Anyway, “In a 60 Minutes Wednesday story about President Bush’s time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question and their source vigorously, and we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome. Now, after extensive additional interviews, I, Dan Rather, no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers, that, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press leads me to point out if I knew then what I know now, I would not have gone ahead with this story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.”But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment and for that I’m sorry. It was an error that was made, however in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear of favoritism. Please know that nothing is more important to us than people’s trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.” Dan, oh, this is worse. My friends, this is embarrassing and pathetic to watch. They keep making this worse. He admits he’s got forged documents. He admits he’s trusted the wrong source. What’s missing in this? Can I tell you what’s missing in this? I mean, there’s one overwhelming, overarching thing that is blaringly, just nakedly missing here. He’s admitting that the documents are forged, not using that word. What’s missing is any anger. If I’m CBS and Dan Rather, and I am truly deceived by a source, I am fit to be tied. Remember, he said he wanted to “break the story” last week.
Where’s the interest in finding out who the hell screwed them? Where is the interest in finding out who deceived them? There’s no anger. All there is, is a bunch of remorse and pleas. “Hey, you know, this is a one-time mistake. We still care about integrity and truthfulness and fairness here at CBS. If I’d have known what I know now I wouldn’t have used them.” That’s not the story. That’s old news. Everybody knows you shouldn’t have used these documents. Everybody knows you shouldn’t have gone to press or gone to air with a story this flimsy. The question is: Who? And the fact that there’s no anger, the fact that there is no apparent upset here, the fact that there is no stated intention to go find out who screwed with CBS and Dan Rather, tells me they know who it is. So they were not deceived. They were not fooled. Well, no, they were not deceived. They were not fooled. They’re not victims here. They’re going to try to portray themselves as victims, but they’re not, because they did not do their due diligence.
They just wanted this to be true so badly. For whatever reasons — I don’t even care what they are; we can go from A to Z and be right about all of them — the fact of the matter is that there’s… I mean, folks, ask yourselves. You are CBS. Try to imagine yourself as the Tiffany of any business, and your reputation is on the line, and somebody has shafted you. Somebody has given you a bunch of forged documents. I mean, folks, we are talking forgery, criminality. We are talking about felony. This is huge. They are just forged. The media, as they pursued the truth, as they proceeded with a journalistic investigation, forged documents made it into a story about the President of the United States in an attempt to influence the presidential election. Where is the anger? Had somebody done this to me, somebody I didn’t know, somebody who I checked out and they checked out and I verified, and then it all turned up false, I would be fit to be tied that my reputation had been taken to the brink like this, that the company I work for had been taken to the brink, and, who knows, destroyed over this.
I would be fit to be tied! There’s no anger here. Now, I’m sure there’s anger in, you know, behind the walls inhabited by the suits at CBS. Because this statement, this statement means that Rather lost the internal argument over how to deal with this. That’s what this statement means. We’ve heard the stories that Rather is the emperor, and Rather runs the show, and there’s no question that’s been the case — and he may have. I think he knew the jig was up here at some point, and it may not have been all that difficult to persuade him, but if you’re just tuning in they just issued a statement — and, of course, again I have to also say, John Kerry, he gave a pretty good speech for him today. No, no. I’m qualifying it: pretty good. It was a single. He made contact, but nobody cares now. He’s been erased in this double play with the release of Rather’s statement.
“Now, after extensive additional interviews, I, Dan Rather, no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where, if I knew then what I know now, I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired and I certainly would not have used the documents in question. But we did use the documents, we made a mistake in judgment, and for that I’m sorry. It was an error that was made however in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News…”
How can they possibly, how can they dare, lump the use of forged documents with CBS News tradition? Let me read this as it should be translated: “But we did use the forged documents. We made a mistake in judgment and for that I’m sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith, and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of using forged documents to investigate reporting without fear of favoritism.” How in the world you lump the fact — you try to protect the news division or tradition and say, “Well, yeah, we got skunked here on these documents. Please know that nothing is more important to us than the people’s trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.” The fact that you have to say that means it’s in question, is it not? When you have to say, “I am not a whore,” does not everybody know what you are?
