Rather Not


A panel assigned the task of investigating the investigative journalism of CBS's '60 Minutes' concluded that those associated with the program aired on September 8, 2004 acted unprofessionally in relying upon unreliable sources of information.

The story examined the commonly heard reports that President Bush was a less than stellar member of the Air National Guard. Certain memos were alleged to have been written by Bush's then commanding officer. It was later determined that the memos were unreliable.

Missed in most of the hoopla surrounding this revelation is the fact that the story was substantially accurate in its thesis that Bush was missing much of the time he was supposed to be defending his nation. The then secretary for Bush's commander affirmed her view that the memos presented on the program were not written by Bush's commanding officer. However, she footnoted that comment with another. She pointed out that Bush's commander had published much more damning comments about Bush's service in the Guard.

Commenting upon the findings of the investigation and the subsequent firing of several CBS executives, the White House expressed satisfaction that CBS was demonstrating some accountability for publishing falsehoods about King George. The message from the White House is that heads should roll whenever a story critical of the President is less than 100% accurate.

If only the White House would apply this same standard to the President and his cabinet. In the height of irony (or hypocrisy), those who have lied this nation into an invasion and continuing occupation of another country have the temerity to advocate accountability in the form of firings for journalistic inaccuracy. The White House's lies about Iraq could fill volumes. They continue unabated as this article is being written. Yet, nobody is being broomed out of DC for creating, publishing or perpetuating the 'whoppers' that have led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and Iraqis. The implication is that Bush's reputation is more sacrosanct than the lives lost feeding his lies.

The panel investigating the '60 Minutes' report concluded that there was not a political agenda driving the report. The White House believes that there was, and argues that there should be no political agenda in journalism. Tell that to the marionettes over at FOX News.

CBS stepped up and made its mea culpa. Will you do the same, Mr. Bush? Apparently your response is 'Rather not.'

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John Peters's picture
Columns on STR: 15

John Peters is an attorney in Michigan, a Libertarian, and a freelance author.