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Do Rather's troubles help Bush or hurt him?
Slate ^ | 9/15/04 | Mickey Kaus

Posted on 09/15/2004 7:36:31 PM PDT by Cableguy

Judging from tonight's televised non-retraction by CBS news chief Andrew ("This is going to hold up ") Heyward, it looks as if CBS will continue to twist slowly, slowly in the wind. ... Here's the interesting possibility, brought to my attention in an email by blogger Steve Smith (who may also have guessed right with his "grand hypothesis"): Does this ongoing story hurt Bush in the polls even if it focuses on forgery and possible CBS malpractice? After all, it keeps the subject of Bush and the Guard in the news, which might not help the president. Without the forgery issue the whole story might have disappeared days ago. ... Maybe that's why Rather has seemingly insanely dug in his heels: He knows that by dragging out his and CBS's agony he's also dragging out Bush's agony. ... It's also good for ratings. People haven't paid this much attention to Dan Rather in years. ... Certainly tonight's CBS Evening News broadcast, which managed to lovingly rehash the charges against Bush (and hype "60 II") in the process of fudging the key forgery issue, fit this strategy. ... P.S.: Maybe left-wing bloggers will be playing smart politics if they now initiate a noisy, cannibalistic orgy of recrimination! The Daily KOS could start things off by demanding Rather's head. He's worth sacrificing to keep the story alive. ... [Thanks to reader M.H. for "Gotterdannerung"] ... P.P.S.: Several emailers note that Heyward's statement says the memos are "accurate," not that they are "authentic." That's significant, but along with Josh Marshall I very much doubt that CBS will be able to avoid an apology by taking a "fake but accurate" line.

(Excerpt) Read more at politics.slate.msn.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Extended News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: cbs; cbsnews; kaus; rather
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Also, as Ellisblog points out, CBS may have a powerful, undiscussed reason for trying to avoid ever explicitly acknowledging the first half--"fake"--of that formulation: Unless they keep at least a flicker of hope for the memo's authenticity alive, they won't have a good excuse for refusing to reveal their source. ...
1 posted on 09/15/2004 7:36:32 PM PDT by Cableguy
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To: Cableguy

Help Bush.


2 posted on 09/15/2004 7:38:15 PM PDT by Ptarmigan (Proud rabbit hater and killer)
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To: Cableguy

I think they help bush slightly, but they help lurch even more by diverting attention from the swifties.


3 posted on 09/15/2004 7:39:15 PM PDT by orangelobster
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To: Cableguy
I very much doubt that CBS will be able to avoid an apology by taking a "fake but accurate" line.

Why won't this work for CBS? It's working fine for the NY Times so far.

4 posted on 09/15/2004 7:39:44 PM PDT by 68skylark
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To: Cableguy

The polls certainly validate Kaus' conclusion. I've experienced irrational exuberance at seeing the latest numbers out of New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Minnesota. This "AWOL story" is killing Bush, just killing him!


5 posted on 09/15/2004 7:39:50 PM PDT by HateBill (John Kerry -- the only hope for suicidal jihadists.)
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To: Cableguy

I think it's a wash for Bush.

But it doesn't help Kerry, as it makes it look like his allies in Big Media are playing dirty.


6 posted on 09/15/2004 7:40:17 PM PDT by Gunder
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To: Cableguy
After all, it keeps the subject of Bush and the Guard in the news, which might not help the president.

Bush is gaining in NJ, NY, and IL, and is 8 points up in WI and in the lead in New Mexico.

If that's "not helping" then let's have more of it.

7 posted on 09/15/2004 7:40:31 PM PDT by sinkspur ("Please send me all of your gold-trimmed lace right away"--Cardinal Fanfani)
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To: Cableguy

Wishful thinking. In fact, I'd say that even if they definitively prove that Bush was a deserter, it just isn't an issue that people care that much about.

Bush has never made his guard service a reason for electing him. Everyone knows he got special treatment, obviously, and that didn't hurt him in 2000. So why should it now?

This controversy just eats up valuable time the Kerry campaign can't afford to give up. Kerry needs to define himself, since he has failed to do so thus far, and he can't afford to lose days of news coverage to 30-year-old controversies involving Bush.

Moreover, this whole episode only legitimizes attacks by the Swift Vets, who will soon be back with more ads and more POWs angry with Kerry.


8 posted on 09/15/2004 7:40:54 PM PDT by The Old Hoosier (Right makes might.)
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To: Cableguy

I really believe that no one cares much about the National Guard stuff.

This has been going on since President Bush first ran for Governor.

It is so "old news" that only insane partisans care about this anymore.

Even the talking heads are going on and on about how stupid and useless it is to keep dragging this out.

They may think it's hurting the President, but I really don't think it matters to most voters.

