We’re eyeball to eyeball and the other fellow just blinked.
Hugh Hewitt spent a good part of the day (and all of his radio show) prodding conservative bloggers and asking why we haven’t made a bigger fuss over the CBS News report on Rathergate. If you read through Hugh’s blog entries today, you’ll see that Hugh sees the report as a whitewash, and that he thinks the big guns of the Blogging Right appear overly concerned about their reputations among the mainstream media. Hugh thinks we ought not show mercy in this case. I agree, and here’s why.
This situation strikes me as a kind of negotiation. We of the center-right blogosphere expected CBS News to offer something like this:
- report released on a Friday (to bury it)
- report released after announcing Rather’s successor (again, to bury it)
- a weak non-apology
- thinly-veiled contempt for bloggers
- support from ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, etc.
- denial of any pro-Kerry motivation, much less any actual coordination
- Mary Mapes fired
We were hoping for several results from this episode, including:
- report released on a Monday
- report released without a Rather successor announced
- an admission from CBS News that the Killian memos were forgeries
- due credit given to the blogosphere for unearthing this mess
- Dan Rather fired
- Mary Mapes fired
- top CBS News executives fired (including the president, Andrew Heyward)
- an investigation into possible coordination between CBS News and the Kerry/Edwards campaign
- help from CBS’ competing news networks in devouring it (motivated by fear)
To our surprise, CBS started off by offering us numbers 1, 2, and 6 on our wish list. Better still, they offered big chunks of numbers 3, 4, 5, and 7.
Think about it. The bigwigs at CBS News are clearly not bargaining from a position of strength, and it’s obvious they know it. Now keep in mind that in a negotiation, you never ever reveal your true position right up front. If this is where they’ve started from, imagine where we could push them to. By giving CBS News (and by extension, all of MSM) a pass on this baldfaced charade they called “news”, we’d be letting them return to lie another day.
Another thing: have you noticed the deafening silence among the lefty bloggers today? They tried very hard to ignore the CBS News report, hoping we’d lose interest. If they thought they could win the argument on the merits, they’d be in full cry instead. So the only thing standing between us and resounding vindication is … us.
Fellow conservative bloggers, stop worrying about what the other side thinks of us and go for the whole wish list, because they’ll tut-tut about “blogger triumphalism” no matter what we do. Learn from the GOP, which only climbed out of the electoral gutter after it stopped trying to play footsie with the Democrats. Rather, Mapes, and CBS News are scattered and fleeing. Let’s show some spine and mop ’em up.
Power Line finally breaks its silence on the CBS Report here. An excerpt:
I keep picking out interesting nuggets from the CBS Report, starting with page 14:
CBS has finally posted a PDF copy of their report on the now-infamous 60 Minutes II segment where they tried to pass off forged memos as real, only to have the blogosphere expose their anti-Bush agenda masquerading as “news.”
So far the report has no appendices. Appendices and exhibits here.
UPDATE: CBS fired Mary Mapes, producer of the 60 Minutes II segment. Three news execs were also asked to resign … but not CBS News’ President, Andrew Heyward. His desk is buck-free, Buckhead be damned.
UPDATE 2: The CBS report can’t even get basic facts about blogs right. Footnote 86 on page 153 says “Powerline is a Minnesota-based blog run by John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson, both of whom are attorneys.” There’s a third blogger there, you dingalings. Ever heard of Paul Mirengoff, who blogs from Washington, DC? Try checking the three bios right at the top left side of the blog’s home page. You did actually go there and look at the site, right? Time Magazine managed to get the basics right (then again, Time is known for reporting actual news). And it’s “Power Line”, not “Powerline.” Geez, with this kind of attention to detail, how are we going to trust this report’s conclusions?
Whatever happened to the breathless coverage of important news stories like the tons of missing ammo in Iraq? George Bush’s AWOL escapades and the documents that proved it? Karl Rove’s leaking of an undercover CIA operative’s name for political advantage? The Bush Administration’s reckless indifference to Richard Clarke’s prescient warnings about the imminent danger of a 9/11 attack? Bush’s nefarious backroom conspiracies in cahoots with the Saudi royal family and the bin Ladens?
Golly, I thought these were all Critically Important Stories™ that the public needed to know about in every detail. Suddenly, after November 2nd, things have gone quiet. I wonder why.
Paul Demko has a suggestion for his fellow lefty bloggers.
Backcountry Conservative does his usual bang-up job of rounding up scattered links to breaking news, this time on the origin of the forged Killian memos faxed to CBS and Dan Rather.
UPDATE (11:42 PM): Kevin McCullogh is digging into the Kinko’s angle.
CBS and Dan Rather stand by their crumbling story, while Captain’s Quarters recaps the latest developments in the CBS forged memos scandal, and includes a handy 9-point list of discrepancies in the documents. It ain’t all in the superscript, folks.
