The Command Post
2004 US Presidential Election
September 20, 2004
| CBS News Concludes It Was Misled

The New York Times reports that CBS News officials now have grave doubts about the authenticity of the material:

The 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. CBS News has already begun intensive reporting on where they came from, and people at the network said it was now possible that officials would open an internal inquiry into how it moved forward with the report. Officials say they are now beginning to believe the report was too flawed to have gone on the air.

UPDATE: CBS admits that it cannot prove the authenticity of its forged documents:

CBS News said Monday it cannot prove the authenticity of documents used in a 60 Minutes story about President Bush’s National Guard service and that airing the story was a “mistake” that CBS regretted.

CBS News Anchor Dan Rather, the reporter of the original story, apologized.

CBS claimed a source had misled the network on the documents’ origins.

In a statement, CBS said former Texas Guard official Bill Burkett “has acknowledged that he provided the now-disputed documents” and “admits that he deliberately misled the CBS News producer working on the report, giving her a false account of the documents’ origins to protect a promise of confidentiality to the actual source.”

The network did not say the memoranda — purportedly written by one of Mr. Bush’s National Guard commanders — were forgeries. But the network did say it could not authenticate the documents and that it should not have reported them.

CBS News President Andrew Heyward said, “We should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret.”

In a separate statement, Rather said that “after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically:”

“I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers,” he said.

“We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry,” Rather added.

From California Yankee.

Posted by Dan Spencer at September 20, 2004 05:03 AM | TrackBack

This multi multi million Dollar news agency is just begginning to discover what the blogosphere reported on days ago.

Congratulations Gentlemen. Perhaps it’s time for heads to roll, humble pie to be eaten, and a few moral right wingers to be recrited to enable your network to regain ANY credibility.

Posted by: max [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 07:29 AM

..holding your breath neither..make the worms squirm,they sould have known better..NYT.. Wa Po..are you paying attention..there`s alot of news out there without shall we say inventive`s a news flash;use some of that intuitive reporting and do some good for this country..right..

Posted by: Rob_NC [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 07:53 AM

“Officials say they are now beginning to believe the report was too flawed to have gone on the air.”

Ya think?

Posted by: Achillea [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 09:48 AM

A week ago, they were being misled. Today - nope. After the past week, they’ve become complicit.

And they know this—which is why the “misled” balloon is now rising above the skyline.

Posted by: CERDIP [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 09:58 AM

I think I’ll still be hassling the local affiliates. Dan Rather needs to lose his job and be disgraced. I read he was fighting the thought of apologizing to the President in a meeting yesterday. CBS needs to put this slimeball next to whoever addresses this subject to say they are sorry. I want that arrogant bastard off my TV.

Posted by: dickmr [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 10:30 AM

And in related news, their Science page has identified that water, when neither steam or ice, is wet.



Posted by: JLL3 [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 11:00 AM


You’re certainly free to do what you want, and notifying affiliates and sponsors of concern with CBS’s apparent partisanship seems like a good idea — to a point.

Head hunting for Dan Rather may make you feel good, but it’s on par with a lot of the PC crap that keeps people from feeling free to speak their mind. There’s a simple, more open-minded solution that will keep Dan Rather off of your TV: don’t tune him in.

Posted by: TL [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 11:19 AM


I respectfully disagree. Dan Rather should have lost his job last week, along with the producers of 60 minutes. This case is much more egregious than the Jayson Blair debacle at the NYTimes and you don’t see Blair’s byline or Raines there anymore.

As it should be.

Rather went on air and personally vouched for the authenticity of the hoax memos. He tried to bring his “gold standard news” reputation to obvious fraudulent documents in a story within 60 days of an election (when others are unable to compete via McCain/Feingold) in a transparent effort to influence the election. Minimally, he needs to be off the air. I’m surprised he’s not facing the FEC or FCC charges right now.

Posted by: Darleen [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 11:30 AM


Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, as I agree with much that you say. I’m astounded that CBS has allowed Rather to wager not only his credibility but that of the entire news division over this and I think CBS ought to fire him both for doing that and for introducing the idea that fraud doesn’t matter if perpetrated in pursuit of an essential truth as something that CBS stands for.

If — big if — he was acting with members of the DNC or Kerry campaign or even one of the 527s, you may be right that a government investigation is warranted. We don’t know that, yet.

My point is that, despite the satisfaction that comes from giving what we’ve gotten from the Dems and the big media, it’s something that we’ve always hated and railed against and I think we would be no better than the liberal hypocrites we hold in such low regard.

What is the goal for conservatives in seeking Dan’s head? Do you really hope to rehabilitate the CBS News division into something resembling unbiased news coverage? Isn’t it more important that the truth about this come out, and let CBS and its stockholders decide what they want to do? That’s what I think most conservatives/libertarians would want if the situation were reversed, and we should allow them to do the same, if only for our own integrity.

Let’s not allow this opportunity to turn us into what we despise — exercise some restraint and let the chips fall where they may.

Posted by: TL [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 12:02 PM

I just read the CBS News reporting on this and cannot believe they are reporting on what others are reporting that CBS News is doing! Not only that, but they continue to say the charge was led by “skeptics” and continue to slam everyone else BUT take responsibility for their (CBS News) actions!

Here is the link:

Posted by: zettler [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 01:06 PM

Yep this misleadin stuff has got to go. Now we’ve got a pinko on the Sunday shows going off about Wimpo.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Bush was not being “as straight as maybe we’d like to see” with the American people about Iraq. [Does that translate to “lying”, “misleading”, “uninformed”, “duped” or “deluded”]

McCain, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday” that it was “a serious mistake” not to have had enough troops in place “after the initial successes” and that the mistake had led to “very, very significant” difficulties.

