DATE: 9/09/2004 07:56:00 PM
Oh, Danny Boy - The blogosphere has broken a major story.
CBS News, it seems, depended on forged documents to run the latest in the "Bush AWOL" story. Major kudos to the guys at Powerline, who started the story. Updates can be found at Ace of Spades, Allah is in the House, Captain's Quarters, The Kerry Spot and The Weekly Standard.
I don't want to engage in too much hyperbole, but this is huge for new media. Not only have they corrected a story in the old media, they've done it in less than 24 hours and were able to do a more thorough job of vetting the documents than CBS News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC News and the Washington Post. CBS' credibility is in serious question. Ace even has a "Dan Rather Retirement Watch."
The media has done itself some serious damage this election season. I think CBS' actions have ended the usefulness of the "Bush AWOL" story, which may actually be a public service. The Kerry campaign has to be sweating this story out, as it will reflect badly on them. If this can be traced back in any way to Kerry (which I seriously doubt - no one's that stupid), his campaign will be hurt. Forging documents to try and bring dishonor on the National Guard service of a president is a dirty trick the Nixon administration could only dream about.
Dan Rather is not a well-liked reporter. If other members of the major media can somehow prove that Gunga Dan depended on forged documents to back up allegations by a Kerry partisan, they will go after him. The media is a competitive business, and anything goes. Ace may not be too far off the mark with his predictions - if the documents are proved to be forgeries, or if CBS retracts the original story, Dan Rather will likely decide he's been in the business long enough.
Like I said, a major story. This one isn't going away anytime soon. If Edward R. Murrow were still alive, I'd like to think he would be pleased with the guys at Powerline.