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CBS Has Chutzpah to Lecture George and Laura on Guard Evidence --9/15/2004


1. CBS Has Chutzpah to Lecture George and Laura on Guard Evidence
Introducing a Tuesday CBS Evening News story on President Bush's address to the National Guard convention in Las Vegas, Dan Rather, who has yet to answer any questions about the source or agenda of whomever gave CBS the faked memos, had the chutzpah to insist: "What some were waiting to see and hear was whether he would finally fully address still unanswered questions about his own service in the National Guard." John Roberts presumed that Bush should take CBS's memos seriously, complaining: "The President has yet to weigh in on new documents about his National Guard record made public last week by 60 Minutes." After an audio clip of First Lady Laura Bush saying the memos supposedly written by Jerry Killian "probably are forgeries," Roberts, though every day another news outline undermines CBS's claims, had the temerity to lecture: "However, Laura Bush offered no evidence to back up her claim, and CBS News continues to stand by its reporting."

2. ABC: Two Experts Warned CBS Beforehand Memos Were Forgeries
ABC's Brian Ross reported on Tuesday's World News Tonight that "two experts hired by CBS News say the network ignored concerns they raised prior to the broadcast about the disputed National Guard records." Ross explained how Emily Will, a certified document examiner, "says she saw problems right away with the one document CBS hired her to check in the days before the broadcast." Will, with her day references to before and after the Wednesday 60 Minutes broadcast, recalled how she predicted: "I told them that all the questions I was asking them at that time, which was Tuesday night, they were going to be asked by hundreds of other document examiners on Thursday if they ran that story." Ross noted that "CBS made no mention that any expert disputed the authenticity of the documents." Meanwhile, the secretary for the supposed author of the memos told the Dallas Morning News that they are "not real." And Newsweek's Howard Fineman related how on the CBS memos "there's a very deep skepticism" amongst reporters.

3. Rather Threatened Effort to "Dig Anew" into Bush Guard Record
Just under two weeks ago, Dan Rather posed a question to First Lady Laura Bush which suggested payback against President Bush would soon come for the attacks on John Kerry's Vietnam service by "friends and supporters" of George W. Bush. During an interview with Mrs. Bush carried on the CBS Evening News on the last day of the Republican convention, Rather couched a threat in the form of a question: "Now that friends and supporters of the President have raised the issue of John Kerry's combat record in Vietnam, do you or do you not think it's fair now for the Kerry people to come back and dig anew into your husband's military service record?"

4. FNC Relays Vets' Claim Kerry Coached Him to Lie About War Crimes
While CBS News remains obsessed with George W. Bush's activities in the 1970s while not caring about what John Kerry was doing at the same time on the anti-war front, FNC's Major Garrett on Tuesday night took a look at how a Vietnam veteran, Steven Pitkin, claims that before the so-called "Winter Soldier" meeting in 1971, "Kerry and others coached him to say that he had witnessed war crimes even after he had told them repeatedly he had not."


CBS Has Chutzpah to Lecture George and
Laura on Guard Evidence

CBS's John Roberts Introducing a Tuesday CBS Evening News story on President Bush's address to the National Guard convention in Las Vegas, Dan Rather, who has yet to answer any questions about the source or agenda of whomever gave CBS the faked memos, had the chutzpah to insist: "What some were waiting to see and hear was whether he would finally fully address still unanswered questions about his own service in the National Guard." John Roberts presumed that Bush should take CBS's memos seriously, complaining: "The President has yet to weigh in on new documents about his National Guard record made public last week by 60 Minutes." After an audio clip of First Lady Laura Bush saying the memos supposedly written by Jerry Killian "probably are forgeries," Roberts, though every day another news outline undermines CBS's claims, had the temerity to lecture: "However, Laura Bush offered no evidence to back up her claim, and CBS News continues to stand by its reporting."

