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Guard Vets Contradict Knox's Claims, CBS Experts Not Accredited --9/17/2004


1. Guard Vets Contradict Knox's Claims, CBS Experts Not Accredited
Dan Rather didn't utter a word on Thursday's CBS Evening News about the controversy over the CBS memos everyone outside of CBS has concluded were forged, FNC on Thursday night found Texas Air National Guard veterans who contradicted the claims made by Rather and Marian Carr Knox on Wednesday's 60 Minutes that Bush was ordered to take a physical and then disobeyed the order, that Bush got any preferential treatment or was "resented" by other Guardsmen. And CNN's Jeanne Meserve noted on NewsNight that an expert document examiner pointed out that "none of the experts used by CBS are accredited by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners."

2. Andy Rooney Realizes Memos Fake and Prods CBS to Admit It
Rather has lost Andy Rooney who can no longer keep up CBS's illusion that there's credibility in denying the memos were forged. The commentator for the Sunday edition of 60 Minutes, who in 2002 described Dan Rather as "transparently liberal," has told the New York Daily News he thinks the documents are fakes, adding: "I'm surprised at their reluctance to concede they're wrong."

3. Rather: His Conservative Critics "Know I'm Fiercely Independent"
Dan Rather, unbiased "independent." Friday's New York Times noted that Rather, "addressing the charges of liberal bias," claimed: "Anybody who knows me knows I'm an independent." That matched his proclamation in Thursday's USA Today that "anybody who knows me knows that I am not politically motivated, not politically active for Democrats or Republicans, and that I'm independent." Except when he attends fundraisers for the Democratic Party as he did in Texas in 2001? Rather maintained that conservative ideologues, who "can't deny the message so they have to discredit and destroy the messenger," really "know that I'm fiercely independent and that's what drives them up a wall." USA Today's Peter Johnson also relayed how "since the buildup to the war in Iraq, Rather said, the nation's news media have turned timid."

4. Rather: If I Got Facts Wrong "I'd Be Selling Insurance Now"
Time for Dan Rather to start selling insurance? In his 1994 book, The Camera Never Blinks Twice, Rather maintained that "a serious journalist can't run with a story without confirmation" from at least two sources. Writing that was how he "made it through Watergate," Rather predicted that "if I'd gone off half-cocked, if I'd gotten my facts scrambled, if I'd run with unconfirmed leads, I'd be selling insurance right now." But maybe it depends on how he defines a story as honest. In defending Bill Clinton as an "honest man," in 2001 Rather insisted: "I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things." Just like the memos! They are simultaneously fake and accurate.

5. Backlash? Ratings Plummet for CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes
Public rejecting Dan Rather? Last week 60 Minutes won its time slot, but Wednesday's edition, in which Dan Rather featured the late Lt. Colonel Jerry Killian's secretary, as he tried to justify his use of memos she said were fake, came in fourth place. And the CBS Evening News is following the same trend, FNC's Brit Hume reported Thursday night, relaying how ratings for the newscast "have dropped 24 percent in New York, 35 percent in Philadelphia, and 42 percent in Atlanta, to name a few, since Rather first reported on those disputed National Guard documents on 60 Minutes."

6. Jay Leno Echoes Howard Dean's Views, Praises Michael Moore
Jay Leno is quite liberal, and echoes Howard Dean, a LA Weekly story this week documented. The alternative weekly's Nikki Finke summarized her interview with the host of NBC's Tonight Show: "Jay Leno says, 'I'm not conservative. I've never voted that way in my life.' He 'really worries' what a Dubya victory in November will do to the makeup of the Supreme Court. He believes 'the wool was pulled over our eyes' with the Iraq war. He thinks the White House began using terrorism 'as a crutch' after 9/11. He feels that during the campaign Kerry should 'make Bush look as stupid as possible.' He believes 'the media is in the pocket of the government, and they don't do their job' so 'you have people like Michael Moore who do it for them.' He has on his joke-writing staff a number of former professional speechwriters for Democratic candidates. 'No Republicans.'...Leno used to read Mother Jones magazine." Plus he took shots at the Fox News Channel and talk radio.


