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Damage control at Black Rock
townhall.com ^ | 1/12/05 | Tony Blankley

Posted on 01/11/2005 10:35:58 PM PST by kattracks

Let's start with the title of the CBS Panel: "Report of the Independent Review Panel Dick Thornburgh and Lewis D. Boccardi; Kirkpatrick &

Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP, Counsel to the Independent Review Panel."

 My first question is from whom is the Review Panel and its hired lawyers independent? Who paid the law firm for its hundreds, probably thousands of hours of research? I assume CBS paid them.

 Keep in mind, it was the law firm that did the actual investigation. I have already communicated with one person who was contacted by a lawyer for the firm of Kirkpatrick & Lockart and told that they were carrying out the investigation's research. And, of course, Mr. Thornburgh is a senior member of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP.

 So the lawyers hired to independently investigate CBS have a lawyer/client relationship with CBS. Presumably, as a senior member of that firm, Independent Review Panel Member Richard Thornburgh also has CBS as a fiduciary client. Thus, unlike similarly named government independent investigations -- this one is paid for by, and carried out on behalf of, the target of the investigation.

 The foregoing is not meant to impugn the integrity of Mr. Thornburgh. He is a man of proven integrity. But it is meant to try to determine what ethical obligations are required of him. If CBS is his legal client, then he has an ethical obligation to represent CBS's best interests -- and certainly to minimize any exposure CBS might have to legal liability for their conduct.

 I would assume that as a former attorney general and public man, he would also feel an ethical obligation not to report facts to the public other than those he believed to be correct and in fair context. While those two sets of ethical imperatives may sometimes be hard to manage simultaneously, from a first reading of the report it appears to me that he has upheld both of those ethical obligations.

 Thus, the report issued this week appears to be a very thorough and accurate rendition of facts that demonstrate the bad journalism practiced by CBS. This fulfills both his ethical obligations. He has been honest with his factual report, and, by being so, he has helped CBS appear to be coming clean with the public.

 But where he has boldly sought and reported the objective facts, he has been cautious and inconclusive regarding the subjective characterizing of those facts.

 So, for example, if CBS's own hired lawyer, Mr. Thornburgh, had found that the document in question was actually a fraudulent Department of Defense document, or that anyone at CBS subjectively believed the document was fraudulent before they used devices of interstate commerce to broadcast it, he might have exposed CBS to criminal and civil liability on both forging government documents and wire fraud charges.

 The Thornburgh/Boccardi Report makes no such conclusion, although it does present facts that might lead a reasonable person to reach such a conclusion.

 Neither did the Report conclude that political motivations might have played a role in the bad journalism. Although, once again, the report had a whole section meticulously itemizing evidence of political or anti-Bush motivation. (This section, however, while accurate, was very far from exhaustive. For instance, no mention was made of the fact that Dan Rather had, in the past, spoken at a Texas Democratic Party fundraiser. No effort was made to do content analysis of Rather newscasts over the years to measure party bias -- an established technique used in academe on exactly such research projects.)

 The two greatest dangers to CBS coming out of the Sept. 8 broadcast were that it would be found that they: 1) knowingly broadcast fraudulent Defense Department documents, and 2) were motivated to do so because they are biased against George Bush and the Republican Party.

 And it was on those two vital points that the Thornburgh Report failed to come to a conclusion. The Report's concession of bad journalism merely conceded the undeniable. That fact had been apparent to most of the public and virtually all of the major news outlets by about Sept. 10. Conceding bad journalism was merely a belated bow to undeniable reality. They couldn't possibly have conceded less than they did.

 But the "Independent Panel" provided one more service to CBS. It showed the report to CBS executives before it released it to the public. Thus CBS was given a public relations crises management expert's dream -- the extraordinarily valuable opportunity of simultaneously announcing the report's findings and CBS's corporate response to the findings -- which was to fire or ask for the resignation of key executives and producers below Dan Rather.

 Thus there was no headline this week stating that CBS admits documents were a fraud or caused by partisan bias Instead, the headlines in papers as diverse as The New York Times, The Washington Times and The Washington Post were all the same: CBS fires 4. That headline was followed by the finding that CBS's journalistic standards had been deficient. As they say -- that's old news.

 The crisis has been defused. The damage has been limited. Kirkpatrick &

Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP have earned every last penny of the undoubtedly huge legal/PR bill that is now, presumably, in the mail to CBS.



TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
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1 posted on 01/11/2005 10:35:59 PM PST by kattracks
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To: kattracks
Is there as much money in not finding "political motivations" as in NOT RAISING HOGS?
2 posted on 01/11/2005 10:52:49 PM PST by FreeKeys ("Of course there's a liberal bias... All the networks tilt left."- SeeBS'Heyward, to Bernie Goldberg)
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To: FreeKeys

Hmmm... Sue or FOIA for the investigative "notes" and see if the law firm invokes lawyer-client priv?


3 posted on 01/11/2005 10:55:02 PM PST by Fenris6 (3 Purple Hearts in 4 months w/o missing a day of work? He's either John Rambo or a Fraud)
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To: kattracks

Tony's article puts a whole new light on the subject. I've not seen anyone else make these points. Very perceptive of Tony Blankley.

