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Panel Found Dan Rather Lied

The panel (PDF, HTML). identified 10 "serious defects" in the preparation and reporting of the story... But there is bigger news if you read closely.

The most serious defects in the reporting and production of the September 8 Segment were:

1. The failure to obtain clear authentication of any of the Killian documents from any document examiner;

2. The false statement in the September 8 Segment that an expert had authenticated the Killian documents when all he had done was authenticate one signature from one document used in the Segment;

3. The failure of 60 Minutes Wednesday management to scrutinize the publicly available, and at times controversial, background of the source of the documents, retired Texas Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Bill Burkett;

4.The failure to find and interview the individual who was understood at the outset to be Lieutenant Colonel Burkett's source of the Killian documents, and thus to establish the chain of custody;

5. The failure to establish a basis for the statement in the Segment that the documents "were taken from Colonel Killian's personal files";

6. The failure to develop adequate corroboration to support the statements in the Killian documents and to carefully compare the Killian documents to official TexANG records, which would have identified, at a minimum, notable inconsistencies in content and format;

7. The failure to interview a range of former National Guardsmen who served with Lieutenant Colonel Killian and who had different perspectives about the documents;

8. The misleading impression conveyed in the Segment that Lieutenant Strong had authenticated the content of the documents when he did not have the personal knowledge to do so;

9. The failure to have a vetting process capable of dealing effectively with the production speed, significance and sensitivity of the Segment; and

10. The telephone call prior to the Segment's airing by the producer of the Segment to a senior campaign official of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry - a clear conflict of interest - that created the appearance of a political bias.

#2 is the killer. Dan Rather got on the air and flat lied to the American people. He should be fired.

Once questions were raised about the September 8 Segment, the reporting thereafter was mishandled and compounded the damage done. Among the more egregious shortcomings during the Aftermath were:

1. The strident defense of the September 8 Segment by CBS News without adequately probing whether any of the questions raised had merit;

2. Allowing many of the same individuals who produced and vetted the by-then controversial September 8 Segment to also produce the follow-up news reports defending the Segment;

3. The inaccurate press statements issued by CBS News after the broadcast of the Segment that the source of the documents was "unimpeachable" and that experts had vouched for their authenticity;

4. The misleading stories defending the Segment that aired on the CBS Evening News after September 8 despite strong and multiple indications of serious flaws;

5. The efforts by 60 Minutes Wednesday to find additional document examiners who would vouch for the authenticity of the documents instead of identifying the best examiners available regardless of whether they would support this position; and

6. Preparing news stories that sought to support the Segment, instead of providing accurate and balanced coverage of a raging controversy.

#3 is the killer on this one. This was not just poor reporting or a "mistake." The panel has found that they lied. When Dan Rather made the conscious decision to lie to the American people, he sealed his fate. Dan should be fired.

I could add one the panel missed. Dan said during his report that he had them vouched for by a person that had seen the actual documents in the 70's. No such person existed and that was a lie. The Panel missed a serious firing offense.


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Comments (29)

CBS will just say that Dan ... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

CBS will just say that Dan Rather read the copy that was given to him. In other words, he didn't lie, he just read a lie. I've resigned myself to the fact that there is no way they are going to fire Dan Rather. I am pleased that Mary Mapes was fired, and not "asked to resign".

Dan likes to tout his vast ... (Below threshold)
Palmateer:

Dan likes to tout his vast experience in news reporting.

In this case, however, he wants us to believe that he was merely a "newsreader."

'Dan Rather made the consci... (Below threshold)
Jack Tanner:

'Dan Rather made the conscious decision to lie to the American people, he sealed his fate. Dan should be fired. '

That would matter if they cared. Fire some behind the scenes people and put it all behind you. Honestly other than Mary Mapes whose name you knew because of the scandal did you recognize anyone else who was fired? time to MoveOn.

Mapes is the fall guy, all ... (Below threshold)

Mapes is the fall guy, all right. As I read the report, she promised the other CBS-ers that Burkett was a solid source, that they had 4 document authenticators on board, that the typographical issues weren't relevant, etc.

Assuming the report is right, Rather had a phenomenal management failure in not getting to the bottom of the authentication issue once people started raising the issue, but it's awfully strong to say he lied.

"CBS will just say that Dan... (Below threshold)

"CBS will just say that Dan Rather read the copy that was given to him. In other words, he didn't lie, he just read a lie."

