Grave doubts at CBS ...

A mostly political Weblog.
Sept. 20 2004 3:14 AM

Grave Doubts!

But whose grave?

Scapegoat-watch: Bushie John Ellis has some savvy, paranoid  advice for Mary Mapes. ... 2:44 P.M.

A Hatfill of Errors! Nicholas Kristof gets credit for assessing the Swifty charges one by one rather then dismissing them, cocoon-style--but he makes at least one medium-sized error and a huge, presumably unintentional howler. Plus he's guilty of what certainly seems like intentionally sleazy wording (designed to exclude mention of one Kerry subordinate who has trashed him). ... See briefs filed by the firm of Fisk, Fisk, Fisk  & Fisk. ... Still: Between Kristof and Beldar, I'd say we've asymptotically approached the truth enough for there to be not a whole lot of interesting argument left. Two of Kerry's Purple Hearts are shaky and he's guilty of (at least) hype--but he also demonstrated real bravery. His service would be a sure net positive if he hadn't a) overdone it and b) used it as a crutch, a substitute for appealing political substance. ... 11:55 P.M.

Unconfirmed Rumor Dept.: It all depends on what the meaning of "fall on his sword" is, I guess. ...Update:Mayflower Hill's scoop seems confirmed by this NYT story, which looks like a leak designed to pressure Dan Rather into coming off his ludicrous assertions of faith in the almost-certainly-forged Bush Guard documents. Meanwhile, CBS executive producer Josh Howard deflects blame onto producer Mary Mapes, onto the White House--onto anyone but himself and the Queen of the Space Unicorns. But it was Howard who as late as last Tuesday, long after ample evidence of the forgeries had accumulated, told the NYT:

"Everything I've seen makes me completely confident in the documents, in the reporting, in the story, in what we've done." [Emphasis added]

"Everything I've seen"? If that's what he saw, he wasn't looking. What do you have to do to lose your job at CBS?  Tomorrow's NYT follow-up: CBS News officials reveal they now have "grave doubts" about the authenticity of Piltdown Man and Pamela Anderson's breasts. ... 11:14 P.M.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Degradation Spreads to Nagourney: The  9/17 ABC Note  said it was "degrading" for USAT's Susan Page to be "forced to write up the Gallup poll/joke 'showing' the president with a mythical 13-point lead" among likely voters--and an 8 point lead among registered voters--when the real margin was "5-6 points." Will the Note's Mark Halperin say the same thing about his buddy Adam Nagourney being 'forced' to write up the NYT/CBS poll showing Bush with an identical 8 point lead among registered voters (and a 9 point lead among likelies). [Nagourney certainly doesn't seem like he's enjoying himself in this piece--ed It's painful to watch. But (with coauthor Janet Elder) he does his best to keep hope alive. He comically bills the story as "Kerry faces substantial obstacles" instead of, say, "Bush is ahead." And before he gets to the actual, cocoon-threatening results, he leads his second graph with the reassuring assertion that

Americans continue to think that the nation is heading in the wrong direction

while failing to mention that, according to his poll, the right track/wrong track numbers have been heading in Bush's direction--the gap between them narrowed from 16 points to 10 points in the past month. Click on Times sidebar for these and other results. ... But see this CBS poll, which for some reason isn't listed in today's NYT chart and suggests that the wrong-track gap increased slightly (from 8 to 10) over the past week.] ... P.S.: The N.Y. Times headline for November 3: BUSH RE-ELECTED DESPITE UNEASE VOICED IN SURVEY ... Update: Musil  beat me to the Note-sniping. He also links to this  usefully paranoid Pew-bash. More: Maguire disagrees, claims "Spiderman" Nagourney is gently, gently unspinning the cocoon. ...  3:03 A.M.

A Boston Globe editorial says the issue is "news judgment at CBS"--but somehow overlooks the Globe's own embarrassing role in spinning the apparent forgeries,  Bill Adams notes. ...2:19 A.M.

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