Roberts also highlighted how Democrats rolled "out a new Internet ad highlighting unanswered questions challenging him to clear the air." Following a clip of a Guardsman at the convention who defended Bush's record, Roberts highlighted a disgruntled brother of a Guardsman, who was killed in Iraq, who claimed his brother died because Bush lied: "For the families of some Guard members, it's not the past that's important, it's the present. Sergeant Sherwood Baker was killed in Baghdad April 26th -- betrayed, his brother claimed today, by a President who went to war on a lie."

Roberts concluded by showing that CBS News is in sync with Democrats: "Democrats plan to keep the issue alive, fighting what they see as an attempt by the Bush campaign to turn the focus from the questions to those asking them."

Earlier, before an ad break, Rather had plugged the upcoming story: "Coming up next here on the CBS Evening News, President Bush joins the National Guard for a speech. Does he deal with what he did and did not do in his National Guard service? We'll give you the 'Inside Story.'"

Rather introduced the subsequent story, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "President Bush took his re-election campaign today to a Las Vegas convention of the National Guard Association. What some were waiting to see and hear was whether he would finally fully address still unanswered questions about his own service in the National Guard. CBS's John Roberts has the 'Inside Story.'"

Roberts began: "To hear President Bush tell it today, there was nothing to suggest even the hint of controversy surrounding his stint with the National Guard. In fact, he barely even mentioned his service."
George W. Bush in speech: "-and 19 individuals have served both in the Guard and as President of the United States, and I'm proud to be one of them."
Roberts: "But Democrats today had plenty to say about the President's record, rolling out a new Internet ad highlighting unanswered questions challenging him to clear the air."
Terry McAuliffe, DNC Chairman, at a press conference: "If he lies about his military record, he's going to lie about his health care plan, his education 'leave no child behind,' he's going to lie about job creation."
Roberts: "The President has yet to weigh in on new documents about his National Guard record made public last week by 60 Minutes. But in a radio interview, First Lady Laura Bush became the first White House insider to publicly doubt their authenticity."
Audio of Laura Bush on Radio Iowa, with text on screen: "You know, they probably are altered and they probably are forgeries."
Though virtually no one believes CBS, Roberts had the audacity to lecture: "However, Laura Bush offered no evidence to back up her claim, and CBS News continues to stand by its reporting. In Las Vegas, Guard members acknowledged the controversy has provoked some deep thinking that they believe Lieutenant Bush served honorably."
Colonel Dick Turner of the Idaho Air National Guard as he stood in a big meeting hall: "I know he had to go through pilot training and what he did to fly the 102 and the training that that takes just to be proficient in it on a day to day basis. He did his duty, I'm sure."
Roberts countered: "For the families of some Guard members, it's not the past that's important, it's the present. Sergeant Sherwood Baker was killed in Baghdad April 26th -- betrayed, his brother claimed today, by a President who went to war on a lie."
Dante Zappala, brother of Sergeant Sherwood Baker, at a press conference organized by Democrats: "My brother died trying to make an honest man out of George Bush, hoping to still find those elusive weapons of mass destruction."
Roberts concluded: "Iraq will be a central theme of John Kerry's address here on Thursday. And while he won't mention the President's military record, Democrats plan to keep the issue alive, fighting what they see as an attempt by the Bush campaign to turn the focus from the questions to those asking them. John Roberts, CBS News, Las Vegas."

CBSNews.com's updated page in which they pretend all is well with their documents and the 60 Minutes story: www.cbsnews.com

60 Minutes airs again tonight, Wednesday, at 8pm EDT/PDT, 7pm CDT/MDT.

# For the MRC's coverage of CBS's "memogate" since last Thursday, check the MRC's home page and the CyberAlert archive page: www.mediaresearch.org

ABC: Two Experts Warned CBS Beforehand
Memos Were Forgeries

ABC's Brian Ross reported on Tuesday's World News Tonight that "two experts hired by CBS News say the network ignored concerns they raised prior to the broadcast about the disputed National Guard records." Ross explained how Emily Will, a certified document examiner, "says she saw problems right away with the one document CBS hired her to check in the days before the broadcast." Will, with her day references to before and after the Wednesday 60 Minutes broadcast, recalled how she predicted: "I told them that all the questions I was asking them at that time, which was Tuesday night, they were going to be asked by hundreds of other document examiners on Thursday if they ran that story." Ross noted that "CBS made no mention that any expert disputed the authenticity of the documents." Meanwhile, the secretary for the supposed author of the memos told the Dallas Morning News that they are "not real."

