Fat Steve's Blatherings

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Rather defends his story by repudiating his story

    The thing that strikes me as the epitome of ridiculousness in this mess is that Rather is now defending the authenticity of the memos by, in effect, repudiating his own story.

    The reason for bringing up the memos was that they supposedly showed new evidence that then 1st Lt. Bush didn't fulfill his ANG duties.  You would think therefore that the memos revealed something new.  Well, National Review Online's Kerry Spot has a transcript of Rather's defense.  Rather starts out saying
    "These questions grew out of new witnesses and new evidence, including documents written by Lieutenant Bush's squadron commander."
    But then they question another 'authority,' "Mr. JIM MOORE (Author)", who says:
    So there's no doubt in my mind that these documents are stating accurately what we know took place from the records that are available.
    So, 'this is big news because it tells us something we already knew was true anyway.'

    As a touching last note, Rather outlines the epistemic standards at CBS:
    "The "60 Minutes" report was based not solely on the recovered documents, but on a preponderance of evidence, including documents that were provided by what we consider to be solid sources, and interviews with former officials of the Texas National Guard. If any definitive evidence to the contrary of our story is found, we will report it. So far there is none." (my emphasis)
    So there it is: if CBS wants to report something, "preponderance of evidence" is enough.  To dispute them, though, it isn't enough to show that the preponderance of evidence shows them to be wrong.  You must produce "definitive evidence to the contrary."

    Maybe Terry Pratchett could have made this stuff up, but I couldn't.



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