Monday, September 20, 2004
Try again: CBS has released a statement from Dan Rather regarding the forged memos -- via Drudge:
STATEMENT FROM DAN RATHER:
Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question—and their source—vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome.
Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where—if I knew then what I know now—I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.
But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.
Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.
On the bright side, at least Rather didn't renew his call for President Bush to answer questions raised by the forged memos.
Other than that one small positive note by its omission, this statement is unacceptable. It barely covers one-half of the five points I mention below that CBS News needs to address. This may be a necessary first step, but CBS shouldn't believe that it will be the last.