As everybody learned from Watergate, the cover-up is generally worse than the original transgression.
Well, not everybody.
It’s fascinating that CBS.ORG, which was certainly on the scene and reporting back then, doesn’t seem to have learned this lesson. Why has the network been so adamant in refusing to admit it got suckered and ran fake memos?
Here’s a snippet from a piece by Duncan Maxwell Anderson on National Reviews:
“If Rather and CBS didn’t know the memos were fake when they aired them, they surely know it now. Rather’s recent statement that critics shouldn’t focus so much on the physical memos, but on ‘the fundamental truth of the story’ suggests this. Why is he still trying to bluff this one out? Possibly because he’s been preaching to his choir so long that he’s lost touch with reality.
“Since 1993, with the advent of cable and the Internet, the audience for the notoriously left-leaning evening-news shows on ABC, NBC, and CBS has dropped by 34 percent. The ‘believability’ of network news in viewers’ eyes has dropped by about the same percentage. I don’t know precisely why, but this may be a clue: On election night in 1994, when it became clear the voters had thrown out the Democratic majority in Congress, ABC’s Peter Jennings described the decision by our electorate as a ‘tantrum.'”
There are also signs that many of the people who watch the three big networks do so only because they don’t have any choice. As Anderson notes:
“Rather’s audience is one that has access to fewer sources of information than most. According to the Census Bureau, less than 40 percent of those older than 50 use the Internet (compared with 60 percent for those under 50). Most of Rather’s over-50s probably didn’t see his memo story mercilessly debunked on the Internet within hours of its debut.
“You might consider it ironic that liberals, who think of themselves as the party of fiery youth, have grown up to be out-of-touch old peaceniks who read the New York Times and are set in their ways.’
Space Unicorns: There is a hilarious parody on the net with the headline, “Rather: “Prove I’m Not Queen of the Space Unicorns.”