Rather Lied, Careers Died

So, when is CNN’s Johnathan Klein going to apologize and admit that the guys in pajamas were right, and CBS News was in the wrong? More to the point, does anybody at CNN have the guts to ask him that question?

No, of course not.

Some more dogs that won’t bark:

1. Neither Peter Jennings, nor Tom Brokaw, nor even Brian Williams will utter a peep of criticism in Rather’s direction. Ditto for Bill O’Reilly, who’ll blame the whole thing on Mary Mapes and dismiss anybody with a modem but not a TV show as being ‘nuts’ for questioning the credibility of a news anchor.

2. The Columbia Journalism Review (“America’s Premier Media Monitor”) will not issue a retraction of Corey Pein’s ridiculous attempt to acquit Rather, Mapes, CBS News, et al.

3. No major “news” publication or program (with the possible exception of Fox News) will ask the question, “Why were three women in lower level positions cut loose at CBS, but the network news president–Andrew Hayward–and Dan Rather allowed to skate?”

4. The word “blog” will not be uttered on CBS News tonight, or anytime this week, particularly not in context of this disgrace.

UPDATE: Looks like I was wrong on #4. John Hinderaker of Powerline was interviewed by CBS today. I didn’t see the CBS Evening News, but Brit Hume also had a long interview with “Hindrocket” on Fox News’ Special Report tonight. If CBS even mentioned Hinderaker and/or Powerline (if Hinderaker was interviewed today, I imagine they did), they deserve ample credit for doing so.

UPDATE UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds just absolutely eviscerated Rather and CBS on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. I won’t even try to paraphrase it; hopefully Glenn will write up the same thing at one outlet or another of his online empire. Grab the Hewitt playback if you get the chance. Hinderaker is up next.

41 Responses to “Rather Lied, Careers Died”

  1. The Command Post - Politics And Elections Says:

    Complete CBS Report (PDF)/Links [Updated]

    Can be found here. It’s 234 pages long. Others reacting to the news: Jeff Jarvis Glenn Reynolds Jim Geraghty Hugh Hewitt Stephen Green Rathergate INDC Journal Rather Biased…

  2. Steven Den Beste Says:

    I think someone should start a betting pool on the exact date and time that Staudt’s attorneys file their libel suit.

  3. V the K Says:

    Interesting that the report authors exonerated CBS of left-wing bias, but had no trouble ascribing a “conservative agenda” to the blogs that exposed them as forgeries.

  4. Julie Says:

    I’m starting to think that the most significant thing of all… even moreso than the fake documents and the scandal… is the fact that Mapes and Rather thought the story itself was significant. In fact, that baffled me from the start. I looked at the documents and all I could think was, “So?” I really don’t think that I’m a case of, “I love Bush. He can do no wrong.” And having served for a few years, active duty, and knowing people who were in the Air National Guard (my husband, for one) I still think, “So?”

    Yet these people were so excited about this HUGE expose’ that they risked and lost their jobs over it. The lack of judgement isn’t just about giving in to the temptation and excitement to be first with this HUGE story. The lack of judgement is about thinking it was a HUGE story to begin with.

    Even if they were entirely professional and unbiased, they are still the ones who decide what is news and what isn’t news. That should make people think, just a bit. If true, the memos might be worth mention as something of interest. If true, were they worth more than that? No. Seriously, is it just me who finds this baffling?

    People who hate Bush might find the memos (where they true) to be a source of gleeful vindication. If they don’t understand why anyone would “hold my nose and vote for Bush” or why anyone might *like* him, they might think that this proof (PROOF I say!) that Bush isn’t perfect would burst the bubble of delusion. But that only works if people are deluded.

    When it comes right down to it… those people lost their jobs for *nothing*.

  5. Bebeaux Says:

    You’re spot on that the CJR will not issue a retraction of Pein’s piece, because it sounds an awful lot like the report:

    – We can’t really know with certainty if the documents were authentic or not.

    – Discussion and analysis of the documents can be dismissed as “attacks.”

    – Bloggers who discussed the documents mostly had a conservative agenda, but Rather, Mapes, and others at CBS do not have evident biases.

    – Newcomer’s typographical analysis of the documents is best ignored.

    – CBS has high journalistic standards and may have let things slip just this one time, probably because of deadline pressure.

    Are these observations paraphrased from the CJR piece or the Boccardi/Thornburgh report?

