From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
CBS fires four execs in 60 Minutes II debacle

January 10, 2005 8:10 AM

Betsy West (SVP)
Mary Mapes (producer of the report)
Josh Howard (executive producer of 60 Minutes II)
and Howard's top deputy Mary Murphy.

Les Moonves: "The bottom line is that much of the September 8th broadcast was wrong, incomplete or unfair."

The independent investigators determined that the "neither fair nor accurate" story was not the result of a political agenda, but a desire to be the first to break the story.

The kicker? They still couldn't figure out whether the documents were real or fake.

UPDATE: The 234 page report is here.

More from the archive in Media.

CBS fires four execs in 60 Minutes II debacle (01.10.2005)

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Read the 6 comments.

Right Wing Robby:

I think the report said 'it found no evidence' that there was a political agenda.

Ask yourself this question. If the story was about John Kerry 50 days before the election would CBS have run the story?

No chance.

Mon Jan 10 2005 2:56 PM


This "independent" investigatiom was conducted by a law firm that billed for hundreds, if not thousands of hours of research by CBS. It bears reminding that the lawyers hired to independently investigate CBS have a lawyer/client relationship with CBS - meaning they have a fiduciary duty to their client. As a legal client, the firm has an ethical obligation to represent CBS's best interests -- and certainly to minimize any exposure CBS might have to legal liability for their conduct (such as the forgery of government documents and defaming a public official).

Given the field of land mines Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP, had to walk through, C-BS came out looking Rather well with only 4 sacrificial lambs to lay blame on. This is why you hire top notch lawyers.

I am just suprised that so many people are buying without question the findings of an investigation that was paid for by, and carried out on behalf of the target of the investigation. Maybe Bill should have tried this with White Water.

Wed Jan 12 2005 12:05 PM


Top Ten Proposed Changes At CBS News

10. Stories must be corroborated by at least two really strong hunches.

9. "Evening News" pre-show staff cocktail hour is cancelled until further notice.

8. Reduce "60 Minutes" to more manageable 15-20 minutes.

7. Change division name from "CBS News" to "CBS News-ish"

6. If anchor says anything inaccurate, earpiece delivers an electric shock.

5. Conclude each story with comical "Boing" sound effect.

4. Instead of boring Middle East reports, more powerball drawings.

3. To play it safe, every "exclusive" story will be about how tasty pecan pie is.

2. Not sure how, but make CBS News more like "C.S.I."

1. Use beer, cash and hookers to lure Tom Brokaw out of retirement.

Thu Jan 13 2005 7:29 AM


Dick Thornburgh ran the committee. He's Bush 41's Attorney General. Your first commenter smokes crack if he think Ruby Ridge Thornburgh is, in fact, liberal.

Without a chain of custody, it is strictly impossible to prove the documents are authentic. Not even Killian fingerprints on the paper would have been sufficient without a chain of custody.

Considering that, and what this guy says (ignore the theory, just the part about the font nonsense being a lie that the White House knew about) I believe they are real.

Sat Jan 15 2005 2:00 AM


"The kicker? They still couldn't figure out whether the documents were real or fake."

Its amazing Thornburgh and Boccardi came to the conclusion that these documents may not have been faked. Their own expert witness came to this conclusion:

". . . the documents appear to have been produced in Times New Roman typestyle. . . . Times New Roman was only available on typesetting and other non-tabletop machines until the desktop publishing revolution in the 1980s. Therefore [Tytell] concluded that Times New Roman could not have been available on a typewriter in the early 1970s and the Killian documents must have been produced on a computer"

Their reasoning for doubting their own expert? The answer is hidden in footnote 16 on page 7 of Appendix 4, they don't know if their own expert was thorough in his investigation. Instead of asking him or hiring another expert for a second opinion thye just doubted his conclusion. Kind of like their conclusion that there was no polical bias - the conducted their investigation with the assumption there was no bias so they DID NOT INVESTIGATE TO SEE IF THERE WAS POLITICAL BIAS. These guys must have helped with the WMD analysis.

Tue Jan 18 2005 7:45 AM

Tom from Madison:

Does anybody on the right care whether Bush really honored his National Guard commitment?

Despite the bogus CBS report, the actual whereabouts of George W Bush during his assigned National Guard duty is still in doubt. Very few people seem to have seen him in Alabama when he was stationed there.

If I were a Republican that would bother me. Rush used to say character mattered. Apparently it matters only when applied to the opposition.

Tue Jan 25 2005 9:22 AM

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