Fat Steve's Blatherings

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Appalling MSM Arrogance and Dishonesty on Display


        A CBS veteran writes Powerline and makes it clear that he reports stories without caring what the truth is.  Instead, the point is to shape public opinion, and the facts shouldn't be allowed to stand in the way.

At Length:

        John Hindraker publishes some correspondence with veteran newsman Marvin Kalb, and I am shocked at Kalb's attitudes.

        It started with Mape's and Rather's attempts to rehabilitate themselves in the public eye, by claiming that their notorious story on Bush's Guard service was accurate, that no one has proven the documents were false, and that it was a sinister right-wing plot that made Rather and the documents the focus of the story.

        As part of this effort, Rather did an interview with Kalb, in which he, Rather, repeated this nonsense.  One Charles Thomas wrote to Kalb, explaining that the problem was that the documents were fraudulent, and that's why Rather became the focus of the story.  Kalb replied with a letter that said:
Dear Mr. Thomas: I know you believe that the documents were forged. I have yet to see the evidence, which I presume you have and are willing to share. Not charges, please,...but evidence. Also, the point of Dan Rather's story was that the President received favorable treatment and thus avoided serving in Vietnam. Have you evidence to the contrary? If not, there is no need to respond.

Best of luck,
Marvin Kalb

        This is breathtaking by itself.  Kalb knows that the nature of the documents was questioned, but he apparently hasn't bothered to make any effort to determine their genuineness.  This is how famous reporters cover controversy?

        Charles Thomas forwarded a copy of the letter to John Hindraker of Powerline, and Hindraker replied with a letter setting forth some of the evidence that the documents were forged.  For instance, Document expert Peter Tytell didn't believe any typewriter of the period could have produced them; Dr. Joseph Newcomer, who helped invent electronic fonts, concluded they were forgeries; no typewriter is known to have ever used Times New Roman font; Killian's widow and son say he never wrote such memos.

        So Kalb responds to Hindraker thusly:
Dear Mr. Hinderaker:
Thank you for your long, exhaustive email. You took the time to write it, and I appreciate that very much. If I responded point by point, I fear we would still end up at opposite sides of the issue. For me the key point is that President Bush had the opportunity, as did thousands of other young Americans to go to Vietnam, to fight for America there, many never to return. He chose the Texas Air National Guard with duty in Texas and I believe Louisiana.

The documents in Rather's story were faulthy, fake, fogeries,--choose your word. They were no good, at the end of the day. That was lousy journalism, and evefryone knows that--that's the easy part of the issue. The rest...well, you go your way, I'll go with the young men I covered who went to Vietnam for their country. We can disagree.

Good luck.
Marvin Kalb

        So, Kalb agrees that the documents are no good as evidence of anything.  Now, half the story in question was based on those memos (the other half was based on the statement of Ben Barnes).  If the documents are no good, that half of the story is no good.  So what other side is their go end up on?

        And note his disingenuous statement that "everyone knows" the portion of the 60 Minutes Wednesday that was based on the phony documents was "lousy journalism."  A short time ago, he was claiming that he hadn't seen evidence of the documents being phonies.  Now, he acts like it was never in question!

        Kalb refers to an "issue," but doesn't say what it is.  He does say that for him, the key point is that Bush didn't go to Viet Nam.  So?  Bush never claimed he did, and the fact that he'd spent the war stateside wasn't the point of Rather's story.  What does this have to do with anything?

        Kalb won't say it openly, but we know what the "issue" is.  Bush was for the war at the time, and has never condemned it.  Therefore, he was morally obligated to end up in Viet Nam and get shot at.  Since Bush didn't, and since he's a conservative Republican, Bush is unfit to be President.  (Of course Clinton dodged the draft, but he opposed the war, so that makes it OK.)  And since Bush didn't fulfill his moral obligation to serve, and since various people attacked Kerry's war record, it was OK for Rather to attack Bush's Guard Service, regardless of whether the evidence was any good or not.

        In short, Marvin Kalb doesn't care what the truth is.  By inference, CBS News, from the time Kalb started work there till today, doesn't care what the truth is.  Remember this, and spread it around: CBS decides to what you ought to think about an issue, and then broadcasts "news stories" designed to make you think that way, with no regard as to whether they are true.

        I didn't think my opinion of the MSM in general, and CBS in particular, could sink any lower.  I was wrong.



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