The AP picked up Tuesday night on the discovery by Ross, as did the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz for a Wednesday story.

(The night before ABC ran the Ross story, Newsweek Washington reporter Howard Fineman related how "there's a very deep skepticism" amongst CBS's journalistic rivals as to the authenticity of the memos. The MRC's Rich Noyes noticed that on Monday's Scarborough Country on MSNBC, Fineman passed along, as taken down by the MRC's Geoff Dickens: "I can tell you tonight, having reported around town about this among my colleagues, in the, in the media, outside of CBS, which is a greatly respected news organization, there's a lot of skepticism, a very deep skepticism among rivals in television and print. A lot of, a lot of skeptical looks going on right now.")

Ross wrapped up by burying another eyewitnesses assessment, that the documents are a hoax, in CBS's spin about how they matched what Killian really did think: "CBS said it believes the authenticity of the documents reflect the thoughts and behavior of Lieutenant Colonel Killian at the time. That's exactly what Colonel Killian's former secretary told ABC News today, saying she believes the documents are fake but that...they do reflect some of what her boss thought of Lieutenant Bush at the time."

Indeed, Marian Carr Cox considers the memos to be forgeries, Wednesday's Dallas Morning News detailed. An excerpt from reporter Pete Slover's September 15 article:

...Marian Carr Knox, who worked from 1957 to 1979 at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, said that she prided herself on meticulous typing and that the memos first disclosed by CBS News last week were not her work.

"These are not real," she told The Dallas Morning News after examining copies of the disputed memos for the first time. "They're not what I typed, and I would have typed them for him."

Mrs. Knox, 86, who spoke with precise recollection about dates, people and events, said, "I remember very vividly when Bush was there and all the yak-yak that was going on about it."

She added that she does not support Mr. Bush as President, deeming him "unfit for office" and "selected, not elected."...

Mrs. Knox said signs of forgery abound in the four memos.

She said the typeface on the documents did not match either of the two typewriters that she used during her time with the Guard. She identified those machines as a mechanical Olympia typewriter and the IBM Selectric that replaced it in the early 1970s.

She spoke fondly of the Olympia, which she said had a key with the "th" superscript character that has been the focus of much debate in the CBS memos.

Beyond that issue, experts have said that the Selectric and mechanical typewriters such as the Olympia could not produce the proportional spacing found in the disputed documents.

Mrs. Knox said she was sure the documents were not direct transcriptions because the language and terminology did not match what Col. Killian would have used....

END of Excerpt

For the entirety of the Dallas Morning News story: www.dallasnews.com

The September 14 World News Tonight story on ABC in full:

Peter Jennings set it up: "We are going to take 'A Closer Look' this evening at the latest reporting about the President's record in the National Guard during Vietnam. CBS News has been in the news for some days ever since the program 60 Minutes filed a report on President Bush's record in the National Guard during Vietnam. As you may have heard, CBS cited documents allegedly written by George Bush's squadron commander, Colonel Jerry Killian. In one instance, citing his alleged failure to obey an order to take a physical, and another instance, a memo that Colonel Killian allegedly put in his own file saying 'he had ordered Lieutenant Bush to be suspended for failing to perform to U.S. Air Force National Guard standards.' Since the 60 Minutes report, the documents have been widely questioned. Numerous people with varying degrees of competence in handwriting and typewriter analysis have suggested that they are not genuine. CBS has maintained that the document examiners they used say they are authentic. Our chief investigative reporter, Brian Ross, has questioned two of the CBS analysts today. Brian?"

