CBS Ousts 4 For Bush Guard Story
Four CBS News employees, including three executives, have been ousted for their role in preparing and reporting a disputed story about President Bush’s National Guard service.
The action was prompted by the report of an independent panel that concluded that CBS News failed to follow basic journalistic principles in the preparation and reporting of the piece. The panel also said CBS News had compounded that failure with a “rigid and blind” defense of the 60 Minutes Wednesday report.
Hmmm, an independent panel, sounds good.
After a stubborn 12-day defense of the story, CBS News conceded that it could not confirm the authenticity of the documents and asked former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former Associated Press President Louis Boccardi to conduct an independent investigation into the matter.
Impartial? Independent? Waaaaiiiit a minute! Dick Thornburgh, wasn't he Poppy's Attorney General? Nothing like an old family friend to be impartial.
Well, so much for the independent, impartial investigation. That's the "official" story, here's another point of view:
CBS Memogate Report–An Insider’s Perspective By Paul Lukasiak
Okay, since I’m mentioned three times in the report (twice, inaccurately labelled a blogger), and I even played a peripheral role in the verification of the Killian memos, I guess I can call myself an “insider” to some small degree.
(I’m Paul Lukasiak, and my website is called The AWOL Project. It’s at http://www.glcq.com. As the report correctly notes, when CBS wanted to find more Killian signatures in the publicly released documents, they came to me–and although I didn’t know why I was being asked at the time, I was asked a number of questions pertaining to the consistency of the memos with the rest of the documents.)
And from the facts of which I’m aware, the Memogate Report can be described in one word.
Hmmmm, I don't think Paul is buying the "official" story. Go finish reading his piece, he tears apart some of the conclusions reached by the panel. It's not a complete report, but I'm betting he completes his take down of the "official" version.
Lastly, here is this piece by the Columbia Journalism Review analysing "Memogate" reporting. Blog-Gate Yes, CBS screwed up badly in ‘Memogate’ — but so did those who covered the affair.
Bloggers have claimed the attack on CBS News as their Boston Tea Party, a triumph of the democratic rabble over the lazy elites of the MSM (that’s mainstream media to you). But on close examination the scene looks less like a victory for democracy than a case of mob rule. On September 8, just weeks before the presidential election, 60 Minutes II ran a story about how George W. Bush got preferential treatment as he glided through his time in the Texas Air National Guard. The story was anchored on four memos that, it turns out, were of unknown origin. By the time you read this, the independent commission hired by the network to examine the affair may have released its report, and heads may be rolling. Dan Rather and company stand accused of undue haste, carelessness, excessive credulity, and, in some minds, partisanship, in what has become known as “Memogate.”
But CBS’s critics are guilty of many of the very same sins. First, much of the bloggers’ vaunted fact-checking was seriously warped. Their driving assumptions were often drawn from flawed information or based on faulty logic. Personal attacks passed for analysis. Second, and worse, the reviled MSM often followed the bloggers’ lead. As mainstream media critics of CBS piled on, rumors shaped the news and conventions of sourcing and skepticism fell by the wayside. Dan Rather is not alone on this one; respected journalists made mistakes all around.
Is this story dead, or is there still some life there?