Florida Pilot

A compendium of random thoughts from a former Washington Beltway insider who is now having a lot more fun flying small airplanes in Central Florida.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

more on cbs -- whitewash or graywash

The referenced URL seems to be the best brief summary of the CBS review panel report which has already been written about quite a bit that I have seen.

The underlying 234 page report is clearly a document written by lawyers who are advising their client (CBS) as opposed to a document that is intended to draw conclusions.

One could ask the question as to what would have been proof that would have permitted the panel to conclude that the documents were, in fact false? The answer would probably be that only a confession from whoever created them would be enough. Like a DNA naysayer who is not satisfied with a one in a billion chance of error, this panel is clearly looking for a level of "proof" that is not obtainable.

As far as the political bias of Mapes, Rather, et al., again the panel report presents information without drawing conclusions, even when the conclusions are obvious.

Rather than faulting the panel, it seems most fair to blame CBS. Certainly there is enough raw material there for CBS to have issued a statement concluding that, by any reasonable standard of proof, the documents were fraudulent. At the same time, there is ample evidence, again by any reasonable standard or proof, that the whole thrust of the story was motivated by political bias.

It seems pretty clear that this episode will not lead to any sort of broad change in procedures or practices at CBS. Rather appears to escape with his skin due to his not being involved with the bogus "vetting" sessions which were supposed to be used to question the story and Heyward seems to escape by having delegated his responsibilities to West. Of course, the previous statements by Rather and Heyward taking full responsibility are apparently now inoperative.

One can only imagine how Dan Rather would have acted had he been on the Titanic; throwing off women and children while he rushed to save his sorry a**.


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