Just as I feared (p.38) ? the panel immediately discredited charges of political bias. It blames the speed of the production and the level of trust in Mapes and Rather as the reasons behind the crash…
and this list of the events
Thornburgh and Boccardi cannot confirm the documents are forgeries (p. 4-5) They at first looked at the documents, but quickly identified ?considerable and fundamental deficiencies? in the news team?s production of the piece and handling the criticism.
The report lists 10 serious defects:
1) Failure to obtain clear authentication from a document examiner
2) Stating the documents were authenticated when in fact only a signature was authenicated
3) Failure to look into Burkett?s past
4) Failure to find the individual who allegedly gave Burkett the documents
5) Failure to back the statement the memos were taken from Killian?s personal files
6) Failure to compare the documents to authentic TxARNG documents to note inconsistencies
7) Failure to interview a range of National Guardsmen who served with Killian and could provide more perspective
8) Creating a misleading impression that Lt. Strong authenticated the documents? content
9) Failure to have a system dealing with the ?speed, significance and sensitivity? of the report.
10) Hooking Burkett up with the DNC.
The report states that ?the producer of the Segment? placed the call to Joe Lockhart, thus confirming that Mapes was the culprit.
Page 151 from the report is telling
The Segment aired at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 8, and the four Killian documents used in the Segment were posted on the CBS News website that night at approximately 9:30 p.m. Immediately after the broadcast, Mapes received a large number of e-mails from CBS News and 60 Minutes Wednesday colleagues, praising the Segment. The words used ? ?Excellent piece ?. Thanks for including me,? ?I continue to be in awe of you,? ?You are amazing,? ?[I]?m in awe of your total command of this project,? ?You are great,? ?You continue to astound? ? are testament to the high regard for Mapes within CBS News and 60 Minutes Wednesday and the utter belief and trust in the story. Clearly, 60 Minutes Wednesday did not put out a story that it believed might be untrue.
Are you freaking kidding me? They gonna tell us there was no political bias either now?
Pierce (document expert) said that he told 60 Minutes Wednesday personnel that he could not authenticate the documents, but that he was asked by them to prepare a letter stating that he did. Pierce further advised counsel for the Panel that he was merely giving the client what it wanted and that he informed 60 Minutes Wednesday personnel they ?could get into trouble? if they used the letter that he signed. Despite these warnings, the letter from Pierce was posted on the CBS News website shortly thereafter along with the Matley letter.
At least that jerkoff Mary Mapes is gone.
UPDATE – 1415hrs
The Captain has a good question
One last thought on the CBS response to the Killian memo debacle, prompted by CQ reader Jim in Chicago. After seeing its storied news division humiliated and its credibility destroyed from its false reporting and the subsequent lies and stonewalling that its team produced, what did CBS do to correct the situation? They fired the producer of the segment, demanded the resignations of a senior VP and two executive producers of the news show.
Last I looked, Andrew Heyward runs CBS News and Dan Rather is its managing editor. Neither one took any positive action to contain the damage or to uncover the fraud. Yet Les Moonves left both men employed with CBS News — Rather in a new, prominent position and Heyward in place as its president. Are we to conclude that both men are empty suits with no real function, and therefore no responsibility? Or is CBS just offering us some lower-level players to mollify the public? Because as long as Heyward still runs CBS News, it appears to me that the same thing could easily happen again, through incompetence if nothing else.
Then there is this intriguing section of the report (Pages 166 & 167):
The strategy of getting 60 Minutes Wednesday?s examiners to defend the authenticity of the Killian documents was put in place by approximately 10 a.m. on Friday, September 10. It became clear thereafter, however, that none of the examiners retained by 60 Minutes Wednesday could authenticate the documents.
This should have prompted questions from management about whether and how the Killian documents were, in fact, authenticated. At about 1 p.m. on September 10, Jim Murphy sent an e-mail to a group of CBS News colleagues, reporting that his media contacts thought CBS News was putting up a weak defense.
For example, he referred to comments from a Time magazine editor: ?He said he couldn?t understand why we haven?t issued a more thorough defense?it?s making him and his investigative guys think they are missing something big.? This prompted an immediate reaction from Schwartz:
We need two things:
1. We need our expert available NOW to speak to all those who
are reporting this story. We need the expert. Now. We need
2. We need the talking points that can be crafted into a statement
of defense and talked about by Dan when he calls people.
#1 is essential RIGHT NOW. We NEED THAT EXPERT. [W]ithout him, we?re TOAST. Then we need #2, about six seconds later.
Mapes, meanwhile, appears to have been focused on the superscript ?th? and on
producing a piece for the September 10 CBS Evening News. She sent an e-mail to Schwartz, stating that they had put the superscript ?th? issue to rest by finding the superscript ?th? in the official Bush records:
[F]OR THE 100TH TIME, THE ?TH? ISSUE IS GONE. WE HAVE
EXAMPLES FROM THE ?OFFICIAL? WHITE HOUSE DOCS.
This prompted an almost immediate reaction from Schwartz, who again expressed frustration that 60 Minutes Wednesday?s experts were nowhere to be seen:
The problem, Mary, is one of perception. As far as the press is concerned, the ?th? issue is NOT gone. It?s very much alive, and they have people crawling all over it. If we wait to address the issue until tonight?s news, we will DIE in the press tomorrow. Die. As in?dead. You tell me. How do I get the message out RIGHT NOW, as in RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE, that the ?th? thing is no longer an issue?
Looks like the brass at the network were starting to get a wee bit scared huh? This report is quite extensive and the panel was obviously a little bit biased since they don’t come out and call the network bias against Bush. This whole thing was because some on that network wanted to see Bush squirm, plain and simple but they have no problem calling us blogger’s right wingers with a agenda to push (page 153):
The attacks on the September 8 Segment began virtually immediately. One of the first came on freerepublic.com, a website:
[E]very single one of these memos to file is in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman. In 1972 people used typewriters for this sort of thing, and typewriters used monospaced fonts. The use of proportionally spaced fonts did not come into common use for office memos until the introduction of laser printers, word processing software, and personal computers. They were not widespread until the mid to late 90?s. Before then, you needed typesetting equipment, and that wasn?t used for personal memos to file. Even the Wang systems that were dominant in the mid 80?s used monospaced fonts. I am saying these documents are forgeries, run through a copier for 15 generations to make them look old.85
This was followed on the morning of September 9 by further attacks, mostly by bloggers with a conservative agenda, challenging the authenticity of the documents. These included stories on Powerlineblog.com86 and littlegreenfootballs.com.87 Finally, by about 3 p.m., Matt Drudge, the author of the widely read Drudge Report website, had joined the fray, and, thereafter, the onslaught of attacks on the authenticity of the Killian documents was unrelenting.
They couldn’t have had an agenda but then they lay out Mary Mapes contact with the Kerry compaign (Page 24):
Another troubling aspect of the September 8 Segment emerged in the public disclosure on September 21 that Mapes had been in contact with Joe Lockhart, a senior staff member of the Kerry presidential campaign, in connection with the production of the Segment. Mapes told the Panel that before Lieutenant Colonel Burkett turned over any of the documents, he had pressed her to arrange for him to be put in touch with someone from the Kerry presidential campaign so that he could provide the campaign with strategic advice on how to rebut the attacks by the ?Swift Boat Veterans for Truth? group. Mapes told the Panel that she did not know anyone from the Kerry campaign, but got Lockhart?s telephone number from Chad Clanton, a Kerry campaign official who had been quoted by Mapes? husband, a newspaper reporter, in an article on anunrelated matter.