Accuracy in Media

Now that the brouhaha over Dan Rather’s “Memogate” scandal is no longer front-and-center in the national media, one has to wonder why there’s been no closure to the issue of the documents themselves. Bill Burkett, the supplier of the documents to CBS, changed his story on the source of the documents, ultimately claiming that one “Lucy Ramirez” gave them to him. No one even knows who Lucy Ramirez is, if she exists of if she’s another figment of Burkett’s imagination. Surely, a scoop on where the documents came from would be huge. Reporters, even those at CBS could be working on this story themselves. Doing so would give the image at least of contrition and dedication to getting to the bottom of the story. A reporter who broke this scoop would put his or her name on the map. So why has there been not even a single indication of effort in this direction?

One source tells AIM that CBS News White House correspondent John Roberts ascribes to the conspiracy theory that GOP strategist Karl Rove planted the fake documents in order embarrass CBS. Well, even the holding of that conspiracy theory should be an embarrassment to CBS since the theory portrays the news giant as a helpless victim. We note that CBS News political editor Dotty Lynch has been stoking the Rove conspiracy fire, running a column claiming that Rove was behind controversial journalist Jeff Gannon getting a white House press pass.

Fired CBS producer Mary Mapes has inked a six-figure book deal with St. Martin’s Press, beating out half a dozen other publishers’ offers for her “tell-all” book on the “Rathergate” scandal. Will Mapes finally reveal the true source of the documents? All indicators show we’ll just get more of the limp self-vindication that Mapes has become known for. The book is tentatively titled The Other Side of the Story. Gee, we thought we already got Mapes’ side of the story when the now-discredited broadcast ran. Whatever was left of Mapes’ threadbare story was told to the independent panel, which was left mystified over her stubborn faith-like belief in the authenticity of the documents.

Now Robert B. Bluey, writing in Human Events, asks the $64,000 question: will the forger of the CBS memos ever face prosecution? Since the forger remains at large, Bluey notes, he/she has been spared from even the threat of a federal or state investigation.  He notes that both federal and state felony statutes exist that give law enforcement authorities the ability to pursue the forger, but neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor prosecutors in Texas have taken up the case. When asked point blacnk whether the Department of Justice would take up the case, Justice Department spokesman Kevin Madden told Human Events simply, “No.”

Human Events also reported:

  • A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety said no investigation was started last fall and no Texas prosecutor has tried to launch a probe.

  • The district attorney in Taylor County, Tex., (where Abilene is located, the city from which the memos were faxed.) said last fall he would not prosecute unless an investigative agency turned over the case to his office. (The Texas Dept. of Public Safety would be responsible for investigating.)

Last fall, before the election, any investigation would’ve been politically problematic for the Bush administration. With the near complete apathy of federal and state law enforcement and media, it seems the forger will escape the scandal unscathed-something it would seem the savvy individual counted on from the beginning. It’s not too late to seek justice in this case.




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