Guard Vets Contradict Knox's Claims,
CBS Experts Not Accredited

CBS's Dan Rather Dan Rather didn't utter a word on Thursday's CBS Evening News about the controversy over the CBS memos everyone outside of CBS has concluded were forged, FNC on Thursday night found Texas Air National Guard veterans who contradicted the claims made by Rather and Marian Carr Knox on Wednesday's 60 Minutes that Bush was ordered to take a physical and then disobeyed the order, that Bush got any preferential treatment or was "resented" by other Guardsmen. And CNN's Jeanne Meserve noted on NewsNight that an expert document examiner pointed out that "none of the experts used by CBS are accredited by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners."

In a piece on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, take down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, Jim Angle played a clip from Wednesday's 60 Minutes:
Rather: "The country's at war. It's very unusual for a military officer, particularly a flying officer, not to obey a direct order from his superior or, if not, tell me?"
Marian Carr Knox, former secretary for the late Lt. Colonel Jerry Killian, Bush's commander: "It was a big no-no."
Angle: "That's based on one of the disputed documents which indicates Bush was ordered to take a physical no later than May 14th. But several former officers from Bush's unit say that makes no sense because he had until the end of July to take the physical."
Retired Colonel Bill Campenni, Texas Air National Guard: "That was one or two weeks into this 12-week window. Nobody would be issuing an order when the person has not yet failed to comply. He had three months to comply."
Angle: "On the question of preferential treatment, the CBS stories have suggested Lieutenant Bush got treatment few others did because of his father. A former officer told Fox by phone that any number of people left their unit for months at a time."
Retired Colonel Bob Harmon, Texas Air National Guard, via phone from Goshen Connecticut: "From time to time, we had people that would take a substantial period of time off to go through airline training, for example. We had people that went to medical school-"
Angle: "And then would come back and make up the time just as Lieutenant Bush did. Marian Knox also argued on CBS that many in the unit resented Bush for missing drills. Another former officer says, 'Not true.'"
Retired Lieutenant Colonel Richard Via, Texas Air National Guard, by phone from Texas: "That's a bunch of bull. I'll stop it there. He was well-liked by everybody. He was well-liked and well-respected."

For a full rundown of the Rather/Knox session, see the September 16 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

Later, on CNN's NewsNight, Jeanne Meserve reported: "Though CBS is now acknowledging that there are valid questions about the documents, it released a letter from document examiner James Pierce saying they are authentic. Pierce refused to talk to CNN Thursday, saying the confidentiality agreement prohibited from talking. It is unclear if that agreement is with CBS. A forensics expert finds it unusual that none of the experts used by CBS are accredited by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners."
James Starrs, professor at George Washington University: "I've been in this business for 30 years, more, and I know most everybody in the field who is highly qualified. And none of these people that you've mentioned are in that category."
Meserve: "Marcel Matley, also consulted by CBS, is qualified as an expert witness in forensic document examination, but his resume also shows a background in graphology, which analyzes handwriting to determine character traits. A spokesman for CBS said Thursday it believes it hired the very best experts. Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington."

For a look at the statement put out Wednesday night by CBS News and the two statements it released from supposed document experts, only one of whom vouched for the memo while the other validated the signature, see the September 16 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

Andy Rooney Realizes Memos Fake and Prods
CBS to Admit It

Rather has lost Andy Rooney who can no longer keep up CBS's illusion that there's credibility in denying the memos were forged. The commentator for the Sunday edition of 60 Minutes, who in 2002 described Dan Rather as "transparently liberal," has told the New York Daily News he thinks the documents are fakes, adding: "I'm surprised at their reluctance to concede they're wrong."

