Tuesday, September 14, 2004

CBS News + Fake Documents + Intent = Malice

Start the dirge, it's over for CBS News. They have been caught intentionally defrauding the American people in an attempt to influence the outcome of an election. The memos were forged, CBS knew they were forged and they went to air with them anyway. Since it became known that the documents were a fraud CBS and Dan Rather have done nothing but, well, lie in an attempt to convince the public that the documents are real. The roll call of big news items on Rathergate is very long.

First, the Dallas Morning News (registration required)managed to track down the 86 year old secretary of Lt. Col. Killian, the man who's name was forged onto the fake documents. Despite the fact that she is a certified Bush-hater she looked at the memos and immediately declared them a forgery. She gave a laundry list of reasons she knows they were forged, most damningly several of the reasons could only be known by the person who would have typed the memos. She is that person.

Then more bad news for CBS. This is what takes the 60 Minutes story from pathetic ignorance to malice, in the legal sense of the word. Two document examiners came forward today to say they were hired by CBS to authenticate the documents before the segment aired last Wednesday. Both sat they told CBS that the documents were likely forgeries, but they were ignored. What's worse for CBS is that ABC aired the story. An excerpt from the report:

Two of the document experts hired by CBS News now say the network ignored concerns they raised prior to the broadcast of 60 Minutes II about the disputed National Guard records attributed to Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who died in 1984.

Emily Will, a veteran document examiner from North Carolina, told ABC News she saw problems right away with the one document CBS hired her to check the weekend before the broadcast.

"I found five significant differences in the questioned handwriting, and I found problems with the printing itself as to whether it could have been produced by a typewriter," she said.

Will says she sent the CBS producer an e-mail message about her concerns and strongly urged the network the night before the broadcast not to use the documents.

"I told them that all the questions I was asking them on Tuesday night, they were going to be asked by hundreds of other document examiners on Thursday if they ran that story," Will said.

But the documents became a key part of the 60 Minutes II broadcast questioning President Bush's National Guard service in 1972. CBS made no mention that any expert disputed the authenticity.

"I did not feel that they wanted to investigate it very deeply," Will told ABC News.

Devastating. CBS hired document expert who warned the network the documents were fake but they used them anyway. Malice. CBS knowingly and intentionally used forged documents to try to influence the outcome of the election. It couldn't possibly get worse for CBS at this point, right? Wrong. It gets much worse.

The one "expert" that CBS has continually referred to as evidence that the memos are real has now distanced himself as far as he can from the documents. Powerline has a good post on this, here. Basically Marcel Mately now says that he did not authenticate the documents, nor could he have with his expertise:

I knew I could not prove them authentic just from my expertise. I can't say either way from my expertise, the narrow, narrow little field of my expertise

So by his own admission the man CBS has relied upon says he is not qualified to authenticate the documents. The Powerline post also links to this devastating piece by the Washington Post from which the Matley quote was taken. the Post also deconstructs the latest CBS defense involving a "former typewriter repairman" which CBS dubbed a "document expert" in an attempt to defend the documents. That's not all, it gets even worse!

Hugh Hewitt interviewed Congressman Christopher Cox this evening on his show. Congressman Cox sent a letter to Fred Upton, Chair of the Subcommittee of Telecommunications and the Internet, of which Congressman Cox is a member, requesting the subcommittee launch an immediate investigation into the matter. They could call old Danny boy top testify and they have the ability to force him to reveal his sources. Hugh has the text of the letter on his site. Christopher Cox actually stated on Hugh's show that an investigation was likely.

CBS has committed fraud and they did so knowingly. They have participated in a cover-up. They have lied to the American people repeatedly in an attempt to cover up their forgery. dan rather has refused to reveal the source of the documents. The Democrats launched "Operation Fortunate Son" in coordination with the 60 Minutes II report last Wednesday. The "operation" includes a television ad so disgusting that NBC has asked the Democrats to "cease and desist" from running the ad. A Congressional hearing is "likely", during which sources will be revealed.

CBS has shattered its credibility and Dan Rather will likely have to resign (KerrySpot at National Review is reporting that the head of at least one large CBS affiliate will ask for Dan Rather to apologize then step down) over the issue, but they may be able to save themselves the humiliation of a congressional investigation. Dan Rather has to come clean, name his source and then resign. An earlier post on A Time for Choosing, stated that if Dan Rather was truly a newsman and not a partisan hack disguised as a newsman he would have jumped at the opportunity to admit he was duped at the very beginning and then proceed to scoop the much bigger story of who is willing to forge documents in an attempt to bring down the President. It is too late for that now, as CBS has been exposed to be not a victim but an active participant in the fraud.

The fallout of this story will be huge, and it will extend far beyond the destruction of CBS's credibility as a news service and Dan Rather's resignation. James Pinkerton has written that this is a turning point in media history, and it is hard to deny that it is. CBS News has been taken down by the "new media", by the blogs.

The fallout may very well start the process of nailing the last nails in the coffin of the Kerry Campaign. The Democrats have become more and more entangled in this story, and it may be that the reason rather refuses to name the source is that the source may be the Kerry Campaign or at very least the DNC. The Democrats "Operation Fortunate Son" will be an even bigger source of embarrassment for them when CBS is finally forced to admit the documents are fake.

In an amazing conclusion to this post, KerrySpot is reporting that CBS News actually continued to refer to the documents as real in their broadcast tonight. Amazingly, they report shock at the fact that the President did not address the "controversy' during his address ot the National Guard in Las Vegas this evening. (At which he received thunderous standing ovations). What planet are these guys on? KerrySpot also points to a New york Times piece that speculates that Bill Burkett is the source of the documents. He was fingered as a possible suspect two days ago on, A Time for Choosing, in this post.

All in all, not a good day for the old media.

RealClearPolitics has a round up of the media stories regarding Rathergate.

As a side note I (along with 18,000 other people) attended a campaign rally for the President today. The crowd was as excited as it was large. I will post pictures tomorrow. Two protesters made some noise during his speech, in much the same fashion as the two or three did during his acceptance speech at the RNC. They were quickly shouted down by chants of "four more years" before being removed from the stadium. On the outside I saw a total of three protesters, all elderly women.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.