I have (at least) one more (forgive me!) note on Rathergate as I prepare for my talk next Thursday at Lyon College on “Rathergate Ten Years After.” Rereading Peter Wallsten’s September 20, 2012, Los Angeles Times article identifying Atlanta attorney Harry MacDougald as Buckhead, the guy who played a key role in the chain of events leading to the downfall of the story, we can observe the Democrats’ secondary response to the discrediting of the 60 Minutes story.
The story was a GOP dirty trick! Toward the end of the story Wallsten noted the deep thoughts of current Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe:
Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe speculated openly to reporters that the whole thing could have been orchestrated by White House political advisor Karl Rove. The Bush campaign called the allegation “nonsense.”
Now it can be said. The Bush campaign was right.
Wallsten also wrote a good account of the timeline on which Rathergate unfolded. His September 12, 2004, Los Angeles Times story with the tick-tock is “No disputing it: Blogs are major players.” The article uses the same quote from McAuliffe.
Mary Mapes is the CBS News producer responsible for the 60 Minutes story that gave rise to Rathergate. Like Rather, she stands by the fraudulent Killian documents. She stand by the story. She stands by the assault on President Bush. Mapes can’t take the position that Karl Rove planted fabricated documents, so she has it both ways in her insane memoir Truth and Duty (coming soon to a theater near you).
In her memoir Mapes refers to “the Bush campaign’s aggressive pattern of sliming anyone and everyone who raised questions about the president.” She describes Karl Rove as Bush’s “über-adviser” and bizarrely credits him with masterminding “the Republican attack against the [60 Minutes II] story.” Given her claims of the documents’ authenticity, she absolves Rove of fabricating and planting the documents–“not that I believe Rove isn’t capable of that kind of dirty trick.”
Dan Rather finds a different way to channel the hate in his memoir Rather Outspoken. Time has not dulled the weird edges of Rather’s hate. Published in 2012, Rather’s memoir (written with co-author Digby Diehl) provides Rather’s perspective in the fullness of time:
The legacy of what happened to our story on George Bush and his career in the Texas Air National Guard lives on to contaminate both our politics and our journalism today. There is a through-line, a long and slimy filament that connects the “murder” of Vince Foster to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and to the discrediting of the Killian memos. The same dirty thread stretches all the way to the selectively edited ACORN “documentary” and the birther movement.
Rather Full Of It is more like it. So is Rather Insane.