Marc Ash: Bush v. Rather et. al.
Bush v. Rather et. al.
By Marc Ash
t r u t h o u t | Editorial
Monday 20 September 2004
The continued attention paid to the source of documents obtained by CBS allegedly documenting inconsistencies in George W. Bush's accounts of his national guard service provides a powerful portrait of our times.
On the one hand, we have on display the awesome power of modern broadcast media. That power was clearly evident in the presentation of the documents by CBS, and just as clearly as their critics and competitors attempted to discredit them. Reality as perceived by the modern American is formed to a frightening degree by television.
Equally apparent in this drama is the dominance, in our culture, of sordid controversy over substantive analysis. Bluntly stated, the contents of the documents do not warrant the attendant brouhaha. Their contents are unremarkable. Particularly in light of the gravity of our times, that we would allow our attention to be thus diverted amounts to something of a travesty.
Let's get on with it.
In the interest of seeing the conclusion of this episode, we would urge CBS to make every effort to demonstrate their degree of diligence in obtaining the documents and validating their authenticity. CBS may have obtained bad documents in good faith, but they must make a full accounting.
CBS must be open and forthright with the public they serve, and the public should accept nothing less.
For Mr. Bush the document controversy may provide shelter from an issue that he has long avoided. While the validity of the CBS documents is in question, their contents provide little new insight into Mr. Bush's whereabouts in 1972. Documents that would do so remain conspicuously absent.
Mr. Bush's official position, that he told his superiors that he was 'going to Alabama and they agreed,' is suspiciously convenient. 1972 was a time of war. Mr. Bush's contention that he was able to alter his commitment to his unit by submitting a simple request is particularly galling to those who were stationed in the jungles of Vietnam in 1972 and those whose tour of duty has been indefinitely extended in Iraq.
Mr. Bush is applying for the position of commander in chief. His conduct during wartime matters.