Wait a minute. That may not be a mistake. Apparently MSNBC is running a crawl that says the source admits he misled CBS? Everybody is saying, “Naw, MSNBC’s got that wrong. They’re getting it wrong from the Rather story.” No, maybe this is a coordinated release. Maybe the source has put out his own statement saying that he’s sorry he misled CBS to back up what Rather says, saying their source misled them. Let’s go back. This is something I thought was going to wind down; it’s just speeding up. It’s just getting more and more explosive because the cover-up continues. The cover-up continues. Here’s what Rather said: “Now, after extensive additional interviews I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled in the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers.”
Well, if you read this, they still trust the source; they just don’t like the way the source came into possession of the documents. They do not denounce their source. They denounce the way the source “came into possession of these papers.” Now, the MSNBC crawl says that the source is also “admitting he misled CBS.” Now, we don’t know if that’s right or if MSNBC is getting it wrong on their crawl. But here’s an interesting thing. You know, Rather says in this statement, “If I had known then what I know now…” Well, my friends, that leads to an interesting question: “What did you know, Dan, and when did you know it?” If you’re going to tell us if you had known then what you know now, what did you know and when did you know it? It’s a little turn on the same question that Rather and the media kept asking of Richard Nixon, and this is beginning to take on more and more similarities to the whole quagmire of Watergate in terms of the cover-up being worse than the crime.
So they want to insist here that they were “misled.” Can I go through a list of some things that CBS had to overlook if they want to maintain that they were misled? The widow of Lieutenant Killian and the son of Lieutenant Killian were talked to and ignored. Documents experts contacted by CBS were ignored. Bobby Hodges, who ended up being a corroborating witness for CBS, was misled and later said they only read things to him on the phone. He had no idea he was being read to from forged documents, so he recanted. Hodges was misled. That old secretary was not interviewed until afterward. What was her name? Cox, Marian Carr Knox, whatever, the old secretary. The 86-year-old woman was not interviewed until afterward. Mr. Stout, who had his character attacked in one memo, was never contacted by CBS. The opinions of the document experts were misrepresented by CBS. The swift boat veterans were maligned. George Bush’s roommate during his Guard years who agreed to speak to CBS was turned down “because he was deemed to be too pro-Bush,” and that is a quote for a CBS producer!
Yeah, we interviewed him but he was too pro-Bush. All of these things, all of these things had to be overlooked if they were misled, and they were not overlooked. Or they had to overlook all of these things. They were not “misled,” folks. This was a hit piece on George W. Bush to begin with, and there’s something else missing big, big, big in this statement that indicates that. There’s no apology to George Bush. There is no apology to President Bush, in this statement, who was the target of all of this. It was Bush who was maligned. It was Bush who was misrepresented. It was Bush who was the subject of an entire news story that was taken to air on the basis of forged documents. So, nice try, CBS, but it seems to me that there’s still a cover-up going on, and the cover-up is of and for the source. We’re still trying to cover the source, make sure the source is not ID’d, and if that’s true, if that’s true I’ll tell you again: Why? Because if the source is ID’d — and I’m suspicious of this because I don’t see any anger.
You know, Rather said he wanted to “break” this story if these documents remember forged. There’s no breaking of the story here because it already happened, but accompanying the breaking of the story would be a sense of purpose and a sense of outrage and a sense of anger. There is none of that. Dan Rather doesn’t seem to be angry at all. He’s been deceived. He’s been misled. His whole reputation, his whole career is on the line. Now his legacy is on the line. He’s not mad about it? He’s not going to move heaven and earth to find out who in hell screwed with CBS News this way? Well, if that’s true, if they’re not going to move heaven and earth to find out who screwed with CBS this way, it’s because they already know, and they then must protect this source. Because, if I’m wrong, and if it is true that they have to protect the source, the source must be somebody who, if he or she were revealed, could bring down CBS and Dan Rather’s career and end the Kerry campaign in one fell swoop, and, of course, the objective of this hit piece was to destroy the Bush campaign and to destroy the Bush presidency.