Whaddya think? Bush elected, draft? I don’t think so, it appears that the volunteer army is pretty darned happy with the situation.

Posted by: dubyus [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 01:07 PM

CBS has said that it can’t prove that the documents are authentic. This is far from saying that they are fraudulent.

In an apparently coordinated statement, Mr. Burkett says he “mislead” CBS, but will not reveal his “sources.”

People can take these statements for what they are - hedging. They certainly do not constitute an admission of promoting a falsehood. Nor do CBS and Rather’s statements constitute an apology.

Dan can stay with CBS, but no one will believe him anymore. He’s damaged goods, and CBS knows it.

Posted by: Jim [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 01:08 PM

There should be a penalty for CBS, because there is no remedy for harms caused by the media in politics- i.e., what do you do if on Nov. 1 CBS splashes a forged memo about Bush selling babies into slavery to fund a coke habit and “search for the truth” Rather stands by his story for two days, but says ‘oopsie’ on Nov. 3? Sue for libel after a 20 point swing costs you the election?

CBS was reckless and negligent in their reporting. There is no remedy for those harmed which is why there needs to be severe penalties to disuade those from practicing chicanery under the guise of news reporting.

Posted by: wafflestomper [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 01:24 PM

If you look at the recent ratings, they are being punished, and in a meaningful way. Their ratings are even more in the crapper than usual, and their sponsors will adjust the price they are willing to pay for spots on their shows accordingly. In the event that one or more sponsors walk away altogether, CBS will begin hemorraging money and Viacom will owe it to their shareholders to act.

We don’t need the government’s sledge hammer coming in here and muddling the issue. CBS has taken a scalpel to its own throat and the consequences are beginning to be felt. Let it work.

Posted by: TL [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 01:45 PM

SeeBS can’t back completely away from this story. Their demographics consist of those who are left over from the Great Migration away from the MSM. They’re between a rock and a hard place. So, they have the tricky job of backing away from the documents while supporting the “information” contained in them.

Posted by: Hungry Valley [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 01:56 PM

While I agree that the free market will punish CBS and therefore Viacom. I also wonder why there is no cause of action here.

Involving the congress in this would be either useless (i.e. new stupid regulations) or pointless (partisan grandstanding at the hearings) however a simple series of law suits aimed at CBS might help put a damper on such poor performance in the future.

I know that CBS has been hammered before. I guess they got over it or forgot or whatever. Too bad for them.

BTW I don’t see a whole bunch of trollery here, do you?

Posted by: skip [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 02:00 PM

The only thing that surprised me about all this was that there were enough people still watching Rather to notice the report…I’ve written him off into the “wacko” category since that crazy thing that he said happened in 1986 (2 guys running up to him, demanding “Kenneth, what’s the frequency?” and whacking him on the head). Uh-huh. Tin foil hat too tight there, Dan?

Posted by: Mona B. [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 02:00 PM

yeah, the public will hold the media accountable… at least until the season premiere of ‘everybody loves raymond’. if it weren’t for the public’s short attention span, Rather would have been gone 16 years ago.

anybody care to estimate how much Viacom will lose from this in comparison to the money spent by the party that loses this year’s election?

a small price to pay for unsuccessfully pushing your agenda. I just can’t find myself relying on the public to police matters such as this.

Posted by: wafflestomper [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 02:06 PM


Far be it from me to stick up for Dannyboy; however, it was one guy…a <a href=”,1,613,00.html”total nut case, that did assault Dan.

His assailant turned out to be William Tager, 49, who’s serving a 25-year prison sentence for killing an NBC stagehand outside the Today show studio. Tager told a psychiatrist that he thought the news media was beaming signals into his head. One of his obsessions apparently was to find out the frequency of the signals.

Posted by: Darleen [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 03:52 PM

whoops…sorry about the broken link.. I didn’t close the tag correctly.

What’s the Frequency, Kenneth

Posted by: Darleen [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 03:55 PM

Hey People,

Look on the Bright Side. If you EVER again here a left-winger idiot speak of the non-existent integrity
of the Demoncratic Party…… Just holler:

See B.S. ! See B.S. !!

If they have any intelligence at all, it should shut
them up!

Posted by: leaddog2 [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 04:02 PM

Well, even if Dan did get jumped by a wacko, I don’t think I’ve missed much in the last 20 years of my boycott…the last anchor I liked was Frank Reynolds, because he actually acted like a human being, rather than a robot….

Posted by: Mona B. [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 05:03 PM

Yes TL, but my follow up with the affiliates is not to blame them. And it is not PC to try to shut up people who present FRAUDULENT anything.

Anyway, I have learned today that the Affiliates have been ‘RAGING’ against the New York office. Quite interesting that I am getting the feeling that they are fighting mad at the old home office of Dan and the boys. Seems they often put the screws to our local friends too, and they are actually on our side. I don’t think Dan is gonna survive this one completely….too much animousity against this boy. ”Down goes Rather….Down goes Rather”….no one can ever tell me he wasn’t gleefully reporting something he knew was false and hurtful to the government of the USA…

Posted by: dickmr [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2004 06:05 PM

Hungry Valley I’ve been pondering some word patterns of a guy with a NIC of dubyus. I say he’s from Wyoming, and I could be all wet. He said something about a line I haven’t used in months, so he’s been here before… How many states am I off?

Posted by: Cap'n DOC [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 22, 2004 02:33 PM

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