If they do and the rest of the liberal Bush-bashers do, then they are a bunch of flippin' hypocrites. They are still saying "Bush lied" about those 16 words in his SOTU address before we took out Saddam's regime even though it's been proven (by FactCheck et al) that he, in fact, did not lie.

'If they do and the rest of... (Below threshold)
Jack Tanner:

'If they do and the rest of the liberal Bush-bashers do, then they are a bunch of flippin' hypocrites.'

There's news. Look Viacom's a publicly traded company, and CBSNews is one of their products. Consumers can react with their clickers but unless criminal or civil charges are filed this is a business decision to produce a veneer of accountability without sacrificing any of their perceived assets. Either they're legally prohibited from firing Rather or they just don't think it's good business or maybe they really don't think they should. But my guess is one of the first 2 choices.

Dan Rather will not get fir... (Below threshold)
Sergio:

Dan Rather will not get fired. And in the highly unlikely event he is, he'll get a job on PBS or NPR.

Mary Mapes' future is secure: she can always work for the AP, setting up photo shoots of terrorists ("insurgents") murdering ("insurging") election workers. If that doesn't work out, I'm sure the BBC will hire her.

Today, Rush Limbaugh said t... (Below threshold)
PTG:

Today, Rush Limbaugh said that Nixon has finally gotten his revenge on Dan Rather. The way I see it, people eventually become whatever it is they hate the most. It is the 'karmic price' of long held hatred. Dan hated Nixon for the liar he was. This hatred kept Dan going for decades. Now Dan has turned into a Nixon in our eyes; a liar who asked for our trust and then betrayed it.

- Wait for the other shoe t... (Below threshold)

- Wait for the other shoe to fall in this... Unless CBS bought Mapes silence with big bucks, she's not the kind to go quietly into the night. Even if she lands on her feet with PBS, CNN, or NRO, she's likely to want to spread the blame around. Rather and Heyward were every bit as much a part of this as her I'm sure. CBS just has to stonewall grimly, hoping the firings will be enough to forestall what they're really worried about....Legal liability for even possessing forged government documents, let alone producing them....Some Senators are already on TV addressing that very subject.....

You guys are being dumbasse... (Below threshold)
BC:

You guys are being dumbasses yet again. The report, which I'm still reading and have already found two gaping holes in, didn't and wouldn't say anything about whether the documents were forged or not. What they faulted and came down hard on was how Mapes ran with the 60 Minutes segment when the authenticity of the memos was no where certain enough, primarily because they were copies and couldn't really be authenticated as such unless they knew for sure where they came from.

The contents of the memos still appear to be accurate, but the nitpicking over the military terms used makes me wonder if they are transcriptions made either from originals or by a dictation from Killian.

Hmmm...a dictation.... If the memos came from a dictation Killian made.... I'll leave it for the people out there with more that half a brain to figure out what this would mean and how it would explain the discrepancies in terms before I finish my analysis and write-up.

The report did mention the "scrubbing" charges about how a lot Bush's unflattering service records were suppposdly purged at one point. This gives one explanation to why the number of available Bush Guard service records noticeably falls off during his last couple of years of service where all of the problems lie.

While I can't say I'm surprised, I'm still annoyed at the very sloppy forensics shown in the report -- in some respects the authors are just as guilty as Mapes in rushing things out before they were ready. Apparently there was a lot of pressure to finish up.

I know you true believers will ignore all the details and just see the report as some sort of vindication of the forgery charges, of Bush's Guard service, and how Dan Rather and CBS are big fat liars.

Please feel free to post such sentiments to Usenet where I amble by and politely comment on them....

Later.

"The report, which I'm stil... (Below threshold)
Michael Hayde:

"The report, which I'm still reading and have already found two gaping holes in, didn't and wouldn't say anything about whether the documents were forged or not."

BC, be sure to let us know when you get to the appendices, which all but trumpet the fact that the documents were phonies, "likely produced on a computer."

The body of the report cops out due to legal liability. Only an idiot would come away from the appendix clinging to the .001% chance that the documents were legit.

The CBS report states:... (Below threshold)
Mike:

The CBS report states:

The producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, was also faulted for calling Joe Lockhart, a senior official in the John Kerry campaign, prior to the airing of the piece, and offering to put Burkett in touch with him. The panel called Mapes’ action a “clear conflict of interest that created the appearance of political bias.”

... but it concludes:

“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.”

Abso-frickin'-lutely unbelievable. The hurdles that these idiots will jump in order to preserve the tattered veil of "impartiality" is just pitiful.

