Truth Cast Under Wheels of CBS’s ‘Reputation’

As George W. Bush prepares to leave office, Ian Williams (, 11/18/08) thinks that

what is really in order is some sort of pardon and apology to Dan Rather, who CBS‘s cowardly management squeezed from 60 Minutes for telling the truth about Bush’s war record. Rather’s suit against them, with its accompanying subpoenas, has now revealed that in their eagerness to throw a sacrificial victim to the swiftboating bloggers with their escorting media sharks, CBS management actually considered such paragons of journalistic objectivity as Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, William Kristol, William Safire and William Buckley for the investigating panel. Their concern was to counter the “reputation” of the network’s liberal bias.

Williams tells us that the eventual appointee–“Dick Thornburgh, the Republican former attorney general appointed by the deserter-in-chief’s dad”–did not come from this boggling list, “although apparently Roger Ailes, Fox News‘s brain was also under consideration.”

It should be remembered that Thornburgh’s stint as attorney general was marked by virulent hostility to journalists–making his appointment to CBS‘s panel far more explicable as an attempt to “mollify the right”–which was a broad-based CBS strategy–than as a serious effort to examine Rather’s reporting.

See the FAIR publication Extra! Update: “The Real Lessons of ‘Memogate'” (2/05) by Peter Hart & Jim Naureckas