Sunday, September 26, 2004

bad sources

the other day my mom brought up the scandal with dan rather and cbs concerning the forged documents that provided the basis for their new story about bush. she thought it was terrible that someone could use such bad sources.

tonight i was going through a bunch of political cartoons online that kept showing how terrible it was that dan rather could use forged documents, and how stupid he was to have been duped. the point often being that there was no longer any credibility in cbs news reporting.

fortunately there were also a few cartoons that reminded us of some other poor sources, and this is what i talked about with my mom: several years ago president bush and his advisors relied on sources we knew were bad because they gave us the evidence we needed to allow us to invade iraq...well, to make our invasion a little more plausible. i heard about this at the time from a history professor at school. it is amazing that a professor at a small school in illinois could know something that only comes out two years later in the 9/11 commission hearings. i agree that it was terrible journalism by rather. in fact, to use a quote i often said when i was editor of my high school paper, "that's shoddy journalism, my friends." but i think that it shows how inconsistant we are as a nation that we can talk about a loss of credibility in a news organization, yet we are heading towards an election in which an administration that should have lost the same credibility may stay in office. and the consequences of their act were so much greater: the loss of life for americans and iraqis, the new terrorism stirred up by our blazing saddles antics, the incredible monetary cost, and the general loss of respect around the world which will hamper future attempts at peace. to me, these are much greater damages than those inflicted by dan rather and cbs. i think it is quite a shame that someone would report something because it seems to say what they want about someone they don't like (foxnews, anyone?) but i think it is worse that someone would use sources that are known to lack credibility to support a political move that will help solidify their power. far, far worse.

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