Skip to comments.CBS Accused of 'Political Attack' in Federal Election Complaint
Posted on 09/24/2004 1:18:32 AM PDT by kattracks
(CNSNews.com) - The Federal Election Commission received a complaint Thursday asking that CBS News be punished for broadcasting a "political attack ad" against President Bush in violation of campaign finance laws.
The complaint, filed by the Center for Individual Freedom, accuses CBS News and the Kerry campaign of colluding on a calculated attack on Bush. The network's "60 Minutes" program aired a now infamous segment Sept. 8 featuring discredited documents on Bush's National Guard service.
"The broadcast segment bore far more resemblance to a political attack advertisement coordinated with and supported by the opponent's campaign and political party than to a journalistically sound, well-researched 'news story,' " according to the Center for Individual Freedom complaint.
The center's executive director, Jeff Mazzella, described the connections between CBS News and the Kerry campaign as improper and in conflict with journalism ethics. He also said the network's actions violated federal campaign laws.
Kerry senior adviser Joe Lockhart has acknowledged that CBS News producer Mary Mapes called him Sept. 4. Lockhart proceeded to make a Sept. 5 call to former Texas National Guard officer Bill Burkett, which allowed Mapes to advance the story on the purported Bush records.
"If there had been no coordination, there would have been no attack story," Mazzella said. "CBS would not have been able to use the documents it so desperately needed for its assault on President Bush if one of its producers hadn't coordinated with the Kerry campaign."
News organizations typically aren't the subject of FEC complaints, but as Mazzella explained, because CBS exceeded the traditional means of gathering a news story, his group was asking the FEC to make an exception.
"Under normal circumstances, the media exemption is in place because it presumes that the press is impartial, and that the public relies on impartial reporting of the ideas and actions of the candidates," Mazzella said. "However, this is no normal circumstance. CBS threw its impartiality out the door."
The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act prohibits "electioneering communications" 60 days before an election. Even though news organizations are exempted from the rule, Mazzella wants CBS to be held accountable because the "60 Minutes" segment aired 55 days before the Nov. 2 vote.
The Republican National Committee has floated charges of coordination throughout the week, but the FEC complaint marks the first formal accusation against the network. CBS spokeswoman Kelli Edwards declined to comment on the complaint when reached Thursday in New York.
During a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Ed Gillespie, the RNC's chairman, laid out a timeline of events. The party also released a detailed chronology of the so-called "character assassination."
The Center for Individual Freedom's complaint asks the FEC to initiate an immediate investigation. But the chances of the FEC reaching a conclusion anytime soon are remote, given the agency's stringent rules for processing complaints.
See Earlier Story:
GOP Chairman Says Dems, CBS Coordinated Bush Attack (Sept. 23, 2004)
E-mail a news tip to Robert B. Bluey.
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The whole country saw thru it, right off the bat.
Check out this thread:
It looks to me as if this was a coordinated strategy between CBS and the Kerry campaign.
"impartial" ---well you can forget about that. Dan Rather has been in the tank for the Dems and socialists forever.
The Wall Within
This should also be investigated by the FCC.
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