So now the cat is at last out of the bag. CBS this week finally acknowledged that their hatchet-job of President Bush just prior to the election was sloppy and inaccurate. A lengthy report that examined the "60 Minutes" story and the following brouhaha said the news network suffered "myopic zeal" in beating the other news outlets to the top story of the day.
In other words, CBS ignored ample warning signs that the story was phony and aired the program anyway. They could find but one lone "expert" who would agree with their position and then rushed the program on the air just prior to the election.
As a result, four top news executives were booted from their posts this week and Dan Rather, the controversial anchor for the story, decided at long last to keep his mouth shut. The betting is that were Rather not on the brink of retirement, he too would have received a pink slip this week. Oh how we wish that were true.
But there was one glaring error in the report released this week. The two-man investigation team appointed to dissect the "60 Minutes" report said "we cannot conclude that a political agenda at '60 Minutes' drove either the timing of the segment or its content." Surely they jest.
Of course a political agenda drove both the timing and content of the segment. How in the world can you conclude otherwise? Throughout the campaign, CBS clearly had an anti-Bush agenda. Mountains of evidence support that contention. CBS and specifically Dan Rather time and time again slanted their reporting against the Republican president and, had they not been caught with their pants down on the "60 Minutes" report, they may well have changed the results of the November election.
Confidence in the national media is near an all-time low. People simply no longer accept as fact the words that spew from the nightly news reports. And given the blatant prejudice of the National Guard report concerning President Bush's service, no wonder we no longer believe the talking heads on network news.
Perhaps the report was a compromise of sorts. By bypassing Rather, CBS will allow the veteran newsman to fade into the sunset without a major blemish to his name. And by ignoring the obvious political connection in the report, CBS can continue to pretend to be a fair and independent news organization.
But all of the reports in the world can't mask the truth. Politics indeed played a major role in the "60 Minutes" fiasco and Dan Rather stood silent on questions that surrounded the report. The report may say otherwise - but history will remember the truth.