Here’s what CBS has to say:
(CBS News) – Four CBS News employees, including three executives, have been ousted for their role in preparing and reporting a disputed story about President Bush’s National Guard service.
The action was prompted by the report of an independent panel that concluded that CBS News failed to follow basic journalistic principles in the preparation and reporting of the piece. The panel also said CBS News had compounded that failure with “rigid and blind” defense of the 60 Minutes Wednesday report.
Asked to resign were Senior Vice President Betsy West, who supervised CBS News primetime programs; 60 Minutes Wednesday Executive Producer Josh Howard; and Howard’s deputy, Senior Broadcast Producer Betsy West. The producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, was terminated.
The panel said a “myopic zeal” to be the first news organization to broadcast a groundbreaking story about Mr. Bush’s National Guard service was a key factor in explaining why CBS News had produced a story that was neither fair nor accurate and did not meet the organization’s internal standards.
The report said at least four factors that some observers described as a journalistic ‘Perfect Storm’ had contributed to the decision to broadcast a piece that was seriously flawed.
“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.A quick read of the report indicates had Dan Rather not announced his retirement they would have had to fire him as well. Why?
Page #114 – [Andrew] Heyward also told the Panel that Rather said he had not “been involved in this much checking on a story since Watergate.”
It would have been pretty hard to absolve Rather and hold everyone else accountable.
Paul has been working on the report, and list some of the other evidence against Dan Rather.
Rathergate finds this shocking tidbit. Turn’s out Dan’s not really sorry after all…
Update: The full set of documents is available at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP