CBS previews its climbdown

The New York Times reports: “CBS News concludes it was misled on National Guard memos, network executives say.” The Washinton Post reports: “CBS to say it was misled on Bush Guard memos.”
The more extensive Times story contains this intriguing item:

Yesterday, Emily J. Will, a document specialist who inspected the records for CBS News and said last week that she had raised concerns about their authenticity with CBS News producers, confirmed a report in Newsweek that a producer had told her that the source of the documents said they had been obtained anonymously and through the mail.
In an interview last night she declined to name the producer who told her this but said the producer was in a position to know. CBS News officials have disputed her contention that she warned the network the night before the initial “60 Minutes” report that it would face questions from documents experts.

HINDROCKET adds: As we reported, Dan Rather flew to Texas over the weekend, where he interviewed Bill Burkett. As has been widely speculated, Burkett was indeed the source of the documents:

Mr. Rather interviewed Mr. Burkett on camera this weekend, and several people close to the reporting process said his answers to Mr. Rather’s questions led officials to conclude that their initial confidence that the memos had come from Mr. Killian’s own files was not warranted. These people indicated that Mr. Burkett had previously led the producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, to have the utmost confidence in the material.
It was unclear last night if Mr. Burkett had told Mr. Rather that he had been misled about the documents’ provenance or that he had been the one who did the misleading.

So whatever led CBS News to refer repeatedly to Burkett–who on the most sympathetic interpretation is a rabid Democratic partisan, if not a liar and a nut–as an “unimpeachable source”?
And it appears that CBS will stick to the “fake but true” defense, as Josh Howard, the executive producer of 60 Minutes, said over the weekend: “The editorial story line was still intact, and still is, to this day.” In fact, the “editorial story line” is false from beginning to end. Lt. Col. Jerry Killian gave Lt. Bush a glowing evaluation as his commanding officer. For the Democrats to assert, more than thirty years later, that Killian and the other officers who praised Bush in official documents didn’t mean what they said is an exercise in futility. And the claim that Bush failed to satisfy his National Guard requirements, no matter how often the Left repeats it–see Eleanor Clift’s lying, mean-spirited column in the current Newsweek–is simply untrue. Bush did fulfill his requirements, as is demonstrated by the honorable discharge he received.
The Times reports that:

In the coming days CBS News officials plan to focus on how the network moved ahead with the report when there were warning signs that the memorandums were not genuine.

Gee, that’s a mystery, isn’t it? It will be interesting to see where the CBS investigation leads. Let me offer a helpful hint: Rather and the crew of 60 Minutes “moved ahead with the report when there were warning signs that the memoranda were not genuine” becaue they desperately want John Kerry to win the election, and therefore didn’t care that the memos were forgeries.
See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?


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