Focus of External Criticism is on CBS Producer
Major news networks continue to criticize Mary Mapes, producer of the fake story about President Bush that was based on forged memos. Mapes put confidential witness, Bill Burkett, in touch with Democratic operatives and assured network executives the story was solid. Burkett has admitted to lying and is a well documented foe of President Bush. In a prior editorial he compared the president to Hitler.
One has to wonder what drove her to work on the ill-fated story for five years. John Carlson, a colleague of Ms. Mapes at KIRO-TV in Seattle in the 1980's who is now the host of a conservative radio talk show there, said she was "ardently liberal." The New York Times quotes Carlson:
"She believed in what she was doing, and I think that she and other people at CBS would not have made the same mistakes had this story been about John Kerry."
Why is CBS puzzled over the ease by which Mapes was "deceived". Perhaps it is because the problem is systemic. Easy prediction: Mapes is out (see below).
From the LA Times:
Several journalism analysts said CBS News producer Mary Mapes' phone call to Kerry senior advisor Joe Lockhart amounts to at least a potential conflict of interest — giving the appearance that the network had assisted a candidate in the presidential race.
"There's clearly a conflict of interest when [Mapes] plays both the role of the journalist and the role of an intermediary between a source and somebody in a political campaign," said Bob Steele, a professor of journalism ethics at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"CBS is already in an extremely difficult position to explain and justify their journalistic modus operandi, and now they have an increasingly complicated challenge of explaining a further breach of professionalism and ethical standards."
Jay Rosen, chairman of the journalism department at New York University, called the new twist "part of the curious, sometimes inexplicable, decision-making that appears to have gone on."
Meanwhile, within the CBS organization strife is mounting. The New York Daily quotes Hewitt,the creator of "60 Minutes,
"I think they've acquitted themselves nicely," said Hewitt, who was forced out as executive producer last season. "When I objected to there being a second show, I didn't know how good it was going to be."
- Shocked, Mapes Stands By Her Story - Jan 11, 2005
- Rather Stands by His Claim that the Fake Story is Accurate - Jan 10, 2005
- CBS Ousts 4 For Bush Guard Story, Mapes Terminated - Jan 10, 2005
- Independent Review Panel Examining CBS Issues Report of Its Findings - Jan 10, 2005
- Finding Courage in Rathergate - Jan 09, 2005
- CBS Report on Fake Memos Set for Release - Jan 06, 2005
- Ten Errors in One Paragraph by WaPo - Dec 28, 2004
- Fake but True Alert - Dec 20, 2004
- Rather Steps Down, Finally - Nov 23, 2004
- CBS Credibility Continues Decline - Nov 16, 2004
CBS is only guilty of laziness and not having enough backbone when the going got hard. The contents and timeline of the those not-quite-discredited memos fit in perfectly with Pentagon-released records so the forgery charges were always on very shaky grounds at best. And as far as the noise about proportional printing, fonts and such, it really was only noise:
Posted by: BC at October 24, 2004 8:47 AM