A Liberal Speaks Out on CBS Verdict

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Adam's Apple, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    The Story Behind Flawed Judgment at CBS News
    By Ken Bode, The Indianapolis Star
    January 14, 2005


    With the report detailing the flawed journalism at CBS News, one remaining loose string from the 2004 election has been tied up. CBS now joins CNN, ABC, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today in providing journalism classes with examples of how not to practice the profession.

    What CBS now expects you to believe is that mistakes were made and atoned for. Among the guilty parties, heads have rolled, and CBS will be better for the bitter experience.

    That isn't necessarily so and certainly isn't the whole story.

    This week's report authored by former Associated Press President Lou Boccardi and ex-Attorney General Richard Thornburgh forced CBS to own up to some pretty shoddy journalism. The network allowed a "60 Minutes" producer with known liberal views to promise anonymity to a former officer in the Texas Air Guard, a known political enemy of George W. Bush. The documents he produced -- second hand copies -- were never properly authenticated, and the story of Bush as a laggard absentee during his Guard service was rushed onto "60 Minutes" with myopic zeal, fearing competitor USA Today might beat them to the story.

    Bloggers lambasted the documents as forgeries, and ABC News put on CBS' own experts who said, in effect, we warned them not to go with this story. Dan Rather, who reported the Bush episode, arrogantly backhanded the critics, labeling them "the professional rumor mill of journalism."

    So the offending producer is fired, a few executives are asked to resign, and CBS News will create a new position to oversee broadcast standards, all designed to create the impression that real change has taken place. But folks with long experience in the television news business see it differently.

    To them, the real headline is that CBS used this fiasco to get rid of Dan Rather, whose "Evening News" has been mired in deadly third place in network ratings. In the midst of the controversy, Rather announced he will retire in March. His new CBS job will be at "60 Minutes."

    Second, the firings stopped one level below where they needed to for a real housecleaning. Leslie Moonves, CBS chairman, announced that news division President Andrew Heyward would keep his job. Heywood's only mistake, said Moonves, was in trusting his lieutenants too much. That misplaced trust, was the critical lapse of judgment in the whole affair and reason enough to fire Heyward, who reviewed and approved the report on Bush's Guard records before it was broadcast.

    Later, when the controversy broke, Heyward ordered an internal review, which was ignored.

    Rather said he had warned the news president that this was a big story and he wanted all the fact checking necessary to get it right. One former CBS hand said, "Dan took out a public insurance policy, placing responsibility right in Heyward's lap." Yet the Boccardi-Thornburgh report revealed that Rather claimed to be too busy even to look at the original "60 Minutes" report before it was broadcast. What was going on here?

    Moonves says Heyward is "the perfect person to guide CBS out of this mess." Of course. After all, he guided them in. Moonves had one overriding reason to keep Heyward around. CBS News now goes forward with a leader whose job was saved by a boss whose values have nothing to do with news. Moonves comes from the entertainment side of the network, which makes the money. Hollywood values, not news values. Insiders expect to see a tamer, more compliant news division.

    The Boccardi-Thornburgh report did contain one piece of good news for CBS. The investigators found no reason to conclude that the original "60 Minutes" broadcast was politically motivated. So Rather and his producer are cleared of purposely trying to discredit Bush. For many, that will be the least believable part of the report.

    Bode, a former senior political analyst for CNN, is the Pulliam professor of journalism at DePauw University. Contact him at kenbode@depauw.edu .
     
  2. krisy
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    krisy Senior Member

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    They will never call this politically motivated. Only because they can never get into the heads of these people and prove it. But,anyone with a brain knows this was about turning the election,making Bush look bad. I personally think the rest of the media has been far too easy on CBS and Rather as well. If it were Fox,we would never,ever hear the end of it. I have seen all kinds of people on the news over the past months sticking up for this Bush bashing story. Why is it when someone makes the biggest mistake in journalism one can make,the "journalist" aren't all that hard on them? This is my opinion. Sure it was all over the news,but a lot of bigwigs came out in Rather's defense about how good he was and would never do this "on purpose". Maybe he didn't,but he was in such a rush to bring Bush down,he didn't check every lat bit too make sure his reporting was accurate.

    CBS will NEVER change. They are stuck in a time warp that has bee rolled over by Fox and talk radio. This one is in the books and I don't think it will be forgotten.
     
  3. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    however they choose to spin this one, the common knowledge will always be the POLITICAL attempt they made to sway the election. Good riddance to their credibilty on politcal "reporting". The Dems are floundering so badly right now that CBS couldn't help them if they tried.
     
  4. musicman
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    musicman Senior Member

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    Not politically motivated, eh? Bode is almost childlike in his faith - which would be touching, except that he is NOT a child. And the lesson that liberals seem unable to grasp is that the American viewing public are not adult children, either - not ALL of them. In the days before cable television and talk radio (that is to say, COMPETITION), the Big Three news networks ruled the airwaves. Therefore, liberals concluded, America was uncritically lapping up the unabashed, nonstop moral tutoring dished up by said networks, and all was right with the world. That books like Bernard Goldberg's "Bias" resonated with so many millions absolutely caught the Old Media flatfooted. That America was viewing their spew through fully functioning bullshit filters never even occurred to them. It is the Achilles heel of liberalism, and will ultimately be it's downfall - it's ceaseless, blinding arrogance.
     
  5. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/entertainment/television/10652288.htm?1c

    The evidence that reporters and producers working for CBS desperately wanted to land a knockout punch on the president's reelection campaign is right there in the panel's own 224-page review of how the Bush story went so grotesquely wrong.

    They wanted it so much that they ignored evidence that their story was wrong, not only in its details but also in its fundamental assumptions. They wanted it so much that they slandered anyone who challenged them and plotted a book deal for a key source. They wanted it so much that they lied on the air and in their press releases. And they wanted it so much that even now, when the story has been disproved as a tissue of fictions and falsehoods, they continue to insist it's true.

    The most stunning single disclosure in the report may be that Dan Rather told the panel his on-air apology for the Bush story last September was phony, a sop to his bosses. Rather told the panel that he believes in the story to this very day: ``The facts are right on the money.''​

     
  6. ScreamingEagle
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    ScreamingEagle Gold Member

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    Nothing new in the liberal-oriented journalism classes except perhaps:

    1. When dealing with big stories, line up a real fact or two.

    2. Beware of bloggers.

    Political bias? :lalala:
     
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