Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Who is the source?

By now, it's pretty obvious that Dan Rather's willed ignorance about the nature of the NG documents will have to end, and most likely end in the next two days. Should the White House move on the story, and demand an investigation, then heads will quickly roll. I think the WH is perfectly content at the moment to let the blogosphere, Rush/Hannity, and (in something you rarely see) the MSM push the story, but should momentum start to falter in the next few days, I imagine the WH will step up to the plate and put heavy pressure on CBS to start answering questions.

Here is what Jonah Goldberg posted earlier today on The Corner. I've heard something to this effect elsewhere too (Powerline has expressed similar sentiments), but here it is:

I'm sure this has been covered elsewhere, but let's be clear. The moment CBS admits these docs are bogus, theymust divulge who their source was. Protecting sources who tell the truth is honorable (though not as sacrosanct as some in the press think). Protecting sources who gave your news organization an umbrella enema and then opened it, is nuts. You have no obligation to protect a source who lies to you. Indeed, you have an obligation to out such sources. The only plausible motive I can think of for why Rather et al would protect the source of these documents -- once they admit the truth -- is that the source of these docs is even more embarassing than the fraudulent nature of the documents themselves. If it's Chris Lehane or Ben Barnes or someone else tied to the Kerry campaign, CBS News will have actively aided and abetted a partisan smear. And they can't afford to admit that.

I think this is the only rational explanation for Rather to continue this charade. If it were some low-level flunky somewhere in the basement of MoveOn.org (which is where Jim Geraghty of the Kerry Spot thinks the docs came from), then it's embarrassing, but not humiliating enough to risk an entire network's reputation. But if someone in the campaign supplied the docs, then it's a nuclear hit. I've also read some things about Rather's daughter, who is a player in Democratic politics, and the fact that perhaps his adamant denial of a forgery(in the face of all evidence to the contrary) is to protect her as the source.

Of course, could the Kerry campaign really be stupid enough to leak such obvious forgeries? It's hard to believe. But at this point, it's about the only logical choice left (save for Rather's daughter) given the fact that the stakes for CBS and Rather are now sky high.

At any rate, I was going to write about this for my column on Friday, but I think anything I put together tonight and tomorrow morning will be obsolete come Friday morning. Anyone else want to guess when this story finally breaks open? I'm going with Thursday. . .


At 1:41 PM, Blogger Tortfeasor said...

Who, other than Rather/Mapes and the source himself, knows who the source is? That is th question, IMO. These three won't budge if the source's revelation would be too damning -- Rather/Mapes would rather continue to insist the emperor is not naked -- the better of two unappealing choices.

But who else knows? Is ready to make some $$$ through a book deal, movie, etc.? Is disillusioned by the experience?

That's where it will break.

At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what are you smoking? The White House can't demand an investigation!?!? That would open the door for a "REAL" investigation of W.'s service record. Then he'd be shown up as the rich boy coward deserter that he was. Hey, how come you facist jerks never want to talk about the real George Bush, the drug addled idiot underachiever with a criminal record and a history that includes active collusion in an illegal abortion and military desertion in a time of war. The George Bush who lied on "Presidential Resume" and denied his drunk driving record. You're just another hristian-By-Mouther who's perfectly willing to let your myopic agenda hurt people who you've conveniently deluded yourself into believing you are superior to. YOU deserve better health care than those people. YOU deserve to put more money in your pocket by sending your neighbors job to someone overseas you can pay near slave wages. YOU deserve to have your own personal belief system (no matter how childish [imaginary grampa and all])set the agenda for everyone. Either way, I guess, YOU will be judged as you make judgements against others.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Tortfeasor said...


Thanks for reading. Now back to your padded room.

At 5:34 PM, Blogger Bo said...

Tortfeasor - good response. I confess that I had no idea the White House asking for CBS to apologize for running documents that are completely false and slander the president would ultimately sink the election for Bush in '04. I stand corrected.


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