (the Thornburgh-Boccardi report) demonstrating in detail the fraudulence of Mapes’s 60 Minute II story. The report also noted Mapes’s serious misrepresentations in her testimony to the Thornburgh-Boccardi panel. CBS fired Mapes for her role in the story the day the Thornburgh-Boccardi report was released. She now blogs at what James Taranto calls the Puffington Host.
Even though she produced a report that falsely defamed President Bush and others with the intent of influencing the outcome of the 2004 presidential election, Mary Mapes fancies herself the victim of the events related to her story. In her imagination she is the victim of a vast right-wing conspiracy. Among the conspirators, of course, are Power Line (and Karl Rove). Mapes refers to the conspirators as making up a deadly monster.
In her 2005 memoir Truth and Duty — one of the worst books I have ever read cover to cover — Mapes surveys the chain of events leading to CBS’s repudiation of her story 60 Minutes II story. She proclaims that rabid right-wing blogs had joined forces with FOX News, talk radio, and “magazines like the Weekly Standard” to form “a well coordinated attack machine out there in the media world, a monster that waits in the woods for an opening and then overpowers its victim.” Mapes is of course the victim of the monster.
Mapes’s book reveals her seething hatred of Bush and conservatives. It thus opens a window into the frame of mind that resulted in the fraudulent 60 Minutes II story. It is the sole service performed by this very bad book. She describes Karl Rove as Bush’s “Ã¼ber-adviser,” for example, and bizarrely credits him with masterminding “the Republican attack against the [60 Minutes II] story.”
Given her claims of the story’s veracity, she absolves Rove of fabricating and planting the documents that led to the story’s exposure — “not that I believe Rove isn’t capable of that kind of dirty trick.”
Surveying the political scene in 2008, Mary Mapes now celebrates the death of the monster that bedeviled her in 2004:
Nothing makes me happier than seeing once swaggering players like Powerline, Free Republic and Little Green Footballs forced onto the sidelines, left to limply watch this campaign pass by like a parade in which they play no meaningful part.
They just don’t matter anymore.
Our moment in the spotlight in 2004 came courtesy of Mary Mapes. The small role we played derived solely from the fraudulence of the story she sought to peddle. Thanks to her, we now write for a readership substantially larger than the one we had in 2004. And even though our readership was much smaller in 2004 than it is today, it was sufficient to help us play our small role exposing Mapes’s fraud.
Having disgraced herself and been removed from her postion at CBS News, Mapes now refers to her 60 Minutes II story (in her Puffington Host bio) as “controversial.” She imagines that we have been “forced onto the sidelines,” although we are right where we always were. From her perch at CBS News Mapes descended to the Puffington Host. As to the death of “the monster” and being “forced onto the sidelines,” Mapes is in the grips of a serious case of projection.
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