STATEMENT FROM DAN RATHER:
Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question—and their source—vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome.
Now, 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. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where—if I knew then what I know now—I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.
But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.
Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.
that sounds pretty fucking familiar
What's missing from this statement?
What happens next?
What utter bullshit.
Oh, we're sorry someone else is responsible for this this fiasco, we were misled.
No you weren't asshole, you PUSHED this story and continued to do so when nearly EVERYONE ELSE on the planet told you that you were OWNED.
You had a political agenda and you pushed that beyond all other considerations.
The American people got a REALLY good look at how the "media" operates during the past couple of weeks (the fact that your ratings TANKED even in NYC should have told you just how disgusting your performance has been).
Fuck you. Time to go, has-been.
Who's the source Dan!?
Mighty fine reporting there!
Dan Blather's in hot water, or at least that's the public appearance of his superiors at CBS. Remember the CBS' 60 Minutes is entertainment disguised as news. Remember the old saying, "its better to have bad publicity, rather than no publicity" BS. Or something to that effect.
Here's the story from NYTimes:
September 20, 2004
THE NEWS MEDIA
CBS News Concludes It Was Misled on National Guard Memos, Network Officials Say
By JIM RUTENBERG
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 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.
But they cautioned that CBS News could still pull back from an announcement.
Officials met last night with Dan Rather, the anchor who presented the report,
to go over the information it had collected about the documents one last time
before making a final decision. Mr. Rather was not available for comment late
The report relied in large part on four memorandums purported to be from the
personal file of Mr. Bush's squadron commander, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, who
died 20 years ago. The memos, dated from the early 1970's, said that Colonel
Killian was under pressure to "sugar coat'' the record of the young Lieutenant
Bush and that the officer had disobeyed a direct order to take a physical.
Mr. Rather and others at the network are said to still believe that the
sentiment in the memos accurately reflected Mr. Killian's feelings but that the
documents' authenticity was now in grave doubt.
The developments last night marked a dramatic turn for CBS News, which for a
week stood steadfastly by its Sept. 8 report as various document experts
asserted that the typeface of the memos could have been produced only by a
modern-day word processor, not Vietnam War-era typewriters.
The seemingly unflappable confidence of Mr. Rather and top news division
officials in the documents allayed fears within the network and created doubt
among some in the news media at large that those specialists were correct. CBS
News officials had said they had reason to be certain that the documents indeed
had come from the personal file of Colonel Killian.
Sandy Genelius, a network spokeswoman, said last week, "We are confident about
the chain of custody; we're confident in how we secured the documents.''
But officials decided yesterday that they would most likely have to declare that
they had been misled about the records' origin after Mr. Rather and a top
network executive, Betsy West, met in Texas with a man who was said to have
helped the news division obtain the memos, a former Guard officer named Bill
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.
It was unclear last night if Mr. Burkett had told Mr. Rather that he had been
misled about the documents' provenance or that he had been the one who did the
In an e-mail message yesterday, Mr. Burkett declined to answer any questions
about the documents.
Yesterday, Emily J. Will, a document specialist who inspected the records for
CBS News and said last week that she had raised concerns about their
authenticity with CBS News producers, confirmed a report in Newsweek that a
producer had told her that the source of the documents said they had been
obtained anonymously and through the mail.
In an interview last night she declined to name the producer who told her this
but said the producer was in a position to know. CBS News officials have
disputed her contention that she warned the network the night before the initial
"60 Minutes'' report that it would face questions from documents experts.
In the coming days CBS News officials plan to focus on how the network moved
ahead with the report when there were warning signs that the memorandums were
Ms. Will is one of two documents experts consulted by the network who said they
raised doubts about the material before the segment was broadcast. Another
expert, Marcel B. Matley, said in interviews that he had vouched only for
Colonel Killian's signatures on the records and not the authenticity of the
records themselves. Mr. Matley said he could not rule out that the signatures
had been cut and pasted from official records pertaining to Colonel Killian.
In examining where the network had gone wrong, officials at CBS News turning
their attention to Ms. Mapes, one of their most respected producers, who was
riding particularly high this year after breaking news about the Abu Ghraib
prison scandal for the network.
In a telephone interview this weekend, Josh Howard, the executive producer of
the "60 Minutes'' Wednesday edition, said that he did not initially know who was
Ms. Mapes' primary source for the documents but that he did not see any reason
to doubt them. He said he believed Ms. Mapes and her team had appropriately
answered all questions about the documents' authenticity and, he noted, no one
seemed to be casting doubt upon the essential thrust of the report.
"The editorial story line was still intact, and still is, to this day,'' he said,
"and the reporting that was done in it was by a person who has turned in decades
of flawless reporting with no challenge to her credibility.''
He added, "We in management had no sense that the producing team wasn't
completely comfortable with the results of the document analysis.''
Ms. Mapes has not responded to requests for comment.
Mr. Howard also said in the interview that the White House did not dispute the
veracity of the documents when it was presented to them on the morning of the
report. That reaction, he said, was "the icing on the cake'' of the other
reporting the network was conducting on the documents. White House officials
have said they saw no reason to challenge documents being presented by a
credible news organization.
