From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Dan Rather: "I'm sorry"

September 20, 2004 4:06 PM

CBS can't prove the documents are authentic. Dan Rather claims responsibility for the "mistake" and apologizes. Bill Burkett, who gave CBS the documents, admits to deliberately misleading CBS to protect his source.

More from the archive in Lies and Deceit, Media.

Dan Rather: "I'm sorry" (09.20.2004)

Next Entry: Iraq: The Kerry -> English translation (09.21.2004)
Previous Entry: Rapture Me! (09.20.2004)

Read the 20 comments.


It's a shame that CBS did not perform its due diligence. However,...

Bush failed to fulfill his military service obligation.

He failed to obey a direct order and had his wings taken away as a consequence. He received an honorable discharge thanks only to the connections of his powerful father. More recently, Bush lied about not having received help to get into the guard.

Mon Sep 20 2004 5:11 PM


Actually Bush did:

With little proof save for the conspiracy theories of an obese low-budget filmmaker and a professional hack at the Democrat National Committee, the left-leaning national press corps moved Heaven and earth to get to the bottom of the gaps in President Bush’s military service record.

The White House complied, releasing pay records and other peripheral evidence that Bush had indeed served in the Alabama National Guard during the time in question. The press was -- and remains – unsatisfied, though the gaps in the president’s service record can almost certainly be chalked up to bureaucratic paperwork screw-ups.

Not so with the record of President George W. Bush’s rival for the presidency, Senator John Forbes Kerry. An anonymous source has brought to our attention a yawning hole in the decorated veteran’s service record. It is time for Kerry to answer the questions President Bush was forced to answer. It is time for John Kerry to answer the big question:

Did you go AWOL from the Naval Reserves?

John Kerry signed an agreement as part of his naval officer commission to serve at least 3 years on active duty and the remainder of his obligated 6 year service in the Ready Reserves. Ready Reserves are those who must attend drills.

It bears repeating: Kerry obligated himself to at least 3 years active duty, and the remainder of his 6 year obligation in the Ready (not Standby) Reserves.

He further agreed that while in the Ready Reserves (from discharge to 1972) he would perform no less than 48 drills per year and up to 17 active duty days per year, or alternatively, 30 active duty days per year.

None of Kerry’s released records shows any evidence of his performing these Ready Reserve obligated days in 1970 through 1972, after which he was transferred to the Inactive Reserves. The only Performance of Duty form released covers 1966. There should be one for every year.

Nor is there any excusal from drilling status in his records, or alternatively, pay and attendance records indicating that he performed any drills in 1970-72 as required of a Ready Reservist.

It was George Bush's alleged non-performance of his obligated reserve duty that caused all the furor last February, yet Kerry apparently cannot show his performance of his obligated Reserve duty.

The Kerry campaign has said that his separation from active duty put him in the inactive, non-drilling Naval Reserve so he could run for Congress. This is NOT true, as follows:

Kerry’s transfer from the Ready Reserves to the Standby (Inactive) reserves did not occur until March 1972, NOT upon his release from Active Duty to run for Congress (1969/70).

Furthermore, Kerry’s official transfer from the Ready Reserves to the Standby (Inactive) Reserves was not formalized until July 1972.

Contrary to what Kerry's campaign flacks say, the wording on his Release from Active Duty (to run for Congress) does NOT put him in the Inactive Reserves - it puts him in Inactive Duty status, which includes Ready Reserves with attendant drill obligation. BIG difference - though the confusion is understandable.

According to our source, the legal specifics that counter Kerry’s word trickery pits a Title 10 duty (Active Duty) Green Card vs. Title 32 duty (Inactive Duty) Red Card. Did Kerry have a Green Card or a Red Card?

We are beginning to see a pattern of obfuscation and deceit by the Kerry campaign. Are they intentionally using the tortured language of the military bureaucracy as a cover up?

Had Kerry been placed in the Inactive Reserves in 1970 upon his release from Active Duty, as Kerry's people suggest, there would not have been the 1972 Transfer to the Standby Reserves form we show above - he would have already been there.

Also, if the timing of these records is correct, as a drilling Ready Reserve naval officer, in 1970-72 he was somewhat restricted by military regulations in what comments he could make in public regarding statements on the military leadership and the National Command Authority. Yet this is the period of his most public protests and anti-war demonstrations.

In fact, his hairdo alone in the 1970-72 period would not meet Navy standards, and he would be sent home from drill if he had ever attended one.

John Kerry’s people have called President Bush a deserter. The White House has called Kerry a flip-flopper who’s soft on defense. All great fun. But we’re drawing ever closer to decision time and it’s beginning to appear that while John Kerry was slandering his fellow Vietnam Veterans at the Winter Soldier Investigation and on the floor of the U.S. Senate, he may have been AWOL from the Naval Reserves.

