CBS has finally released their report on Rathergate. Three executives and Mary Mapes have been fired. CBS version of the story here. Andrew Heyward and Dan Rather have escaped further action.
Michelle Malkin has a post on the connections between Mary Mapes, Col. David Hackworth, Rathergate and Abu Ghraib
(CBS) Four CBS News employees, including three executives, have been ousted for their role in preparing and reporting a disputed story about President Bush’s National Guard service.
The action was prompted by the report of an independent panel that concluded that CBS News failed to follow basic journalistic principles in the preparation and reporting of the piece. The panel also said CBS News had compounded that failure with “rigid and blind” defense of the 60 Minutes Wednesday report.
Asked to resign were Senior Vice President Betsy West, who supervised CBS News primetime programs; 60 Minutes Wednesday Executive Producer Josh Howard; and Howard’s deputy, Senior Broadcast Producer Betsy West. The producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, was terminated.
The correspondent on the story, CBS News anchor Dan Rather, is stepping down as anchor of CBS Evening News.
“We deeply regret the disservice this flawed 60 MinutesWednesday report did to the American public, which has a right to count on CBS News for fairness and accuracy,” said CBS President Les Moonves.
The panel said a “myopic zeal” to be the first news organization to broadcast a groundbreaking story about Mr. Bush’s National Guard service was a key factor in explaining why CBS News had produced a story that was neither fair nor accurate and did not meet the organization’s internal standards.
The report said at least four factors that some observers described as a journalistic “Perfect Storm” had contributed to the decision to broadcast a piece that was seriously flawed. “The combination of a new 60 Minutes Wednesday management team, great deference given to a highly respected producer and the network’s news anchor, competitive pressures, and a zealous belief in the truth of the segment seem to have led many to disregard some fundamental journalistic principles,” the report said.
On Fox News this morning Jim Pinkerton highlighted the phrase: “great deference given to a highly respected producer and the network’s news anchor” indicating that this means Rather really, really wanted this to be true and to go forward with it.
The CBS report also states that “the Panel cannot conclude that a political agenda at 60 Minutes Wednesday drove either the timing of the airing of the segment or its content.”
Mary Mapes was also faulted for a clear conflict of interest by coordinating with Joe Lockhart of the Kerry campaign.
They have decided that further action against Rather is unnecessary because he has already stepped down and will no longer be the news anchor come March.