Another CBS affiliate response on RatherGate
For what it's worth...A CBS affiliate in San Diego put me on their autorespond list after I emailed them automatically using the affiliate group mail deal. It sounds like they are getting the message. It could be better, but they do say some strong things. It's pretty long. I realize they've got to be kind to their CBS parents. But it shows they are feeling some pressure, and they hope we calm down. Here it is:
posted by M@ at 10:00 PM
Thanks for your recent letter about the controversy surrounding CBS News,
and their reporting on President Bush's National Guard service.
It is a difficult situation for us at here at Local 8 News. We have been a
CBS affiliate for more than 50 years, and we are proud of that affiliation.
But, while we are affiliated with CBS, we are not owned by them. They
provide us with programming, everything from CSI to The CBS Evening News.
We provide them with local news video when they need it. We do not have any
say in CBS News policy or story selection, nor do they have any say in our
local news decisions.
Our President & General Manager has called our contacts at CBS to express
our concern about the handling of the story. In addition, Local 8 News has
reported both the charges that the documents Mr. Rather used are forged, and
CBS News' response to the charges.
I should also point out that Local 8 is the news department for our sister
station KFMB 760 AM radio. The controversy has been thoroughly covered
there by talk show hosts Rick Roberts, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and
As you know, CBS News now admits that they cannot prove the documents are
accurate, and they have apologized for their lack of judgment. For the
record, here are the statements issued by CBS News President Andrew Heyward,
and anchor Dan Rather yesterday:
Statement from Andrew Heyward, President of CBS News
"60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY had full confidence in the original report or it would
not have aired. However, in the wake of serious and disturbing questions
that came up after the broadcast, CBS News has done extensive additional
reporting in an effort to confirm the documents' authenticity. That
included an interview featured on last week's edition of 60 MINUTES
WEDNESDAY (15) with Marian Carr Knox, secretary to the late Lt. Col. Jerry
Killian, the officer named as the author of the documents; the interview
with Bill Burkett to be seen tonight (20); and a further review of the
forensic evidence on both sides of the debate. Based on what we now know,
CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only
acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report. We
should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret.
Nothing is more important to us than our credibility and keeping faith with
the millions of people who count on us for fair, accurate, reliable, and
independent reporting. We will continue to work tirelessly to be worthy of
CBS News and CBS management are commissioning an independent review of the
process by which the report was prepared and broadcast to help determine
what actions need to be taken. The names of the people conducting the
review will be announced shortly, and their findings will be made public."
Statement from CBS Anchor Dan Rather
"Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents
used in support of a 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY story about President Bush's time
in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents
in question-and their source-vigorously. And we promised that we would let
the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the
Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence
in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them
journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our
source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That,
combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in
the press, leads me to a point where-if I knew then what I know now-I would
not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would
not have used the documents in question.
But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I
am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the
spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting
without fear or favoritism.
Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our
ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully."
If you wish to express your concerns directly to CBS, you can use the
following e-mail addresses: Audience services at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 60
Minutes Weeknight viewers at 60II@cbsnews.com.
In the meantime, Local 8 News will continue to report on both sides of the
controversy on radio, TV and web until it is resolved, and we will pass your
concerns on to CBS. Thanks again for writing and letting us know how you
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