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By this time, I assume we are all aware that Dan Rather used forged documents to beat Bush over the head about his service in the Air National Guard. Moreover, although Rather and CBS initially claimed they had made every possible effort to validate the papers before airing the story, it took bloggers about 10 seconds to blow the whistle on them.
Now, I have no idea why the left wishes to wage this presidential campaign based on what did or didn’t occur 30-odd years ago, especially when the facts of those events keep biting them and Kerry in the tush. After all, it’s not as if the two candidates don’t have political records to run on. In Bush’s case, he has a record of recognizing in a post-9/11 world that Islamic fascism is the single greatest evil facing us, and John Kerry has a 20-year record as the biggest knee-jerk liberal in the U.S. Senate. Wait a second! Maybe I do see why the left so desperately wants us to ignore the more recent past.
To get back to Dan Rather, when I first heard the news that he had fallen off his pedestal, my reaction was sheer glee. How delightful to see the great stone face twisting in the breeze. It’s not news, after all, when a dog bites a man, but only when the man bites back. So it’s not news when the giants of the national media flay those on the right. But when one of the nabobs gets caught with his pants down, it’s cause for jubilation, at least in my neighborhood. It could only have been sweeter if Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw had also been taken in by the flimflam.
But my overall joy only turned to anger in the aftermath. For a full week, Rather and his bosses stonewalled, insisting that the story was true. Finally, even they gave up the ghost and had to acknowledge that they’d been duped. But how did they do it? Not too surprisingly, by continuing to insist that while the documents may well have been forged, the facts were still true. Rather, himself, predictably let himself off with the mildest of mea culpas: “I was mistaken.”
I’m afraid that won’t do. If he were an objective reporter – and take my word for it, they’re rarer than snowstorms in hell – his lie could be dismissed as an honest error in judgment. However, when a man has devoted his entire broadcasting career to whitewashing the various gaffes and scandals committed by liberals, while simultaneously spotlighting similar offenses by conservatives, being party to such a politically motivated hoax can’t be dismissed quite so casually.
What should be dismissed is Dan Rather. This misdeed warrants his firing as surely as the journalistic misdeeds of Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass warranted their being pink-slipped into journalistic oblivion.
To call the hoax, as Rather does, simply a mistake is not merely self-serving, it is the sort of spin that Mr. Rather condemns Republican politicians for employing every single chance he gets.
Speaking of spin, I suspect that whooshing sound you hear is Edward R. Murrow spinning in his grave!