Skip to comments.Mark Steyn: CBS defense of Rather hints at bigger story (FR and Buckhead mentioned)
Posted on 09/18/2004 7:05:14 AM PDT by badfreeper
Of all the loopy statements made by Dan Rather in the 10 days since he decided to throw his career away, my favorite is this, from Dan's interview with the Washington Post on Thursday:
''If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story.''
Hel-looooo? Earth to the Lost Planet of Ratheria: You can't ''break that story.'' A guy called ''Buckhead'' did that, on the Free Republic Web site a couple of hours after you and your money-no-object resources-a-go-go ''60 Minutes'' crew attempted to pass off four obvious Microsoft Word documents as authentic 1972 typewritten memos about Bush's skipping latrine duty in the Spanish-American War, or whatever it was.
The following day Charles Johnson of the Little Green Footballs Web site drove a stake through your phony '70s memos by overlaying them with modern MS Word documents, whose automatic word wrap is amazingly an exact match with Lt. Col. Killian's ''typewriter.'' And every document expert agreed with Johnson your memos are junk, including your own analysts.
By now just about everybody on the planet also thinks they're junk, except for that dwindling number of misguided people who watch the ''CBS Evening News'' under the misapprehension that it's a news broadcast rather than a new unreality show in which a cocooned anchor, his floundering news division and some feeble executives are trapped on their own isle of delusion and can't figure out a way to vote themselves off it.
So the only story you're in a position to break right now is: ''Late-Breaking News. Veteran Newsman Announces He's Recovered His Marbles.'' And, if last week's anything to go by, you're in no hurry to do that.
Instead, Dan keeps demanding Bush respond to the ''serious questions'' raised by his fake memos. ''With respect, Mr. President,'' he droned the other day, ''answer the questions.'' The president would love to, but he's doubled up with laughter.
I was prepared to cut the poor old buffoon some slack a week ago. But Dan's performance has grown progressively more outrageous, to the point where it's hard not to conclude he's colluding in the perpetuation of a massive if ludicrous fraud. Dan's been play-acting at being a reporter for so many years now -- the suspenders, the loosened tie, and all the other stuff that would look great if he were auditioning for a cheesy dinner-theater revival of ''The Front Page''; the over-the-top intros: ''Bob Schieffer, one of the best hard-nosed reporters in the business, has been working his sources. What have you managed to uncover for us, Bob?'', after which Bob reads out a DNC press release. Dan's been doing all this so long he doesn't seem to realize the news isn't just a show.
Round about the middle of last week, he was reduced to shoring up his collapsing fantasy with Bill Glennon, a Cliff Claven figure who was a typewriter repairman in the '70s. But, because every other CBS expert had abandoned Dan's sunk ship, Bill suddenly found himself upgraded to ''document expert.'' This guy's been insisting that you could produce Dan's bogus memos on a 1972 IBM typewriter: ''The Model D had a lever that when pushed put a rubber stopper in front of the keys so they did not strike the paper. You centered the paper using the paper scale, put the carriage on the middle mark of the front index scale, typed your heading and then made note of the number it stopped on. You then moved the carriage back to the corresponding number on the left side of the index scale and retyped your heading and . . .''
Yeah, right. Every time I want to type a memo saying Bush is unfit to be president, that's what I do, too. Look, if Dan thinks this guy's theory is correct, let's put him and his IBM Model D and me and my computer in a room at CBS News for an hour and see which one of us emerges with the closest replicas of these four documents. I'll give him ten thousand bucks for every memo he reproduces exactly, and round it up to an even 50 grand if he gets all four right.
Any takers, CBS?
So the question now is why won't Dan and Co. just admit their docs are crocks and let it go? On Wednesday, CBS News head honcho Andrew Heyward, in a slippery statement, announced that ''we established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate.'' Note that word: not ''genuine'' but ''accurate'' -- i.e., if Lt. Col. Killian had had one of those IBM Model Ds and been willing to remove the carriage return and replace it with a rubber stopper on the front index scale while turning the crank, etc., these are the memos he would have written. Rather and Heyward are adopting the rogue-cop defense: The evidence is planted, but the guy's still guilty. Or as the New York Times' headline put it: ''Memos On Bush Are Fake But Accurate.''
Why has CBS News decided it would rather debauch its brand and treat its audience like morons than simply admit their hoax? For Dan Rather? I doubt it. Hurricane Dan looks like he's been hit by one. He's still standing, just about, but, like a battered double-wide, more and more panels are falling off every day. No one would destroy three-quarters of a century of audience trust and goodwill for one shattered anachronism of an anchorman, would they?
