Ed Driscoll

RatherGate: "Intense Scrutiny" Not Needed To See Flaws

Hollywood Reporter writes that Tuesday could be Dan Rather’s last day at CBS. But it gets one detail of the debacle known as RatherGate exactly backwards:

Rather’s position with the network had been strained after a September 2004 report he did for “60 Minutes Wednesday” that questioned President Bush’s National Guard service during the Vietnam War. The report, which was prepared by producer Mary Mapes and only involved Rather minimally, was based upon documents that failed to live up to intense scrutiny.

The problem with the documents in question didn’t require “intense scrutiny”. Quite the contrary–it was immediately apparent to anyone who looked (who wasn’t so invested in the story that it had to be–had! to! be!–true) that the documents were fake; intense scrutiny was only needed afterwards to confirm the obvious without a doubt.

Something that should have been applied to these documents before they were chosen to build a story around, not afterwards.