So he's suing to bring the story back up again. , though Powerline did a better summary from after the fact, and my site at hathaby.net has long been trashed. Here's that old article:
Read to the end.
Then do the logical thing: NEVER refer to CBS as a news organization again. They're a propaganda machine, pure and simple. No interest in truth, no interest in balance, just pure storytelling.
They wanted to "push" the presidential election: and when they didn't have the evidence they wanted, they made it up, and presented it on air as true, despite knowing that there were problems with it without indicating the problems in any way.
Does this sound familiar? Is this another accusation that someone has "sexed up" a story? (this accusation is silly enough that the Daily Show at Comedy Central (Sept 14) has decided to run with it -- I await credit later).
"When discussing Iraq's WMD, administration officials rarely included the caveats and qualifiers attached to the intelligence community's judgments," said Rep. Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, during a House debate last week.
OK, that may not have happened: I'm quoting CBS News. But I would suggest that Bush knew less about the WMD in Iraq than CBS knew about the memos: and Bush, wisely, used the UN Resoluton 1441 to put the burden of proof on Iraq to demonstrate the truth or falsity of the statement. When Iraq refused to cooperate in a manner that Blix could characterize as open and frank disclosure, as he had seen with other nations, the judgement properly went against Iraq. They had the burden of proof, and failed. Here, CBS improperly assumed the burden of proof, and failed, too.
Here's the rest.
It is obvious that Dan Rather has missed the point when he says:
"I think the public, even decent people who may be well-disposed toward President Bush, understand that powerful and extremely well-financed forces are concentrating on questions about the documents because they can’t deny the fundamental truth of the story," he said. "If you can’t deny the information, then attack and seek to destroy the credibility of the messenger, the bearer of the information. And in this case, it’s change the subject from the truth of the information to the truth of the documents.
The point, Dan, is much simpler: we are changing the focus of the story because we don't care about the truth of the information: it is irrelevant to our decision about whether to elect George Bush or not. That you continue to think it is just means you're out of touch. That you want to influence us by presenting us with forged documents to bolster your story indicates that you are a lot worse than out of touch: it indicates that you are not trustworthy, and that the CBS News Division, which keeps backing you, is also not trustworthy. During the Clinton Administration, a characteristic of the rabid was that they kept saying that Clinton was in charge of cocaine smuggling at Mena Airport: and that was a cue, for the rest of us, that they had come uhinged: that they were not trustworthy. That fact, Dan, is newsworthy: that one of the big three network news operations is not trustworthy is NEWS, and that its anchor has come unhinged is also NEWS. You want the story to be simple and boring, and you want us to focus on the "Mena Airport." We already know better than that. We like news to be interesting, and we focus on what interests us. We like news. Right now, we don't like you.
I am really angry about this.
LATER: I've calmed down, after reading this. It's just that I had previously thought that CBS was a news organization worthy of being quoted, listened to, or read. I was wrong about that, and was being defensive, and that's what led to the anger. I realize now it was inappropriate: it was my fault for believing in CBS in the first place. Journalism has its own ridiculous excuses for what's happening, but the news cannot affect what is morally good or bad (see 18). I apologize to my readers for the overwrought tone of my posts. My bad. I am completely unfazed by CBS News's latest batch of stupid half-truths and outright lies: I should expect no more of bad tabloid journalism than this. They have no defense: they have produced lies, and now insist that we believe them because they are CBS News. They may believe in their public image all they want: I know that it is an idol, mute and inglorious, incapable of justifying a moment more of my time. That, of course, includes clueless lying PR firms that want "credit" for doing what they did not do. Ok, they apologized. Good for them.
CLOSING OUT: Powerline reports that CBS is finally coming around: not, so far, to admitting they did it deliberately, or that they should have had better review in place, or that they should take questions seriously. These would be too much. No, they are admitting that perhaps Bill Burkett was not a trustworthy document source. Moral of the story: Consider the source. If it is CBS, it does not have the backup.
LATE ADDITION: Evidently, they're not giving up. What's more interesting is they have some problems with veracity.
LATE NIGHT FINAL: Dan Rather is resigning from the anchor position, but keeping his position at the program that caused all the trouble: 60 Minutes. Band-Aid, anyone? Here's the final point of it all. Not that they might not know there was an ethics problem or anything. Once you're determined to commit fraud, ethics seems so unimportant (turn off scarcasm.)
Evidently deciding that forged documents were good enough to fool the rubes, CBS has presented a program on "60 Minutes" ostensibly discusing George H W Bush's not quite illustrious military career.
The problem? The documents are forged. And not in a way that only experts could tell. As it turns out, though, the expert who wrote the book on this is "90% sure" that they are forged (and he's a Democrat, planning to vote for Kerry, in case you wondered --INDC journal was VERY thorough, and is owed a big "attaboy!").
The interesting point: how will your local newspaper cover this? The information is out there. CBS decided falsehoods don't matter. What will YOUR newspaper show?
UPDATE: Instapundit provides a quick update. We now have a name for the scandal:Rathergate, reflecting the loss of credibility by Dan Rather, who has decided to fall on his sword.
FINAL NOTE:As I commented elsewhere, "The oddest part of this whole kerfluffle, for me, is that EVEN IF THE DOCUMENTS WERE TRUE, they're not terribly useful in evaluating Bush. Four years ago, we heard all about the young, wild, irresponsible guy who changed his life at 40. Anything you report on the National Guard stint is pre-40 years old, and so, literally, just "old news" -- yeah, he was a screwup when he was younger. Bush's credentials for the job is 4 years of performance, and that's all that counts: the reason that we are stuck in Vietnam and other obscure locales with Kerry is that he has no comparable executive experience, and he's trying to use these as a proxy for it, to give us a "feeling" for how he would do on the job."
I'm not including the original links.
Three cheers for the American legal system: even those whose grasp of reality is demonstrably slippery can launch a lawsuit and be heard.
So can the sound of our laughter.