Kerry Spot [ jim geraghty reporting ]
REFINING MY INITIAL REACTION
[ kerry spot home | archives | email ]
The good news: All of us had heard ominous rumblings before the report, and this report did not live up to our worst expectations.
This report did not come out late on a Friday afternoon. It did not come out with an attempt to distract from the bad news, like an announcement of Rather’s replacement as anchor of the CBS Evening News. The language of the panel is tough, and the three resignations and firing of Mapes are big and serious consequences. This is not a slap on the wrist.
The bad news: As we see, Moonves is taking the report as a certification that the mistakes “were not motivated by any political agenda.”
Many conservatives thought CBS News was out to get the president before this memo story ever aired; the memo story just illustrated that producers like Mary Mapes are as bad as they imagined. While many folks, including myself, want to give the network credit for a thorough and tough internal investigation with a lengthy report to the public, it will be quite a while before anyone takes this report as a reason to declare CBS as fair to the President, Republicans, or conservatives.
Does the panel really think that CBS would have acted in the same manner in a seemingly-great story that would have hurt John Kerry? Are we really to believe that it was solely “competitive pressures” that led to this, and that no one in this process had their thinking influenced by a desire to see Bush defeated in this year’s election?
For all of their good work, Thornburgh and Boccardi did CBS and the readers of this report a disservice for not addressing this issue a little tougher. After all, what made this story such a "great story"? It wasn't just the exclusivity of the scoop - it was its value in hurting the president and portraying him as a young man who benefited from direct intervention by Gen. Buck Staudt to "sugarcoat" Bush's record.
[Posted 01/10 01:25 PM]