An excerpt from a September 17 New York Daily News story, "Rooney'd rather CBS fessed up," by Paul Colford:

CBS curmudgeon Andy Rooney indicated yesterday he believes the controversial documents on President Bush's National Guard service are fake and said it could cost Dan Rather down the road.

"I'm surprised at their reluctance to concede they're wrong," Rooney said, referring to CBS brass.

Despite praising Rather as "a good, honest newsman," Rooney added, "I'm unsure if they're whistling in the dark instead of apologizing."...

Rooney doesn't think the network would try to ease out Rather over the memo mess, but he added, "It might have an effect on him six months from now."...

END of Excerpt

For the Daily News article in full: www.nydailynews.com

Back on the June 5, 2002 Larry King Live on CNN, asked to comment on Bernard Goldberg's book, Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, Rooney replied: "I thought he made some very good points. There is just no question that I, among others, have a liberal bias. I mean, I'm consistently liberal in my opinions. And I think some of the, I think Dan is transparently liberal. Now, he may not like to hear me say that. I always agree with him, too. But I think he should be more careful."

For a little more from that CNN appearance, see the June 7, 2002 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

Rather: His Conservative Critics "Know
I'm Fiercely Independent"

Dan Rather, unbiased "independent." Friday's New York Times noted that Rather, "addressing the charges of liberal bias," claimed: "Anybody who knows me knows I'm an independent." That matched his proclamation in Thursday's USA Today that "anybody who knows me knows that I am not politically motivated, not politically active for Democrats or Republicans, and that I'm independent." Except when he attends fundraisers for the Democratic Party as he did in Texas in 2001? Rather maintained that conservative ideologues, who "can't deny the message so they have to discredit and destroy the messenger," really "know that I'm fiercely independent and that's what drives them up a wall." USA Today's Peter Johnson also relayed how "since the buildup to the war in Iraq, Rather said, the nation's news media have turned timid."

In March of 2001 Dan Rather was the featured guest at a fundraiser in Austin, Texas for the local Democratic Party committee, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz revealed. "Please join us for an evening with DAN RATHER. Mayor Kirk Watson & Other Honored Guests," announced the invitation. Kurtz reported that the March 21 appearance "generated about $20,000 for the Travis County Democratic Party -- and will undoubtedly provide ammunition to critics who have long accused Rather of leaning to the left."

As CyberAlert commented at the time: Indeed it will since it confirms not only his preference for Democrats but that Democrats think he will attract donors to an event.

Kurtz wrote that Rather adopted Al Gore's Buddhist temple excuse since he maintained "he hadn't realized beforehand that the event was a fundraiser. 'I didn't ask the question, and I should have,' he said in an interview. 'I take full responsibility for it. I'm responsible and I'm accountable.'" But, Kurtz pointed out, "the Texas native stopped short of calling his appearance a mistake or saying he would not have attended had he known in advance that he was being used to raise money."

For more, see the April 4, 2001 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

USA Today's Peter Johnson and Jim Drinkard passed along on Thursday how Rather reminded them that "he and 60 Minutes also aired a highly critical report charging that former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey -- a Democrat -- might have committed a military atrocity in Vietnam. 'Nobody wants to remember that now,' he said."

But that didn't air eight weeks before Kerrey faced re-election. And what about Rather making a little effort to look into the record of this years's Democratic presidential nominee?

An excerpt from the September 16 USA Today article, "Rather says memo flap doesn't change his story; CBS anchor: Substance of report not challenged," by Peter Johnson and Jim Drinkard:

...."Anybody who knows me knows that I am not politically motivated, not politically active for Democrats or Republicans, and that I'm independent," Rather said. "People who are so passionately partisan politically or ideologically committed basically say, 'Because he won't report it our way, we're going to hang something bad around his neck and choke him with it, check him out of existence if we can, if not make him feel great pain.' They know that I'm fiercely independent and that's what drives them up a wall."