By the way, the article also appears in today's Washington Times.


4 posted on 01/12/2005 7:46:39 AM PST by jackbill
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To: jackbill

Bump. This thread needs more attention.


5 posted on 01/12/2005 2:18:08 PM PST by TruthWillWin
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To: TruthWillWin

Bump.


6 posted on 01/12/2005 2:40:16 PM PST by Howlin (I need my Denny Crane!)
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To: kattracks
"For instance, no mention was made of the fact that Dan Rather had, in the past, spoken at a Texas Democratic Party fundraiser."

Nor did the report mention that Boccardi was a key note speaker at a dinner tribute to DAN BLATHER!

Does anyone here have a reference for this dinner tribute? I understand that it took place within the last 18 months.
7 posted on 01/12/2005 2:49:13 PM PST by leprechaun9
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To: jackbill
I've not seen anyone else make these points

Rush has either been reading from this on air or doing some of his own analysis (I can't find the monologs on his site).

8 posted on 01/12/2005 2:53:23 PM PST by DaveMSmith
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To: DaveMSmith
Rush has either been reading from this on air or doing some of his own analysis (I can't find the monologs on his site).

I listen to Rush all of the time and I've never heard him mention the fiduciary relationship between the "panel" and CBS.

Your comment brings up another point. I have found that many times, Rush uses columns or articles from other sources, but doesn't attribute them. That's either lazy or unethical.

9 posted on 01/12/2005 4:10:10 PM PST by jackbill
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To: kattracks

BTTT.


10 posted on 01/15/2005 4:14:43 PM PST by mewzilla (Has CBS retracted the story yet?)
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To: Howlin; Mo1

"So the lawyers hired to independently investigate CBS have a lawyer/client relationship with CBS."

Did you see this?


11 posted on 01/15/2005 4:37:03 PM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: windchime; prairiebreeze; onyx; Texasforever; EllaMinnow; cyncooper; Dog; My2Cents; Howlin; ...
"So the lawyers hired to independently investigate CBS have a lawyer/client relationship with CBS."

I know it's been a long time since I worked at a law firm

But in those days .. this would be called a major conflict of interest

Good catch windchime and thanks for the ping

12 posted on 01/15/2005 4:46:12 PM PST by Mo1 (Does the distinguished Sen from VT wish to act as our treaty rep. for negotiations with Al Queda?)
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To: Mo1

You're welcome!

Can't take credit for the catch, Mo. Fox News Watch mentioned Thornburgh's connection to CBS and Blankley's article. Just a search on my part.

According to this, it still appears to be a conflict of interest.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_of_interest


13 posted on 01/15/2005 6:25:09 PM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got 4 years (8!) to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: Mo1

Exactly. I'm disappointed that Thornburg even accepted the appointment to the probe; had he come out with more of a statement about CBS's culpibility he would have been hanging his own client out to dry!


14 posted on 01/15/2005 8:21:13 PM PST by Peach (The Cl intons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: windchime

I heard this on FNC tonight but company was coming and I couldn't post it; I'm so glad you caught it as well.


15 posted on 01/15/2005 9:21:37 PM PST by Peach (The Cl intons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: kattracks
The two greatest dangers to CBS coming out of the Sept. 8 broadcast were that it would be found that they: 1) knowingly broadcast fraudulent Defense Department documents, and 2) were motivated to do so because they are biased against George Bush and the Republican Party.

Thornburgh and Boccardi are paid by the people who they are investigating? Sounds like the same tune as Volker, Kofi and the U.N. Oil for food program.

Methinks fraudulent DD documents, using the airways to perpetrate the fraud, and trying to influence the outcome of an election, are all federal felonies. Thornburgh and Boccardi couldn't expose that, otherwise they wouldn't get paid.

5.56mm

16 posted on 01/15/2005 9:46:31 PM PST by M Kehoe
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To: kattracks
The crisis has been defused. The damage has been limited.

No it hasn't. Nobody in America will ever trust CBS ever again. They only think the damage has been limited.

17 posted on 01/15/2005 9:54:26 PM PST by McGavin999 (Senate is trying to cover their A$$es with Rumsfeld's hide)
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To: McGavin999
But there need to be criminal proceedings brought against these creeps. Let the lying, traitorous lefties know they do not have a get out of jail free card anymore.
18 posted on 01/15/2005 10:10:17 PM PST by GregoryFul (Liberals are pathological liars. They admire liars, they regale in lies, they spread lies.)
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To: kattracks
I wonder what they would have come up with if they would have investigated why Dan Rather started referring to 'Gun Control' laws as "Reasonable Gun Safety Legislation" during the rush to laws after Columbine. Of course, this was only after Bill Clinton appeared on TV and referred to it as "Gun Safety Legislation". I had never heard anyone in the media spell it out like that, until the two of them amazingly started putting it that way on the same day lol.

It was as if he was using the talking points while doing his reporting on the matter.
19 posted on 01/15/2005 10:17:43 PM PST by KoRn
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To: kattracks

SNL did a good job of ripping Rather tonight. Said he lied about being from Texas and Lied on his birth certificate.


20 posted on 01/15/2005 10:21:15 PM PST by Brimack34
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