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9/28/04

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Rather Helps 60 Minutes Expose Shoddy Practices of 60 Minutes


STUDIO CITY, Calif. (DPI) - In what may turn out to be the journalistic coup of the year, the Sunday edition of 60 Minutes is to air a harsh story questioning the journalistic practices of the Wednesday edition of 60 Minutes. Claiming that shoddy investigating led to fake documents questioning President Bush's National Guard service being used, reporter Dan Rather said, "We at 60 Minutes Sunday smelled that 60 Minutes Wednesday hadn't checked all the ingredients in that pie before throwing it in the oven and serving it to the American people on chipped dessert plates with ice cream a la unsupported facts."

Rather, who reported the story for Wednesday, said he knew something was amiss right away. "Even as I was reading the story for 60 Minutes Wednesday, the part of me that works with 60 Minutes Sunday was yelping like a beaver in a bear trap that these documents didn't look right. The minute I went off the air I called my colleagues over at Sunday and had them check this out right away -- long before these internet keyboard monkey pajama-and-slipper wearing bloggers with their right-wing political agenda hair cuts and font elitism decided to, I might add, because I am journalist who believes in fact checking."

Rather's sharp follow-up work caused CBS News to admit they couldn't vouch for the documents. The veteran newsman attributes this to his series of hard-hitting interviews, including one he conducted on himself. "Admittedly, that was the toughest," said Rather, "because as a veteran journalist, I've come to know and respect my work. And it's difficult to phrase a question for yourself that still surprises you when you ask it. But I managed, because even when you know the person you're after, sometimes the dogs of inquiry must be released to chase the escaped inmate of deception off the path of sensationalism and up the tree of truth."

To illustrate, Rather released excerpts from the Rather on Rather interview to appear on 60 Minutes Sunday:


Rather: Well Dan, before you ask a question, let me start by saying we at 60 Minutes Wednesday are surprised people are not focusing on the accuracy of what the Guard story says, just because accuracy was dependent on inaccurate documents. We brought the pig to the contest, so we say judge the pig, not the condition of the wagon we brought her on.

Rather: Good one, Dan -- but not good enough. The timing and subject matter alone would have raised alarms in this 60 Minutes reporter's mind. You boys at 60 Minutes should have been as suspicious as Nemo at a fish fry.

Rather: But I was, and that's why I did everything I could to get to the truth of those untruthful documents myself, to bring truth to the untruth which I put out there, of course. That's what top journalism is all about.

Rather: [sighing] It's not like the old Nixon days, is it Dan? Back then when a dog pulled a rotten steak out of the picnic basket before it could be barbecued, everyone was appreciative. Now everything is bloggy and smoggy out there there's nothing but partisan partitions to the truth. You're a top reporter, Rather. Courage, Dan.

Rather: Courage.


(Reported by Davejames)





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