He said he expected to take heat on the story from Bush supporters and the right wing, which has long accused him of being liberal and pro-Democrat. Those camps "can't deny the message so they have to discredit and destroy the messenger," he said. "Anybody who has been around for a while understands that's going to happen. It goes with the territory."

Since the buildup to the war in Iraq, Rather said, the nation's news media have turned timid. "An awful lot of people in journalism have laid down and said: 'I'm not going to ask the tough questions. I'm not going to tell any tough truths' because when you do that, you're going to pay too heavy a price, and so a lot of people just walk away."

Rather said he won't walk away from this story, and the veteran hurricane reporter said he is "happily" in the eye of this storm. "What kind of journalist would I be, what kind of man would I be, if at the first sign of pressure I backed down?"

END of Excerpt

For the September 16 USA Today article in full: www.usatoday.com

For the September 17 New York Times story by Jim Rutenberg, who noted how "the conservative Media Research Center regularly runs commentary about Mr. Rather on its Web site," go to: www.nytimes.com

Rather: If I Got Facts Wrong "I'd Be
Selling Insurance Now"

Time for Dan Rather to start selling insurance? In his 1994 book, The Camera Never Blinks Twice, Rather maintained that "a serious journalist can't run with a story without confirmation" from at least two sources. Writing that was how he "made it through Watergate," Rather predicted that "if I'd gone off half-cocked, if I'd gotten my facts scrambled, if I'd run with unconfirmed leads, I'd be selling insurance right now." But maybe it depends on how he defines a story as honest. In defending Bill Clinton as an "honest man," in 2001 Rather insisted: "I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things."

Just like the memos! They are simultaneously fake and accurate.

The MRC's Rich Noyes on Thursday came across this passage in Dan Rather's 1994 book, The Camera Never Blinks Twice: The Further Adventures of a Television Journalist. The MRC's Jessica Anderson typed in the paragraphs from page 97, in a chapter about his 1988 confrontation with then-Vice President Bush:
"A serious journalist can't run with a story without confirmation. Two sources at the absolute minimum. It doesn't matter if you're covering the garden club and one person tells you that Mr. Smith's ranunculus beat Mrs. Jones's hydrangeas. Rarely if ever do you run the item until a second person confirms it.
"This is how your narrator made it through Watergate. If I'd gone off half-cocked, if I'd gotten my facts scrambled, if I'd run with unconfirmed leads, I'd be selling insurance right now. The public and my bosses at CBS would have demanded that, and they'd have been justified. There were nights in the last two years of the Nixon administration that I'd come home late and face Jean across the supper table and say, 'If I'm wrong on this Watergate story, I'll be destroyed in journalism. We'll have to start over in something else.' When the sky cleared, I stuck with the methods that got me through the storm."

The American Spectator's George Neumayr, in a posting picked up by James Taranto's "Best of the Web" column for OpinionJournal.com ( www.opinionjournal.com ), recalled Rather's 2001 claim you can be honest even if you lie regularly, a quote which won the "Gilligan Award (for the Flakiest Comment of the Year)" at the MRC's DisHonors Awards held in January of 2002.

In a piece posted Thursday on the American Spectator's Web site, Neumayr, the magazine's managing editor, recalled:
"On The O'Reilly Factor not so long ago, Dan Rather spoke in defense of public figures who make stuff up. He called Bill Clinton an 'honest man' even as he acknowledged Clinton's whoppers. 'Who among us have not lied about somebody?' asked Rather. 'I think at the core he's an honest person...I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things.'"
"You can be an honest person and lie about any number of things. This elastic philosophy of honesty must account for Rather's view of himself as a witness to 'core truth' while peddling a forgery against the President. Rather sees a 'core truth' wrapped in a forgery inside his CBS reporting, and he is outraged that his critics won't admit it. He is in effect saying: Didn't this forgery at least place me in the vicinity of truth? He lashes out at 'people who for their own partisan, political agendas can't deny the core truth of this story...and want to change the subject and make the story about me rather than have the story be about the unanswered questions about President Bush's military service.'"

