Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 25, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

CBS BENDS OVER....When CBS rushed the infamous Killian memo story to air two weeks ago, they bumped a story about the forged Niger documents to make room for it. Via Corrente, I just learned that CBS has released a statement saying it has now spiked the story entirely because it would be "inappropriate to air the report so close to the presidential election":

The CBS statement followed a report in the online edition of Newsweek that described the frustration of CBS News reporters and producers who said the network had concluded that it could not legitimately criticize the president because of the questions about the National Guard report.

According to the Newsweek report, the "60 Minutes" segment was to have detailed how the administration relied on false documents when it said Iraq had tried to buy a lightly processed form of uranium, known as yellowcake, from Niger. The administration later acknowledged that the information was incorrect and that the documents were most likely fake.

The Newsweek article said the segment was to have included the first on-camera interview with Elisabetta Burba, the Italian journalist who was given the fake documents and who provided them to a United States Embassy for verification. The documents were sent to Washington, where some officials embraced them as firm evidence that Iraq was aggressively trying to make nuclear weapons.

So not only was Dan Rather (with an assist from Bill Burkett) responsible for effectively killing the National Guard story for all time, but the resulting debacle has now convinced CBS that they shouldn't air any negative stories about George Bush for the next six weeks even if they're true. That's some courageous journalism for you.

If this is the liberal media, conservatives can have it.

Kevin Drum 1:59 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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