Okay, so now even Dan Rather and CBS concede that maybe the documents CBS used to accuse President Bush of shirking his duties as a national guardsman were forged. So now we should expect a period of reflection and introspection on the part of the media organization--how was it taken so easily by such obvious fakes, and why it went ahead with this attack on the President when its own experts warned it that the documents might not be authentic. Maybe there will be a little bit of embarrassment at CBS for having attacked the President using false documents, maybe an apology. Maybe CBS would turn the focus of the story on to who provided it with the false documents, and what was that person's motivation. And maybe, just maybe, some people at CBS would question whether ideology had gotten the better of them, that they so disliked Bush and so wanted the story to be true that they ran ahead of their doubts, allowing their sincere beliefs to compromise their prized journalistic objectivity.
Yes, and monkeys will soon be flying out of my butt. CBS has forged right ahead with this story built on forged documents, proclaiming that the story is true even if the documents aren't. In the very same broadcast where it admits that maybe the documents weren't all they appeared to by, they dragged out Marion Carr Knox, an 86 year old former secretary to Col. Killian, who told us that even though the memos were false, they did reflect the true feelings of her former boss. She said that Col. Killian did have "secret files" and that this was sort of like the documents that would be in those files. She said that Col. Killian did have problems with then Lt. Bush's belief that he didn't have to follow the same rules as everyone else, and that she believed that Bush had political influence to get into the Guard:
But did Lt. Bush get into the National Guard on the basis of preferential treatment?
“I'm going to say that he did,” says Knox. “I feel that he did, because there were a lot other boys in there in the same way."
Of course this is all so much whoya (you know the old joke, "don't step in that pile of whoya"). Maybe how one of Bush's former commanders felt about Bush's National Guard service might have some slight relevance (although you wouldn't think so when Kerry's former commander talked about how Kerry got his first purple heart). But is there any possible newsworthiness to what Col. Killian's secretary of over thirty years ago thought about what Col. Killian thought about a junior officer? Isn't this a little bit of a reach? And how in hell does CBS News think that Ms. Knox knows whether Bush used political influence to get into the Guard?
More to the point, CBS neglects to point out in its "story" that Ms. Knox is not only a confirmed Democrat but a confirmed Bush hater, one of the "selected, not elected crowd". It neglects to point out that Col. Killian's son (who served in the Guard) said that Col. Killian did not keep secret files, and that his widow says Col. Killian liked and respected Bush. It neglects to point out that in "real" documents Col. Killian had a lot of good things to say about Bush.
So, a week after beginning its smear campaign against Bush with obviously forged documents--and it had every reason to know they were forged--CBS News and Dan Rather are right back into the game. Drudge is saying that CBS News' numbers are going through the floor, so it appears that the only protection we have against these guys is the good sense of the American people.