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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @

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« This Isn't About Dan Rather, It Is About CBS News | Main | CBS News Producer Contacted Kerry Aide Lockhart Before Show Aired »

September 20, 2004

Rather's Statement

Posted by Ernest Miller

The Drudge Report is publishing what is claimed to be Dan Rather's statement acknowledging that there is not enough proof that the CBS memos are authentic:

Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question—and their source—vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome.

Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where—if I knew then what I know now—I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.

But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.

Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.

I'm going to say it again. Investigating the documents and their source is not good enough. If we are to trust CBS News, we have to know that they will vigorously pursue legitimate and credible questions about their reporting. The response of CBS News to criticism has hardly been consistent with "investigative reporting without fear or favoritism." The fear was palpable. I would suggest that there are some things that are more important to CBS News' commitment to report fairly and truthfully: Covering Their Ass.

How long will it be before CBS News acknowledges that its response to criticism was seriously flawed and deserving of investigation?

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Blogging and Journalism


1. Seth Finkelstein on September 20, 2004 05:33 PM writes...

"How long will it be before CBS News acknowledges that its response to criticism was seriously flawed and deserving of

Indeed. The preeminent news program of our day, "60 Minutes", should investigate this scandal! Err ... :-)

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