January 10, 2005

What Agenda?


CNN reports: CBS ousts 4 over Bush Guard story.

According to a CBS statement, an independent panel appointed by the network concluded that CBS News failed to follow basic journalistic principles in putting together the piece, which aired September 8. That failure was compounded with a "rigid and blind" defense of the report, the statement continued.

"The combination of a new '60 Minutes Wednesday' management team, great deference given to a highly respected producer and the network's news anchor, competitive pressures, and a zealous belief in the truth of the segment seem to have led many to disregard some fundamental journalistic principles," the report said, according to the CBS statement.

The panel, which was led by former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh and former Associated Press President Louis Boccardi, added that -- despite accusations of political bias against CBS -- "[the panel] cannot conclude that a political agenda at '60 Minutes Wednesday' drove either the timing of the airing of the segment or its content."

Still, "the bottom line is that much of the September 8 broadcast was wrong, incomplete or unfair," Les Moonves, co-president of CBS parent Viacom Inc., said in a statement announcing the firings. [Emphasis added]

In the report, the "independent panel" bends over backward to avoid accusing CBS of political bias, but it has no qualms accusing blogs who broke the fake-memo story of having a "conservative agenda". Further, Dan Rather told the panel that the faked memos are authentic.

Maybe we need an investigation of the investigation.

For more, see InstaPundit, Jeff Jarvis, RatherBiased.com, and RatherGate.com.

UPDATE I -- January 11: From John Podhoretz the The New York Post: Box In By Bias. (Via TIA Daily)

But here's the thing. It doesn't matter whether CBS executives met in a room, twirled moustaches and gave each other high-fives about getting George Bush. What matters is that they turned their airwaves over to someone [Mary Mapes] who was clearly in the grip of an obsession.

And here's the other thing. They were able to do such a thing because they did not see her obsession as an obsession -- because, no doubt, most of them wanted it to be true, too.

That's what happens when you're blinded by bias. Thornburgh and Boccardi [CBS's independent panel] didn't want to say so. The world doesn't need them to say so. The world knows the truth.

UPDATE II -- January 13: This cartoon appears in today's (Thursday's) Investor's Business Daily.

UPDATE III -- January 18: This cartoon appears in today's (Tuesday's) The Detroit News.

Posted by Forkum at January 10, 2005 05:53 PM