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Dan Rather and CBS tried to influence the outcome of our presidential election with rank propoganda. That is un-American! Viacom has been irresponsible by responding niether quickly enough nor forceful enough. Therefore, Viacom is an un-American company, and they do not deserve the investment dollars from true Americans. Sell this disgusting company's stock.
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Dan Rather and CBS tried to influence the outcome of our presidential election with rank propoganda. That is un-American! Viacom has been irresponsible by responding niether quickly enough nor forceful enough. Therefore, Viacom is an un-American company, and they do not deserve the investment dollars from true Americans. Sell this disgusting company's stock.

Don't take it personally, but this is the stupidest thing I have read on this board in years.

Dan Rather and CBS thought they had a news story. They broadcast it. They had not done their homework properly and they were called on it. They retracted the story and admitted the error.

Hey, wouldn't it be great if George Bush and Dick Cheney could do the same thing? But no, they're still out saying they did exactly the right thing, and if they knew then what they know now, they'd still have done the same thing.

Which is worse? Making a mistake and admitting it, or being pathologically unable to admit you have made an error?

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I find it hard to believe it was an innocent mistake. Did you see where the documents came from? A mentally ill partisan who got them from some lady at a county fair or something! The wife, the son, and the document experts CBS hired all told them before the story ran it was wrong. Forged documents and all.
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I find it hard to believe it was an innocent mistake.

Of course you do. You have your facts so upside down I'm surprised you can believe anything at all!

A mentally ill partisan who got them from some lady at a county fair or something! The wife, the son, and the document experts CBS hired all told them before the story ran it was wrong.

Well, uh, no. Someone with a grudge - and with access to files of that era - gave them to a CBS News producer. She showed them to several people, and got an opinion from one person present in the commander's office at the time - that the information represented what they thought of George Bush at the time.

However there obviously should have been more diligence done, since the documents cannot now be verified (as CBS has admitted.) Hey, wouldn't it be great if George Bush and Dick Cheney could admit the same thing? (I think I hear an echo. Has that line been used? Did you ignore it the first time? I think you did.)

For what it's worth, the dirty little secret in all network magazine production offices is that the "big face" rarely does the work in putting the story together. It is usually done by the producer; the big name reporter may (or may not) do an interview which is cut into the piece, but generally they have little to do with it.

That does not absolve Rather of responsibility, obviously, as the top man, he bears responsibility for what goes out under his purview. Hey! Wouldn't it be great if George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, being the top men and all, took responsibility for what they said, too, and maybe for the 1,000 dead Americans that have resulted from it? Just a question that keeps popping into my thoughts, particularly when people get so incensed about a single news story, but aren't willing to acknowledge the elephant in the living room, i.e. the "mistakes" and fabrications the administration put forward to the world to take us to war.

Uh, where was I?

Forged documents and all.

Oh yeah. Like the letter about the uranium from Africa. Oh wait! That doesn't count. When CBS and it's trusty band of a dozen producers makes a mistake, that's awful. When George Bush and his trusty band of thousands of FBI, CIA, DIA, Pentagon, and other analysts make a mistake, that's to be forgotten.

My advice to you is "give it up". No matter how awful you think it is, what the administration has done is far far far far worse. Do I forgive Rather? No, it was sloppy. Do you forgive Bush? Inquiring minds want to know.
 
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purereason:

This would be great in a political debate, which is not at all for this board. But many would say that the present administration has done a greater injustice by not being upfront with the American public. Who has really caused the most harm?

The information that CBS had was, to the best of their knowledge, reliable. If Viacom were to step in, it would unduly set a negative tone as to what they deem as appropriate freedom of speech and what is not. The fact that they have not speaks highly of their holding up a reporters reporting.

I suppose that Fox Network provides all the accuracies in news for you.

Mike

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purereason:
This would be great in a political debate, which is not at all for this board.


OK, I have to come clean. If "I had to wait in line at Home Depot" is valid for the Home Depot board then I think "Dan Rather made a huge mistake" is valid for the Viacom board.

