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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

More on RatherGate

Cal Thomas asks THE question:
How serious can one take a report that relies strictly on the testimony of the chief "suspects" that they had no political agenda?
My initial reading of the Report echoes that question. Mary Mapes and Rather himself all deny bias (page 226), and the Report accepts their statements. Mr. Thomas has something to say about that:
This is the Watergate equivalent of locking up the men who conducted the break-in at Democratic Party headquarters, but ignoring Attorney General John Mitchell, Vice President Spiro Agnew and President Richard Nixon, which CBS News and Dan Rather famously did not do.

The report also says the editing process, especially rushing out to get a statement by Dan Bartlett just before the peice aired shows that there was no bias or agenda. Then, and most ironically, the Report says that IF those documents were true, THAT would have been a STORY. Here's the excerpt:
The September 8 Segment addressed some items pertaining to President Bush’s TexANG service record that were not previously known and thus could be considered newsworthy.
Significant among them were:
1. Lieutenant Colonel Killian on May 4, 1972 ordered Bush to report for his annual
physical no later than May 14, 1972.
2. Lieutenant Colonel Killian on August 1, 1972 suspended Bush from flying status on August 1, 1972 not only for failing to take his physical, but also for “failure to
perform to USAF/TexANG standards . . . .”
3. Lieutenant Colonel Killian wrote on August 18, 1972 that General Staudt, the then former TexANG Chief of Staff, was pressuring Major General Hodges and
Lieutenant Colonel Harris to “sugar coat” an evaluation of Lieutenant Bush.

If true, these statements appear to have constituted newsworthy information in which the public could have an interest. These documents would have, again if true, been the basis for a legitimate story in the Panel’s view, as attested to by the fact that other national media were pursuing the same story. It is a large part of an investigative reporter’s mandate to provide this
kind of provocative information to viewers or readers, assuming it has been properly reported and vetted, regardless of the reporter’s political affiliation or motives.

Uh huh.

And if Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy and the Da Vinci Code were true, what a story those would make! Apparently these three stories remain to be "properly reported and vetted."

This story was based on forged documents, from compromised sources to an agenda driven MSM agency. And the report fails to make that judgement. Sad. Not surprising, but very sad.

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