As we have discussed at length below, Mary Mapes appeared on Howard Kurtz’s CNN show “Reliable Sources” (transcript here) yesterday. I appeared on the segment following Mapes. I was a little mystified by Kurtz’s giving Mapes a pass on the blatant fraudulence of the documents; he appears to have acceded to Mapes’s line that there are experts on both sides of the question. On September 14, 2004, Kurtz co-authored (with Michael Dobbs) one of the most devastating articles on the fraudulence of the documents that appeared in the mainstream media the week following the 60 Minutes II broadcast: “Expert cited by CBS says he didn’t authenticate papers.” See Jonathan Last’s “Mapegoat” at Galley Slaves.
The filmed set-up to the Mapes interview, reviewing CBS’s climbdown from the story and updating the issues with a clip from Emily Will, was suitably harsh on Mapes and her story. She is, after all, continuing to peddle (for $24.95) a blatant fraud long after it has been exposed to the world as such. Yet Kurtz’s questions were long on the Oprahesque and short on the fraudulence of the story itself. When his segment with her concluded, Kurtz told Mapes off the air that she had been courageous to come on the show and face his questions. But come on, Howard, you weren’t that tough, she’s got a bad book to sell and, judging by our email, CNN has the target audience for it!