Ross began: "That's right, Peter. The two experts hired by CBS News say the network ignored concerns they raised prior to the broadcast about the disputed National Guard records. Emily Will, a court-certified examiner from North Carolina, says she saw problems right away with the one document CBS hired her to check in the days before the broadcast."
Expert Emily Will Emily Will, certified document examiner, looking at an enlarged document pasted on an easel: "I found five significant differences in the questioned handwriting, and I found problems with the printing itself as to whether it could have been produced by a typewriter."
Ross: "Will says she sent the CBS producer an e-mail message about her concerns and strongly urged the network the night before the broadcast not to use the document."
Will: "I told them that all the questions I was asking them at that time, which was Tuesday night, they were going to be asked by hundreds of other document examiners on Thursday if they ran that story."
Ross: "But the documents became a key part of the 60 Minutes broadcast questioning President Bush's National Guard service in 1972. CBS made no mention that any expert disputed the authenticity of the documents."
Will: "I did not feel that they wanted to investigate it very deeply."
Ross: "A second document examiner hired by CBS News, Linda James of Plano, Texas, told ABC News she too had concerns about the documents prior to the broadcast."
Expert Linda James Linda James, certified document examiner, in a home office-like setting: "I did not authenticate anything, and I don't want it to be misunderstood that I did, and that's why I have come forth to talk about it, because I don't want anyone to think that I did authenticate these documents."
Ross: "A third examiner hired by CBS for its story, Marcel Matley, appeared on CBS News last Friday and was described as saying the documents were real. Today, Matley told the Washington Post that he did not authenticate the documents and could not because they are photocopies, not originals. At the heart of the dispute is whether any typewriter existed in 1972 that could have produced the documents with their distinct type style, even spacing, and the tiny 'th' known as superscript. Two experts told ABC News today not even the IBM Selectric Composer, the most advanced typewriter available in 1972, could have produced the documents with the three distinct features."
Gerry Kaplan, software engineer, but unidentified on-screen, sitting in front of a typewriter: "This machine is not the culprit of those documents."
Ross: "Other new questions were raised today by former National Guard officials who told ABC News some of the language, terminology and abbreviations in the documents were not in use at the time."
Ross, back at the anchor desk with Jennings: "CBS News says it still believes the documents are authentic. It confirmed the two experts we talked to today were hired by CBS, but the network says it did not rely on them to authenticate the documents and used others. CBS said it believes the authenticity of the documents reflect the thoughts and behavior of Lieutenant Colonel Killian at the time. That's exactly what Colonel Killian's former secretary told ABC News today, saying she believes the documents are fake but that, Peter, they do reflect some of what her boss thought of Lieutenant Bush at the time."

ABCNews.com has posted a text version of the Ross story, but to watch the video via RealPlayer you'll have to be either an "ABC News On Demand" subscriber or a holder of a "RealOne SuperPass." See: abcnews.go.com

For a Tuesday night AP dispatch by David Bauder prompted by the Ross scoop, "Reports Fuel Doubts on CBS Bush Story," see: story.news.yahoo.com

"Document Experts Say CBS Ignored Memo 'Red Flags,'" read the Wednesday headline over a Washington Post story by Howard Kurtz in which he recounted how a CBS News spokesperson dismissed the concerns expressed by document examiners Will and James: www.washingtonpost.com

Rather Threatened Effort to "Dig Anew"
into Bush Guard Record

CBS's Dan Rather & First Lady Laura Bush Just under two weeks ago, Dan Rather posed a question to First Lady Laura Bush which suggested payback against President Bush would soon come for the attacks on John Kerry's Vietnam service by "friends and supporters" of George W. Bush. During an interview with Mrs. Bush carried on the CBS Evening News on the last day of the Republican convention, Rather couched a threat in the form of a question: "Now that friends and supporters of the President have raised the issue of John Kerry's combat record in Vietnam, do you or do you not think it's fair now for the Kerry people to come back and dig anew into your husband's military service record?"

