Tim Blair


New Criterion



Monday, September 27, 2004
Wake up, you CBS mediocrats, the first of the Lessons from the CBS News failure is that it wasn't a 'failure' at all. It was a collaboration between CBS and Democrats to get Bush, and it was succeeding until it was exposed.

Rather and Mapes didn't fail to check the quality of their Killian documents. They chose to ignore the experts who said they were most likely fakes.

They didn't fail in contacting the Kerry campaign with the Burkett news. They were trying to help the Democrats and to help their own campaigning.

Running the microphone round the journalism schools for a series of 'tut-tut, do better next time' comments is not going to convince anyone. Who employs the graduates these professors and Deans produce? And what is their political bias?

Here is a far more plausible interpretation of Rathergate from Doug MacEachern way out in Arizona.

What filled the minds of Rather and Mapes were
images of Watergate. Or, precisely, the Next Watergate, the Holy Grail of the boomer generation of journalists.

Every journalist of a certain graying generation - including the 72-year-old Gunga Dan - has dreamed of following in the footsteps of Woodward & Bernstein. Working your way through some impossibly complicated cover-up until you stumble across that unimpeachable bit of evidence that captures the world's most powerful man in flagrante delicto is the vision that has filled J-school classrooms for decades.

More specificially, it is a vision that gives away, in a roundabout way, the leftie predilections of the journalism business
The basic left doctrine common in the media is the redemptive power of Democrat administrations, and the corrupting, entirely negative power of Repubicans.
In the view of the Left, these spawn of Nixon are pursuers of raw power, not of good government. And to varying degrees, that suspicion has infused a great many journalists - from overt Lefties like Paul Krugman of The New York Times all the way to the liberal Dan Rather, who truly believes he skewers all evildoers, whether from the right or the left.

During the Republican convention, Krugman, an op-ed columnist for the Times, spoke at a forum of the like-minded at New York University. That the Bush administration sits atop untold wicked scandals, he declared, is a given.

"We need a mega-Watergate that rocks them back," he said to a standing ovation.
And Dan and Mary were going to give it to them.

That's the lesson for the students of journalism.