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Monday, January 10, 2005

Liberal take on Rathergate

Today, an independent panel released a report analyzing a case of public misinformation. According to the panel, a certain entity “presented half truths as facts” and “ignored facts that cast doubts on the story.” This entity claimed to have received this misinformation from another source. Unfortunately, the source of this misinformation goes unpunished.

The entity in the above description is CBS News. The panel found CBS News to have no political agenda when producing the story other than the hunt for sensationalism. The case of misinformation, now commonly referred to as Rathergate, occurred when CBS news anchor Dan Rather reported, based on forged documents, that "…Mr. Bush disobeyed an order to appear for a physical exam, and that friends of the Bush family tried to “sugar coat” his Guard service. " (source)

Now, you may realize that the description, italicized above, matches another familiar and recent event; namely, the misinformation campaign carried out by the Bush Administration that led the American people to support the Iraq War. But here is where the stories diverge: In the case of CBS News, while the source of the misinformation went unpunished, the disseminators of the un-truths were fired, asked to resign, and re-assigned. In the case of the Bush Administration…nothing.

The difference between Rather-gate and Bush's Iraq War is that CBS punished those who misled the American public while President Bush promoted them to another four-year term. Was everyone responsible for Rathergate fired? Obviously not. But action was taken, which is more than the American public has seen from the President, who could take a hint from Dan Rather's on-the-air apology to the American people.

This is my liberal opinion of the Rather-gate scandal. Joe has a conservative take on the matter.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting your views up. I haven't read it all but snippets from the report lack objectivity and contain a smug 3rd person aura:

"The Panel is troubled by this apology."

"The Panel finds that the questions and assaults directed towards the September 8 Segment
should have been answered with fresh, independent reporting to determine their validity,
certainly by or shortly after September 10. Instead, 60 Minutes Wednesday answered with an
unyielding and strident defense and lost the battle."

This is garbage.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

60 minutes did precisely the right thing in defending its employee until such time as proof came up that he was wrong. They had every reason to believe Rather was correct, since he has a good reputation. Yes, he made a mistake. I personally don't think he should have resigned for that one mistake, but the general American public appears to be dumb like that. It was, however, very appropriate of Rather to resign considering the political context and the public he serves. Regardless, CBS did the right thing as well in defending him, as should any company employing someone who has earned a reputation like Rathers's.

10:54 PM  

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