The first draft of history


Ernest Miller has done an amazing job putting together a chronology of the Rathergate/Danron scandal. He does so more out of sorrow than anger, it would appear. He gets is exactly right on the failures of the press in this matter.
It is disappointing to me that the major media has been mostly silent in their condemnation of CBS's response to this scandal. Even granting, against reason, that there remains a serious debate about the authenticity of the documents, and that CBS's "checks and balances" for vetting this story were sufficient, the response of CBS to its critics has been outrageous. Where are the outraged calls for more transparency on the part of CBS News from the editorial boards of the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune or Wall Street Journal? Why haven't anchors of the other networks called for CBS to establish an internal, or better yet, an external investigation into the issue? Any profession that won't police its own when members egregiously violate the fundamental tenets of that profession will very quickly lose all credibility.
More importantly, the press plays a vital and critical role in forcing transparency on government. How effectively will the press be able to play that role if it adopts the stonewalling tactics of the government when it is subject to criticism? If our watchdogs cannot even watch themselves, the Fourth Estate will become ever more ineffective....
It is abundantly clear that CBS's actions when questioned about the validity of their reporting are a breach of what should be fundamental journalistic practice. Either that, or CBS News is hopelessly incompetent.

Hat tips to Instapundit  and Clarice Feldman

Thomas Lifson  9 18 04