Monday :: Jan 10, 2005

Rove Gets CBS News To Decapitate "60 Minutes II" Over Guard Story


by Steve

Karl Rove is laughing his ass off this morning. CBS just canned four senior staff over the Bush National Guard memos story fiasco. The executive producer of “60 Minutes II”, as well as his assistant, a network VP, and the segment’s producer were canned this morning after an internal investigation at the network concluded that the report was unfair and inaccurate. The internal investigation, headed by that man of honesty former Bush AG Dick Thornburgh and former Associated Press CEO Louis Boccardi, found that there was no political agenda at CBS behind the report. Apparently, the two concluded that the report was sloppy (which it was) and not well sourced (time will tell.)

Rove is a happy guy because the fiasco has all the marks of a typical Rove effort to neuter a Bush weakness. He has done this before with the successful effort to destroy J. H. Hatfield over his book “Fortunate Son,” where Rove planted damaging information with Hatfield and then destroyed the author’s credibility by making sure the media found out about Hatfield’s criminal past. Once the media focused on Hatfield’s past, it served to take off the table the actual allegations about Bush’s own background.

This National Guard story has all the same markings as the earlier Rove effort. A troubling story about Bush’s failure to meet the conditions of his tenure in the Guard begins to gain traction, so Rove plants false memos which accurately reflect the already-established concerns of some of Bush’s superiors with a gullible and sloppy network that the Bush family already thinks is against them. In their rush to get their exclusive, Dan Rather and the segment’s producers go with a story and somehow immediately the right-wing blogosphere has its talking points about the font types and spacing of the memos while the segment is still airing that night. Suddenly, the story shifts from the content of the memos (which to this day is still damaging and never addressed by Bush) to the layout and appearance of the memos. And then the Mighty Wurlitzer, right on cue, swings into action sucking the oxygen out of successive news cycles about media bias and the hatchet job that CBS is doing to poor Mr. Bush.

And don’t forget that the whole episode led to something more beneficial to Rove: in the aftermath of the fiasco, CBS scrapped plans to air a segment on “60 Minutes” that documents how the administration lied to get its war in Iraq. So even though a majority of those polled at the time thought that CBS made an honest mistake with the story and nothing more, CBS rolls out the ax today, even though Fox airs questionable crap all the time and doesn’t fire anyone.

All of the media was sloppy in covering this story, and not just CBS News. One day the true story will come out about how Bush dodged not only Vietnam but also his Guard commitment here in the states. But it won’t be anytime soon.

Conveniently, there won't be any more coverage of the Armstrong Williams propaganda campaign now after this has come out today. You can bet the Mighty Wurlitzer will be covering the CBS News story and sweeping under the rug the more important story about whether this administration systematically pays pundits for propaganda.

Yes, it's a good day for Karl Rove.

Steve :: 7:45 AM :: Comments (44) :: Digg It!