I would have hoped that it would have risen to a level higher than DAN RATHER IS A COMMUNIST BECAUSE HE MADE A MISTAKE, but then perhaps I expect too much.

Time has a decent piece about it; unfortunately it's in their premium archive, but there's an extract that's interesting:

The morning before Dan Rather went on the air with his flammable story, senior staff at CBS's 60 Minutes gathered to consider whether it was true. Network producers, lawyers and Betsy West, a CBS News senior vice president, among others, met in a screening room to decide whether to broadcast the story about President Bush's record in the National Guard. Five days before, they had received copies of new and intriguing memos suggesting that Lieut. Bush had ignored a direct order to get a physical and that his superiors were pressured to " sugar coat" his evaluation. No one talked much about..."
http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101040927-699345,00.html

What did no one talk much about? Whether the documents could have been written on a 1970's typewriter. (Allegations were that it could not have, particularly because of the "superscript" used in some of the words. As it turns out, that was wrong; they could - indeed - have been written on a 1970's typewriter. But CBS can't confirm that, so they have backed off.)

It goes on to note that CBS read, then showed the documents to people at the White House, including the President and no one said "Those are phony." In fact, the President's Press Office tried to spin some of the information in the President's favor, and dismissed them with "that's old news." To be fair, they had less than a day to analyze them; CBS had 5 days before it put them on the air.

(It's unfortunate but true that if you give them much more time than that, they will have the spinmeisters out trying to discredit - or scoop - your story before you even have a chance to air it. That doesn't make it right, that's just how it works.)

Burkett, who provided the documents, has a history of anti-Bush grudge stuff, on the other hand, he was in a position to have acquired some of this material. So CBS gambled and lost.

In a separate piece, Time notes that the initial "knockdown" of the story came from bloggers, in particular one known as "Buckhead." Most of Buckhead's initial comments were later disproved (such as the "superscript" font), but by then Drudge had picked up the story and hundreds of other bloggers and conservative websites were trashing the story as well. Were they right? Time will tell; for the moment it appears that the may well have been.

Buckhead, incidentally, "is Henry MacDougald, 46, a conservative, big-firm lawyer from Atlanta with a history of pugnacious activism. As an advisory-board member for the Southeastern Legal Foundation, he helped write the group's petition to disbar Bill Cliton and worked with former Clinton prosecutor Kenneth Starr to challenge a federal campaign finance law."

So CBS probably got the story wrong, even though the sentiments in the story were correct. Buckhead also got his story wrong, although the larger picture may turn out to be correct in the end.

It's a maelstrom, and surely CBS deserves to be held to a higher standard than "a pugnacious right-wing lawyer". On the other hand, I would think George Bush deserves to be held to an even higher standard than Dan Rather, don't you? If Dan screws up, I can turn the channel to Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Jim Lehrer, CNN, Fox, MSNBC or a host of other places.

If George Bush screws up, people die. And have.

As my Jon Stewart poscript for the day, does "purereason" find it strange that of everything that has happened in the past few years, only Rather gets a "gate", as in "Rathergate"? There's no Valerie Plamegate, no Abu Ghraibgate, no Uraniumgate, no WMDgate, no deficitgate, no steel tariffsgate, no My Pet Goatgate? Yes, the liberal media has managed to steer clear of every one of those - except for Dan Rather's mistake.

How does that work, again?

Anyway, CBS's faux pax is grist for this board if it impacts Viacom's financial performance, which is doubtful. The news divisions are already losers, mostly, in that department. They have some prestige (less and less as the news franchise is chipped away) but then bragging rights don't really go very far in determining a stock value anyway.
 
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GoofyHoofy:

I am in total agreement that this board is a forum for discussing the issue about Dan Rather and whether the information provided was accurate. I also appreciate greatly you take the time to post your thoughts in a well thought out and concise manner. Thank you for that.