Looking back at that September 2 comment from Rather, it appears to have been an ominous threat on which Rather has now followed through on behalf of "the Kerry people."

The First Lady answered him: "You know, what happens in politics every single time is you get criticized, whatever you run, you know, whatever you talk about, people criticize it."

Video: The MRC's Mez Djouadi will post, with this CyberAlert item, a RealPlayer clip of this Rather/Bush exchange.

Of course, the key difference between the attacks on Kerry's record in Vietnam and Bush's record in the National Guard is that CBS News smeared the Kerry critics and then ignored them while the network promoted the cause of the Bush-bashers.

The CBS News record on Kerry, in brief:

-- On the night of the May 4 press conference by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth the CBS Evening News did not hail them as whistle-blowers, but as slick political operatives that deserved to have their motives questioned.

As the May 5 CyberAlert recounted, CBS tried to discredit some Vietnam veterans critical of John Kerry by impugning them as partisan activists tied to the Bush campaign, though the only link seems to be a public relations firm involved in the 2000 campaign, and tarring all of them with the supposed dirty work for Richard Nixon of one. Very McCarthyistic. Dan Rather claimed on the CBS Evening News that veterans "allied with the Bush campaign attacked Senator Kerry today more directly and more personally" than had President Bush. Rather deplored how "their tactic was to depict Kerry, a wounded, highly-decorated Vietnam combat veteran, who eventually became a vocal opponent of that war, as unpatriotic and not a worthy leader."

After running a couple of soundbites from those in the group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Byron Pitts asserted that "some of the organizers have a track record of going after Democrats, and Republican opponents of President Bush." Pitts went back to 1971 as he recalled how John O'Neill, who debated Kerry about Vietnam on ABC's Dick Cavett Show, "was handpicked by the Nixon administration to discredit Kerry." Pitts added, without any explanation, that "the press conference was set up by the same people who tried to discredit John McCain's reputation in Vietnam service when McCain faced George W. Bush for the Republican nomination in 2000."

For a RealPlayer clip of that story: www.mediaresearch.org

-- On July 22, the week before the Democratic convention, Dan Rather prompted John Kerry to expound on how he's angry at President Bush for criticizing his Vietnam service while Bush avoided the war. Rather asked Kerry: "Have you ever had any anger about President Bush, who spent his time during the Vietnam War in the National Guard, running, in effect, a campaign that does its best to diminish your service in Vietnam?" Kerry replied, "Yup, I have been," and went on to confirm it "grates a little bit" and is "irritating." See: www.mrc.org

-- When the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth released their ad, CBS was more interested in condemning it than explaining the claims it raised. On the August 5 CBS Evening News, anchor John Roberts intoned, in full: "A harsh new television ad that attacks John Kerry is being denounced as quote, 'dishonest and dishonorable' by a Bush supporter, Republican Senator John McCain. [Roberts talks over video, but no audio, of ad] The ad features Vietnam veterans who question Kerry's war record, patriotism, and fitness to lead. McCain, himself a Vietnam POW, said the White House should condemn the ad put out by a veterans' group [end of ad video]. A presidential spokesman chose not to condemn the ad today, but emphasized that the Bush campaign had nothing to do with it, and does not question Kerry's war record." See: www.mediaresearch.org

And then the CBS Evening News, and 60 Minutes too for that matter, were silent about Kerry's Vietnam record until Kerry, on August 19, condemned Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

FNC Relays Vets' Claim Kerry Coached
Him to Lie About War Crimes

While CBS News remains obsessed with George W. Bush's activities in the 1970s while not caring about what John Kerry was doing at the same time on the anti-war front, FNC's Major Garrett on Tuesday night took a look at how a Vietnam veteran, Steven Pitkin, claims that before the so-called "Winter Soldier" meeting in 1971, "Kerry and others coached him to say that he had witnessed war crimes even after he had told them repeatedly he had not."

