CBS Statement on source of documents on Bush (excerpt):
...Bill Burkett, in a weekend interview with CBS News Anchor and Correspondent Dan Rather, has acknowledged that he provided the now-disputed documents used in the Sept. 8 "60 Minutes Wednesday" report on President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard.
Burkett, a retired National Guard lieutenant colonel, also admits that he deliberately misled the CBS News producer working on the report, giving her a false account of the documents’ origins to protect a promise of confidentiality to the actual source....
The Dan has to eat crow. Excerpt:
I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where-if I knew then what I know now-I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.
But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.
If Dan were really in favor of that tradition, it would be a break from his previous practice.
Still, I wonder why this is such a story. CBS was sloppy and partisan? Yawn.
What about Bush avoiding the draft? Is that really a story? I have to be honest: If I had been of draft age (K. Grease was 15 in 1973, when the draft ended, and the war started to end), I have every confidence that my parents would have told me to stay in college to avoid the war. My dad was a lieutentant, later a captain, in the Army. He commanded an armored cavalry unit (100th Recon Troop, Century Division) in combat in southern France, and won a Bronze Star. He served for years, not months. And he volunteered. But his feelings about Vietnam were confused.
Bush pulled strings to join the National Guard. He really did. Thousands and thousands of other people did, too.
Kerry served, for seven months, and made sure there was a video camera around the whole time to record his heroic facial expressions. Every time he got a scratch, he put in a for Bronze Star, to get out as soon as he could. Thousands of other guys did that, too.
Tens of thousands of other men served, and got killed or got their lives turned inside out.
Others left the country, or objected, for principled reasons, or not. We'll never know. It's complicated.
Here's the thing: there actually is a war to talk about, you know: the one in Iraq. It's not going that well, but the CBS brain trust decided to divert attention from that to the war that American just can't really make up our minds about, from more than 30 years ago.
So, for a week of news cycles, right in the meat of the campaign, we have been focused on Dippy Dan and the Kinkos Papers. The whole chattercult focused, again, on Vietnam. At best, this was just a wasted week for Kerry; at worst, Bush will actually pick up sympathy support for getting picked on with forged documents.
Did I say that Dan Rather was a liberal partisan? I take it back. He was much more effective in hurting Kerry this past week than any Bush operative could possibly have been. Maybe next time Rather can run with Nader, as a VP candidate.