CBS News Unraveling? reports that one of the CBS executives fired after the 60 Minutes National Guard fiasco is refusing to go quietly into the night:

Josh Howard, the executive producer of “60 Minutes Wednesday” during Memogate and the only CBS employee who had the guts to suggest that the network admit to wrongdoing before Memogate became a mess is threatening CBS with a lawsuit if it does not sufficiently retract the original Bush Air Guard story and fully come clean about the role of upper management in the network’s stonewall defense.
In a blockbuster story in tomorrow’s New York Observer, TV reporter Joe Hagan reveals that Howard and two other CBS News executives, Betsy West and Mary Murphy, are refusing to go, insisting that they are being made into scapegoats by an “independent” commission designed to protect the corporate brass from damage.
Howard is threatening to sue the network for wrongful termination and is said to be willing to testify under oath and subpoena secret internal documents and emails from his former employers.

Candidly, I hope it’s true. I’d love to see the inner workings of CBS News unveiled–the Thornburgh report was bad enough, but it was obviously, in some respects, the company line. An important caution, however: when people get fired and hire lawyers, the lawyers take over. Allegations are easy to assert and need never be proved; headlines are often the object. So let’s reserve judgment until actual evidence materializes. Press releases by lawyers are not evidence.
UPDATE: Several readers point out that the Drudge Report is all over this.
We live in an era of unprecedented transparency. It is very difficult to keep secrets. As a trial lawyer, I constantly see documents, emails, etc., that no one ever intended to see the light of day. It is very, very difficult for any organization involving more than a handful of people to get away with anything. Maybe CBS will learn this the hard way.


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