    Could it be both?

  6. Dan-O Says:

    Somebody beter tell the folks over at http://www.cbsmarketwatch.com that the hedline writers on that website are really screwing up the CBS party line on these memos!

    It reads “Four staffers and execs lose jobs over story based on faked memo.”

    Uh oh. Even they’re calling them faked! Yikes!

  7. The Moderate Voice Says:

    CBS’ Memogate Report Comes Out But It Won’t Stem The Controversy

    CBS’s has issued its long-awaited

  8. Pajama Pundits Says:

    CBS Rathergate Report Released

    Pajamahadeen vindicated. Sorta. My initial response is mixed. Mary Mapes is getting the axe she earned, but I do not understand the reluctance to call the memos fake, or to acknowledge a political agenda. No ‘courage’ there. What agenda is

  9. Matthew Says:

    Isn’t the phrase “That dog won’t hunt” as opposed to “That dog won’t bark”?

    Since Glenn Reynolds has copied that line into his blog, I fear we are now dilluting and misphrasing some of Dan Rather’s best contributions to the world of journalism.

  10. Big Daddy T Says:

    *yawn* did any intellectually honest person really believe, for one second, that CBS would be called to the mat for their unbelievably amaturish attempt to swing the election to John Kerry? Please. Although no admission/finding of bias is irritating now, CBS has undermined what’s left of its reputation.

    Candidly, that the implosion of CBS, and to a lesser extent, the rest of MSM was the aftershock of their blowing their collective wads on that unelectable stiff Kerry, is, candidly, pretty funny.

    Rather and MSM are dinosaurs. The left no longer controls the dissemination of information in this country. This is an unmitigated disaster for Democrats but, great for The Republic.

    Our next big project is to break the stranglehold that Leftists have on education in this country. I have a feeling that blogs are going to play a rather large role in that endeavor as well.

  11. godfodder Says:

    I think the “dog that didn’t bark” is a reference to a Sherlock Holmes story. The “not-hunting dog” is a different animal altogether. (The “frog with a six-shooter in his side pockets” is the animal I want forever associated with GungaDan….)

  12. The Key Monk Says:

    MEMOGATE: CBS fires four

    TKM’s coverage [from September ’04], with links . . . is here, , <a href="http://thekeymonk.blogspot.com/2004/09/rathergate-update_13.html"Target="_b

  13. erp Says:

    Why didn’t the investigaters talk to the bloggers who proved the memoes couldn’t be true? Mary Mapes was also instrumental in setting up Abu Gharib. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop on that one.

  14. J. Nathan Says:

    Apparently Le Hindrocket from Powerline is gonna be on CBS tonight, so I hafta assume the word Blog will be mentioned.

  15. La Shawn Barber's Corner Says:

    Four CBS Employees Fired Over Rathergate and “Myopic Zeal”

    Heads rolled! These are what the consequences of sloppy journalism should be. In a failed attempt to smear George Bush, four employees at CBS were FIRED over their role in Rathergate:The action was prompted by the report of an independent panel that co…

  16. vidkun Says:

    Sherlock Holmes was able to make useful inferences to solve a case based on a dog not barking when it could reasonably be expected to. The Vodkapundit is doing the same.

    What do people think of the silence of NOW and other women’s groups about the disproportionate sanctions? Dan Rather transferred to a news show, the male pressident was not disciplined, but three women were fired.

  17. Benedict Says:


    For years Dan Rather has talked a good game when it came to his and CBS News’ accountability for their work. Now that their ultimate professional day of reckoning has arrived, however, neither Dan Rather nor his “boss” (as if…

  18. Not Exactly Rocket Science Says:

    RatherGate- Rather Done?

    Well, it’s official, the Thornburgh-Boccardi report is out and heads will indeed roll at CBS. Three executives were given the option to resign or be fired, and producer Mary Mapes, the one who forgot about due diligence was outright terminated. Since…

  19. Bostonian Says:

    Julie is right on the money.

    The fact that these professional newspeople believed that this was big news speaks volumes about their judgement. If they think this is a big deal, and they think Oil for Food is a minor detail, what is going on in the world that they haven’t told us?

  20. Ric Locke Says:


    There’s no problem seeing why Rather & Co. thought the National Guard story would be important. All you have to do is think like a leftist. (It’s advisable to wash your mind out with soap afterwards.)

