September 20, 2004


Itís almost D-Day for Dan, according to Drudge:

After days of expressing confidence about the documents used in a 60 MINUTES report that raised new questions about President Bush's National Guard service, CBS News officials have grave doubts about the authenticity of the material, network officials said last night, the NEW YORK TIMES is reporting in Monday runs. Developing...

How much of the blame will Rather and CBS accept, and how much will be pinned on the Burkett fellow? An interview with the Kinko konnection is forthcoming:

CBS News anchor Dan Rather has interviewed the retired lieutenant colonel widely believed to have helped provide "60 Minutes" with the disputed National Guard documents about President Bush that have created a credibility crisis for the network, and CBS plans to air the interview in the coming days.

The on-camera sit-down with Bill Burkett, who has urged Democratic activists to wage "war" against Republican "dirty tricks," could help resolve whether CBS continues to stand by its story or concedes the purported 30-year-old memos are forgeries, as numerous document experts have contended.

UPDATE. The New York Times:

[CBS] officials, who asked not to be identified, said CBS News would most likely make an announcement as early as today that it had been deceived about the documents' origins.

Mr. Rather interviewed Mr. Burkett on camera this weekend, and several people close to the reporting process said his answers to Mr. Rather's questions led officials to conclude that their initial confidence that the memos had come from Mr. Killian's own files was not warranted. These people indicated that Mr. Burkett had previously led the producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, to have the utmost confidence in the material.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 20, 2004 04:24 PM

Rumor has it that Viacomís board of directors, which owns CBS, has sent Dan Rather silk pajamas, so Dan can spend his retirement in comfort.

Posted by: pajama_jihad at September 20, 2004 at 04:27 PM

Hey, pin it on Burkett. He's much more closely tied to the Kerry campaign than the Swift Boat Vets were to Bush. "Kerry Campaign Hoaxed CBS" is a great headline, no?

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at September 20, 2004 at 04:38 PM

Well, when I let myself wallow in the conspiracy sauce I get the feeling that CBS convinced Burkett to fall on his sword so they won't have to reveal anything truly devestating, just horribly embarassing.

Now all they have to do is explain why they described Burkett as an "unimpeachable source" given his demonstrated instability and long-standing grudge against Bush.

But I doubt this is the end of it.

Posted by: John at September 20, 2004 at 05:20 PM

No matter how you cut it, Rather and Mapes were at best willfully deluded idiots for going with the story.

My prediction - Mapes takes the CBS fall, Dan apologizes and excuses himself, Burkett goes on his merry mad way and that's the end of the matter for them.

Posted by: bkayel at September 20, 2004 at 06:10 PM

The best move for CBS is to go with physical comedy at this point. ``Appearing with his fly open, Andrew Heyward said ...''

Posted by: Ron Hardin at September 20, 2004 at 06:46 PM

Mark my words: CBS will come out of this mess as a "victim". Victimology has its benefits these days, unfortunately.

Posted by: equitus at September 20, 2004 at 08:00 PM

Remember when Nixon led the investigation of Watergate? That was awesome.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at September 20, 2004 at 08:14 PM

CBS explanation: "we were deceived by others"

CBS truth: " we are lying toads who couldn't wait to air this shit because it fit our agenda"

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at September 20, 2004 at 09:02 PM

Burkett is obviously not an 'unimpeachable' source. Who did he pass these inept forgeries to, who in turn passed them along to Hurricane Dan? Robin Rather? Ben Barnes? Max Clelland?

Interesting times...

Posted by: Harlan Pepper at September 20, 2004 at 11:31 PM

According to Burkett's attorney, David Van Os, Burkett "no longer trusts any possible outcome of speaking to the press on any issue regarding George W. Bush."

Interesting that while Burkett will not speak to the press, he has no problem speaking to Rather and CBS.

Posted by: Bookworm at September 21, 2004 at 12:26 AM

CBS should say:

"The documents are fake, we should have known. Then we let those documents lend creedence to our star witness, Ben Barnes, who it turns out is also full of shit. We should have known better when Mary Mapes, who has obsessed about this story for 5 years, came up with a smoking gun two months before this whole thing became moot. We screwed up royally."

What CBS will say:

"The documents are probably fake and we should have known it. But George Bush is still an asshole. We give ourselves a C+, maybe a B- on this one."

Posted by: daniel at September 21, 2004 at 01:20 AM

I will be surprised if they don't try to blame Republicans for a stich-up.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at September 21, 2004 at 01:28 AM

Andy Rooney's next piece on 60 Minutes:

Andy Rooney: There's been a lot of talk these days about forged memos and fonts and proportional spacing and superscripts. All that kind of stuff just confuses me. I tried to use a computer once but it made a strange whirring sound when I turned it on so I went back to my old 1948 Underwood. The keys stick a lot and the "s" key hasn't worked in a couple of decades but that's okay since I don't type much anymore. They just prop me up here at a desk in front of a camera and I just say whatever comes into my mind.

And have you ever noticed that the number of paperclips on your desk seems to multiply rather than diminish? How does that happen? I haven't had to buy new paperclips since covering the Korean War. And I wonder who makes these things anyway. Is there someone whose job is to bend these things into the right shape or is there a machine that does it? If it's a machine I wonder who it was who invented it.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at September 21, 2004 at 02:05 AM