Several people familiar with the situation said they were girding for a
particularly tough week for Mr. Rather and the news division should the network
announce its new doubts.
One person close to the situation said the critical question would be, "Where
was everybody's judgment on that last day?''
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
And WHO "mislead" them…
I was listening to Laura Ingram this morning and it seems there could be some legal repercussions due to criminal activity of forging a government document, plus alleged FCC violations.
Do not forget, it is our actions, and the actions of all who spoke out against this travesty that forced CBS to retract its story. They would not have done so otherwise.
Who wrote that lame-ass statement for him? Natalie Mains?
I'm still anxiously awaiting a reply from the love-letter I sent Danny boy and C-BS
Watergate 2, is on its way. Which Kerry Campaign official helped pass forgeries about a siting POTUS?
On Fox now!
Bill Burkett supplied the memos
CBS Regrets Bush Memos Story
(CBS/AP) CBS News on Monday said it regretted broadcasting a story about President Bush's military service based on documents whose authenticity is in doubt, saying the source of the material had misled the network.
CBS News Anchor Dan Rather, the reporter of the original story, apologized.
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.
"Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report," said the statement by CBS News President Andrew Heyward. "We should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret.
"Nothing is more important to us than our credibility and keeping faith with the millions of people who count on us for fair, accurate, reliable, and independent reporting," Heyward continued. "We will continue to work tirelessly to be worthy of that trust."
Additional reporting on the documents will air on Monday's CBS Evening News, including the interview of Burkett by Rather. CBS News pledged "an independent review of the process by which the report was prepared and broadcast to help determine what actions need to be taken."
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.
The authenticity of the documents — four memoranda attributed to Guard commander Lt. Col. Jerry Killian — has been under fire since they were described in a Sept. 8 broadcast of 60 Minutes.
CBS had not previously revealed who provided the documents or how they were obtained.
Burkett has previously alleged that in 1997 he witnessed allies of then-Gov. Bush discussing the destruction of Guard files that might embarrass Mr. Bush, who was considering a run for the presidency. Bush aides have denied the charge.
In the statement, CBS said: "Burkett originally said he obtained the documents from another former Guardsman. Now he says he got them from a different source whose connection to the documents and identity CBS News has been unable to verify to this point."
Questions about the president's National Guard service have lingered for years. Some critics question how Mr. Bush got into the Guard when there were waiting lists of young men hoping to join it to escape the draft and possible service in Vietnam.
In the Sept. 8 60 Minutes report, former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes — a Democrat — claimed that, at the behest of a friend of the Bush family, he pulled strings to get young George W. Bush into the Guard.
Other questions concern why Mr. Bush missed a physical in 1972, and why there are scant records of any service by Mr. Bush during the latter part of 1972, a period during which he transferred to an Alabama guard unit so he could work on a campaign there.
The CBS documents suggested that Mr. Bush had disobeyed a direct order to attend the physical, and that there were other lapses in his performance. One memo also indicated that powerful allies of the Bush family were pressuring the guard to "sugar coat" any investigation of Lt. Bush's service.
Skeptics immediately seized on the typing in the memos, which included a superscripted "th" not found on all 1970s-era typewriters. As the controversy raged, CBS broadcast interviews with experts who said that some typewriters from that period could have produced the markings in question.
Other critics saw factual errors in the documents, stylistic differences with other writing by Killian and incorrect military lingo.
Some relatives of Col. Killian disputed that the memos were real. His former secretary said the sentiments regarding Mr. Bush's failures as an officer were genuine, but the documents were not.
Some document experts whom CBS consulted for the story told newspapers they had raised doubts before the broadcast and were ignored. CBS disputed their accounts, pointing to the main document expert the network consulted, Marcel Matley.
Matley insisted he had vouched for the authenticity of the signatures on the memos, but had not determined whether the documents themselves were genuine.
Last week, CBS News stood by its reporting while vowing to continue working the story. The network acknowledged there were questions about the documents and pledged to try to answer them.
Mr. Bush maintains that he did not get special treatment in getting into the Guard, and that he fulfilled all duties. He was honorably discharged.
On Saturday, a White House official said Mr. Bush has reviewed the disputed documents that purport to show he refused orders to take a physical examination in 1972, and did not recall having seen them previously.
In his first public comment on the documents controversy, the president told The Union Leader of Manchester, N.H., "There are a lot of questions about the documents, and they need to be answered."
The Bush campaign has alleged that their Democratic rivals were somehow involved in the story. John Kerry's campaign denies it. In an email revealed last week, Burkett said he had contacted the Kerry campaign but received no response.
Meanwhile, a federal judge has ordered the Pentagon to find and make public by next week any unreleased files about Mr. Bush's Vietnam-era Air National Guard service to resolve a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Associated Press.
The White House and Defense Department have on several occasions claimed that they had released all the documents only to make additional records available later on.