_________________________

BC,

If you really want to amuse yourself ...

Visit every Salvation Army, Goodwill, or any other thrift shop or pawn shop in your city. Find as many working typewriters as you can. Type the Killian memos on all of them. Then compare your documents to the "official" Killian memo from CBS News and see if any of your typed documents match the Killian memo as closely as Charles Johnson's hastily retyped Microsoft Word document at littlegreenfootballs.com.

Then, if you still believe that the Killian memo was typed on some mysterious super-typewriter from 1973, submit yourself for a mental evaluation.

Or if you still believe in the "fake but accurate" or "it was a lost memo retyped recently on a computer and signed by the ghost of Col. Killian" theories, then go up to Washington state and help Chris Gregoire find some more "fake but accurate" ballots.

Whatever you do, you will be a loser. And it will (hopefully) keep you occupied long enough to prevent you from clogging this comment board with more nonsense.

From Appendix 4"In... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

From Appendix 4

"In summary, Tytell concluded that the Killian documents were generated on a computer. He does not believe that any manual or electric typewriter of the early 1970s could have produced the typeface of the Killian memos"

Are you questioning Tytell's qualifications as a document examiner?

From BC

"The contents of the memos still appear to be accurate"


So which dumbasses are sticking to the old "fake but accurate" position? Nothing in the Independent Panel report concludes that the content of the Killian documents was accurate.

Any of you guys want to try... (Below threshold)
BC:

Any of you guys want to try some beginner's forensics on your own? All you need is a recent-enough version of Adobe Acrobat Reader and to bring up the PDF file of the full report here: http://tinyurl.com/6edua

Now remember there were two commonly available devices at the time of the memos that could proportionally print and super/subscript in a different fonts: the IBM Executive Typewriter and Diablo Daisywheel printers. Some of you have already heard comments about the Executive and very few maybe about the Diablo. Considering how importent the appearance issue was to the forgery charges, you would assume that any thorough investigation would at least look into the possibility that either an Executive or a Diablo could have been used.

OK, boys and girls, once you have the report loaded up in your trusty Acrobat Reader, click on the binocular icon and do a search for references to either the Executive typewriter or the Diablo daisywheel printer.

Guess what, there aren't any. Even the most right-wing of blog sites has discussed the Executive at least, but apparently none of the experts that the authors used knew that it existed, nevermind the Diablo.

Gee, that kind of takes away, for me at least, some of the report's credibility. And the Aug. 1st 1972 memo, which they mentioned as having some support in one DID record, actually has support directly in 4 DOD documents, as well as a 5th. I guess they don't enjoy PDF reading as much as I do.

If it was me, I'd fire the authors of the report for investigative incompetence on just these two points alone.

BC, don't you have an inter... (Below threshold)

BC, don't you have an intern to molest?

goodbye BC toony t... (Below threshold)
Paul:

goodbye BC

toony tunes are not welcome.

Neither device can produce the memos... That has been proven dozens of times.

You are a delusionist and you are not welcome.

Thanks for complying.

Paul

You mean "critical thinking... (Below threshold)
BC:

You mean "critical thinking" is not welcomed. You guys keep saying how blah-blah has been disproved but I haven't seen anything other than Newcomer's stuff, and he spent the bulk of his "research" on how a Selectric couldn't be used for the memos while only belatedly -- after commiting himself to the forgery charges -- adding a footnote of a reference to the IBM Executive, his lone sample being a wedding program composed on an Executive, even though it's known that Executives had multiple font options. And he couldn't really generate a reasonable facsimile -- to him -- with Word until he used an 11.5 point foint size. Go see if you have 11.5 for a font size option on your copy of Word. He never brought up the Diablo at all, so who disproved anything? You have any links to point me to? No, you don't, so you much prefer parroting the standard mantra that the memos were forgeries, ignoring the contents issue completely, and that the investigative report couldn't claim that either.

But I am done with you low-brow clowns, which I'm sure will make you happy. ;)

Don't let the door hit you ... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Don't let the door hit you in the a** BC.

Dan Rather got fired long ago by the US public, at least the ones that weren't tuning in for entertainment.

After reading the report, I... (Below threshold)
Doug:

After reading the report, I now realize cBS did everything but put DIOXIN in President Bush's soup

Speaking of legal liability... (Below threshold)

Speaking of legal liability, doesn't the Killian family have a prima facie libel suit? #2 above Rather lied and later denied! Reckless disregard for the truth!