    There is a leftist stereotype of the military that dismisses them as stupid, anal-retentive, and mindlessly violent. In that view, “discipline” in terms of short hair, neat uniforms, meeting formations, etc. etc. is not just useless, it’s a symptom of something very like insanity. The military punishes people for discipline infractions not because it serves any realistic purpose, but because when they can’t get little brown people to oppress they do it to one another, to stay in practice. All true leftists buy into this concept at one or another level.

    And if you take that stereotype as true, Bush’s National Guard service would be something military people would find repugnant. To take it to the extreme, baby-tossing practice was scheduled for 0600, and Lt. Bush was supposed to show up with a neat uniform, a sharp bayonet, and a positive attitude. He didn’t, and got away with it. Military, and military-allied, people are supposed to look at that and say, “EEEEuuw, what a horrid person. He doesn’t go along with the Military Program. I’ll spurn him and vote for the Democrat.”

    Closely allied is the notion that John Kerry is supposed to have been electable. A big part of that is that, again, if the above-limned stereotype is valid, Kerry’s actual service is exemplary — and his after-action admission that he was going along under protest with the gung-ho babykillers made him acceptable to the Left, as well.

    And the whole thing is a symptom of a real problem the Democrats have, one that is growing but they can’t talk about because they don’t have the vocabulary to sound anything but blatantly petulant, even to themselves. Namely: the way the world is going, more and more Americans are participating in or having direct contact with the military; and a larger and larger fraction of the military votes Republican since the middle of Clinton’s first term. They’re desperate to drive a wedge into that relationship. Unfortunately they’re so clueless they end up driving lynch-pins instead.

    Ric Locke

  21. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Amen, Julie and Bostonian. There is a deeper relation between the two stories as well. Because it would be a Really Good Thing if journalists were objective, we should pretend that they are. After all, what they profess to be is so noble that the reality is immaterial. I mean, they’re mostly sorta kinda generally objective sometimes, right?

    So too with the UN. Because it would be a Really Good Thing if that organization were indeed a forum where nations could work out their differences, we should pretend that it actually is one. After all, what the UN professes to be is so noble that the reality is immaterial. And the UN is mostly sorta kinda generally well-meaning sometimes.

  22. M. Simon Says:

    I cover the DU side of this event.

    Some may find it amusing.

  23. Silicon Valley Jim Says:

    If memory serves, the Sherlock Holmes story in which the fact that the dog didn’t bark was an important clue is “Silver Blaze”. Silver Blaze, in the story, is the name of a racehorse.

    I think the proper phrasing for the other expression is “that dog don’t hunt,” instead of “that dog won’t hunt.” I’ll defer on that one to others, however.

  24. Steven Den Beste Says:

    I didn’t read the entire report, but I read the last third or so of it, the detailed narrative of events in chronological order beginning just after the report aired, up until CBS finally caved and admitted that the story had been wrong.

    What I saw again and again was a classic demonstration of “confirmation bias”. But I also saw a classic demonstration of leftist teleological thinking: the claim that the memos said the right thing and thus must be authentic.

    A very quick summary of teleological thinking in this case is “Conclusion first, evidence later.” The report takes them to task throughout the section I read for being unwilling to view with open minds the evidence and objections being raised by outsiders, especially bloggers.

  25. Steven Den Beste Says:

    Inspector Gregory: “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
    Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
    “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
    “That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.

  26. Decision '08 Says:

    Miscellanea – Blaming the Crime Lab for the Murder

    Vodkapundit is waiting in vain for an admission that the guys in pajamas got it right (hat tip to La Shawn Barber)…

  27. Barnestormer Says:

    “The Hound of the Baskervilles” methinks.

  28. Good Ole Charlie Says:


    The Adventure of Silver Blaze is the source of the remarks. SDB is right with the quotes.

    The curious incident was that the watchdog did NOT bark because the intruder to the stable was a familiar member of the family.

    Being sick in bed during grammar school left me with a sinus problem and a love of Sherlock Holmes stories…from evil, good.

    Regards to All

  29. Good Ole Charlie Says:


    The famous quote from The Hound:

    “Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of an enormous hound!”


  30. (the other) John Hawkins Says:

    First, glad to see SDB in the comments section.

    Second, I’m still wondering if this is a glass-half full or not. My initial reaction was that at least they fired some people for this, even if they didn’t own up to the political bias. But the more I consider it, the more glaring that omission is.

