Ed Driscoll

CBS's New "Nonbudsman"

CBS creates a Weblog, then announces that Vaughn Ververs, its blogger-in-residence will be neutered right from the start:

This week, as the blogosphere remembers the anniversary of the forged National Guard memos that ended Dan Rather’s tenure as anchor of the CBS Evening News, CBSNews.com is launching a blog called the Public Eye with the goal of providing “greater openness and transparency into the newsgathering process.”

But unless CBS gives its new blogger, Vaughn Ververs, room to breathe, this experiment is going to fail.

CBS got things off to a promising start by picking Ververs, a well-respected columnist and editor for the Washington-insider magazine National Journal. Ververs has worked for CBS and Fox News, and was Pat Buchanan’s press secretary during his 1992 presidential campaign. Several people I talked to at the time said that if the goal was to hold CBS News accountable, Ververs was a great pick.

But the p.r. offensive CBS launched two weeks ago to publicize the project included troubling signs that CBS intends to micromanage Ververs and take away his ability to address complaints that CBS News operates according to a left-leaning political agenda.

The first troubling sign was CBS News president Andrew Heyward, whose head should have rolled along with Rather’s but inexplicably didn’t, describing Ververs as a “nonbudsman”