Tarnishing the image

While we wait for CBS to issue its report about Rathergate to see if they come clean with what is well known, rationalizations of the incident are beginning to appear in the professional literature.

Corey Pein of the Columbia Journalism Review sent us an email yesterday, with a link to his article in that magazine on the fake 60 Minutes documents …

I could go on, but there is little point in doing so. CBS ostensibly “worked” on the National Guard story for years. They took fake documents from a notoriously unstable source who had no first-hand knowledge of President Bush’s National Guard career, and who could not account for where he got them. On their face, the documents looked nothing like authentic National Guard memos of the 1970s that were in CBS’s possession, but CBS asked no questions. CBS carried out no investigation to determine whether the memos were genuine, and made a point of not talking to people who were ostensibly quoted in the memos to determine whether the documents were accurate. They put the documents before the American public in the heat of an election campaign, and closely coordinated their story with a Democratic
National Committee advertising campaign which dovetailed perfectly with the fake documents, and which began the morning after their broadcast. When questioned about the documents’ apparent fraudulence, they stonewalled, and Dan Rather guaranteed the American people that the documents were authentic, because they came from an unimpeachable source.

The bloggers, on the other hand, began questioning the documents within hours after they appeared; raised many logical questions about their authenticity, the vast majority of which turned out to be valid; pointed out anachronisms within the documents that proved that their contents were false; and were ultimately proved correct in their suspicion that the documents were fakes. Nearly all of which occurred, not over a period of years, which CBS had to pursue its “story,” but over the space of twelve hours.

And the Columbia Journalism Review thinks it is the bloggers who are blameworthy in this story. Sad. Very sad. But I guess we know whose side the “journalists” are on.
[Hindrocket; Powerline; Journalism In Decline
5Ja05]

What we see is just how difficult it is for a human being to come to grips with an idea, a fact, that they really do not want to be.

Hugh Hewitt notes that Pein sent the note to Hindrocket and interprests this as a request for attention, integrity and objectivity be damned.

Roger Simon calls the Pein effort an “OJ defense.” – “Who’re you going to believe – me or your lying eyes?”

Instapundit.com quotes Jonathan Last: “So goes it at the Columbia Journalism Review. The university’s motto may still be “In lumine Tuo videbimus lumen,” but over at the j-school they have a new slogan: You can’t prove anything.”

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