I was clicking through cable TV channels the other night looking for something (anything) to watch when I came across two guys sparring over “Memogate.” Had CBS News’ twangy elder, Dan Rather, fallen for phony memos that purported to show that President George W. Bush received preferential treatment and failed to fulfill his National Guard duty some 30 years ago?
Keeping with cable news custom, one guest was there to attack CBS, the other to defend Rather. Unfortunately, I only caught the tail end of their prickly exchange. But when the CBS apologist was asked about the role bloggers played in propelling the story to national scandal, he dismissed them as little more than journalist-wannabes, sitting in their underwear in front of their PCs, typing whatever thoughts/opinions/rants they had between trips to the refrigerator.
My first thought was if bloggers had no credibility then why was this guy on my television, defending CBS?
Unless you’ve been in seclusion without a TV, radio, internet connection or access to newspapers, you know what I’m talking about. On Sept. 9, Dan Rather, moonlighting on 60 Minutes II, claimed that then-Lt. Bush grabbed a coveted spot in the Texas Air National Guard by leaping past hundreds of applicants on a waiting list, and, once there, failed to meet minimum performance standards.
Rather relied heavily on copies of documents signed by Col. Jerry B. Killian, Bush’s National Guard commander. Of particular note was an Aug. 19, 1973, memo in which Killian complained of pressure to “sugarcoat” a Bush performance review after the future president skipped a required flight physical.