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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Mary Mapes, I love you

Remember memogate from last year, Dan Rather making a dick of himself in a blaze of public humiliation? Recall the name Mary Mapes, the CBS producer who was so desperate to get any dirt on W that even fake-but-accurate would do? Well she wrote a book about the whole nasty episode. It was doing the rounds a couple of weeks ago but no one round these parts bothered with it, but now the fuss has died down overseas here is what our own version of the Zimmerframe-generation of media has to say:
This is worth a look. Mary Mapes, the CBS producer who conducted the investigation that became Rathergate, has written a book about it: Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power. According to Cursor.org, the book was removed from the catalogue of Amazon.com, but is still listed on Amazon's Canadian site, where it appears with the book's first chapter.

It's useful to read, finally, a little of Mapes' own account of how the story was put together - and what happened after the right-wing attack machine turned on it. Was the memo a fake after all? As things stand, you'd have to say yes, but that doesn't make Mapes' story any less interesting.
Seriously, right wing attack machine. Russell, you are getting pretty desperate now that you are reading from Hillary Clinton's thesaurus. Here is what Mapes says about how the memo managed to appear as if it was written in MS Word all those decades ago
“Faxing changes a document in so many ways, large and small, that analyzing a memo that had been faxed — -in some cases not once, but twice — -was virtually impossible. The faxing destroyed the subtle arcs and lines in the letters. The characters bled into each other. The details of how the typed characters failed to line up perfectly inside each word were lost.”
Here is the LGF (Right Wing Attack Machine (tm)) simulation of repeated faxing by typing in MS Word with the default settings,
Apart from the obvious, that is the docs being identical, the biggest giveaway was that no typewriter of that era could produce the superscripted "th" on a date, apparently repeated faxing just bled those two characters up and made them smaller. Then her claim that
Within a few minutes, I was online visiting Web sites I had never heard of before: Free Republic, Little Green Footballs, Power Line.
Rand Simberg was less than impressed,
This is the first hint of her cluelessness. The fact that she'd never heard of these sites before shows how insulated she was. Free Republic has been around for many years now, and was instrumental in bringing out many of the Clinton scandals. It's one thing to say (as I'd expect a hard-core Democrat to) that they have no credibility, but to claim ignorance of their very existence?
Simberg has quite a bit more that is also informative. But really, nothing sums it up like this cartoon from News Busters
In other words, Mapes' story is a load of self-serving revisionist crap trying to restore her image was well as that of Dan "I am not a crook" Rather. Even the boys at QandO, hardly members of the VRWC, are less than impressed, when Mapes says
"Within a few minutes, I was online visiting Websites I had never heard of before: Free Republic, Little Green Footballs, Power Line," writes Mapes in the first chapter of her new book about the reaction to the story.

"They were hard-core, politically angry, hyperconservative sites loaded with vitriol about Dan Rather and CBS."

[...]

"This was something else, something new and fundamentally frightening," Mapes writes. "I had never seen this kind of response to any story.

"It dawned on me that I was present at the birth of a political jihad."
To which they respond
Of course, it never occurred to Mapes that the so-called "political jihad" was in reaction to her journalistic jihad in the form of forged documents and a litany of half-truths meant to politically damage a sitting president just prior to an election.

Nope, apparently that part slipped right past her.
I know that when a "nasty right wing attack machine blog" says something it is automatically not true and when a producer with an extensive history of obsessively trying to find any dirt whatsoever on a particular person runs with something obviously fake it must be true, but really. As far as I can tell "right wing attack machine" means anyone disagreeing with the old duffers on TV.

Russell, if you are going to prostitute yourself in the service of a discredited foreign TV personalty just because they are stupider than W as well, at least make sure you get paid.

(Yes this is all nasty all the time, but please people, how much bollocks can you take?)

Update

Well it is actually available at amazon.com, here is the blurb, emphasis mine,
It was a great story. A true story. The kind of story any news producer would love to report, nail down and get on the air. And that’s just what Mary Mapes and her producing and reporting team did in September, 2004, when Dan Rather anchored their report on President George W. Bush’s dereliction of his National Guard duty for CBS News. The firestorm that followed their broadcast trashed Mapes’ well-respected career, caused Rather to resign from his anchor chair a year early, and led to an unprecedented “internal inquiry” into the story—chaired by former Reagan Attorney General Richard Thornburgh.

