Jonah Goldberg

Indeed, every day since the story broke, the much-vaunted experts and witnesses CBS relied upon to authenticate the memos have made it clear that CBS wasn't particularly eager to get the truth. Their chief expert, the Washington Post revealed, now says he never even tried to authenticate the documents themselves, merely the signature which had been photocopied and faxed somewhere between 12 and a zillion times. Indeed, CBS has been asking its professional experts not to speak to the media - a sure sign that they know they didn't nail down the story in the first place.

Meanwhile, Dan Rather has dug in for dear life, ridiculing his critics and dismissing pretty much anyone who has eyes to see the truth as a "partisan," while the CBS front office continues to break off bits of it credibility like a man who feeds an alligator one body part at a time. A CBS spokeswoman told the Post: "In the end, the gist is that it's inconclusive. People are coming down on both sides, which is to be expected when you're dealing with copies of documents." Translation: We can't prove the source is true, but you can't prove it's not.

Well, since this is the new standard, I would like to announce my next column topic right now: Dan Rather has eaten fifteen German Shepherds in the last year alone and he considers himself the Warrior King of the planet Blarnack. I have just printed out documents that back up my story. It is for CBS to prove me wrong.

I could go on all day and into the night. But the point is this: Dan Rather is toast. Or, more broadly, "Dan Ratherism" is over. The man who used to sign off his broadcasts with "Courage" may be able to ride out this scandal, insofar as he won't be unceremoniously fired. But the age of the Nightly News Anchor as trusted uncle is now officially dead. It was dying already, but this scandal is its death rattle. Even if Rather admitted that he put the BS in CBS, it's too late to save his reputation with millions. Besides, once he admits that the documents are fake, he has to reveal his source, because there is no journalistic obligation to protect con artists who humiliate you. And my guess is that the source is even more embarrassing than the fraud.

I can't prove that. But who says I have to?


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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