September 21, 2004 [LINK]

Rather comes (half) clean!

CBS announced yesterday that it regrets having aired the "60 Minutes" piece on Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard in the first place, and Dan Rather told his viewers "I'm sorry." However, his apology only applied to his role in putting out the story, not to his fierce defense of it after the evidence was shown to be false. The Washington Post provides details about the strange connections between CBS, the fraudulent memos, and the Democratic Party. "[Rather's producer, Mary] Mapes also put [retired Texas National Guard officer Bill] Burkett in touch with a senior official in John F. Kerry's presidential campaign..." Huh?? Recall that Joe Lockhart joined Kerry's team just before the bogus "60 Minutes" story aired on September 8. Lockhart has admitted having met with the source of the memos, Burkett, who faxed them to CBS from Kinko's in Abilene, Texas at about the same time. For a full chronology, see Baseball Crank.

Like Pete Rose and Bill Clinton, Dan Rather realized that cutting his losses was preferable to spending the rest of his life denying the obvious. Like them, his superinflated ego simply refused to make a fully sincere gesture of contrition, merely admitting to poor judgment without acknowledging deeper flaws. Rather is exactly the kind of overpaid pompous fool that was lampooned so well in Broadcast News, starring William Hurt, Albert Brooks, and Holly Hunter. (Remember the staged tearful interview video clip?) Frankly, I'm surprised the folks at CBS were able to stonewall as long as they did; if they had kept it up much longer, Rather would have had to utter a Nixonian "I am not a crook" line. The parallel with Watergate is deliciously ironic: The coverup of Rathergate (and Watergate) turned out to be a bigger crime than the original "cheap forgery" ("third-rate burglary"). Until Rather apologizes for dragging this matter out, for downplaying the seriousness of fraud, and for impugning the motives of those who brought this journalistic travesty to light, the matter will not be closed. If Rather were to be fired, many partisan CBS viewers would probably feel betrayed, so I'm guessing Dan will just take a week-long "vacation" to reflect on his errors, returning in plenty of time for the November showdown.

Not to be pushing conspiracy theories, but it cannot be entirely coincidental that the Democratic National Committee began running those "Fortunate Son" ads at about the same time as the "60 Minutes" report, seeking to exploit Bush's "chicken-hawk" vulnerability. On September 10, Glenn Reynolds made a good point about the writer of the song, "Fortunate Son." Before Creedence Clearwater Revival made the big time, band leader John Fogerty was himself a member of the Army Reserves, thereby avoiding service in Vietnam.

On a humorous note, Drew Carey, who has been filling in as host of the CBS "Late Late Show" since Craig Kilborne left, presented tearful mock "apologies" from CBS employees, including a janitor, a technician, and a cafeteria worker.

Good grief! Leftists, I mean "progressives," have come up with a clever scheme so that radical sentiment can be voiced in such a way that it won't cost the mainstream liberal candidate, John Kerry, any electoral votes. Remember Nader in 2000? is trying to get voters in swing states who are inclined to vote with their radical hearts to use their heads instead. Radical voter "A" in swing state "X" would agree to vote for Kerry in exchange for Democratic voter "B" in non-swing state "Y" voting for A's preferred radical fringe candidate. What would Gus Hall have thought of this? Such "pragmatism" in the exercise of democracy strikes me as very troubling, the idea that elections might be decided on the basis of insincerely-cast ballots. It's not only a transparent attempt to thwart the principle of federalism underlying the U.S. Constitution (setting up presidential races on a state by state basis, not nationwide), it's a wide-open invitation to fraud. (via

NOTE: This blog piece was originally posted before a regular blog archiving system was in place. The alternate permalink is /Archives/2004/Politics2004.shtml#092104.