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CBS' Cowardice And Conflicts Behind Purge


CBS' Cowardice And Conflicts Behind Purge

Network's Craven Back-Down on Bush Draft Dodge Report Sure to Get a Standing Rove-ation at White House

By Greg Palast

"Independent" my ass. CBS' cowardly purge of five journalists who exposed George Bush's dodging of the Vietnam War draft was done under cover of what the network laughably called an "Independent Review Panel."

The "panel" was just two guys as qualified for the job as they are for landing the space shuttle: Dick Thornburgh and Louis Boccardi.

Remember Dickie Thornburgh? He was on the Bush 41 Administration's payroll. His grand accomplishment as Bush's Attorney General was to whitewash the investigation of the Exxon Valdez Oil spill…

Then there's Boccardi, not exactly a prince of journalism. This is the gent who, as CEO of the Associated Press, spiked his own wire service's exposure of Oliver North and his traitorous dealings with the Ayatollah Khomeini. Legendary AP investigative reporters Robert Parry and Brian Barger found their stories outing the Iran-Contra scandal in 1986 stopped by their bosses. They did not know that Boccardi was on those very days deep in the midst of talks with North, participating in the conspiracy…

And who are the journalists whom CBS has burned at the corporate stake? The first lined up for career execution is '60 Minutes' producer Mary Mapes. Besides the Bush draft dodge story, Mapes produced the exposé of the torture at Abu Ghraib when other networks had the same material and buried it…

CBS said, "The Panel found that Mapes ignored information that cast doubt on the story she had set out to report -- that President Bush had received special treatment 30 years ago, getting to the [Texas Air National] Guard ahead of many other applicants …."

Well, excuse me, but that story is stone cold solid, irrefutable, backed-up, sourced, proven to a fare-thee-well. I know, because I'm one of the reporters who broke that story … way back in 1999, for the Guardian papers of Britain. No one has challenged the Guardian report, or my follow-up for BBC Television, whatsoever, though we've begged the White House for a response from our self-proclaimed "war president."

CBS did not "break" this Chicken-Hawk George story; it's just that Dan Rather, with Mapes' encouragement, found his journalistic soul and the cojones, finally, after 5 years delay, to report it…

Mapes and Rather did make a mistake, citing a memo which could not be authenticated. But let's get serious folks: this "Killian" memo had not a darn thing to do with the story-in-chief -- the President's using his daddy's connections to duck out of Vietnam. The Killian memo was a goofy little addition to the story (not included in my Guardian or BBC reports).

So CBS inquisitors took this minor error and used it to discredit the story and ruin careers of reporters who allowed themselves an unguarded moment of courage. And, crucial to the network's real agenda, this nonsensical distraction allowed the White House to resurrect the fake reputation of George Bush as Vietnam-era top gun…

Yes, I believe heads should roll at CBS: those of the "news" chieftains who for five years ignored the screaming evidence about George Bush's dodging the draft during the war in Vietnam…

Viacom needs the White House to bless its voracious and avaricious need to bust current ownership and trade rules to add to its global media monopoly. Placing the severed heads of reporters who would question the Bush mythology on the White House doorstep will certainly ease the way for Viacom's ambitions.

At the least, at the upcoming inaugural parties, CBS' ruler [Sumner] Redstone can expect that White House occupants will give him a standing Rove-ation.


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