For the rest of Neumayr's posting: www.spectator.org

The exchange from the May 15, 2001 O'Reilly Factor on FNC:

Bill O'Reilly: "I want to ask you flat out, do you think President Clinton's an honest man?"
Dan Rather: "Yes, I think he's an honest man."
O'Reilly: "Do you, really?"
Rather: "I do."
O'Reilly: "Even though he lied to Jim Lehrer's face about the Lewinsky case?"
Rather: "Who among us has not lied about something?"
O'Reilly: "Well, I didn't lie to anybody's face on national television. I don't think you have, have you?" Rather: "I don't think I ever have. I hope I never have. But, look, it's one thing-"
O'Reilly: "How can you say he's an honest guy then?"
Rather: "Well, because I think he is. I think at core he's an honest person. I know that you have a different view. I know that you consider it sort of astonishing anybody would say so, but I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things."

To watch a RealPlayer clip of that exchange, go to the MRC's Dan Rather page packed with his worst bias from 1988 through mid-2003 (scroll down to the 2001 section for the video): www.mediaresearch.org

That page also features a video comparison of how Dan Rather treated President Clinton in a March 31, 1999 interview in which Rather avoided the Chinese espionage and fundraising scandals and Rather's infamous interview of Vice President Bush on January 25, 1988 on the Iran-Contra scandal in which Rather told Bush: "You've made us hypocrites in the face of the world." Direct address: www.mediaresearch.org

Backlash? Ratings Plummet for CBS Evening
News
and 60 Minutes

Public rejecting Dan Rather? Last week 60 Minutes won its time slot, but Wednesday's edition, in which Dan Rather featured the late Lt. Colonel Jerry Killian's secretary, as he tried to justify his use of memos she said were fake, came in fourth place. And the CBS Evening News is following the same trend, FNC's Brit Hume reported Thursday night, relaying how ratings for the newscast "have dropped 24 percent in New York, 35 percent in Philadelphia, and 42 percent in Atlanta, to name a few, since Rather first reported on those disputed National Guard documents on 60 Minutes."

In an update posted Thursday afternoon on Broadcasting & Cable magazine's paid site, John Eggerton reported: "CBS's 60 Minutes follow-up to its high-profile National Guard document story came in last among the 'Big Four' networks in the Nielsen Media Research prime-time ratings Wednesday, according to overnight ratings."

Eggerton then zeroed in on a narrower demographic for the hour: "The show, which also featured interviews with Matthew Broderick and a fundamentalist Christian General, averaged a 1.9 rating/6 share in the 18-49 demo. Fox's That '70s Show led the hour with a 3.2/10 in the demo, followed by a repeat of My Wife & Kids on ABC and NBC's new drama, Hawaii, which tied with a 2.6."

The September 8 60 Minutes, in which Rather first showcased the forged memos, won its time slot amongst all viewers. According to Nielsen ratings printed in Thursday's USA Today, 60 Minutes finished in first place during the first hour of prime time with 9.9 million viewers, followed by NBC's Hawaii, Fox's That '70s Show and ABC's My Wife and Kids.

On FNC's September 16 Special Report with Brit Hume, during the "Grapevine segment," Hume reported:
"Ratings for the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather have dropped 24 percent in New York, 35 percent in Philadelphia, and 42 percent in Atlanta, to name a few, since Rather first reported on those disputed National Guard documents on 60 Minutes II...This Tuesday's rating show that Rather's CBS Evening News is down in seven of the top ten markets in the country since the report. And in some cities, rival newscasts on NBC and ABC News drew six times as many viewers as CBS."

The DrudgeReport.com on Thursday morning disclosed: "In the nation's top market, New York, Rather finished not only behind NBC NIGHTLY NEWS and ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT -- but also pulled less audience than reruns of the SIMPSONS, WILL & GRACE and KING OF QUEENS. Rather finished dead last in New York during the 6:30 pm timeslot among all broadcast channels tracked by NIELSEN on Tuesday."

