Power Line finally breaks its silence on the CBS Report here. An excerpt:
In general, the Thornburgh report is better than I expected. It criticizes 60 Minutes harshly, and is a treasure trove of factual information. However, while the report is damning, the question is whether it is damning enough. In two key respects, the report walks up to the precipice, but declines to jump.
First, it directly addresses the question whether the 60 Minutes report was motivated by political bias against President Bush. The panel’s conclusion is at page 211: “The Panel does not find a basis to accuse those who investigated, produced, vetted or aired the segment of having a political bias.” But the grounds set forth in support of this conclusion are unpersuasive, and the authors completely fail to address the evidence of political bias that their own report contains, especially with respect to Mary Mapes.
The second issue that the report fails to address is the communication and apparent coordination between 60 Minutes staff and the Kerry campaign. We now know that there was more communication than had previously been acknowledged. In addition to Mapes’s famous phone call to Joe Lockhart, asking him to talk to Bill Burkett, she had several conversations with Chad Clanton, who also worked for the Kerry campaign. Clanton told the panel that Mapes asked him what information the Kerry campaign had gotten from other reporters about the National Guard story, and also told him about the story she was working on for 60 Minutes. So at a minimum, we know that the Kerry campaign knew about the 60 Minutes story while it was in preparation. And it is fair to assume that Clanton put the most benign interpretation on his several conversations with Mapes.
The relationship between the Kerry campaign and the 60 Minutes story is a subject that badly needs to be investigated, but the Thornburgh group did not pursue the issue beyond noting the communications between 60 Minutes staff and the Kerry campaign.
Now we’ll just wait for more at Little Green Footballs, once Charles Johnson’s servers are repaired and he can access his site. Until then he’s at Discarded Lies.