Friday, January 14, 2005

CBS: And the Hits Just Keep on Comin'

Click here for AmazonIf CBS thought its unfinished report would close the door on Rathergate, they were sadly mistaken.

As was pointed out today by a surprisingly eloquent Pat Buchanan on the Imus show, the forgery of military documents (even without the intent to overthrow a sitting President) is a Felony Offense.

Before it's all said and done, odds are someone will be serving time over this and related activities. The Captain sums up the recent fallout and reports that the fired CBS employees may file a wrongful termination lawsuit. That's good news, according to Cappie Ed, because... well, just read it. In short, when you shine a flashlight into a dirty pantry, the cockroaches are gonna go scurrying:

...Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today, calls out CBS for its inaction:

Rather absented himself from the newscast Monday evening, the day the independent investigators' report and Moonves' response were made public. Then on Tuesday he was back in his usual role, after issuing a statement to CBS News colleagues that concluded: "I have seen us overcome adversity before. I am convinced we can do it again."

No apology. No acknowledgement that the buck stopped with him.

Rather has had many high points in a distinguished career since he succeeded Walter Cronkite on March 9, 1981. But this low point likely will haunt him forever, unless ...

Unless he quits the anchor's chair now, gives up any thought of continuing on 60 Minutes and helps his former co-workers who took the fall for his fumbling the ball find new jobs.

Interestingly and somewhat ironically, the paid advertisement for Neuharth's screed promotes NBC's Nightly News with new anchorman Brian Williams. Williams strikes a skeptical look for the camera, a hilarious counterpoint to Neuharth's scolding. He gazes out from the page as if thinking, "That's all you got?" ...

...Neuharth isn't the only one taking CBS to the woodshed today. Charles Krauthammer at the Washington Post also considers their response completely unaccpetable and says so in much stronger terms than Neuharth:

First comes the crime: Dan Rather's late hit on President Bush's Air National Guard service, featuring what were almost immediately revealed to be forged documents.

Then comes the coverup: 12 days of CBS stonewalling, with Dan Rather using his evening news platform to (a) call his critics "partisan political operatives," (b) claim falsely that the documents were authenticated by experts, and (c) claim that he had "solid sources," which turned out to be a rabid anti-Bush partisan with a history of, shall we say, prolific storytelling.

Now comes the twist: The independent investigation -- clueless, uncomprehending and in its own innocent way disgraceful -- pretends that this fiasco was in no way politically motivated.

If Les Moonves hoped to bury this scandal by using a supposedly independent panel, he finds himself very much in error...

...The four fired employees reportedly will fire wrongful-termination lawsuits against Viacom and CBS, a development we should all support. Not that the four didn't deserve to get fired, or even that their terminations were unfair in light of the escapes of Heyward and Rather; they all clearly deserved termination for incompetence at the least, and Mapes for a breathtaking record of lies and misleading statements connected to the story which should destroy her credibility for all time. No, the depositions and testimony of the lawsuit will finally force CBS and its executives -- including Dan Rather -- to come completely clean about the collapse of the once-dominant broadcast news outlet, and the mainstream media in general.

CQ: CBS: the Fallout Continues

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