Tue Sep 21 2004 5:56 AM


Even though Kerry’s contract with the Navy mandated that his service would have been completed in total in 1978 it is troubling to note that he didn’t receive an Honorable Discharge until March 12, 2001. This raises questions as to the category of his discharge at the time he left military service. It also raises questions as to how he came to acquire an Honorable Discharge almost 30 years after the fact. But that isn’t the most troubling aspect of the time directly after his service in Vietnam.

Apparently even US senators have enough pull to drag out an honorable discharge.

Tue Sep 21 2004 6:47 AM


CBS arranged for meeting with Lockhart
By Kevin Johnson, Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — CBS arranged for a confidential source to talk with Joe Lockhart, a top aide to John Kerry, after the source provided the network with the now-disputed documents about President Bush's service in the Texas National Guard.

Lockhart, the former press secretary to President Clinton, said a producer talked to him about the 60 Minutes program a few days before it aired on Sept. 8. She gave Lockhart a telephone number and asked him to call Bill Burkett, a former Texas National Guard officer who gave CBS the documents. Lockhart couldn't recall the producer's name. But CBS said Monday night that it would examine the role of producer Mary Mapes in passing the name to Lockhart.

Burkett told USA TODAY that he had agreed to turn over the documents to CBS if the network would arrange a conversation with the Kerry campaign.

The network's effort to place Burkett in contact with a top Democratic official raises ethical questions about CBS' handling of material potentially damaging to the Republican president in the midst of an election. This "poses a real danger to the potential credibility ... of a news organization," said Aly Colón, a news ethicist at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

"At Burkett's request, we gave his (telephone) number to the campaign," said Betsy West, senior CBS News vice president.

CBS would not discuss the propriety of the network serving as a conduit between Burkett and the Kerry campaign. "It was not part of any deal" to obtain the documents, West said, declining to elaborate.

But Burkett said Monday that his contact with Lockhart was indeed part of an "understanding" with CBS. Burkett said his interest in contacting the campaign was to offer advice in responding to Republican criticisms about Kerry's Vietnam service.

Tue Sep 21 2004 7:46 AM

Right Wing Robby:

Anyone who stands behind the accusations against Bush even after the documents are false is a ...well, they're special.

They connection between Kerry and the fake documents is growing more clear by the day.

Paul, Media Matters is proof of something? LOL They are less trustworthy than CBS and look at them. Media Matters, what a joke.

Tue Sep 21 2004 1:23 PM



It's wrong to quote verbatim from someone else's work and pass it off as your own thoughts. It looks to me like you are plagiarizing again. Please stop doing that. If you're going to quote someone else's opinion, please provide attribution, including a link.

Here is the article you quoted from:

Tue Sep 21 2004 1:33 PM


Are you wrong wingers claiming that the documents put forth by the Bush campaign are forgeries too?
Because they show that he didn't complete his service requirements. He was grounded from flying status for failing to obey a direct order to take his physical.

CBS needs to take the blame for not doing their due diligence on the memos they presented, but ultimately the existing record shows that Bush failed to meet military standards.

No surprise that a shallow uppercrust like Bush, who had a silver spoon implanted surgically at birth, would take no responsibility for his own failed military service or any of the other failures which have haunted him throughout his life.

That you so-called "support the troops" types would pile onto a genuine war hero like Kerry is a true indication of the enormous levels of hypocrisy you are prepared to scale in order to keep fighting for your ever-changing ideology. What is it today, smaller government or bigger government? Go to war only for national self-interest, or go to war to protect the human rights of others? Monetarism or Keynesianism? Fiscal conservatism or free-spending? Free trade or buy votes with industrial protectionism?

Talk about flip-flopping. It's impossible to pin Republicans down on any issues other than cutting taxes and spreading the gospel.

Tue Sep 21 2004 1:54 PM


This may or may not have anything to do with this topic, but weren't there "forged" documents used by the Bush Administration during their attempt to convince the world, and the U.N. for that matter, that Iraq was attempting to acquire nuclear devices from Nigeria. Why isn't anyone in the major news industry talking about that? CBS is using forged documents, but what about the Bush administration using forged documents as well?

Tue Sep 21 2004 2:01 PM


wrong wing,

You said:
"Paul, Media Matters is proof of something? LOL They are less trustworthy than CBS and look at them. Media Matters, what a joke."

Media Matters merely repeated the conclusion reached by U.S. News & World Report, that Bush did not complete his military service obligation and should not have been eligible for an honarable discharge.

Here's a choice quote:

"Lawrence Korb, a former top Defense Department official in the Reagan administration, says the military records clearly show that Bush "had not fulfilled his obligation" and "should have been called to active duty.""

Read the whole article and tell me again how Media Matters is "a joke".

