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Rather To "Fall On Sword"

Late last night Mayflower Hill reported an e-mail from a former CBS staffer that indicated that Dan Rather was going to be forced to "fall on his sword". This morning Jim Ruttenberg of The New York Times reports that CBS will admit they were misled.

[O]fficials decided yesterday that they would most likely have to declare that they had been misled about the records' origin after Mr. Rather and a top network executive, Betsy West, met in Texas with a man who was said to have helped the news division obtain the memos, a former Guard officer named Bill Burkett.

Mr. Rather interviewed Mr. Burkett on camera this weekend, and several people close to the reporting process said his answers to Mr. Rather's questions led officials to conclude that their initial confidence that the memos had come from Mr. Killian's own files was not warranted. These people indicated that Mr. Burkett had previously led the producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, to have the utmost confidence in the material.

It was unclear last night if Mr. Burkett had told Mr. Rather that he had been misled about the documents' provenance or that he had been the one who did the misleading.

The issue that is not addressed is how much of their story they'll stick to. Remember there were three major charges, which Rather has steadfastly maintained no one has challenged:
  1. Ben Barnes pulled strings to get George Bush into the Texas Air National Guard.
  2. Bush was ordered in writing by Killian to take his physical.
  3. Bill Burkett witnessed Bush's service records being "cleansed" in 1998.
Every single one of these stories has been debunked by credible sources. We challenge, we challenge!!!

RatherBiased notes:

More than likely, any CBS "apology" is going to be very tempered and likely reiterate previous network statements that "no one has challenged the content of our report." This is flatly false. A number of people have criticized CBS's reporting including the White House, President Bush's father, the Killian family, Ben Barnes's daughter Amy Barnes Stites, as well as several of Bush's former associates including Col. Walter Staudt, Col. Bobby Hodges, as well as Bush's roommate Dean Roome. These people were deliberately ignored (Killians, Staudt, Roome, Stites, Bush) or lied to (Hodges).
They proceed to list 20 items that CBS should apologize for.

Update: Sean Hackbarth wonders if Mapes is being setup to be the scapegoat.


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Comments (9)

So, Burkett does an intervi... (Below threshold)
Bookworm:

So, Burkett does an interview with Captain Dan.

According to Burkett's attorney, David Van Os, Burkett "no longer trusts any possible outcome of speaking to the press on any issue regarding George W. Bush."

Interesting that while Burkett will not speak to the press, he has no problem speaking to Rather and CBS. I suppose it is much easier to speak to a friend, ally, or co-conspirator.

At this point is Rather rea... (Below threshold)

At this point is Rather really "the press?"

I give this much to Dan Rat... (Below threshold)
LargeBill:

I give this much to Dan Rather-biased, it takes a big set of cajones to say all of our evidence has been proven to be fake but we stand by the contents of the fake evidence.

Side question, would anyone hire him as an attorney???

Hey, for a different take o... (Below threshold)
Pat:

Hey, for a different take on CBS' "Fake, But Accurate" defense, check this out:

http://armchaircritic.typepad.com/the_armchair_critic/2004/09/cbs_creed_fake_.html#comments

- Kerry has already made at... (Below threshold)
Hunter:

- Kerry has already made at least to glaring errors in his speech in NY this morning... In an early segment he said that [among] the area's that Bush liedf about was the connection between "Al Qaeda and 9/11" .... Later he said Bush [falsely] tied Al Qaeda to Saddam/Iraq] .... Everything continues to be doom and gloom... Kerry is parroting the Iraq/plan of Joe Biden...Apparently the extreme left is forced to reach out to party moderates at the 11th hour after all to frame any sort of Iraqi stance....

Look on the bright side. A... (Below threshold)
MaDr:

Look on the bright side. A new oxymoron has been added to the lexicon - journalistic ethics.

- Kerry - "Every month that... (Below threshold)
Hunter:

- Kerry - "Every month that has gone by....every offer [from major powers] of help spurned..."...Name a country that offered help that Bush spurned....Total spinspeak BS....Up until this past week the majority of them had reneged on their offers of boots on the ground and cost sharing in Iraq... Kerry keeps trying to blame Bush for the insergency... The only way the reticent bridesmaid countries were ever going to come on board as when Al Qaeda or one of the Islamic extremist countries layed the war on their doorstep....which is exactly what happened this past week when France and the rest of the players realized Iran is busily testing long range rockets that can pee in their cornflakes and Russia watched innocents slaughtered in that schoolyard....Kerry keeps trying to convince everyone that his "vote to go to war" was a vote to go to "peace talks"....

In related news, ratings fo... (Below threshold)
DelphiGuy:

In related news, ratings for CBS' Survivor show has almost halved from previous season premiers from 33 million down to 19 million....

Maybe they were just waiting to see what would happen to their cash cow.

I don't believe there's any... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

I don't believe there's any way that Rather will "fall on his own sword" while claiming he was "duped" by someone as inconsequential as Mapes. If he does admit he was duped the famous "unimpeachable source" will be along for the ride. Nobody in their right mind, and more importantly not even Dan Rather would call Burkett an "unimpeachable source". That leaves either Ben Barnes, who nobody in Texas would believe if eh told them the sun rises in the east, or someone higher up in the DNC. Dan won't go it alone and he'll want someone he considers and equal on the lifeboat, not an underling. If he doesn't take someone big with him he'll have to admit to being duped by an underling (someone he considers inferior) making him look stupid or he'll have to admit that he was biased and ran with a story anyone else would have rejected, still looking like a fool. I doubt he'll be willing to do that. I'm not even sure Barnes is prominent enough to share the blame.




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