TRUTH AND DUTY is Mapes’ account of the often-surreal, always-harrowing fallout she experienced for raising questions about a powerful sitting president. It goes back to examine Bush’s political roots as governor of Texas and answers questions about the solidity of the documents at the heart of the National Guard story as well as where they came from. Her book takes readers not just into the newsroom where coverage decisions are made, but out into the field where the real reporting is done. TRUTH AND DUTY is peopled with a colorful and vigorous cast of characters—from Karl Rove to Sumner Redstone, Bill Burkett to Dan Rather—and moves from small-town rural Texas to the deserts of Afghanistan, from hurricane season in Florida to CBS corporate headquarters Black Rock in New York City.

TRUTH AND DUTY is a riveting account of how the public’s right to know—or even to ask questions—is being attacked by an alliance of politicians, news organizations, bloggers and corporate America. It connects the dots between the emergence of a kind of digital McCarthyism, a corporation under fire from the federal government, and the decision about what kinds of stories a news network can cover (human interest: yes; political intrigue: no).

An answer to Bernard Goldberg and the thunder from the right, TRUTH AND DUTY is always fast, sometimes furious, and often unexpectedly funny about the collapse of one of America’s great institutions.

Hee hee. Now starring Charles Johnson as Joe McCarthy, Karl Rove as himself and hordes of digital brownshirts as, oh no wait that is Al Gore's story.

Ha ha ha. True story, true as in not concordant with reality.

Oh God the delusional paranoia that comes with fear of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (TM).

No mention of that IT WAS ALL A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FAKE!

Posted by Chefen | 10/11/2005 06:29:00 PM

6 Comments:

Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

I was very surprised when I read this. Shows you how ignorant and distored Mapes thinking must be.

10/11/2005 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

I prefer to think of us as a "collective".

And I prefer the term "political crusade".

The left is well and firmly planted it's camp with the jihadis so we get the Christian term.

10/11/2005 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Chefen said...

Mapes has some sort of Watergate complex. She was going to be the one to bring down a prez but she has spectacularly failed on every try. Abu Ghraib could have come close, but she could never pin that on Bush. Rathergate was the last ditch effort that was so poorly executed that dozens of plebs spotted it as soon as it popped up. If they hadn't been desperate they could have quickly taken a shot of embarrasment, agreed it was a crock and let it slide away. But instead they pushed it and pushed it while tacitly admitting it was fake, but accurate. Now she's got a book trying to blame it on the jokers who overlaid the fax on a word doc. And people are still trying to push her line???

10/11/2005 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

Mapes and Rather are just pissed that they've been held to account for their errors and lack of good judgement. For years they got away with this because there was no reasonable way for the public or independent researchers to point out their errors. Blogs have made it harder to hide sloppy argument or research. And errors are going to be found and pointed out within hours, rather than days or weeks.

Altho I might add that some bloggers are trying to maintain the old status quo by not enabling comments on their blogs, forcing the feedback to go elsewhere. Such as to Sir Humphrey's or to DPF's. Best not to let your readers see contrary opinions, or corrections of factual errors, if your opinions and "facts" are weak.

10/11/2005 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger JamesP said...

I love how Russell manages to imply that there are reasons why the memos could be real. Of course, we never get to hear what these might be because that might destroy the mile long, inch deep, link buffet style that is his "blog".

In a way it's a good thing that he doesn't have comments because his eclectic style wouldn't allow for a focused discussion. That and the fact that a collection of RB sycophants would make visiting it even more painful than it already is.

What he really needs is a forum ala Aardvark and Sir Humprey's.

10/12/2005 01:00:00 AM  
Blogger Chefen said...

I see it is available at amazon.com, contra reports above. I posted the hilariously funny blurb. Still ROTFLMAO.

10/12/2005 03:00:00 AM  

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