By the time you read this, the Howard Kurtz story in WaPo about how Dan Rather is now backpeddling faster than Lance Armstrong peddles forward, has already crossed your desk.

Some logical questions come from this event. First of all, as I asked last week; Why were these forged documents documents sent to CBS alone? Think: If one wants to get news out to a maximum number of people, does one usually choose what has been for the last several years, the lowest-rated network news on the planet? Why would you not send it to the ratings leader, instead? Clearly, the person sending those fake documents figured there was some advantage to sending the fake documents to CBS. Now, why would that be true, I wonder?

Let’s extend this question just a little.  Mary Mapes, the CBS producer responsible for the story, had been working on this investigation for over five years…. since the 2000 election cycle. Now, usually, if a news org can’t come up with something within, say, two years, they generally give up. Oh, but not CBS, particularly where there’s a Republican under investigation. Now, if you think that an unfair statement, ask yourself…. Can you imagine CBS seriously tracking a story on the Clintons at all much less over five years?

In any event, after five long years of investigation, these documents just happen to fall into the lap of Mary Mapes alone… and what do you know… these documents support the meme that CBS has spent five years trying to support. What do you suppose the chances are on that one? And as if to extend the realm of chance… What do you know… all these miracles this happens just a few weeks before an election, in which the Democrat is in trouble and the republican… the target of the false report is taking a commanding lead for the first time. I wouldn’t have been betting on such an event happening. Even knowing, as we do, that the documents are forged, it stretches the law of chance that this set of documents should show up at CBS after five years… Sorta like the chances of winning the lottery. Far more likely, that there’s something that isn’t above board here.

The obvious questions that come up, include

  • Could it be that the sender knew they’d get by without being properly checked?
  • That does seem the most likely reason for sending such documents to the ratings bottom feeder.

  • Was there coordination on this behind the scenes, and with whom?

  • That does seem the most likely set of events.

  • Were sources and warnings that ran contrary to the anti-Bush meme ignored?

  • Yes, even sources CBS was proven to have misquoted, and misled.

  • Were facts dropped along the way by CBS?

  • Yes. Rather suggested a senior officer was to be leaning on Killian. Rather identifies this officer as Col. Buck Staudt. Problem is, Staudt had retired nearly two years previous to the date the memo was supposed to have been written.

  • Were there facts we weren’t told… Even facts that we can prove CBS knew?
  • Yes. CBS only told us about four documents. Thing is, CBS got six of such documents in the same transmittal, all from the same source, indeed, from the same fax phone call. And CBS declared two of them to be fakes before the pages were cool from the printing process, but somehow never got around to questioning the other documents.

  • Is it possible that there was some cooperation between the source and the DNC and CBS?
  • Can you think of any other way this story would have developed like this?

  • CBS is being seriously discredited by this obvious ruse. The best way out of this for CBS is to prove they were taken in, by revealing their source. So why is CBS protecting this source?
  • Good question. I must tell you I come from a radio background, and I’ll tell you point blank; I know of no journalistic ethics that require a news org to protect the identity of a fraudulent source. I should think that doing that would only harm journalism, not help it, since the defrauder would be free to use other journalists as conduits for misleading the public.

    There’s only one reason for CBS NOT to reveal the source; They were not taken in, but were in fact a willing party to these fakes. It also seems likely that the point of co-ordination was someone high up in the DNC.

    Now, we know from the investigation so far that the person who sent the documents along to CBS is one Bill Burkett. Captain Ed noted the other day that the guy’s lawyer is one David Van Os, who has a serious resume with the Democrats at the County and State levels, as well as, as the Captain puts it, an…

    “…interesting item on Van Os’ CV is the final entry, where he notes his assistance in Palm Beach County, Florida, in Democratic efforts for the recounts in the 2000 Presidential election. No doubt that Van Os is well-known for his 30-year party-building work, and as he has now run for the Texas Supreme Court twice (including his current campaign), he has built a strong level of support within Democratic Party leadership.
    So how does such a well-connected man within Democratic circles wind up as Burkett’s mouthpiece? “

    Now, we find out through a Newsweek report, that

    “Three days before the broadcast, Burkett e-mailed a friend that there was “a real heavy situation regarding Bush’s records” about to break. “He was having a lot of fun with this,” said the friend, Dennis Adams. Burkett told a visitor that after the story ran, Rather phoned him and expressed his and the network’s “full support.”

    Now, like I say….perhaps it’s just random chance, right?

  • But what happens when all this gets investigated and revealed, as it eventually will…. Particularly if the investigation turns up some of these links prior to the election?
  • You’re going to have to work out the implications of THAT one for yourself.