CBS Producer Mary Mapes is certainly the most famous news producer in the world today, and her actions have given us a rare glimpse inside the biased world of network news.
The most astonishing fact to surface in the forged document scandal at CBS is that Mapes asked Joe Lockhart, a senior member of the Kerry campaign, to telephone Bill Burkett, her source, a rabidly anti-Bush Texan who thought he could be helpful in putting the kibosh on the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
Journalists deal with all sorts of unsavory people–that used to be part of the fun of being a journalist–and sometimes they may have to make a deal to get a piece of information.
Mickey Kaus argues that Mapes’ putting Lockhart and Burkett in touch might simply have been part of such a deal. Since I am trying to sell Mickey a bridge in Brooklyn, I don’t want to say anything negative about him just now–and he did come up with the name of Danron for the scandal–but it seems far more likely to me that Mapes was trying to help the Kerry campaign. So this is what journalism has come to?
Mary Mapes looks to become the poster girl for journalistic bias in the way Lynndie England has become synonymous with Abu Ghraib, the story that Mapes broke earlier this year and that, ironically, may have given her the sense of invincibility that made her overconfident (or just plain willfully blind?) about the memos.
Matt Drudge is reporting that the White House–quite wisely–wants CBS’s Bob Schieffer removed as moderator of the presidential debates: “The well-placed source continued: ’Who can trust these CBS people to play it straight [during the debate]? I suspect they will be out for revenge.’”
John Podhoretz is not impressed with CBS’s claims that they were “misled:” “They were not ’misled’ about anything that happened after the story aired. They were dishonest. They were deceitful. They stonewalled. They trashed the motives of those who were properly outraged by the story. Now that they can no longer stand by their journalistic crime, they are seeking to weasel their way out of even minimal responsibility.”
The editors of the New York Post discuss what Miss Otis really regrets: “Dan Rather regrets. Not that he slandered the president of the United States on the basis of fraudulent documents. Not that he did his best to undermine the moral authority of America’s commander in chief in time of war. Not that he implied — publicly and darkly — that he himself was the victim of ’powerful and well-financed…partisan ideological forces.’ No, none of that. Dan Rather and CBS News regret, basically, that they got caught.”