"Dedicated to exposing the lies and impeachable offenses of George W. Bush"

CBS Memo: Selective punishment shows media's true bias
January 12, 2005

From the media interest surrounding CBS's investigation into "Memogate," one would think that the credibility of 60 Minutes' report on George W. Bush's National Guard service was the most pressing media issue facing the nation.

Shortly after the report about Bush's National Guard service aired on 60 Minutes (9/8/04), right-wing commentators and bloggers claimed that the documents supporting the CBS report were fraudulent and pointed to the episode as evidence of "liberal media" bias.

In fact, the CBS review, headed by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh (an appointee of Bush's father) and former Associated Press president Louis Boccardi, was not able to state conclusively whether the documents were forgeries or not. The report also found no evidence that political bias was a factor in the network's journalism. Instead, the report documented a series of misjudgments on the part of several CBS staffers, most notably producer Mary Mapes.

CBS's investigation did document serious failures in 60 Minutes' efforts to check its source's claims--an endemic problem in commercial news. If "Memogate" had called attention to the general issue of credulous journalism, it would have performed a valuable service for the public. But the media discussion of the incident generally treated it as either an aberration or as an emblem of left-wing media bias.

The hours of coverage of the Rather episode managed to ignore what should have been the central question: Did George W. Bush, in reality, properly fulfill his National Guard requirements? On September 14, FAIR noted that CBS was only one of several media outlets to release important reports about documented discrepancies in Bush's service record. Because of the focus on the CBS documents and the accompanying right-wing accusations of media bias on the issue, those stories-- and the important questions they raised-- were quickly dropped by a cowed press corps.

The claims that this controversy proves that CBS, or the media as a whole, have a liberal or anti-Bush bias, are ludicrous. When CBS staffers got caught taking shortcuts on a story critical of Bush, it cost them their careers. By contrast, other reporters have received much less scrutiny and punishment for offenses of far greater magnitude-- and with much more significant consequences to society. The New York Times, for example, published numerous allegations about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that turned out to be false-- such as one source's claim that "all of Iraq is one large storage facility" for WMD (9/8/02). Those stories, many of which were splashed on the paper's front page, did a great deal to sell the White House's bogus case for war against Iraq.

While the Times has admitted (5/26/04) that some of its WMD reporting was "insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged," the reporter most responsible for those stories, Judith Miller, was never sanctioned by the Times-- and indeed still continues to report on Iraq for the paper. Ironically, after MSNBC's Hardball finished its discussion of CBS and journalistic responsibility on January 10, the show turned to a discussion of Iraq featuring... Judith Miller.

The lesson of "Memogate," then, is that journalists may be punished for bad reporting-- if they have offended the wrong people. If they have merely helped steer the country into war under false pretenses, their careers can continue unimpeded.

Never forget the number of lies put out by the republican party during the Clinton years and how the media pushed these lies as scandals. Every word written about Clinton's involvement in a scandal called "Whitewater" was a lie. How many journalists were fired for lying about a democrat president and why aren't more journalists being fired for lying about WMD etc.?

It's important that we not forget that we were right and the media backed Bush White House lied to us and was wrong. Every reporter who lies to us needs to suffer the same consequences and be fired. Obviously if we had conformity with this rule we wouldn't have any journalists left in the country.

CBS is and acts like a coward network. It ran and hid when conservatives whined about "The Reagan's" and it ran and hid when they whined about Janet Jackson's boob. But, when the Party lies about tax cuts and surpluses, war and peace, and pseudo scandals called Whitewater no one loses their jobs. So much for morality and real Christian values.