The purpose of this piece was to elevate the Kerry campaign and the only way the Kerry campaign can be elevated is by attempting to diminish his opponent, President Bush. Even with Kerry’s speech today, this is not an uplifting speech. It’s not a speech designed to lift Kerry above the fray and make him seem presidential. It is a speech designed to take George Bush and cut him down to size acres small so that Kerry looks bigger than George W. Bush because Kerry does not have the ability on his own by virtue of his own stature to rise above anybody to be perceived as a bigger person than say Bush or anybody else and they’ve got to cut their opponents down to size. So this continues as a story because there are still questions that CBS has not answered. In fact, let me read this again. Tell me if I’m wrong here. I didn’t even read that they’re conducting an ongoing investigation to find out any more about this. “Last week amid increasing questions…” (mumbling) read this very quickly “the confidence we’ve been misled…knew what I know now but we did use the documents…more…”
They don’t talk about taking this any further. There’s no investigation to find out what happened to get to the bottom of this. They say they wouldn’t have run with the story, but, you know, I’ll bet you they’re still going to try to find a way to make the story airable. They’re still going to try to find a way to do this story because they believe the story. They just don’t believe the source or how the source came to be in possession of the documents which prove it. Now, I saw pieces, I forget when this was over the weekend, might have been Friday or Saturday, but, but there are some names that are being bandied about, names close to Kerry, that have been in contact with Bill Burkett. (program observer interruption) You know of one, Mr. Snerdley? Who? Who is it? Yeah, now, where did you see this? Yeah, was it AP or Reuters.
I saw the same thing on Friday, and there’s apparently a link here between Bill Burkett and Max Cleland, and in one of the stories I think it was postulated that Burkett might have found a way to alert… (program observer interruption) Oh, Burkett called Cleland, isn’t that what it is? Burkett called Cleland and they talked and it was Burkett who told Cleland what he had. It was Burkett who told Cleland (summary), “Hey, you know, Bush didn’t take a physical…” Whatever these documents purport to say. Burkett called Cleland. Now, Cleland, you know, is still in a seething rage over his Senate loss in 2002. I can’t tell you how much that meant to him, that seat, and his future was, well, it was etched in stone. That was his life, and he lost it after one term and the stories are that he’s still very hurt and angry about this. So you’ll see his name bandied about with this as well, but probably not from CBS.
I guess it is true. There is a coordinated release here between “the source” and CBS because the man who gave CBS the alleged documents admits that he misled CBS. No identity of this person but everybody is assuming it’s Bill Burkett. Now the cable networks have this. CBS has issued its own statement alongside Dan Rather’s. I haven’t seen CBS’ statement yet, but apparently what this is, is a trial balloon statement to see how it flies within the walls at CBS, to see how the CBS News division employees deal with the statement, see if it’s enough for them so that nobody has to fall on the sword. So that no producer has to fall on the sword so that Dan Rather doesn’t have to fall on the sword, to ride this out to the next news cycle and see if they can weather the storm by simply admitting what everybody knows: that they got forged documents. Well, they’re not admitting the word “forgery.” They just said they’re not journalistically pure and they’re saying their source misled them and in just a very, very, very puzzling coincidence. “Why, hot damn! The source is out with a statement saying that he misled CBS.”
Now, this is interesting because the source says he misled CBS. Where is the media trying to find out who this source is? You know, we have stopped heaven and earth to try to find out who leaked the name to Robert Novak of Joe Wilson’s wife Valerie Plame, the CIA “official.” There’s a justice department investigation. There’s a grand jury that’s been impaneled to find out who it was that leaked her name, even though it’s irrelevant. Now we’ve got a source saying, “I’m the source.” It’s a new action hero, The Source, and The Source is admitting that he misled CBS. Well, somebody has to know who The Source is! What do you do just send a fax to all the networks from The Source to ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, whatever, and say, “Hi, I’m the person.” How can we trust CBS when they say anything about this? When CBS says their source misled them, how do we know? It’s CBS saying it. Literally, how can we trust what CBS says in this? CBS already got misled by their source. They’re admitting that. They already used forged documents.