Brit Hume set up Garrett's piece on the September 14 Special report with Brit Hume: "John Kerry has said that he never meant to slander all Vietnam veterans when he told the Senate in 1971 that combat atrocities were widespread and condoned. Kerry says he was merely repeating the testimony of other veterans at an event in Detroit months earlier. But Fox News has now spoken with one vet who says that Kerry pressured him to lie. Fox News correspondent Major Garrett reports."

Garrett began, over black and white 1971 film, as checked against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "This is John Kerry, leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. He's interviewing Steven Pitkin, an Army combat veteran."
John Kerry in close-up in 1971 film inside crowded room: "Is there something that you really kind of want to say in terms of the crimes and why they happen?"
Garrett: "Pitkin hesitates."
Steven Pitkin: "I'd almost need a book to answer that, man."
Garrett: "Pitkin then offers this:"
Pitkin: "I didn't like being an animal, and I didn't like seeing everybody else turned into animals either."
Garrett: "That was a pre-interview, one of many conducted before what was called the 'Winter Soldier Investigation' where more than 100 Vietnam Veterans told anti-war activists like Kerry they'd either committed or witnessed unspeakable war crimes. Pitkin told Fox today that Kerry and others coached him to say that he had witnessed war crimes even after he had told them repeatedly he had not."
Pitkin, via satellite from Florida: "Before they started the camera, they told me that, haven't you, you know, we need you to speak about the atrocities that happened over there, about the indiscriminate fire, the rapes, the whole company line, that I initially came out and said I was coached to say that over and over again so that when my opening statement came out, I had it fairly well down."
Garrett: "Pitkin was even more specific, saying Kerry pressured him to lie."
Pitkin: "He wanted me to speak about rapes, about mutilations of bodies, about any kind of atrocities that he thought was commonplace operations over there."
Garrett: "Kerry's former brother-in-law David Thorne also attended the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation. He flatly denies Pitkin's charges."
David Thorne, standing inside the Kerry/Edwards headquarters with campaign signs behind him: "John Kerry never forced anyone to testify to a war crime in any way. John Kerry went to Winter Soldier to find out what was going on, to listen to what vets had to say."
Garrett: "Months after the Winter Soldier Investigation, Kerry told the Senate U.S. war crimes in Vietnam were widespread and condoned at the highest levels of command, attributing that to Winter Soldier testimony. But even before the Winter Soldier Investigation was convened, journalists raised serious questions about claims of massive U.S. atrocities. Many Winter Soldier witnesses also appeared in a 1970 book called, Conversations with Americans. which New York Times reporter Neil Sheehan found riddled with errors. The author, Mark Lane, a Winter Soldier organizer, told Sheehan he would not correct the mistakes. In a review published a month before the Winter Soldier Investigation, Sheehan said: 'This kind of reasoning amounts to a new McCarthyism, this time from the left. Any accusation, any innuendo, any rumor is repeated and published as truth.'"
Thorne: "I don't really know. I think John was always, you know, John was not aware of that possible discreditation of some of the vets."
Garrett concluded: "Pitkin has put his charges against John Kerry in an affidavit filed in Palm Beach County, Florida. David Thorne said he'd be willing to file an affidavit too saying Pitkin is lying about his former brother-in-law and the Democratic presidential nominee for the White House."

# Tell CBS about its scam! The "contact information" page on the CBS News Web site, James Taranto humorously noted in his Tuesday "Best of the Web" column for OpinionJournal.com ( www.opinionjournal.com ), features this listing:
"CONSUMER ALERT: Know of a scam that needs investigating? Tell us about it! Email us at scams@cbsnews.com"

That's online at: www.cbsnews.com

I think we can all offer CBS News a tip about an ongoing scam close to home for them.

-- Brent Baker