MemoGate Report to be Released Today?
Breaking news on RatherGate (aka MemoGate), which I have been following. To me, the fallout -- with CBS now groveling to the Bush Administration for forgiveness -- falls into the same category as recent revelations that prominent black conservative pundit Armstrong Williams has been handsomely paid by the Department of Education to promote the No Child Left Behind program. That shared category is the increasing influence/control over the media being exercised by the Bush Administration.
The breaking news from Bloomberg: "Viacom Inc.'s CBS said it fired four employees for a September report by news anchor Dan Rather questioning President George W. Bush's National Guard Service, according to a statement issued on the network's Web site. CBS senior vice president Betsy West, `60 Minutes' executive producer Josh Howard and his deputy, Mary Murphy, were asked to resign along with the producer of the story, Mary Mapes." As an immediate reaction: 1) the word"scapegoat" comes to mind; 2) will anyone ever again discuss the significant question of where Bush actual was during his '72 National Guard stint?; and, 3) this is a prelude to and part of the spin being placed on the much-awaited release of the MemoGate Report (the `independent' investigation into the scandal), which I expect shortly. On his Sunday show, Matt Drudge announced [audio file] that it should be released later today, complete with news of Dan Rather's replacement.
Of course, the CBS spin has been building for a while. The media watchdog site RatherBiased reports, "CBS Hires Liberal Activist to Spin Memogate Report. In the first public move indicating that the network is going to be releasing the report from the `independent' investigation, the network re-hired--according to TV Barn--one of its professional spinmeisters, Donna Dees. But CBS wouldn't be CBS if it were just any pr flack. This Donna Dees is the same woman who organized the anti-gun Million Mom March [MMM] rally in 2000 and was the sister-in-law of a Hillary Clinton advisor, who also organized the event. This comrade-in-no-arms of Rosie O'Donnell, says CBS, `will join our press office next Monday, Jan. 10, as senior press representative responsible for the CBS EVENING NEWS, the CBS EVENING NEWS weekend editions and FACE THE NATION."
When CBS reported on the MMM in 2000, it did not disclose that the event's head organizer had worked for CBS for the past six years. The network is carefully disclosing everything this time probably because - with so many spotlights shining - it can't get away with much.
For more commentary, please see McBlog.