What if The Source is still lying to them? What if The Source is lying that he misled CBS? What if The Source didn’t mislead anybody and just saying that he did? Really, how can we believe anybody in this when we’re still relying on The Source. The networks are still crediting The Source. “Yeah, I misled CBS. I could be misleading you now, too, but I know you’re going to believe me because I’m The Source and you all know who I am. I’m somewhere affiliated within the Democratic ranks of this country.” So follow this: The Source, who has taken CBS to the brink of doom is still speaking, and The Source is admitting what he did, and The Source is being credited and reported on with credibility! The Source is being reported on as still a good source. The source is like John Kerry: We’ve got a flip-flopper source for CBS News! The Source keeps flip-flopping. “Yeah, I misled, but I didn’t misled in the first place. Yeah, I saw him and I tried to…” What is becoming of the mainstream press?
This is a hoot to try to follow. The CBS News president Andrew Heyward, said, “Yeah, we shouldn’t have used the documents.” Too late, Andrew! You used the documents, and you tried to stick with them for a whole week, and you did show after show after show trying to validate the authenticity of the documents. It was only when these so-called partisan political forces wouldn’t back down, and talk to some of the document experts that CBS had also talked to but rejected, that CBS finally had to issue this statement today. In a Twilight Zone, this is like we’re living in. This is Star Trek. I don’t know where we are in this. We’ve got a source who misleads CBS. CBS puts out a statement saying our source misled us. The Source puts out a statement saying, “Yep, I misled CBS.” The Source still has credibility with the news media. There’s only one way all of this, you know, laces up. There’s only one way any of this makes any journalistic sense and that is if the media know who they’re all talking to and about here.
If CBS knows — they do know who The Source is obviously and they’re not angry. I keep going through these points because I’m sitting here in literal stunned disbelief over this. I mean, this is that wouldn’t happen at the Weekly Reader. The Weekly Reader would get confirmation. You know, that’s the little newspaper for grade school kids. The Weekly Reader has a better journalistic standard than this. Heckle and Jeckle, you know, they did better than this. All right, now The Source has gone public, is admitting that Bill Burkett now admits to misleading a CBS TV producer. So that’s The Source. Bill Burkett is The Source, and Bill Burkett is saying he misled the CBS TV producer. So Burkett’s gone public now, and so Burkett — and let’s remember who Burkett is. Burkett’s motivation, this is from Howie Kurtz’s story today in the Washington Post:
“Burkett’s motivation could be suspect because he said in a web posting last month that he had tried to contact John Kerry’s presidential campaign. He said he had urged former Democratic senator Max Cleland to counter Republican tactics in a brief conversation confirmed by Cleland, and he tried to provide the Kerry operation with information to counterattack, but that campaign official did not call him back.” Oh. Campaign officials didn’t call him back. So he does admit to calling Cleland, and Cleland says, “Yep, I talked to him but I didn’t take his message on.” CBS said that Burkett acknowledged he provided the documents, said he deliberately misled a CBS producer, giving her a false account of their origin to protect a promise of confidentiality to a source. “The AP could not immediately reach Burkett for comment. The documents were said to be written by Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian, indicating he was being pressured to sugarcoat the performance ratings of a young Bush.”
So there’s another source out there. Burkett saying he’s not Final Source. Burkett is The Source that gave the stuff to CBS, but somebody gave them to Burkett. Burkett said he acknowledged he provided the documents, said he deliberately misled a CBS producer in order to “protect a promise of confidentiality to a source, giving her a false account of their origin to protect a promise of confidentiality to a source.” So there’s still somebody out there that needs to be ID’d. That person has not come forward, and it is why CBS is not angry and is not pursuing this. It tells us where this source hangs out. If anybody now believes this didn’t come from somewhere within the ranks of the Democratic Party then you need to have your head examined.
You need to go back in for a brain transplant or perhaps go in and get some IQ drugs because you are seriously missing what is happening here. “CBS has also said it was commissioning an independent review of the incident and will announce the names of the people conducting the review shortly.” So they’re going to conduct an independent review, exactly what was suggested on this program. Yeah, they won’t ask me to be on their review. This review is going to be a review made up of people like Walter Cronkite. I can give you the names: Richard Holbrooke, Walter Cronkite, Rand Beers and James Carville will look into the authenticity of this investigation and find out what went wrong. They may ask Jimmy Carter to sit in as an observer to the official investigation.