"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Monday, September 20, 2004
12 Days Later
Most of you know by now that, after 12 days of outrage by many blogs then eventually established news organizations, Dan Rather and CBS News have retracted the Bush memo story and now claim that they cannot verify the authenticity of the documents. They called it a "mistake in judgment." Dan Rather even issued a contrite apology without the recriminations that I really expected from him.
Then again, the week is still young. Call me jaded.
CBS has officially announced that the source of the documents was Bill Burkett, a former national guardsman from Texas who is well known to have a long standing vendetta against the Bush family. Here is the interview that Dan Rather aired with Burkett tonight (Remember Rather said if the documents were forgeries he wanted to break the story?) and if you look closely, you'll see that Burkett does nothing but claim the source he gave CBS was inaccurate, but, and I stress this, even Burkette DEMANDED that CBS verify the documents BEFORE using them:
Dan Rather: "Why did you mislead us?"
Bill Burkett: "Well, I didn't
totally mislead you. I did mislead you on the one individual. You know, your
staff pressured me to a point to reveal that source.
Rather: "Well, we
were trying to get the chain of possession."
Burkett: "I understand
Rather: "And you said that you had received them from someone."
Burkett: "I understand that."
Rather: "We did pressure you to
say well, you received them from someone …"
Rather: "And it's true. We pressured you. It was a very important
Burkett: "Yes ... "
Rather: "For us."
"And I simply threw out a name … that was basically I guess to take a little
pressure off for a moment."
Rather: "Have you forged anything?"
Burkett: "No sir."
Rather: "Have you faked anything?
Burkett: "No sir."
Rather: "But you did mislead us."
Burkett: "Yes, I misled."
Rather: "You, you lie, you"
Burkett: "yes, I did."
Rather:: "You lied to us. Why would I, or
anyone, believe that you wouldn't mislead us about something else?"
Burkett: "I could understand that question. I can't. That's gonna have
to be your judgment and anybody else's."
Burkett still insists the
documents are real, but says he was in no position to verify them.
Burkett: "I also insisted when I sat down with your staff in the first
face-to-face session, before I gave up any documents, I wanted to know what you
were gonna do with them. And I insisted they be authenticated."
Even with this broadcast though, CBS has yet to admit the documents were forgeries. It remains to be seen how far reaching the damage is on this, but one thing appears clear - there seems to be no damage at all to the Bush campaign.