I’m gonna write a column on Rather, Williams and the media today. But in my haste , I just can’t stop myself from offering a few points.
First, the CBS report was supposed to do many things, two of them were: 1) Authenticate/explain the origin of those documents and, 2) address the issue that the Memo story was politically motivated. The report punts on both. They can tell us that the blogs were politically motivated from a conservative perspective, but on the biases that caused this entire scandal, we get silence.
But the more annoying thing is this constant talking point about “haste.” Last night I watched Dick Thornburgh say that “haste” is the “enemy” or “villain” in this story over and over. In this context “haste” is a weasel word. It leaves aside the question of motive entirely. It also obscures the 12 day outrageous stonewall as a footnote. Dan Rather went back to the well countless times in those days to reaffirm this was a solid story, that his source was “unimpeachable” (when he knew it was not) and to accuse all of his accusers of bad faith and partisan motives. None of that was the result of haste. Hubris, maybe, but haste no.
Why not cite “sloppiness,” “carelessness,” “well-meaning zeal” or any of the other value-neutral adjectives?
The report is useful, but it is not sufficient — even if it will have to suffice.