Andrew Heyward is the president of CBS News. Here’s his statement today:
“We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of coroborating [sic] evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that’s what we are doing.”
Translation: CBS has played its cards; it holds none. CBS now undertakes efforts to discover evidence bolstering a story that has blown up in its face. Its efforts should be redirected to facing reality and acknowledging culpability. It is now at the least complicit in a fraud of monumental proportions. (Courtesy of NRO’s Kerry Spot.)
HINDROCKET adds: Here is my theory. The documents are forged; we know it, CBS knows it, everyone knows it. So that is the context in which CBS is trying to figure out its next move. The general direction seems clear–they want to say that the documents may not be authentic, but the sentiments they reflect are true. So what they have “redoubled,” in Heyward’s words, is their longstanding effort to get the goods on President Bush’s National Guard service. In short, they are going to retroactively try to create the story that they wanted, but couldn’t get, and therefore settled for the forgeries.
Will it work? Yes, in the sense that they will be able to do something other than admit guilt, apologize, and fire Dan Rather. No, in that everyone will know that CBS prostituted itself to try to help John Kerry, and on one–that is, no one who is not already a virulent Bush hater–cares about Bush’s National Guard service, especially given that 1) he flew fighter aircraft, which everyone admires, and 2) he completed his service and was honorably discharged.
URGENT UPDATE: Drudge is reporting–with the rotating red light–that the forged documents have been traced to a Kinko’s in Texas. CBS may have run out of time.
FURTHER UPDATE: A Kinko’s in Abilene, apparently. The Washington Post says “there is only one Kinko’s in Abilene, and it is 21 miles from the Baird, Tex., home of retired Texas National Guard officer Bill Burkett, who has been named by several news outlets as a possible source for the documents.” And it seems that Burkett has an account at the Kinko’s in Abilene.
MORE ON BURKETT: Ace of Spades lays out the case that Burkett is a Cynthia McKinney Democrat (no kidding) who blames President Bush for conspiring to cause him to be denied health benefits. This account makes Burkett sound rabid enough not only to have forged the documents, but to have done so on his own. But it also makes him sound partisan enough to have forged them in concert with other Democrats.