Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Mary Mapes is a Witch--that's my story and I'm sticking to it!


The most serious defects in the reporting and production of the September 8 Segment were:

1. The failure to obtain clear authentication of any of the Killian documents from any document examiner;

2. The false statement in the September 8 Segment that an expert had authenticated the Killian documents when all he had done was authenticate one signature from one document used in the Segment;

3. The failure of 60 Minutes Wednesday management to scrutinize the publicly

available, and at times controversial, background of the source of the documents, retired Texas Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Bill Burkett;

4. The failure to find and interview the individual who was understood at the outset to be Lieutenant Colonel Burkett’s source of the Killian documents, and thus to establish the chain of custody;

5. The failure to establish a basis for the statement in the Segment that the documents “were taken from Colonel Killian’s personal files”;

6. The failure to develop adequate corroboration to support the statements in the Killian documents and to carefully compare the Killian documents to official TexANG records, which would have identified, at a minimum, notable inconsistencies in content and format;

7. The failure to interview a range of former National Guardsmen who served with Lieutenant Colonel Killian and who had different perspectives about the documents;

8. The misleading impression conveyed in the Segment that Lieutenant Strong had authenticated the content of the documents when he did not have the personal knowledge to do so;

9. The failure to have a vetting process capable of dealing effectively with the

production speed, significance and sensitivity of the Segment; and

10. The telephone call prior to the Segment’s airing by the producer of the Segment to a senior campaign official of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry - a clear conflict of interest - that created the appearance of a political bias.

Once questions were raised about the September 8 Segment, the reporting thereafter was mishandled and compounded the damage done. Among the more egregious shortcomings during the aftermath were:

1. The strident defense of the September 8 Segment by CBS News without adequately probing whether any of the questions raised had merit;

2. Allowing many of the same individuals who produced and vetted the by-then

controversial September 8 Segment to also produce the follow-up news reports

defending the Segment;

3. The inaccurate press statements issued by CBS News after the broadcast of the Segment that the source of the documents was “unimpeachable” and that experts had vouched for their authenticity;

4. The misleading stories defending the Segment that aired on the CBS Evening News after September 8 despite strong and multiple indications of serious flaws;

5. The efforts by 60 Minutes Wednesday to find additional document examiners who would vouch for the authenticity of the documents instead of identifying the best examiners available regardless of whether they would support this position; and

6. Preparing news stories that sought to support the Segment, instead of providing accurate and balanced coverage of a raging controversy.

Count up the words "false statement" and "misleading" in that riff, and you have a rough count of how many times CBS lied to the public.

You can go to the CBS website and read the entire report for yourself. At the end of the day this was a blatant attempt to rig an election for the democratic candidate and the report makes it clear. CBS can never again be trusted on any level.

Rather Lied, Careers Died

Posted by Will Collier · 10 January 2005 ·

So, when is CNN's Johnathan Klein going to apologize and admit that the guys in pajamas were right, and CBS News was in the wrong? More to the point, does anybody at CNN have the guts to ask him that question?

No, of course not.

Some more dogs that won't bark:

1. Neither Peter Jennings, nor Tom Brokaw, nor even Brian Williams will utter a peep of criticism in Rather's direction. Ditto for Bill O'Reilly, who'll blame the whole thing on Mary Mapes and dismiss anybody with a modem but not a TV show as being 'nuts' for questioning the credibility of a news anchor.

2. The Columbia Journalism Review ("America's Premier Media Monitor") will not issue a retraction of Corey Pein's ridiculous attempt to acquit Rather, Mapes, CBS News, et al.

3. No major "news" publication or program (with the possible exception of Fox News) will ask the question, "Why were three women in lower level positions cut loose at CBS, but the network news president--Andrew Hayward--and Dan Rather allowed to skate?"

4. The word "blog" will not be uttered on CBS News tonight, or anytime this week, particularly not in context of this disgrace.

Pissed off about Armstrong Williams?

I have one name--Bill Moyers.

Here is a partial list of the groups Moyers has funded and featured on his show without disclosure. (The dollar amount represents the total given from 1991, his first year as president of the Schumann Foundation, to 2001, as well as grants from the affiliated Florence Fund.)

Annenberg School of Communication--$100,000

Aspen Institute--$218,000

Brennan Center for Justice, NYU--$425,000

Center for Investigative Reporting--$803,000

Democracy 21--$200,000

Environmental Working Group--$234,000

Friends of the Earth--$166,500

Media Access Project--$125,000

The Nation Magazine--$135,000

Natural Resources Defense Council--$105,000

New America Foundation--$750,000

Public Agenda Foundation--$150,000

Public Citizen--$411,000

Sierra Club--$584,000

Union of Concerned Scientists--$335,000

World Resources Institute--$75,000

That's $4,806,000 over the past decade to groups that have gotten free PR on Moyers's show just in the past 16 months.