Killing the messengers

January 16th, 2005 – 7:55 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

Greg Palast, who is, among other thing, the author of the excellent book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Truth About Corporate Cons, Globalization and High-Finance Fraudsters, has written a scathing piece about the recent firing of five CBS journalists:

And who are the journalists whom CBS has burned at the corporate stake? The first lined up for career execution is ’60 Minutes’ producer Mary Mapes. Besides the Bush draft dodge story, Mapes produced the exposé of the torture at Abu Ghraib when other networks had the same material and buried it.

I admit to a soft spot for Mapes. Four years ago, BBC Television London broadcast my report that Jeb Bush had wrongly purged thousands of African-Americans from the voter rolls, thereby fixing the election for his big brother. CBS Evening News ran away scared from the story, as did ABC and other US networks. This year, when Bush tried to repeat the trick, Mapes wanted to put it on ’60 Minutes.’ However, after the draft dodge story hullabaloo, that was not going to happen.

And what was the crime committed by Mapes and, let’s not forget, Dan Rather, whose career was also toasted by the story?

CBS said, “The Panel found that Mapes ignored information that cast doubt on the story she had set out to report — that President Bush had received special treatment 30 years ago, getting to the [Texas Air National] Guard ahead of many other applicants ….”

Well, excuse me, but that story is stone cold solid, irrefutable, backed-up, sourced, proven to a fare-thee-well. I know, because I’m one of the reporters who broke that story … way back in 1999, for the Guardian papers of Britain. No one has challenged the Guardian report, or my follow-up for BBC Television, whatsoever, though we’ve begged the White House for a response from our self-proclaimed “war president.”

Apparently the media is still willing to sacrifice some of their own in an attempt to get into the good graces of the Bush White House. I think anyone who’s still ranting about how liberal the media is needs a good smack upside the head.

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