"RATHER AND HEYWARD MUST GO: I have to say that the risible statement given by CBS News last night finally did it for me. Who do these people think they are? They have failed to find a single expert who will back the authenticity of the memos; their own experts say they warned CBS not to go with the story; Killian's secretary thinks they're fakes ... and yet Rather and Heyward say they stand by their story and will continue to investigate the provenance and dubiousness of the forgeries! This beggars belief. How do I put this to Rather: it doesn't matter if the underlying story is true. All that matters is that CBS's evidence is fake. Get it? End of story. For what it's worth: I believe Bush got into the Guard because of his dad's connections. I believe he probably didn't perform his duties adequately in his final two years. When I first read the CBS story, I thought the docs were 'devastating.' I'm not backing this president for re-election. But all that is completely beside the frigging point. Journalists are supposed to provide accurate evidence for their claims. CBS didn't. And its response to the critics is to stonewall and try and change the subject. The correct response - the one they'd teach you in kindergarten journalism class - is immediately to check the authenticity of the documents as best you can, and if the doubts persist, to apologize immediately and yank the story. Can you imagine what CBS News would do if a government official found to be peddling fake documents refused to acknowledge it? And kept repeating his story nonetheless? They'd be all over it. But, you see, they are above politicians. They are above criticism. And they are stratospheres above bloggers who caught them red-handed.
THE COUP DE GRACE: And then this astonishing statement from Rather to Howie Kurtz:
'If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story. Any time I'm wrong, I want to be right out front and say, 'Folks, this is what went wrong and how it went wrong.''
Memo to Rather: you can't break that story, because someone else in pajamas already did. Check the frequency, Kenneth. You are so far from being out front on this, you are leagues behind in the dust. Have you heard of the Internet? You can find it on that weird machine in your office they call a computer. All this proves is the fathomless cocooning of Rather and Heyward. They still think this is the 1980s. They have no idea what media world they are living in. Like Howell Raines, they are so out of it, they don't even know they're finished. Above all, they are not acting as journalists. They are acting as political operators, determined to win a news cycle, to inflict as much damage on their opponents as possible, while stonewalling on their own glaring, obvious errors. So this is a test of the blogosphere. We have to keep at these guys day and night to force them to live up to the most basic ethical requirements of their profession. After all this stonewalling and arrogance, an apology and retraction will no longer suffice. These guys have to resign or be fired. "