Thursday, September 16, 2004

I guess there's nothing else to talk about

Personally, I'm rather sick of Rathergate. I'm just waiting to see how long it takes for CBS to admit that Rather led them down the path to destruction. Apparently, that hasn't happened just yet, as CBS is still allowing Rather to put up a defense. From last night's attempt:

He interviewed Ms. Knox, who was Lt.Col. Killian's personal secretary. Summary: the documents themselves are fake, she said, but they did capture the essence of how Killian felt about Bush. I'll let that statement stand on it's own, because as we know by know NOWHERE else has it been said that Killian felt any form of negativity to young George W. Bush. Some highlights of the interview, KEEPING IN MIND that this is from the CBS news site, which presents Ms. Knox's interview as a story rather than a transcript:

- from CBS: Knox says she didn’t type these memos, but she says she did type ones that contained the same information. “I know that I didn’t type them," says Knox. "However, the information in those is correct.”

further into the story: Knox says that Killian started what she calls a "cover-your-back" file -- a personal file where he stored the memos about the problems with Mr. Bush's performance, his failure to take a physical, and the pressure Killian felt from upstairs.

Now, for starters, Knox never states in her interview (the broadcast part of it, at least) that Killian had a "cover your back" file. But, for fun, let's accept the assertion made by CBS. (It actually helps make my case) WHERE IS THIS FILE? If she typed memos containing the same information as the frauds put forth last week, WHERE ARE THOSE ORIGINAL MEMOS? If the purpose of these types of memos was to "cover his back", don't you think Killian would have kept them somewhere he could get to them--you know, somewhere where they might actually serve to cover his back? Did Knox keep the file? If so, where is it? Did she destroy it years ago? Did Killian keep it himself? If so, what did he do with that file when he changed jobs? This statement begs more questions than it answers--and of course, none of these questions were asked by Mr. Rather. I wonder if Ms. Knox will allow herself to be asked questions by other reporters. . .

from CBS' story:
Rather: "So what kind of officer was Lt. Bush?"
Knox: “Bush seemed to be having a good time. He didn't seem to be having any problem with the other pilots,” says Knox. “But, his time there, it seemed that the other fellows were, I’m going to say this, sort of resentful of him because of his attitude … that he really didn’t have to go by the rules.”

First of all, these two statements are mutually exclusive, aren't they? Isn't resentment a kind of problem? But if we really want to know what the "attitude" of the other fellows, wouldn't we ask some of those other fellows? Now I know that the boss' secretary is frequently "in the know" of a lot of things, but WE'RE TALKING ABOUT 30 YEARS AGO! And, given that Ms. Knox is reported to be rather anti-Bush, I think that her "perceptions" of things from 30 years ago should not be taken as scripture.

More from CBS: She addressed one memo, and a reference to retired Gen. Staudt pushing for a positive officer training report on Lt. Bush. ’Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it.’ Does that sound like Col. Killian? Is that the way it felt,” Rather asked Knox. “That's absolutely the way he felt about that," says Knox.

Is this the same Staudt (then-Colonel Staudt), who had left the squadron some 16 months before the date of the memo? Of course it is. What position was Staudt in to exert pressure on anybody in that unit at that time? Well, to listen to the blogosphere, Staudt shouldn't have had ANY influence on Killian at that time. So why even bring this memo up? And why didn't Knox dismiss this memo as the forgery that we now believe it to be? The fact that Knox doesn't strike down Staudt's role ON THIS PARTICULAR MEMO means one of two things: either the blogosphere needs to bring more research into this one area (maybe Staudt WAS calling from his new job making sure that a then-nobody Lt was taken care of. . .hey, it's possible. By CBS' standards, anyway), OR Knox didn't know the facts behind the situation that she spoke of. I'm inclined to believe the latter, which would pretty much bring this entire interview into question. But just to be sure, I'd like to see some more research done into Staudt. . .

Further. . .Rather makes a point of stating that Knox believes Killian was upset that Bush didn't follow the order to get a flight physical. Now the interview gets a little interesting here, as Rather treats the memo "directing" Bush to get a flight physical as an order, yet Knox states that said memo was in response to Bush's failure to follow Killian's order. What I THINK she was trying to say was that the memo was in response to Bush's failure to follow standard procedure--BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT SHE SAID!

You know what's funny? IF I had been ordered to do something--especially in time of war--but didn't do it, and my boss was really upset about the whole situation, I GUARANTEE you it wouldn't stop with a memo for the record. DOCUMENTED counseling would have been done to be sure, and in all likelihood it would have ended up in some sort of formal investigation that would have, at the very least, ended up in at least an informal type of punishment. (I think the reference is Art. 32a of the UCMJ, but I'll check that to be sure for my next post) But in this case? Nothing. . .nada. . .and yes, I find that compelling. . .

But then there's this whopper from the CBS site in a kind of conclusion at the end of the story:

Having said that, 60 Minutes feels that it's important to underscore this point: Those who have criticized aspects of our story have never criticized the major thrust of our report -- that George Bush received preferential treatment to get into the National Guard, and once accepted, failed to satisfy the requirements of his service. If we uncover any information to the contrary, that information will also be reported.

Silly me, I thought the burden for "proof" was on the media that made the report, not the public that was digesting the report. NOWHERE is it credibly proven that Bush received preferential treatment to get in the Guard (Barnes, who was ineffective anyhow, doesn't count as credible--he's got half a million reasons to try to sway the outcome of this election)--and even more important, NOWHERE is it honestly stated that Bush or his family sought any kind of preferential treatment with regards to entering the Guard. And as of yet, NOWHERE has it been proven that Bush failed to satisfy his service requirements. Doesn't CBS get it?--anybody can make an allegation. News services should look at the allegations from a factual basis before the move forward with a report. Clearly this didn't happen in this case, and CBS is even kind of admitting that with this concluding paragraph.

I'm just waiting for the full admission. Of course, that won't come until they start feeling it in their pocketbook.


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