Excuses, Excuses

CBS News tries to explain away why you can’t cut’n’paste from the PDF file of the Rathergate Report:

According to Linda Mason, a CBS News executive who served as a liaison between the network and the independent panel, an attorney from the law firm called her on Wednesday and asked that the digital restrictions be made – including the prevention of copying and pasting. The fear, it seems, was that an enterprising ne’er-do-well could copy the text into a new document and begin circulating a faked version of the report.

“The bloggers and anybody else can do what they want with it,” Ms. Mason said. “It’s out there for the public to see. We’re not trying to hide anything.”

Well, of course we can do whatever we want with it or anything else — that point was proven mere hours after Dan Rather broadcast his questionable-at-best story.

If it weren’t for blogs, however, there probably never would have been any Rathergate, or any PDF files documenting just how badly CBS screwed up. Instead, we’d have yet another media fable enshrined as common knowledge. And very possibly, we’d have a new Administration to make the whole point moot.

So what’s going on here then, anyway? Simple: CBS knows that bloggers cut and paste; CBS made cut and paste difficult to do. In other words, CBS stuck a very small finger in the very big eye which now holds their CBS Eye to account.

How charmlessly childish of them.