CBS report black eye on journalism, fodder for conservative attacks

Posted: Monday, September 27, 2004

So yesterday, 12 days after CBS News broadcast a report that claimed the president of the United States had shirked his duty in the Texas Air National Guard 35 years ago and offered up the documents that supposedly proved it, the network admitted it could no longer vouch for their authenticity.

CBS anchor Dan Rather, after spending almost two weeks defending the report that aired on ''60 Minutes II,'' has now issued a statement that he ''no longer has confidence in these documents'' and that ''if I knew then what I know now I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired.''

Yes, well, Dan Rather is about 10 days too late in owning up to what is the latest in a series of black eyes for the journalism profession. ...

Considering that the authenticity of the documents was challenged within hours of the original broadcast and with good reason, the responsible thing for CBS to do was to announce that it was reviewing the story and the authenticity of the papers. ...

Why the newsgatherers at CBS responsible for this story acted in such a rash and self-destructive way is best left to another investigation. But they have certainly given plenty of ammunition to conservative critics who claim that they let their ''liberal bias'' and desire to air a story injurious to a Republican president during an election year cloud their judgment. ...

Delaware County (Pa.) Daily Times

Sept. 21

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