September 16, 2004

Them Heartless Conservatives, Part Fourventy-Quagillion

Let me see if I have this correct: The problem is not that CBS, wittingly or unwittingly, tried to pass a Microsoft Word document off as a 30 year-old memo; rather (I'm not doing that cutesy "th" thing, you can't make me, also please forgive the pun), the problem is that those pesky partisan operatives are ignoring the heart of the problem (see 09/15 08:09 PM post):

But on a personal note, I believe it is important to remember that those who have criticized aspects of this story have never criticized the heart of it, that George W. Bush got special treatment.
Ladies and gentlemen, Dan Rather--your source for completely fair and balanced reporting.

Look, I know the guy's plenty partisan himself; I know he's got a ginormous ego; I know he's getting on in years; but what that statement tells me is that Dan Rather has actually forgotten how news works. See, the way it works is, you make your claim and then you support it, and then your claim stands or falls on the basis of that support.

Which is why it's extremely unhelpful to support your claims with evidence that wouldn't fool a six year-old (though it apparently confuses Ken Layne, who wrote today that "there has been no earthshaking evidence to support any theory about these Bush Memos." Yeah, yeah, right, I said I wasn't going to bat him around anymore. Sorry).

Supporting your claim with bad evidence tends to ruin a little intangible that is nonetheless paramount to your news organization's survival: Credibility. You just can't expect your viewers and listeners to accept and stay focused on "the heart of the story," when you backed up "the heart of the story" with evidence that couldn't be less credible if you'd got it from the Tooth Fairy.

That was your screwup, CBS. Not your viewers'. Not George W. Bush's. Not the webloggers'. Yours.

Which is why, when I said I'd hate this whole thing even more if I were supporting Kerry this year, I meant it. Good, credible support--yeah, a campaign needs that. Rather's blustering and finger-pointing--NO campaign needs that. Is Clinton recovered from heart surgery yet? Could we maybe get him to have a talk with ol' Dan? (And they say conservatives have no compassion. That'd be the most merciful thing a soul could do, right there.)

But the punch line isn't even that paragraph up above. The punch line is the line before the quoted paragraph above:

"We will continue to report credible evidence."

Babyjowls, you can't "continue" to do something you never did do in the first place.

UPDATE: Apparently one brave guy actually watched the whole thing. Conclusion: "If Edward R. Murrow wasn't already dead, he'd kill himself." Of course, in Dan's world he'd deserve to, for ignoring the heart of the story like that.

Anyway, I didn't see anything on either CBS's site or Allah's to indicate that Treacher got his wish, just to update everybody on that part of the story (which is not the heart, remember).

Posted by Ilyka at September 16, 2004 03:24 AM in news


Mr. Rather,

Catch up please. The story has long since moved past the phase where one proves the documents fraudulent. They are fakes, and LAST WEEK this was proved (by people wearing pajamas) in cyberspace, planet blogosphere. Events are now unfolding at the virtual speed of the pajama-hadeen typing with computer keyboards not fossilized “journalists” pecking at vintage typewriters. Time in cyber-reality unfolds in seconds to minutes, not days to weeks. The story is now about how fakes got on the air as part of a "news story" in development for five years? Would you care to answer this question? I thought not. Then I guess President Bush is not obligated to answer your “questions.” Queries based on faulty data are faulty.

The president of CBS, Andrew Heyward, no longer even tries to contend that the documents are authentic. He describes them as “accurate” (sic). By this he means that they may be fakes, but the information is (in the opinion of CBS) accurate, so it doesn't matter if Lt. Colonel Killian wrote them or not. Instead, what matters to CBS is that they believe if he had actually written documents about these issues (which genuine documents they do not have), the content would have been consistent with the content of the documents that they do have (which were written by anonymous). Additionally, the contents of these supposed documents (for which CBS has been desperately and clumsily searching for many years) would be identical to the opinions of Mr. Rather, Mr. Heyward, and CBS, perfectly fitting the gaping hole of credibility in their five-year-old story. BUT, as CBS does not have those increasingly hypothetical authentic documents, the "accurate" papers they do have DO NOT FIT the yawning chasm of veracity needed to perfect their otherwise incomplete scoop (actually the old “news” upon which they have been fixated for half a decade). There are still people looking for El Derodo, Shangri-La, and the Lost Dutchman’s Mine, so Mr. Rather, Mr. Heyward, and CBS are in like company following their “accurate” maps/documents and chasing a futile fantasy.

Lt. Colonel Killian, an authentic American hero, is not available to defend his honor, or set the record straight. He is deceased, which is incredulously advantageous for CBS. The documents were written recently in MS Word, and not in 1972 and 1973. While they contain many clumsy mistakes and inaccuracies, there are allusions in the documents to real facts as established by real documents. MY SAINTED GRANNY, this is historical fiction. CBS is writing a “tell all” historical novel and not a “news” story. Is this the basis of a mid-autumn historical docu-drama? You bet your sweet pajamas, but thankfully, CBS “News” is not the sole author of the script. Authentic Journalists, weblogers, real participants in the actual events of 1972 and 1973, and scandalized authorities/experts are rewriting the clumsy plot scripted by CBS. The real story is developing and circulating all around us, much to the bewilderment and distress of Mr. Rather and his staff. There is nothing they can do to close Pandora’s Box. Box? What Box? They are not clever enough to trick the Genie back into the bottle. Ignore those Genies behind the curtain.

Mr. Rather and Mr. Heyward, using fiction as the basis for questions about Mr. Bush’s Texas National Guard record is like blaming ones spouse for doing something wrong in a dream. Any American voter who would fall for this contemptible fraud had already decided to vote for Mr. Kerry in the first place. This story is a coffin being built by CBS to bury its long dead and rotting credibility. The longer it stays at the center of the stage for this sad burlesque show, and the longer CBS continues to defend a story based on fictions, the longer the pajama-clad weblogers, and REAL journalist will continue to drive nails into it.

Lonnie Kendall
Registered Democrat

“Caveat, this message was created in MS Word, and proud of it.”

Posted by: Lonnie Kendall at September 16, 2004 04:06 AM