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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Bad Idea


A Republican congressman has asked for an investigation into CBS News' use of "apparently forged documents concerning the service record of President George W. Bush." Rep. Christopher Cox, of California, delivered a letter Wednesday to the chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Internet saying CBS used the memos "to unfairly damage [Bush's] reputation and influence the outcome of the 2004 presidential election." "Despite the growing abundance of evidence that CBS News has aided and abetted fraud, the network has declined to reveal the source of the disputed documents," Cox said.
Getting the Federal Government involved in this is a horrible, no good, very bad idea. I believe that the media will be able to police itself in this. If it cannot, well, we have bigger problems than a Government investigation can solve. Basically, that would mean that the media as a whole is absolutely untrustworthy, the 1st amendment was a bad idea and, in a sense, democracy cannot work. If laws were broken, then government courts and prosecuters can be used to litigate this matter, but as to a congressional investigation all that would do is place a very chilling hand on free speech. The press will make mistakes. Independant researchers and other press organizations can, and will, as this episode has proved, find and expose those mistakes to the public. The public can then, with this knowledge, evaluate the trustworthiness of the various news services and using the power of the marketplace, reward and punish them as they see fit. No congressional intervention needed.


Blogger Aric said...

I agree with you. An investigation would be redundant at this point. 60 minutes is high enough profile, and trusted enough, that the backlash on this issue could be catastrophic for them. Ratings and loss of credibility will punish them far more effectively than an investigation ever would.

-- Aric

9/16/2004 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Nicolas Farley said...

Bravo! But I feel the documents could be unknowningly false document, whether or not the content is true, we may never know....

9/17/2004 12:24:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

I thought at first that CBS had just been duped but since then we have found out that some at least of their own document specialists raised the same questions that everyone else has.

At the minimum you have a huge failure to fully research. At the worst, knowing distribution of forgeries as news. Either way, a huge black spot on CBS's reputation.

It is true that the basic CBS story COULD be true here. But without the documents, all they have is rumors and a he-said she-said scenario (much like the Kerry medal controversy)

By my count, a lot more named sources are supporting Bush in this story than are supporting CBS. CBS could have a bunch of anonymous sources that collaborate this, but...do you trust CBS?

9/17/2004 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger Random Gemini said...

It's very hard to trust CBS on this one. Weather Bush ditched on the national guard or not, those documents are forged. How can you trust their coverage now?

9/17/2004 02:14:00 PM  

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