Monday, September 20, 2004

Dan Rather makes a statement

Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a "60 Minutes Wednesday" story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question-and their source-vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome.

Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where-if I knew then what I know now-I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.

But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.

Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.

I don't buy it. They did not make a mistake in judgment, they jumped on a story without completely checking it out. And why did more extensive interviews need to be done? Shouldn't they have been done to begin with? Isn't that what jouranlism is all about? Talk about CYA. the last sentence made me laugh.
Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.

Yeah, right, they are scared to death that their sponsors are going to jump ship. With the ratings they recieved last week, I can't blame them.

CBS went on to say
'60 Minutes Wednesday' had full confidence in the original report or it would not have aired. However, in the wake of serious and disturbing questions that came up after the broadcast, CBS News has done extensive additional reporting in an effort to confirm the documents’ authenticity.

Shouldn't that investigation have taken place BEFORE you went on air?
Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report. We should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret. Nothing is more important to us than our credibility and keeping faith with the millions of people who count on us for fair, accurate, reliable, and independent reporting. We will continue to work tirelessly to be worthy of that trust.”

Well, you lost mine. It is things like this that make people believe that there is a bias in the media. You jumped on a story without vetting it and expect us to think there wasn't an agenda behind it? Come on, we aren't stupid here.
Bill Burkett, in a weekend interview with CBS News Anchor and Correspondent Dan Rather, has acknowledged that he provided the now-disputed documents used in the Sept. 8 "60 Minutes Wednesday" report on President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard.

Burkett, a retired National Guard lieutenant colonel, also admits that he deliberately misled the CBS News producer working on the report, giving her a false account of the documents’ origins to protect a promise of confidentiality to the actual source.

Burkett originally said he obtained the documents from another former Guardsman. Now he says he got them from a different source whose connection to the documents and identity CBS News has been unable to verify to this point. Burkett’s interview will be featured in a full report on tonight’s CBS Evening News with Dan Rather

Don't buy this either. Yes, Burkett has things against Bush but, I think he called CBS and said, I got the goods, and CBS bought it. There was no misleading, there was a rush to put on a story that CBS knew would hurt Bush without checking it out. That's it, plain and simple.

CBS is playing the ultimate CYA and people will believe them. I don't. You may, it's your choice but, CBS has proven they are not trustworthy.