CBS adopts the Tawana Brawley defense

CBS, its media defenders and its fellow accusers of Bush are now employing the leftist logic used by the Nation in 1988 when Tawana Brawley’s charges against Steven Pagones were revealed as a total lie. The Nation ran an editorial in which it argued that even though Brawley’s charges were not actually true, they expressed the essential truth about today’s America (i.e., that America is a country in which white district attorneys kidnap and rape black girls and scrawl racist slogans on their skin and smear them with feces and leave them stuffed in garbage bags), and therefore were still legitimate. In the same way, we are now told (and we have to accept it on faith) that Bush really did misuse the system, and his superior officer really was upset with him, so the forged documents indicating those things happened really aren’t a big deal.

For some examples of this mentality, we go first to the Kerry Spot at NRO, which quotes the lawyer of one of Bush’s accusers:

By the way, reading this article late last night, I missed this oh-so-important and revealing comment:

Asked what role Mr. Burkett had in raising questions about Mr. Bush’s military service, Mr. Van Os said: “If, hypothetically, Bill Burkett or anyone else, any other individual, had prepared or had typed on a word processor as some of the journalists are presuming, without much evidence, if someone in the year 2004 had prepared on a word processor replicas of documents that they believed had existed in 1972 or 1973—which Bill Burkett has absolutely not done”—then, he continued, “what difference would it make?”

Ladies and gentlemen, the curtain rises on Part Two of CBS’ defense, the idea that the documents are “replicas of what someone believed existed in 1972 or 1973.” And that while these documents themselves are fake, we the viewers of CBS are to take it on faith that originals once existed somewhere.

Next, we go to Hugh Hewitt’s website, where he quotes yesterday’s Los Angeles Times editorial which said that CBS had been fooled into accepting the forgery, but that it didn’t really matter anyway:

“Whatever the truth [the Times opines], CBS’ real error was trying to prove a point that didn’t need to be proved. It doesn’t take documents for anyone to realize that Bush pulled strings to get into the National Guard. And, during the Vietnam draft, nobody went into the National Guard out of passion to defend his country. It also doesn’t take new documents to establish that Bush shirked even his National Guard duties when he moved to Alabama and then to Harvard Business School in Massachusetts.” [Emphasis added.]

Hewitt comments:

So the west coast paper of the left for the left by the left doesn’t really care that someone tried to forge docs to influence an election, and that CBS is still carrying water for that individual. The paper’s front page tries to transform the secretary’s devastating blow to CBS into serious charges against the president, and inside the front section is a defense of Dan Rather.

And finally, from ABC’s critical story quoting CBS’s statement in its own defense:

“Most importantly, the content of the documents was backed up by our reporting and our sources who knew the thoughts and behavior of Lt. Col. Jerry Killian at the time,” the statement said. [Emphasis added.]

Killian’s former secretary, Marian Carr Knox, told ABC News she believes the documents are fake, but that they do reflect some of what her former boss thought of then-Lt. George W. Bush.

“He did have complaints about Bush. Bush missed his physical and went off to Alabama with none of the paperwork, I remember Killian talking about that,” Knox said. “But it wasn’t in memo file.” [Emphasis added.]

By the same logic as that used by CBS, the Los Angeles Times, and Burkett’s lawyer, we wouldn’t need, for example, evidence in trials anymore. We would just “know” that certain parties are guilty, and proceed to convict them.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 15, 2004 01:07 PM | Send

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