Seeing CBS drag these forgeries out can only hurt them, IMO.


9 posted on 09/15/2004 7:43:01 PM PDT by texasflower (How appropriate...... the pro abortion party is the "D 'N' C")
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To: Cableguy

The focus on GWB/ANG shines light on the lack of credible
evidence for the long-running Burkett/Barnes grudges.

The credibility of CBS is in the toilet. They are vastly
diminished as an anti-Bush outlet now. The fact that they
are a PAC for Kerry is obvious.

The air time for all this is being sucked out of the
Kerry campaign, along with all the column-inches of ink.

On balance, this helps Bush.

As far as revealing the source goes - the source has
likely already committed reverse-extortion on CBS:
"I/we dare you to hurt Kerry even more by going public"


10 posted on 09/15/2004 7:43:29 PM PDT by Boundless
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To: Cableguy
Does this ongoing story hurt Bush in the polls even if it focuses on forgery and possible CBS malpractice? After all, it keeps the subject of Bush and the Guard in the news, which might not help the president. Without the forgery issue the whole story might have disappeared days ago. ... Maybe that's why Rather has seemingly insanely dug in his heels: He knows that by dragging out his and CBS's agony he's also dragging out Bush's agony.

The answer is simple. No, it does not. And what drives the dems insane is they are trying to put Bush "in agony" and have the American public turn and he's not and they won't.

But CBS's troubles are just beginning, especially after tonight's little stunt. Kaus better wake up and smell the coffee. There will be an accounting here.

11 posted on 09/15/2004 7:43:39 PM PDT by cyncooper (We're mad as Zell and we're not going to take it anymore!)
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To: orangelobster
I think they help bush slightly, but they help lurch even more by diverting attention from the swifties.

The swifties aren't going anywhere. And if the story is ultimately traced to the DNC or tne Kerry campaign, it won't matter anyway.

12 posted on 09/15/2004 7:44:46 PM PDT by kesg
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To: orangelobster; Cableguy
Somebody in the democrat camp (possibly very close to the Kerry campaign) produced forged documents in an attempt to skew the Presidential election.

Hardly a small thing.

And frankly, nobody cares about what Bush did or didn't do in the TANG.

13 posted on 09/15/2004 7:45:32 PM PDT by BenLurkin (We have low inflation and and low unemployment.)
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To: Cableguy
Help. No question.

Bush is clearly ahead. Every day that the story is "forgeries or not?" is another day of clock time that has run out. Kerry NEEDS the news cycle.

The storm doesn't help Kerry any either.

14 posted on 09/15/2004 7:45:32 PM PDT by IMRight ("Eye" See BS)
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To: texasflower
I really believe that no one cares much about the National Guard stuff.

Right. But lots of people care about who sent CBS the documents in the first place.

15 posted on 09/15/2004 7:45:48 PM PDT by kesg
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To: Cableguy

Ellisblog? Is that President Bush's cousin's site?


16 posted on 09/15/2004 7:46:12 PM PDT by texasflower (How appropriate...... the pro abortion party is the "D 'N' C")
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To: orangelobster
I think that it helps Bush. Between hurricane Ivan and Rathergate, all the news oxygen is sucked out. One news cable commentator actually asked, "Does anyone know where Kerry is? I think he was joking," but he was making a point. No one is listening to Kerry. Whether you think that's good or bad depends upon your perspective.
17 posted on 09/15/2004 7:46:27 PM PDT by Nosterrex
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To: Cableguy

According to Drudge, 29% of the people believe that the documents are real. That means that 71% believe they're fake ... which means that MOST people recognize this for what it is ... an attempt to slander the president by the Kerry campaign and their willing accomplices in the media. People disapprove of slander. Advantage Bush.


18 posted on 09/15/2004 7:47:35 PM PDT by MNnice
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To: Cableguy
After all, it keeps the subject of Bush and the Guard in the news, which might not help the president.

If the man on the street actually gave a darn about what Bush did in the ANG, this might make sense.

Without the forgery issue the whole story might have disappeared days ago.

Highly unlikely. Rather has his elves working their little fingers to the bone manufacturing some evidence that George actually pimped for Laura while they were in college just as he was working at bumping some African-Americans off the ANG waiting list straight to the Mekong Delta where they were about to get killed. No doubt this report will be aired by Rather around the 28th or October.

19 posted on 09/15/2004 7:48:38 PM PDT by stevem
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To: Cableguy
If what is developing about the source location of the documents holds true, ie Kinkos in Abilene TX ...

Burkett, Barnes are located in/near Abilene, and Barnes is a big Kerry fund raiser and neighbor.

French Fried Flip Flopper is toast

20 posted on 09/15/2004 7:49:20 PM PDT by snooker (French Fried Flip Flopper still Flouncing, be careful out there.)
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