    Until they admit they have a pack of partisans runnings the newsroom and buying into liberal groupthink, they’ll continue to bleed credibility. The lesson of this for CBS ought to have been that their news organization had gotten so partisan they couldn’t render the most basic judgement, as Julie pointed out.

    As someone said of Gray Davis about a year before his recall, CBS is toast, they just haven’t popped out of the toaster yet.

  31. Robin Goodfellow Says:

    The lesson to draw from all this isn’t about bias or politics, those are syptoms of the disease, instead it is that we cannot, and never really could, trust the media to be accurate or even honest. The watchers do indeed need watchers themselves, and those watchers need watchers, etc. The sad truth is that this event is most definitely not of an overly exceptional variety in the history of major news media; failures of the media to maintain accuracy and integrity are much, much more common than we would like to believe. What is new now is that we have a system of citizen journalists and media critics that exposes the major news media for what it is, and does so efficiently and routinely. And that exposure has revealed a rot at the core of mainstream professionalism journalism, that rot did not merely coincidentally appear there right before being exposed, it was there all the long, we just never saw it.

  32. Rip & Read Blogger Podcast Says:

    Rip & Read Blog Podcast for January 11, 2005

    Here’s what I ripped and read today:

    Today’s is the All Rather Episode, since there is so much material on this issue. The blogosphere has been on overdrive over the release of the CBS report on the 60 Minutes II use of fabricated documents to try…

  33. Barnestormer Says:

    I stand corrected. Thanks. Apololgies to SVJ.

  34. Julie Says:

    Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one. 😉

    Hi, Ric. I think that you described the essence of it. I had the same sort of feeling of disconnect from reality in relation to the Swiftboat stuff. Personally, my reaction to Kerry’s “playing” the system to make himself look better and get medals was slight distaste and a shrug. What he did when he got home was what got my back up. And even that I could have forgiven if he seemed aware of the need for forgiveness. But I saw time and time again, people making the charge that the Swiftboat vets had some calculated political motivation because it just wasn’t possible that any of them could hold a strong personal animosity toward Kerry. O’Neill (obviously) was a paid Nixon stooge because why else would he even care?

    This inability to even begin to comprehend that the Swift Vets might be genuinely, personally, angry about what happened 30 years ago just… I pray to God I’m never that unable to concieve of a different viewpoint than my own.

    And you are so right. We (military and pro-military types) were supposed to love Kerry because of his war-time service, and distrust Bush because his guard service failed to live up to some strange lefty idea of what the military is all about.

    I occasionally encounter the moonbats (what a lovely name) around the blogosphere crying frantically, “What about the armor! Why don’t you people care about the armor! You military sorts are supposed to care about the armor and hate Bush!” Which is understandible coming from random internet moonbats, but Mapes and Rather are *supposed* to be rational and well informed. Yet they followed a non-story to their destruction.

    It’s actually kind of sad, in a train wreck sort of way.

  35. Ric Locke Says:


    …Mapes and Rather are *supposed* to be rational and well informed…

    Clearly you didn’t live in Texas in the Fifties and Sixties. Dear Georges has lent his name to the concept, but Dan Rather was a moonbat long before the usage was coined.

    Euclid’s Fifth Postulate is circular because it has to describe the Universe while existing within it. Riemann showed that a different Postulate describes a different Universe…the Universe the leftists live in has an odd shape. I’m not sure life can exist there in the long term.

    Ric Locke

  36. Steven Den Beste Says:

    Julie, the Swifties don’t hate Kerry because he gamed the system and got out. At most, that would have led to mild resentment.

    The reason they hate him is because of his strident anti-war activities thereafter, and especially because he travelled to Paris to talk to representatives of North VietNam. From their point of view, once he’d done that he was no longer entitled to consider himself a member of the “band of brothers”.

    When he then decided to make his military service the center of his campaign, it was too much for them. They could not remain silent. He was trying to portray himself as a war hero, whereas they saw him as a traitor, to them and to the country. Real heroes do not seek out representatives of the enemy to offer them aid and comfort.

    Whether you agree with that characterization is not really the issue here. That’s how they saw it, and that’s why they hated him.

  37. Ric Locke Says:

    Steven, I must respectfully disagree, at least in part.

    I’m a contemporary of Bush and Kerry, and was in the Navy at about the same time, though I’m not a Swift Boat veteran.