Meanwhile Power Line gathers several mainstream media stories to paint a picture of Gunga Dan under seige. The three lawyers running Power Line have given Rather a length of rope and they seem content today to watch him tie his own noose. When they pull the lever on the trap door this coming week, it’ll be a quick end for CBS. Power Line has new questions about the paper used for CBS‘ “original” copies, and about incorrect zip codes on the purported memos.
INDC Journal exposes how the Boston Globe misquoted a document analysis expert, and relays the expert’s outrage.
In the “put up or shut up department”, Defeat JohnJohn is offering at least $17,600 to the first person to $17,600 in cash to the first person who can find a typewriter available in 1972 that reasonably could have produced the documents in question.
For the big picture, rely on The Belmont Club … as always.
UPDATE: Dan Rather would have you believe that the whole forgery story is overblown because a few old typewriters could manage superscript text. Well, look at this flash animation. If that’s not proof of forgery, nothing is. No doubt Dan Rather’s next statement will be: “Who’re ya gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”
Hat tip: Power Line
… stop digging. I’ve just gotta laugh.
Captain Ed, the skipper at Captain’s Quarters, comments on a story from The Washington Prowler which supposedly alleges that 60 Minutes got the faked Killian memos from the Kerry campaign. I say “supposedly” because at the moment the Prowler page is inaccessible.
From Captain Ed:
But the Kerry campaign has it even worse. Thanks to a barrage of ads from the Swiftvets, Kerry already has suffered damage to his image in voter evaluation of his honesty and integrity. If his campaign passed off forged documents to news organizations to smear George Bush, it will destroy the shreds of his credibility in such a way that he may not even be able to win re-election in his next Senate campaign.
Not only does it paint the entire Democratic party machine from Kerry and Terry McAuliffe down as completely dishonest, but also incredibly incompetent. How long would it have taken to have a document specialist verify the memos, especially given that even the campaign had its doubts? Voters who manage not to be completely put off by the dishonest have to ask themselves whether they want the country run by people this flat-out stupid. And fair or not, the whole mess winds up in John Kerry’s lap. It’s yet another case of misfiring a grenade, only this time the wounds won’t be superficial.
The moonbats have already begun laying the blame at the feet of Svengali … er, Karl Rove. I’d bet on the simpler, more plausible explanation: Team Kerry’s incompetence.
… if the CBS memos have been forged, and I’m going to hold him to it.
Wizbang asks “whodunnit“? The Commisar has a candidate.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin thinks journalists’ obligation to protect anonymous sources ought to evaporate if the sources lie.
Atrios never met a strawman he didn’t like, Josh Marshall goes on a superscript “th” hunt, Kevin Drum takes CBS at its word (then hedges), and Kos thinks that the “memos” must be real because the White House simply gave reporters copies of what it received from 60 Minutes. Even more hilariously, the commenters on these sites blame Karl Rove for planting the forgeries just to make the left look silly. What a surprise.
The theme of the moment among the lefty bloggers seems to be “never mind the other problems with the forged memos, just find anything to hang your hat on and then either look smug or whine about right-wing conspiracies.” According to the spin from the left today, the “memos” that 60 Minutes faxed to the White House magically became authentic just because the White House gave copies to reporters without comment.
Good luck, fellas.
Captain’s Quarters shuts off another avenue of escape for CBS and its “secret memos” by Lt Col Killian:
The [Washington] Post even forced CBS to reveal that the documents were “authenticated” via a phone conversation with retired Major General Bobby W. Hodges, Killian’s superior:
A senior CBS official, who asked not to be named because CBS managers did not want to go beyond their official statement, named one of the network’s sources as retired Maj. Gen. Bobby W. Hodges, the immediate superior of the documents’ alleged author, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian. He said that a CBS reporter read the documents to Hodges over the phone, and that Hodges replied that “these are the things that Killian had expressed to me at the time.”
“These documents represent what Killian not only was putting in memoranda, but was telling other people,” the CBS News official said. “Journalistically, we’ve gone several extra miles.”
The official said the network regarded Hodges’s comments as “the trump card” on the question of authenticity, as he is a Republican who acknowledged that he did not want to hurt Bush. Hodges, who declined to grant an on-camera interview to CBS, did not respond to messages left on his home answering machine in Texas.
I don’t think that anyone doubts that CBS went several extra miles, but in what direction? How does the Tiffany Network account for the fact that the 1973 memos reference purported pressure from an Col. Buck Staudt, who had retired in 1972? Did Hodges and Killian invent a word-processing system to write these memos that escaped the notice of document experts, with an ability to produce type-set documents?
So now we have documents typed in a way that was impossible for the time they were made, sourced from personal files of a dead ex-officer whose family angrily deny he ever had, and authenticated by another ex-officer who never actually saw them. Is this journalism?
UPDATE: Could this be the Robert Hodges from Texas that claims to be a Republican — the one who donated $250 to Howard Dean?