As the network put it last week, ''In accordance with longstanding journalistic ethics, CBS News is not prepared to reveal its confidential sources or the method by which '60 Minutes' Wednesday received the documents.'' But, once they admit the documents are fake, they can no longer claim ''journalistic ethics'' as an excuse to protect their source. There's no legal or First Amendment protection afforded to a man who peddles a fraud. You'd think CBS would be mad as hell to find whoever it was who stitched them up and made them look idiots.
So why aren't they? The only reasonable conclusion is that the source -- or trail of sources -- is even more incriminating than the fake documents. Why else would Heyward and Rather allow the CBS news division to commit slow, public suicide?
Whatever other lessons are drawn from this, we ought at least to acknowledge that the privileged position accorded to ''official'' media and the restrictions placed on the citizenry by McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform are wholly unwarranted.
As for Heyward and Rather, the other day I came across a rare memo from April 20, 1653, typed on a 17th century prototype of the IBM Selectric. It's Oliver Cromwell's words to England's Long Parliament:
''You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!''
Sorry about the double post. I'm too used to people putting "Steyn" in the article title and I did my FR search based on that.
Don't forget that Ben Barnes is an official of the Kerry/Edwards campaign in TX. This is the most damning allegation about him because it proves that he has motive to lie about Bush.
I think they think they have something. I noticed Susan Ostrich on Fox yesterday. She was quite subdued and almost sounded pro-Bush. I think sumthin's up.
Or have I just missed it somewhere?
Well, now the spin seems to be "The guy who outed the memos as frauds is a Republican, therefore Dan Rather was right."
Goes along the lines of OJ is innocent because Mark Furhman said the "N" word.
Or, the Swifites are liars because they recieved a donation from a Texas Republican."
Well, his sorry butt is fried right now.
My take on this is that Rathergate WAS to be the October surprise, in conjunction with Kitty Kelley's book making charges of cocaine use.
The DNC talking point to accompany this obviously was "Why didn't he take the physical?" repeated ad nauseum. Even poor old Juan Williams was still reciting this talking point the other night.
Another talking point to be used seems to have been that TANG instituted drug testing in the early '70's. Susan Ostrich was reciting this one a few nights ago.
The obvious conclusion that was to be drawn by the hoi polloi was that he didn't take the physical because he was doing drugs.
The damage done to Kerry's poll numbers by the Swift Boat Vets probably caused the October surprise to be hastily moved into September to try to stop the hemmorraging.
Imagine the effect if this had been rolled out at the last minute like the DUI last time. There would be little time to answer.
And certainly CBS didn't expect the forgery to be unraveled in a few hours.
Laughable indeed. Last night on Fox someone said try telling the IRS that your docs are forged but the content is correct and see what happens !
Burkett, the forger
Barnes, the political hack operative
the Biddy , the pool secretary who at first knew nothing but now claims to know everything
the Bit** producer who put this lying, vicious story together to take down a president
Sounds like a good sitcom.
SL, have you checked on the little kittens?
The documents are fake. Therefore there is no question for the President to answer.
In my company bonuses are awarded for high production numbers. It is not unknown for a supervisor to try to pad their numbers a little to get the bonus. When the padding is discovered the question becomes not, "How did the get such wonderful production numbers?" but "How did this fraud manage to get past the system?" and "Who should be fired?"
Same here. Those questions are now See-BS!'s to answer.
How did the fraud slip by your filters?
Who gets fired?
Only if Rather is so absolutely dominant at CBS News that the whole organization has the Jim Jones syndrome. That's the only scenario I can think of that doesn't involve CBS at least aiding and abetting a felony.
The only reasonable conclusion is that the source -- or trail of sources -- is even more incriminating than the fake documents.
That is EXACTLY the reason why CBS won't reveal their sources. This tells me that the entire operation may have been pre-approved by high-level operatives in both the Democratic National Committee and Senator Kerry's campaign office with a willing accomplice in Dan Rather (who has a personal vendetta against the Bush family); once we find out the truth it will be pretty much "game, set and match" for the Kerry campaign.
"For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity."
It depends on what they mean by "private". I have private files which I keep at the company. They do not go into the public filing and storage. They are mine. Things I did and why it was done that way. Backup in case about 5 years down the road a question is raised.
When I leave the company they will either be destroyed or left with the company. I certainly will not be taking them home with me.
And then there are my personal private files that belong to me and that are not part of company records. Those I will take.
Kind of like "Four Weddings and a Funeral" the Funeral is for CBS and big 'we are God, we will tell you what to think" MSM.
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