Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Media Bias - CBS - More than a Hoax?

ABC News is reporting that CBS ignored concerns from two of its own document experts in its decision to air the Killian story:
Emily Will, a veteran document examiner from North Carolina, told ABC News she saw problems right away with the one document CBS hired her to check the weekend before the broadcast.

"I found five significant differences in the questioned handwriting, and I found problems with the printing itself as to whether it could have been produced by a typewriter," she said.

Will says she sent the CBS producer an e-mail message about her concerns and strongly urged the network the night before the broadcast not to use the documents.

"I told them that all the questions I was asking them on Tuesday night, they were going to be asked by hundreds of other document examiners on Thursday if they ran that story," Will said.

But the documents became a key part of the 60 Minutes II broadcast questioning President Bush's National Guard service in 1972. CBS made no mention that any expert disputed the authenticity.

"I did not feel that they wanted to investigate it very deeply," Will told ABC News.

A second document examiner hired by CBS News, Linda James of Plano, Texas, also told ABC News she had concerns about the documents and could not authenticate them. She said she expressed her concerns to CBS before the 60 Minutes II broadcast.

"I did not authenticate anything and I don't want it to be misunderstood that I did," James said. "And that's why I have come forth to talk about it because I don't want anybody to think I did authenticate these documents."

So CBS' "authentication" rest solely on the testimony of a third document expert Marcel Matley. But, according to the Washington Post, Mr. Matley did not do so:
"There's no way that I, as a document expert, can authenticate them," Marcel Matley said in a telephone interview from San Francisco. The main reason, he said, is that they are "copies" that are "far removed" from the originals.
Mr. Matley merely examined the signature on two of the memos (the others were initialed).

What do these new revelations mean? At best they show reckless disregard on the part of Dan Rather and those at CBS who approved the airing of the story, re-confirming the bias that so many of us see in the MSM. At worst? Well, its big. Glen Reynolds at Instapundit:
I have to say, I've spent years criticizing the media and this still makes my jaw drop.
Captain's Quarters takes a harsh, but I think fair, line:
This goes far beyond journalistic malpractice and could go as far as libel (or slander). Dan Rather and CBS knowingly broadcast a story they knew to be based on documents that could not be authenticated and were most likely forgeries, advice they received from their own experts.

Instead of attempting to verify the documents with the family, CBS ran to broadcast the material, knowing that it would smear a candidate for President.
I've been saying for months that I thought that the MSM was doing everything it could to slant the news in Kerry's favor; with the reporting on the War on Terror, and the reporting on the 9/11 Commission Report and the reporting on the Joe Wilson-Valerie Plame kerfuffle, but this blows all of those out of the water.

Here, we may have a case of one of the country's leading news organizations knowingly airing fraudulent documents in an effort to sway the election. If this is true, if CBS aired this story solely because Dan Rather (to quote Fox Mulder) wanted to believe that it was true, then we've truly witnessed a watershed event.

Where do we go from there?