Tue Sep 21 2004 2:05 PM


Paul did you get around to sending your opinion to John Kerry about quoting other people's speaches without giving referances? I freely admit I don't bother to referance quotes, given that this is just a little half assed blog site that borrows most of its material from others. Not like I'm standing before the American public on national TV stealing entire sections of speeches from the vice president - among others.

Wonder why you attack the origin of the post instead of dealing with the fact Johnny Kerry has an issue with his own national guard service that may outweigh anything dreamed up by Terry McAuliffe?

Tue Sep 21 2004 2:35 PM


"Bill Burkett, who gave CBS the documents, admits to deliberately misleading CBS to protect his source."


Tue Sep 21 2004 2:54 PM

evil conservative666:


No such thing as the existence of a left wing and a wrong wing. If anything, it's a right wing and a wrong wing, but I'll settle for left and right.

What I really want to know is why do you think Bush's (or Kerry's, for that matter) records from 35 years ago matter? He has a four year term as president, with far higher scrutiny than he ever would've received in the guard, marines, army, red cross, you name it. I'll go ahead and believe you think he's a turd, but you have a fresher record to go off of than his guard service.

Tue Sep 21 2004 4:37 PM



You said:
"What I really want to know is why do you think Bush's (or Kerry's, for that matter) records from 35 years ago matter?"

That's not nearly as interesting a question as the ones I keep asking myself:

How did a person with a long history of mediocrity and failure such as Bush get to be President of the United States? (His major business success that I know of was participating in scamming the people of Arlington into footing the bill for a new stadium.)

How did a person who failed to complete his military service obligation and was given an honorable discharge only as a favor to his powerful father, become accepted by conservatives and veterans as their preferred commander-in-chief, rather than the guy who went into battle and put his life on the line for the country? (I don't care if he criticized the Vietnam war afterward. He earned the right to do so.)

How did a president who led a charge to war based on untruths come to be known as trustworthy?

How did a president who failed to prevent the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil come to be known as credible in the war on terror? (Recall that Bush ignored all terrorist threats prior to 9/11, when he was forced to confront it.)

Why do conservatives continue to support a president who is increasing government at a faster rate than his Democratic predecessor?

Why do conservatives suddenly support Keynesianism (running budget deficits in order to stimulate the economy)?

Tue Sep 21 2004 5:36 PM



You said:
"I freely admit I don't bother to referance quotes, given that this is just a little half assed blog site that borrows most of its material from others."

Fox News borrows most of it's material from the wire services, but even they provide proper attribution, and so should you.

Tue Sep 21 2004 5:58 PM



Why bother you do it for me, by the way, what do you want for secretary's day?

I notice you still fail to address the ISSUE of Kerry's guard service.

Wed Sep 22 2004 6:54 AM

evil conservative:

Paul Krugman? That you? Would make sense.

Wed Sep 22 2004 7:12 AM


I said:
"Fox News borrows most of it's material from the wire services, but even they provide proper attribution, and so should you."

Actually, I think that's not a true statement. Usually, television news does not attribute to the wire services. I'm not sure why this is. I should have said "The Washington Times" instead of "Fox News". Newspaper articles contain a byline which clearly states which reporters worked on a story. If the story came from the wire services, the byline says "AP", "UPI", "Reuters", "Tass", etc. to indicate which wire service it came from.

I suspect that the television news agreement with the wire services is such that they don't have to attribute the news stories which are sourced from those services.

Anyone who lives in Orange County, check out the difference between the Orange County Register and the L.A. Times. I believe you'll see that a much larger percentage of OC Register national news articles are sourced from the wire services. This is because the L.A. Times has a much larger staff, which is capable of doing its own reporting and research, rather than relying on the wire service feed, like Fox News and other fly-by-night outfits.

Wed Sep 22 2004 11:42 AM


Dan Rather Sorry?

Why should he be sorry?

Is Bush sorry for bs-ing us into Iraq?
Is Bush sorry for miscalculating postwar Iraq?
Is Fox News sorry for calling the election?
Is the Supreme Court sorry for deciding who becomes president?
Is Haliburton sorry for overbilling their contracts?

Wed Sep 22 2004 11:05 PM

Mean Media:

Micheal, pull your head out of your ass and smell the coffee. NBC called Florida for Gore at 7:49:40 p.m., Eastern Time. This was 10 minutes before polls closed in the Florida panhandle. Thirty seconds later, CBS called Florida for Gore. And at 7:52 p.m., Fox called Florida for Gore. At 10:00 p.m. the first retracting network was CBS, not Fox.

As for the Supreme Court calling the election - all they did was say that Florida law governs in FLorida - and that the Florida Supreme Court can't write and enforce new laws. If you recall a later recount conducted by major news medias concluded that the count was correct.

Thu Sep 23 2004 6:00 AM

Right Wing Robby:

No amount of facts will ever get in the way of Michael Moore's minions.

Thu Sep 23 2004 6:37 AM

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