    What I see, and many see, is a man who was a very poor officer; a showboating, system-gaming cynic whose “courageous” actions as cited smell strongly of panic attacks, whose apparent resolve was to avoid duty when possible and abandon it as soon as feasible, and whose overriding concern was his own self-aggrandizement.

    These, we are told, were his qualifications for the highest office in the land.

    I don’t hate John Kerry. But, as an enlisted man, I saw and worked for a goodish number of Kerrys (along with many dedicated officers). I could just as easily have voted for Ben Affleck. Or Pamela Anderson.

    Ric Locke

  38. Julie Says:

    Yes and yes. I, personally, was more concerned about Kerry’s seeming complete obliviousness to the fact that anything he ever did was wrong. I’d not worked with officers so much but definately got to know an NCO or two that I wouldn’t trust to, um, find his rear with both hands. (Which I realize is blasphemy to say about NCO’s but people are people.) I also knew good people who knew how to work the system, but did so in order to get their jobs done. I wouldn’t *necessarily* hold these shortcomings against Kerry if it were not for the fact that it was, indeed, being offered as *the* qualification for CIC.

    I do wonder about how offended we were supposed to feel that Bush got out of going by joining the guard (yes I know he volunteered at one point to go, but I’m talking about the anti-Bush rhetoric). I wasn’t old enough to be aware of Vietnam at the time other than a vague impression of the world as a frightening place. Was being lucky enough to get into college or the national guard or whatever really that damning?

  39. Ric Locke Says:

    Julie, this thread is going stale; if you want to continue, my email works.

    Was being lucky enough to get into college or the national guard or whatever really that damning?

    Not at all. As I recall the contemporaneous attitude, *service* was required, and if the Government was satisfied with ROTC or the Reserves and you could get in, more power to you. College wasn’t avoidance, it was deferment — with the clear implication that once you’d graduated there was a good chance you’d be called up anyway, and an appreciation that as a graduate you’d be an officer (most likely) and thus proportionately more valuable to the military.

    What struck me about the stories of John Kerry’s service was the rather extraordinary degree of bad judgement demonstrated — and the reversal of the moonbats, who had been telling us for decades that Rambo was a bad, bad man then suddenly decided that leaping into the fray with weapon in hand (no doubt with a patriotic shout) was a demonstration of virtue.

    And there’s nothing in stripes that’s inherently virtuous, any more than there is in glittery stuff on the collar points. The difference is twofold: there are lots of enlisted, so incompetents are easier to work around because there are backups, and a bad officer can do orders of magnitude more damage than enlisted can until they’ve been around a long time and the ranks have been weeded as a consequence.


  40. blogesota Says:

    The real lesson of this incident is how easy it is for the Liberal Media to ignore the real story as long as there’s a scandal somewhere. The real story was that Bush was AWOL and all but one document proved that this is so. And the Warbloggers pimp the story about big bad CBS while the AWOL situation is buried.

    # Upon being accepted for pilot training, Bush promised to serve with his parent (Texas) Guard unit for five years once he completed his pilot training.

    But Bush served as a pilot with his parent unit for just two years.

    # In May 1972 Bush left the Houston Guard base for Alabama. According to Air Force regulations, Bush was supposed to obtain prior authorization before leaving Texas to join a new Guard unit in Alabama.

    But Bush failed to get the authorization.

    # In requesting a permanent transfer to a nonflying unit in Alabama in 1972, Bush was supposed to sign an acknowledgment that he received relocation counseling.

    But no such document exists.

    # He was supposed to receive a certification of satisfactory participation from his unit.

    But Bush did not.

    # He was supposed to sign and give a letter of resignation to his Texas unit commander.

    But Bush did not.
    [Read the Whole Thing]

    PS There were no WMDs. Did you see the paper today?

  41. W Action Says:

    How sad that Blogesota above responds as if this were a serious posting, even listing play-by-play indictments of Bush’s NG record. Oh, come on. Every one of these correspondents knows the Bush’s version of his Guard Service is a lie. Several admit it and others say it doesn’t matter. AND THEY’RE RIGHT. There’s no need to pretend. He bugged. So what? Lots of kids looked for a way out. What matters now is GW’s noteworthy successes in bringing democracy to Iraq, ensuring fiscal responsibility in Washington and his aggressive, Osama Dead or Alive initiative. His accomplishments in these areas assure his reputation for all time, which is..er…ummm…The Worst President Ever! (And a wartime coward. But that’s not important.)

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