Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Denial is Not a River In Egypt...

...At least for Dan Rather and Mary Mapes, the journalistic team that brought you the "expose" of President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, that was based on forged documents.

In another era, Mapes and Rather would now be referred to as "disgraced former journalists," unable to land a reporting job on a school newspaper, or the community shopper that lands in your driveway every Wednesday. But in today's media culture, folks like Mary and Dan can get a pass on fraud and slander, and keep earning a nice paycheck to boot. One year after Rathergate, Gunga Dan remains on the CBS payroll, where he occasionally reports for 60 Minutes. Ms. Mapes, meanwhile, has written a book about her experiences, due out in November.

Not surprisingly, Ms. Mapes version of Rathergate is long on conspiracy theories and short on facts. She wonders how bloggers could have obtained copies of the forged memos before they appeared on the CBS website. She also hints that the blogosphere was primed to go after Rather and CBS, noting the vitriol on "angry" conservative websites like FreeRepublic. com.

Scott Johnson and John Hinderaker at Powerline--who rose to national prominence for helping the CBS fraud--do a nice job of deconstructing the Mapes account. Perhaps Ms. Mapes should follow the advice of her young son; after she was fired by CBS, he suggested that she seek employment in an ice cream shop. She might be able to handle that gig, although I can envision her handing a vanilla cone to a customer, while insisting that it contained strawberry ice cream.

Dan Rather is also out and about these days, putting his own spin on the scandal. A couple of days ago, the ex-CBS anchorman sat down for a friendly interview with former colleague Marvin Kalb at George Washington University. Radio Blogger managed to wade through the entire thing, and provides some prime examples of Dan at his dimmest.

Let the record show that Marv and Dan chatted amiably while the MSM died an ugly and painful death. And not a moment too soon.

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