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"The headline is not that this White House endlessly bows to the right but that it is not at all afraid of the right. . . . Maybe the president has simply concluded he has no more elections to face and no longer needs his own troops to wage the ground war and contribute money . . . Maybe he is a big-government Republican who has a shrewder and more deeply informed sense of the right than his father did, but who ultimately sees the right not as a thing he is of but a thing he must appease, defy, please or manipulate."
Finally, I've been trying to get to this item for some time:
Mary Mapes has dug in her heels.
Mapes, you may recall, was the pit-bull CBS producer at the heart of the Bush/National Guard fiasco that gave the network a black eye, got Mapes fired and hastened Dan Rather's exit from the anchor chair he had held for 24 years.
For those with only a hazy recollection, an independent panel retained by CBS found "considerable and fundamental deficiencies" in the reporting of the "60 Minutes Wednesday" piece, said Rather and Mapes "failed miserably" to authenticate the documents at the heart of the story and rushed to air in a "myopic zeal" to be first.
At the time, Mapes put out a statement and never submitted to a single press interview. Instead, she went underground and wrote a book, now on the verge of being published. I have read the first chapter, which is posted on Amazon .
If there's any sign that Mapes thinks she did anything wrong, moved too fast, made a single mistake, it would have to be in the other chapters. To wit:
"I remember staring, disheartened and angry, at one posting. '60 Minutes is going down,' the writer crowed exultantly. My heart started to pound. There is nothing more frightening for a reporter than the possibility of being wrong, seriously wrong. That is the reason that we checked and rechecked, argued about wording, took care to be certain that the video that accompanied the words didn't create a new and unintended nuance. Being right, being sure, was everything. And right now, on the Internet, it appeared everything was falling apart. I had a real physical reaction as I read the angry online accounts. It was something between a panic attack, a heart attack, and a nervous breakdown. My palms were sweaty; I gulped and tried to breathe. . . . The little girl in me wanted to crouch and hide behind the door and cry my eyes out."
What about the suspect memos by that long-dead Guard official? "Faxing changes a document in so many ways, large and small, that analyzing a memo that had been faxed -- -in some cases not once, but twice -- -was virtually impossible. The faxing destroyed the subtle arcs and lines in the letters. The characters bled into each other. The details of how the typed characters failed to line up perfectly inside each word were lost."
The problem is that three of CBS's own document experts later said they could not have authenticated those memos, and two had warned the network about that.
Mapes on her critics: "To these people, there was no such thing as unbiased mainstream reporting, certainly not when it came to criticism of the president, no matter how tepid. To them, there was Fox News and everything else -- and everything else was liberal and unfair."
Mapes on the MSM: "I was incredulous that the mainstream press -- -a group I'd been a part of for nearly twenty-five years and thought I knew -- -was falling for the blogs' critiques. I was shocked at the ferocity of the attack. I was terrified at CBS's lack of preparedness in defending us. I was furious at the unrelenting attacks on Dan. And I was helpless to do anything about any of it."
Problem: Lots of MSM outlets, including The Post, did their own reporting and concluded the memos were highly suspect at best.
Rather hasn't given up either, says the New York Post :
"Dan Rather wants to reopen the investigation into President Bush and the National Guard story that resulted in the Memogate scandal and led to his early departure from the anchor desk.
"But his bosses at CBS have forbidden him to go back at it, he said. 'CBS News doesn't want me to do that story,' Rather said during an interview that aired on C-SPAN. 'They wouldn't let me do that story,' he said during the shockingly frank interview with former NBC newsman Marvin Kalb . . .
" 'I believed in the story,' Rather said. 'The facts of the story were correct. One supporting pillar of the story, albeit an important one, one supporting pillar was brought into question,' he said. 'To this day, no one has proven whether it was what it purported to be or not.'"