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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-25-2004, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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CBS Nixes '60 Minutes' Story on Iraq War

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NEW YORK - CBS News has shelved a "60 Minutes" report on the rationale for war in Iraq because it would be "inappropriate" to air it so close to the presidential election, the network said on Saturday.

The report on weapons of mass destruction was set to air on Sept. 8 but was put off in favor of a story on President Bush's National Guard service. The Guard story was discredited because it relied on documents impugning Bush's service that were apparently fake.

CBS News spokeswoman Kelli Edwards would not elaborate on why the timing of the Iraq report was considered inappropriate.

The report, with Ed Bradley as the correspondent, has long been in the works. Originally scheduled for June, it was first put off because of new developments, Edwards said.

CBS said no other reports on the presidential election have been affected.

The network last week appointed former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and retired Associated Press chief executive Louis Boccardi to investigate what went wrong with the National Guard report and recommend changes.

The controversy has put CBS News officials squarely on the fire line, particularly anchor Dan Rather, who narrated the National Guard report.

Meanwhile, the network announced that Rather would anchor the network's coverage of all three presidential debates, starting Sept. 30.
Does anyone believe their reason for shelving this story? Does anyone think that the CBS anchor choice for the debates is a good one? These guys are a trip...

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-25-2004, 08:26 PM
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RE: CBS Nixes '60 Minutes' Story on Iraq War

The National Guard snafu has them gun-shy.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-25-2004, 08:46 PM
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RE: CBS Nixes '60 Minutes' Story on Iraq War

I'm afraid they will now bend over backwards to give Bush a break. The only correct thing for them to do is to recuse themselves from the debate.
The obviously went to the Scalia-Cheney school of common sense.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-25-2004, 08:46 PM
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RE: CBS Nixes '60 Minutes' Story on Iraq War

I'm afraid they will now bend over backwards to give Bush a break. The only correct thing for them to do is to recuse themselves from the debate.
The obviously went to the Scalia-Cheney school of common sense.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-25-2004, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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RE: CBS Nixes '60 Minutes' Story on Iraq War

That was what struck me -- nixing the story but sticking with Rather -- duh..... Why not the other way around?

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-26-2004, 07:21 PM
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RE: CBS Nixes '60 Minutes' Story on Iraq War

This is perplexing. Hopefully the withdrawal of the story is to subject it to an outside, reputable and to be identified, panel of experts to validate its facts and premise. I can see this coming out even closer to an election once the details have been verified.

As much turmoil as CBS is going through at this moment, rest assured that the driving force behind their efforts, making money, will demand they air a story with so much invested when it will be viewed with the greatest interest. After the election it will be almost meaningless, and it will do nothing to erase the black mark of the forged documents on Bush's National Guard service. Jim
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-26-2004, 07:42 PM
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RE: CBS Nixes '60 Minutes' Story on Iraq War

IMO,We witnessed the demise of the Watergate era reporter, I hope. In the long run, they did this country little good, with the emphahsis of scandal over substance that created our horrendously uninformative media we have today. The career path went from good TV journalism, which I think we really got from Huntley, Brinkly, Reasoner and Cronkite, to that of Woodward and Bernstein, where one good scandal set you for life. Hopefully now the pendelum will swing the other way. Like many things, it started out with good intentions and results as we saw in Watergate, but it became a cartoon of presidential blow jobs, and more recently the enemy of democracy by emphasizxng Swift Boat and National Guard over issues. Altho the dems were the losers in this, in many ways I'm glad it happened.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-26-2004, 08:40 PM
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RE: CBS Nixes '60 Minutes' Story on Iraq War

Good reporting includes good investigative reporting. Unfortunately, the public's response equals ratings which equal cash. As we all know, cash is king in this industry as with others. I would welcome a return to an industry which took its role seriously from the perspective of providing a service for the American people, and avoided sensationalizing meaningless personal foibles, or worse, making news themselves when the real news is not likely to keep the audience stuck to the tv. I am more of a pessimist though, as CBS will take this seriously and attempt to repair their reputation. But I do not see the incentive for other "news" organizations who exist merely to pander to the public's appetite for scandal and discord. Jim
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-27-2004, 04:19 AM
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RE: CBS Nixes '60 Minutes' Story on Iraq War

Jim,
I believe your indictment of the profit motive to be in error....at least at CBS.
When the ownership changed, and the new owner looked at the bottom line profit/loss for CBS news, he wanted to reduce its staff by a huge amount. He wanted to make it financially accountable. Dan Rather made an impassioned plea that CBS news was not subject to financial review; its mission was too important to allow it to be striped for financial reasons. Dan won the argument. There has been no financial dagger hanging over the folks at CBS. This mess is the result of decions made apart form profit/loss.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-27-2004, 05:58 AM
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RE: CBS Nixes '60 Minutes' Story on Iraq War

I believe Dan Rather got a reprieve from being held to a bottom line like the rest of the CBS organization as long as CBS's 60 Minutes was still a contender for the ratings in his time slot. If Dan allowed his news show to become a trivial tv event that no one watched, he would have been axed. I am not indicting the profit motive, as it is the second most reliable stimulus vs. response sequence known to man. I am indicting the inability to moderate this motive by people of supposedly such high moral ground as news reporters who make arguments justifying their existence like the one you cited, yet spend their time sneaking around researching people's personal lives to broadcast stories that provide no specific public service. Sensationalism is the trademark of many broadcast and cable network news programs. There is very little time and resource devoted to news stories that will give the public solid data to evaluate compared to stories that might flare up some scandal, often of purely personal proportions. Jim
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