He did not tell his audience that family members of Col. Jerry Killian and CBS' own document examiners had raised questions about the authenticity of the memos he was using to indict the president. He did not tell his audience that the source of the memos was an eccentric and an inveterate Bush-basher. He did not tell the CBS audience that Ben Barnes, the ex-lieutenant governor of Texas who claimed to have used his influence to get Bush into the Air National Guard, had earlier denied under oath that he had done any such thing.
Had Rather done an honest piece of journalism and let the CBS audience know there were questions about both the witnesses he had brought in to accuse Bush and the documentary evidence he had put forward to convict Bush, CBS' audience could have made an informed judgment. But Rather did not want that. For Rather was conducting a show trial. He was a prosecutor hiding from the defense all the exculpatory evidence in his briefcase. And prosecutors who engage in such unethical behavior usually end up being disbarred.
Another reason Rather and CBS are stonewalling may be that there was collusion and orchestration between CBS' source Bill Burkett, the "60 Minutes" staff, the Kerry campaign and the DNC's Terry MacAuliffe -- collusion that could make it appear that CBS News has become the clandestine TV production arm of MoveOn.org.
For it is now known that Mary Mapes, Rather's producer, called Joe Lockhart of the Kerry campaign to alert him that the attack on Bush was imminent and to steer him to Burkett. Lockhart called Burkett, but claims they did not discuss the impending explosive Guard story. Hard to believe. Burkett says he also talked to former Sen. Max Cleland, Kerry's liaison to veterans.
Then, there is the issue of why Ben Barnes changed his story. Did he inform the candidate for whom he has raised thousands of dollars, John Kerry, so that Kerry's campaign could coordinate its strikes with "60 Minutes"?
Yes, indeed, there is much more to this story. We are going to find out whether Dan Rather and CBS have been hauling contraband for the Kerry campaign, while flying under a false flag of neutrality.
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