I had to put up with Dan Ra... (Below threshold)
duaneage:

I had to put up with Dan RatherLiberal when I lived in Hong Kong. He was the olny evening news from America we got. In March of 96 they replaced him with Peter Jennings and I must admit it was a glorious day.

Goodbye Dan, I will not miss you. I will be watching your last broadcast because as they say" Take a picture, it'll last longer"

BC you are a goofball... Re... (Below threshold)
Paul:

BC you are a goofball... Read this. http://wizbangblog.com/archives/004760.php

But on a serious note, thanks for making a final post and being done with it. At least you had the class not to bomb us with dumbshit like so many of the people on your side do.

yes, Dan Rather did lie so ... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

yes, Dan Rather did lie so why isn't he being fired? Why are they firing all those around him instead? I heard earlier that the owner of CBS, the actual boss of Dan Rather, isn't going to step down or be fired either. Some say it's because he didn't really know about this but I find that BS because he would definitely know about stuff like this when it came to the President; after all, does he not have to approve such information?? I would think he would want accountability before he allowed this to go on the air, but he's not taking any responsibility when you know Dan Rather could not and would not put such a story with such zeal on television without the approval of the #! man. So all these people are being fired but this guy and Dan Rather are doing everything they can not to let the shit land on them when it was them who should be fired from their positions. I saw it when Dan Rather apologized about this situation and like another famous tv anchor who lied about attacking the police over his meatloaf dinner; they're not being touched. Can you explain to me why, Paul?

Cindy

Good job, Paul, in passing ... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

Good job, Paul, in passing that message along to BC and hopefully will never be back again.

There are a few others I'd like to see you backlash and send the same message - interested? :-)

Cindy

Cindy- in general terms I d... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Cindy- in general terms I distain chasing people away.

(Contrary to what some asshats have accused...)
I usually only chase people away if they are being completely obnoxious or of they post things that are simply untrue.

I work my ass off making sure I cross every T and dot every i here at Wizbang. (I almost never have to make a correction... I could post in half the time if I were not such an accuracy freak)

For some jackleg to get up and spout things that are demonstrably untrue is a disservice to our readership and insults my effort.

Delusionists will be shown the door.

Let me make this one last c... (Below threshold)
BC:

Let me make this one last comment and then I'm really gone. Anyone who has seen my Usenet "discussions" knows that I'm not exactly prone to backing down. But this blog space is more like a community of sorts and I feel uncomfortable really getting down and dirty here. You guys will believe what you want to believe and it's your right, so I'm not about to do my usual bashing here. Some of you also know that I had created a rather extensive web site about the memos here: http://www.aheckofa.com (click on Knowledge. And it looks as though the Panel report replicated my document timeline I had done up a few months ago, not that I'm saying they did....)

I'm going to do a major update to the site by hopefully this coming Monday. I will incorporate the the Panel findings, dissect it little bit, put in a final word about all these alledged experts out there, but not change my final conclusions.

Lastly, I think I need to point out one last little obvious thing: the Panel report noted how hard it was to verify anything without the original documents and with Killian gone, but there is one person who could have very easily clarified certain huge questions like, say, was it Hodges or Killian who made the verbal suspension order. If it had been Killian, then one of the memos would have been fully verified, implying that the others are correct as well. Hodges said he couldn't remember, but we all should know that there is one person who would very much remember something like this and a few other details as well, and who was evidently not questioned by the panel, nor has he come forward to volunteer any clarifying information.

I'll leave it to you to figure out whom I'm referring to and to guess at what possible reason he would have for not coming forward about what really happened, letting others needlessly be the victims of ridicule, investigation, and job loss.

And with that, adios....

I'm going to do a major ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

I'm going to do a major update to the site by hopefully this coming Monday.

I tell ya what BC....

You finish your document then make a post here or email me.

I'll go toe to toe with you...

(This is your reward for being reasonable about my asking you to go)

If you REALLY think you can prove they are legit, make your best case... then I'll slap it down. (with facts of course)

Fair enough?

"equal justice under the la... (Below threshold)
B. Stewart Weston:

"equal justice under the law?"
You are participating in a politically motivated 'sandbagging' from the very top of your government and choosing to interpret the evidence as your particular ideology drives it rather than the evidence. Is "entrapment" not a word in American legal vocabulary any more? At least the word "setup" is...

So let me get this straight... (Below threshold)
Jim Ausman:

So let me get this straight, when Dan Rather repeats a falsehood without checking its veracity, it is a "lie" but when Bush does the same thing, it is not?

You guys crack me up.




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