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Archive for "Sep 15 2004"

RatherGate

It goes from being a possible hoax to an almost impossible to read any way but outright case of fraud … in just under a week!

I really couldn’t give a damn whether Bush got preferential treatment in the Texas Air National Guard, because he never held up that service back in 2000 as reason to elect him President of the United States, and for crying out loud, what the hell would you expect? But Dan Rather’s insistence that this is some monumental story–and that CBS News is such a monumental font (pun damn well intended) of information that he can take a stance that parses as “All That Matters Is What We Say Matters, So Shut Up And Accept It,” just beggars the imagination.

At Asymmetrical Information, Jane says it just keeps getting Curiouser and Curiouser. There is a part of me that revels in watching a Big Media company gets absolutely hosed at the hands of bloggers like Bill from INDC Journal, Allah, and the leaders of the Jammies Brigade, the Power Line Guys. But I’d say it keeps getting uglier and uglier, because now other members of Big Media are realizing what an outrageous breach CBS has committed, and are taking up the bloggers mantle.

They should have followed the Swift Vets charges with the vigor they are now aiming at one of their brethren, instead of writing them off as partisan cranks. Some of the Swifties charges have already panned out as true, but their charges have been all but ignored by Big Media. I’ll bet that changes soon. (Hello, NBC’s Today Show? You’ve had Kitty Kelly and her sleaze job of a book on display three days straight now, giving it a huge publicity boost. You haven’t had John O’Neil on once, even though Unfit for Command has been perched on top of the NY Times’ best seller List for a few weeks now. Watch your ass, Couric; you might be next after everyone’s through with Rather.)

There are two sides to this whole mess: the politics and the Journalism. That’s big “J” journalism because CBS (along with NBC and ABC) operates, and profits, by using the public’s airwaves to broadcast their news division’s product. For that largesse on the part of We, the People, we expect them to operate in accordance with the proscribed tenets of their profession, chief among which is impartiality. They cannot accept–or dismiss–one side of any dispute involved in something as huge as a Presidential election while the country is at war, without a preponderance of unequivical facts to justify the action. That makes this whole matter, for me, a First Amendment issue: Separation of Church and State.

The Church is the Democratic Party; CBS News, in the form of Dan Rather and his employers, is the State. And Danny and Co. have blown the wall between to smithereens. No one can convince me that the DNC’s Rapid Response Team wasn’t in on this; they had their follow-up ready to roll before the original broadcast was aired, and wheeled out this commercial too friggin’ fast to convince me they didn’t have an advance copy of the tape.

Put aside the forged documents for a moment. Rather’s ties to the Democratic Party are a known fact; his daughter is tight with the Texas branch, and he appeared at a fundraiser that she was involved in organizing, along with his big, honking witness from the original broadcast, a guy who has raised around a half million bucks for the DNC and Kerry the candidate. Now bring these suddenly discovered documents back into the picture. He’s refusing to provide any provenence for those documents, and adament about protecting the source who put them in his hands, insisting it’s “unimpeachable.”

I say it’s his kid.

CBS should be hauled into court.

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