Drudge's item in full: www.drudgereport.com

Jay Leno Echoes Howard Dean's Views,
Praises Michael Moore

Jay Leno is quite liberal, and echoes Howard Dean, a LA Weekly story this week documented. The alternative weekly's Nikki Finke summarized her interview with the host of NBC's Tonight Show: "Jay Leno says, 'I'm not conservative. I've never voted that way in my life.' He 'really worries' what a Dubya victory in November will do to the makeup of the Supreme Court. He believes 'the wool was pulled over our eyes' with the Iraq war. He thinks the White House began using terrorism 'as a crutch' after 9/11. He feels that during the campaign Kerry should 'make Bush look as stupid as possible.' He believes 'the media is in the pocket of the government, and they don't do their job' so 'you have people like Michael Moore who do it for them.' He has on his joke-writing staff a number of former professional speechwriters for Democratic candidates. 'No Republicans.' When it comes to Bush, he doesn't think his politics are much different from Letterman's. 'Does he show his dislike maybe a little more than I do? Probably.' Leno used to read Mother Jones magazine." Plus he took shots at the Fox News Channel and talk radio.

Some brief excerpts from the interview, "Does Mr. Middle-of-the-Road Lean Left?", highlighted by the DrudgeReport.com on Wednesday. The interview appeared in the September 17-23 issue of the newspaper:

Finke: "Do you personally think this is a more important election than some of the others?"
Leno: "[Sighs.] Yeah, it is. I remember in college, and up until recently, I could have a political discussion without people walking out of the room, or telling me to screw off. There's hostility now. I mean, it's literally brother against brother. I have friends who won't even speak now because one is a Bush guy and one is a Kerry guy. And I say, 'You really think there's that big a difference between these two parties?' Okay, obviously there is. When it comes to Supreme Court judges, yeah, I really worry. But I'm not sure what Kerry is going to do that much differently in Iraq. He says today he has a plan, but he doesn't want to say what it is. Hello. I remember Nixon was going to end the war."

Finke: "What do you read?"
Leno: "Different columnists. I like to read both sides and get everybody's point of view. What I go for is editorials and commentary. When I was a kid, I used to read everything: Mother Jones, Time, Newsweek and The New Republic."

Finke: "And TV news?"
Leno: "I watch MSNBC. I watch CNN. And I also go to Fox News to see what their take is. It's fascinating that they can go a whole year without mentioning Osama bin Laden. You're aware this is a Republican thing."

Finke: "Do you think it's weird that talk radio is all right all the time?"
Leno: "No, it's not weird. Because liberal people don't need to hear their view expressed over and over again. I think some people on the right need to hear this constant reinforcement, whereas I don't find that necessary."

Finke: "When you interview people for the writing staff, what if somebody comes in and says, 'Look, I have to warn you, I'm a proud liberal,' or 'I'm a proud conservative'?"
Leno: "They are. I have on my staff a rabbi, I have a number of former speechwriters, and one guy had written comedy before. The others were all professional speechwriters for primarily Democratic candidates. Actually, there are no Republicans. They wrote jokes that were good. And everybody was hired without an interview. It's based on material."

Many of Finke's questions, such as this one, made it clear she's well to the left: "The media seems to only present the Republican spin and to not present the other side of what's going on."
Leno: "I believe the media is in the pocket of the government, and they don't do their job. They have people like Michael Moore who do it for them."

For the lengthy interview in full: www.laweekly.com

Another sign of Finke's agenda -- the lead to her April 23 column: "Leno may be the ratings winner. Stewart is the critics' darling. But, day in and day out, Letterman is the hands-down leader when it comes to unabashed Bush bashing. One reason is that his Late Show has the brass balls to go where the cowardly White House news corps and corporate suck-up Leno fear to tread: presenting Dubya in all his dumb-ass glory." See: www.laweekly.com

-- Brent Baker