I guess Danny boy could be forced out of a job, the guy needs to retire anyways. Let's just face it the f'cker rolled the dice and he lost. Unlike in the past where it would take weeks or months to uncover the truth, with today's internet it is really hard to pull the wool over the public's eye.
Burkett said he passed docs to CBS, but the documents were given to him by an "un named source"
"In the statement, CBS said: "Burkett originally said he obtained the documents from another former Guardsman. Now he says he got them from a different source whose connection to the documents and identity CBS News has been unable to verify to this point.""
Time to put a little more fire under Burkett.
Reading that statement, the immortal words of Steve Stiffler come to mind:
"You've gotta be fuckin' kidding me!"
I still think that Rather is diverting attention away from the real issue - the source and whether or not he/she/they were part of the Kerry camp. I think the docs did come from Kerry's camp and they are trying their best to find someone outside of the camp to fall on the sword. This would sink the Kerry camp for good if it is attached to his campaign.
1. Kerry camp switched gears with new people (Bagala/Carville) stating they were going to attack Bush's ANG service.
2. 60 minII report used Kerry supporter as wittness (Barnes) who was refutted by daughter.
3. Used memos from ?
4. Used another Kerry supporter as wittness in second report without any documentation as proof.
5. Burkett said he turned documents over to Kerry camp in previous interview (Max Clelland) but they didn't call him back.
Now says he misled CBS:
"CBS said Burkett acknowledged he provided the documents and said he deliberately misled a CBS producer, giving her a false account of their origin to protect a promise of confidentiality to a source."
This is big news! Woo hoo! Burkett is outed as the source (which we already knew) and the documents are proven false. Pretty funny.
Now CBS is trying to protect itself, and Burkett is trying to say he got them from someone else..... What an idiot.
How in the world could Mary Matalyn marry that ogre?
In the very first Lethal Weapon movie, there's an issue with a murder.
Murtah says he's got it figured out, but Riggs has a theory that the explanation is too simple, too clean.
I'm feeling that way re: Burkett.
I think Burkett himself GENERATED the documents, but that CBS's source was someone else. Either Barnes himself, or Max Cleland. No way Burkett would be described as an impeccable source . But a former member of congress, or Barnes, now either of those would work. Plus, Barnes is well connected to Rather's daughter, which would explain some of his bizarre behavior.
That's right: I'm pronouncing the fix is in. CBS has been spending the last couple of weeks putitng together a RUSE to expalin what happened, so as to avoid taking down the Kerry campaign. burkett may have created the documents or been in cahootz with those that did, but he was not "THE" source. Otherwise, why would there be any need NOW to go and interview him.
What a half assed 'apology' He still isn't saying the documents are false, he's just saying that there is some question about their authenticity.
He needs to make a personal apology to Pres. Bush AND the rest of the country, not just some half assed, "whoops, sorry but we had good intentions...' statement.
HA HA!!! Good luck with that!
Politics aside, as for the person who forged the docs, how can it possibly not be criminal to wrongfully smear the name of a sitting president like that? I see that as a criminal act.
<dan dressing up like brittney>
OOps I did it again
I stepped on my Dick
I'm in it real thick
I'm not that - credible.
</dan dressing up like brittney>
No favoritism here, we don't favor one BS anti-Bush story over another.
I reread the statement. I guess they forgot to apologize to President Bush, the TANG, Killian's family, and all their viewers.
rush has been GOLD today
No doubt man. I think the trust ship has sailed Dan. That does not even come close to owning up.
There is no way I believe that they would have done the half-assed job of checking the documents if this was a damaging story to Kerry. I'm being generous because the experts that first looked at them TOLD THEM THEY WERE FISHY and got kicked to the curb for a typewriter repair man. To me CBS was complicit and involved in a flat out lie and they figured they would get away with it. Screw you Dan and CBS! You just proved what we have known for years.
BlammO's prediction: After some well-deserved criticism of CBS, this will all die down without any effect on the career of Rather or any of his accomplices and without meaningful impact on the CBS news organization. Nobody will push a criminal forgery case and we'll be left with the precedent that news organizations don't need authentic documents as long as the "essence" of the document is correct (as interpreted by the reporter). This will give CBS, the National Enquirer and other news organizations the freedom to fabricate content because the precedent appoints them the judge of accuracy in the content of the message.
Dan Rather wins. CBS wins. America loses.
I'm right. You'll see.
The only thing CBS and Rather regret is that they were caught.
Right, because when they trust you, it's easier to get away with being a lying scumbag piece of shit.
and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.
Without fear or favoritism, my white hairy ass, It's all about favoritism of the new JFK, what a bunch of HORSESHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here's what will happen:
That's right, nothing. At most, a fine. I think that's what happened the last time a news Infotainment outlet fabricated a story and were caught in it -- Ref. Side Saddle Fuel Tanks.
Personally, I would love to call for some journalistic reform. See my sig line.
Oh, yeah, that was GREAT "investigative journalism".
Apparently, CBS thinks that rest of the country is as stupid and guillible as the idiots that would vote for Skerry.
EXTINCT PHRASE" Journalistic Integrity".
Does anyone have a pic of this Bill Burkett clown?.....