September 15, 2004 [LINK]

"RatherGate" update

Yesterday's posting included a link to the wrong story about the "RatherGate" scandal, so I corrected it below. I had inadvertently linked to this Washington Post story by Howard Kurtz, who reported that CBS News ignored the advance warnings about probable forgery made by two document experts it had retained. Dan Rather and CBS bigwig Andrew Heyward are sticking to their guns for now, relying on the deceased Lt. Col. Killian's secretary, who says that the general thrust of those alleged memos was accurate, even though she agrees with nearly all the experts who say the documents were fake. For Rather, the main point is that the underlying "60 Minutes" story about Bush is true, implying that the veracity of the evidence used to prepare that story doesn't really matter. Yikes. That reminds me of the kinds of things Molotov and Goebbels used to say. CBS has pledged to investigate its sources, reminding me of O.J. Simpson's pledge to search for "the real killer."

Whereas much of the "blogosphere" is in an uproar, some of the more highbrow types have an aloof or complacent attitude. One example is Daniel Drezner, an academic whose judgment is normally quite sound. I just posted the following comment on his blog:

Prof. Drezner asks: My one and only political response to all of this stuff is very simple: does anyone seriously believe that this election should be decided by what either candidate did more than thirty years ago?
The huge irony embodied in this question was touched on by Al (above), but it cries out for amplification. Not only did Kerry himself make what he did thirty years ago the centerpiece of his entire campaign, but Drezner apparently remains inclined to cast his vote for that same candidate! I share some of Drezner's misgivings about Bush's strategic miscalculations in Iraq, but I cannot fathom how the flip-flopping Kerry would do any better. Like it or not, a Kerry win would be interpreted by Islamo-fascists as a sign of U.S. retreat. As for the subject of the scandalous 60 Minutes report, the follies of youth and/or young adulthood are for me a marginal but not negligible mark of character. But as others have pointed out, Drezner misses the big point, seemingly unaware of the significance of the collapse of journalistic integrity at CBS.

NOTE: This is a "post facto" blog post, taken from the pre-November 2004 archives.