- Accuracy in Media - https://www.aim.org -

More Legal Problems for CBS

The election has been over for weeks, but experts and observers are still pondering the results.  Dr. Arthur B. Robinson, the president of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, comments that “Big media tried some very big lies late in the campaign in blatant attempts to defeat the President before these lies could be countered.  For the most part, these efforts did not work.  They were countered by the truth?on the Internet?in remarkably timely fashion.”

One of the Big Lies, broadcast just 55 days before the election, was the CBS claim that confidential documents proved that President Bush had neglected his National Guard service.  The documents were bogus, the broadcast backfired, and CBS announced an investigation.  Three weeks after the election, CBS Evening news anchorman Dan Rather, who hosted the broadcast, announced that he was stepping down.  The Economist of London commented that “Mr. Rather’s retirement epitomizes two broader shifts of power.  First, the old media are losing power to the new.  And, second, the liberal media establishment is losing power to a more diverse cacophony of new voices.”

Accuracy in Media pointed out that the anchorman’s conduct is the subject of a pending legal complaint to the Federal Election Commission from the Center for Individual Freedom.  The complaint says that Rather and CBS were guilty of “illegally coordinating a partisan attack” on President Bush.

Jeffrey Mazzella, the Center’s Executive Director, charged that CBS and its executives “blatantly violated federal election laws when they overtly ignored basic journalistic ethical standards and coordinated with the Kerry campaign in order to run an attack story in an effort to affect the outcome of the November presidential election.  Our complaint makes this very clear.”

As evidence of the coordination, he cites the fact that, as a condition for handing over the documents, CBS’s source, Bill Burkett, required that CBS arrange for a conversation between him and a senior advisor of the Kerry campaign.  Mazzella says, “On September 4, just four days before the segment aired, a CBS producer [Mary Mapes] spoke with Joe Lockhart, a senior advisor to the Kerry campaign.  Lockhart admits that during the conversation he and the CBS employee discussed the upcoming segment attacking President Bush.  Lockhart also admits that he later called Burkett at CBS’s urging.”

Mazella explains, “If there had been no coordination, there would have been no attack story.  CBS would not have been able to use the documents it so desperately needed for its assault on President Bush if one of its producers hadn’t coordinated with the Kerry campaign.”  Other evidence of coordination includes the fact that, only two days after CBS aired the story attacking Bush, the Democratic National Committee released a nearly 4-minute video entitled “Fortunate Son,” making some of the same arguments and using some of the footage from the CBS story.  For a copy of the complaint, go to the website of the Center for Individual Freedom.  That’s www.cfif.org [1].