One word: weak.
A terse announcement at the 60 Minutes website indicates that CBS has realized they can’t ignore this one any more: 60 Minutes Reviewing Account of Morgan Jones on Benghazi.
60 Minutes has learned of new information that undercuts the account told to us by Morgan Jones of his actions on the night of the attack on the Benghazi compound.
We are currently looking into this serious matter to determine if he misled us, and if so, we will make a correction.
CBS has now pulled down the page for their Benghazi report:
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) November 8, 2013
Today CBS News is confirming that reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was hacked, and the entire right wing blogosphere is jumping to the conclusion that our evil President must be behind it, of course.
That investigation has reached the following conclusions, according to CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair:
“A cyber security firm hired by CBS News has determined through forensic analysis that Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions late in 2012. Evidence suggests this party performed all access remotely using Attkisson’s accounts. While no malicious code was found, forensic analysis revealed an intruder had executed commands that appeared to involve search and exfiltration of data.
This party also used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity, and alter system times to cause further confusion.
CBS News is taking steps to identify the responsible party and their method of access.”
The Justice Department has issued a categorical denial that they had anything to do with the breach. But whether or not you’re inclined to believe them, it’s far more likely that Atkisson’s computer was compromised by much more prosaic means, the same way millions of other computers have been hacked — by a virus or a worm that gained access via Atkisson’s own insecure practices.
Dan Rather went on Reddit yesterday for one of their “Ask Me Anything” sessions, and inevitably, the subject of the faked George W. Bush National Guard memos came up. Reddit user “RadOwl” asked:
Did G.W. Bush skip out on his National Guard duties, as you reported? You really took a beating for covering that story!
the short answer is yes but i’ll post a short video with more detail soon. EDIT: here is the video
That was followed by a question from “TomSwirly:”
Many people, myself included, wondered if the whole thing was a trap - to discredit you by planting documents that were forged but that contained information that you strongly suspected to be true from other sources.
And here we go again, because Dan Rather continues to insist that the documents he used in his 60 Minutes II story were never proven to be fakes.
Here’s his post:
number 1 - the facts of case are not in dispute. Number 2 - no one had ever established that the documents were forged (those who attack them argued that we didn’t do enough to demonstrate that they were not forged) The whole documents argument was a camouflage - what was described in the documents was factual. As for the trap argument — could have been, might have been but nobody has ever proven that. What I know, all I know, is we reported a true story. Whatever you think of the documents, facts are facts. Fact #1 - a young George Bush was put into a “champagne unit” of the Air National Guard through the influence of his father to ensure he wouldn’t have to go to Vietnam. Fact #2 - once in this “champagne unit” the young George Bush did reasonably well for awhile and then he disappeared - he just took off. No accountability. He was absent without leave for a very long time. Fact #3 - he never completed his obligation the length of service. He got out well before his time was up.
In the video linked above, Rather says:
“Any number of people, powerful people, for their own personal, ideological and partisan political reasons, didn’t like the fact that the story got out, and we were the first to put it on television … and they sought to discredit it.”
I’m flattered that Dan Rather thinks I’m powerful, but he couldn’t be more wrong about my reason for debunking his story. I wasn’t the only one who helped bring the phony documents to light, and I can’t speak for anyone else, but in my case it was not about politics or ideology — it was about exposing a blatant, obvious fraud being perpetrated on the American public.
Facts is facts, and the simple fact is that the documents were indeed proven to be frauds, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Dan Rather is only embarrassing himself by continuing to deny this, and I’m sorry to see it; he’s done some great journalism in his day, and it’s sad that his ego won’t let him admit this mistake and move on.
I won’t go through all the evidence again in this post, but here’s our master index of the story as it happened, in chronological order: CBS Killian Document Index.
I still remember the feeling when I first opened the memo dated August 1973 in Adobe Acrobat, and realized instantly that I was looking at a fake, a document created with a modern word processor and not a 1970s typewriter. When I decided to see if MS Word could reproduce it, I expected to have to do some fiddling around with margins and fonts, etc., and was frankly a little shocked when my very first efforts produced an exact match, using the default tab stops and font settings.
Here’s the infamous “throbbing memo” — the animated GIF I created by typing a copy of the August 1973 memo into Microsoft Word, using Word’s default settings without changing anything, and overlaying the printed copy on the PDF document released by CBS. As you can see, they’re not just similar, they’re identical:
To salvage some credibility from his debunked story, Rather is still clinging to the “fake but accurate” line too. The problem is that without specific evidence about specific offenses, the story that Bush received preferential treatment in the TANG was only borderline interesting.
I mean, a powerful person’s son gets preferential treatment?! Who’s ever heard of that happening?
What might have made Rather’s story an election-changer was the specific nature of the allegations, based on the National Guard memos. And those were faked. Phonies. Frauds. Bogus. End of story.
This is an awful story; in Tahrir Square on the day Mubarak stepped down, CBS News reporter Lara Logan was separated from her crew, sexually assaulted, and beaten in a sustained attack that only ended when Egyptian soldiers stormed the mob. Here’s the CBS News statement.
(CBSNews) On Friday February 11, the day Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down, CBS correspondent Lara Logan was covering the jubilation in Tahrir Square for a 60 MINUTES story when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration. It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy.
In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers. She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently in the hospital recovering.
There will be no further comment from CBS News and Correspondent Logan and her family respectfully request privacy at this time.
CBS News and the New York Times took a poll of Tea Party Supporters: Who They Are and What They Believe. As with all polls, both pro- and anti-tea people will find things to support their arguments. I haven’t made any secret of how I feel about the tea party movement: I think it’s a deeply divisive and destructive political movement based on unfocused populist rage ginned up by cynical astroturfers, Fox News, and leaders who are often crazier than the followers, and I see nothing here that will change my mind.
Obama Derangement Syndrome is endemic:
Ninety-two percent of Tea Party supporters believe President Obama’s policies are moving the country toward socialism. Fifty-two percent of Americans overall share that belief.
There’s a disturbing amount of support for Birtherism (and other conspiracy theories, such as the “sekrit Moslem” theory), which will come as no surprise to anyone who’s followed this movement.
Thirty percent of Tea Party supporters believe Mr. Obama was born in another country, despite ample evidence to the contrary. Another 29 percent say they don’t know.
If you’re looking for coherent ideologies, forget it. Besides Birtherism, the poll highlights several other points at which the tea party crowd seems seriously reality-challenged. They can’t define what they mean by “socialism,” even though almost all of them are convinced we’re heading towards it. They’re angrily opposed to the health care reform bill, but they say entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare are worth the cost. They’re an anti-tax movement but most of them think their taxes are fair. Two thirds of them think global warming is a hoax perpetrated by mad scientists out to trick the world.
And the two most popular political-media figures with the tea-heads: Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.
Here are the full crosstabs at the New York Times: New York Times/CBS News Poll: National Survey of Tea Party Supporters.
Looks like Dan Rather’s lawsuit against CBS for breach of contract is now an ex-lawsuit: NY Top Court Rejects Dan Rather Appeal in CBS Case.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York State’s highest court on Tuesday declined to hear former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather’s appeal of a decision dismissing his $70 million lawsuit against CBS Corp.