My comment was more towards the original poster's comment of Dan Rather having a political agenda and propaganda being spread because of "misinformation" and thus sell your shares in Viacom. There was nothing about the actual issue...the poster was voicing his poltics.

...Now onto Viacom...Now that the Blockbuster issue has been resolved with shares allocated, I plan to be in this stock on Monday morning. This stock for the past 5-years has been dogged by Blockbuster and we now have final resolution.

Mike
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You wrote a long one! I'll take'em one at a time.

You wrote:

"What did no one talk much about? Whether the documents could have been written on a 1970's typewriter. (Allegations were that it could not have, particularly because of the "superscript" used in some of the words. As it turns out, that was wrong; they could - indeed - have been written on a 1970's typewriter. But CBS can't confirm that, so they have backed off.)"

My reply: 99% of experts say the documents are fake! and most of them believe it was produced on Microsoft Word.

You wrote:

"It goes on to note that CBS read, then showed the documents to people at the White House, including the President and no one said "Those are phony.""

My reply: The documents were NOT shown to the president, only to Dan Bartlett. Where did you get your info they were shown to the President?


You wrote:

Burkett, who provided the documents, has a history of anti-Bush grudge stuff, on the other hand, he was in a position to have acquired some of this material. So CBS gambled and lost.

My reply: In the heat of a presidential campaign, especially with documents that may hurt the Commander in Chief, you don't gamble. And when you concider all of those who warned CBS not to go with the documents and not to air the story, I would call it more of a smear job than a gamble.

You wrote:

So CBS probably got the story wrong, even though the sentiments in the story were correct.

My reply: On what authority do you contend the sentiments in the story are correct? The son and wife of the supposed author of the documents say the sentiments are FALSE!

You wrote: As my Jon Stewart poscript for the day, does "purereason" find it strange that of everything that has happened in the past few years, only Rather gets a "gate", as in "Rathergate"? There's no Valerie Plamegate, no Abu Ghraibgate, no Uraniumgate, no WMDgate, no deficitgate, no steel tariffsgate, no My Pet Goatgate? Yes, the liberal media has managed to steer clear of every one of those - except for Dan Rather's mistake.

My reply: Are you Michael Moore?

Sicerely'

pure reason
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I do wish you the best of luck with your investment. I don't have the transcript, but on CNBC last week they said Viacom's revenues in many areas are sharply lower than expected.
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A conversation can be both political and financial at the same. The political part is CBS trying to influence an election with false documents. The financial part is when a media outlet (CBS) loses credibility, they lose viewers, which means their Neilson ratings go down, which means their revenues go down, which means their earnings go down. Not only that, businesses are revolting in that they are not buying as much media time on CBS as evidenced by their (CBS) stark decline in ad revenue.
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The financial part is when a media outlet (CBS) loses credibility, they lose viewers, which means their Neilson ratings go down, which means their revenues go down, which means their earnings go down. Not only that, businesses are revolting in that they are not buying as much media time on CBS as evidenced by their (CBS) stark decline in ad revenue.

Can you please provide a link to the information regarding Dan Rather and the resulting loss in ad revenue to Viacom?

I understand you are taking a political position here. However, I have reviewed the financials and the short term reported lower revenues in certain segments are exactly that...IMHO....short term. Viacom has a number of brand names that are very well known and that holds a lot in this industry.

Mike
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My reply: The documents were NOT shown to the president, only to Dan Bartlett. Where did you get your info they were shown to the President?

From Dan Bartlett, as noted in the Time Magazine story.

by 7PM [the previous day] CBS staff members had read Bartlett the memos over the phone. He told them he wouldn't commtn on the air until he had physically seen themn. The next day, he was given three hours to look them over. He showed them to the President, who said he had no recollection of those specific documents."

In the heat of a presidential campaign, especially with documents that may hurt the Commander in Chief, you don't gamble

Any story where you rely on documents from 30 years ago is a gamble. The question should be "Is it a good gamble?" The producer was the person who broke the Abu Ghraib prison story just a few months earlier. She had document experts. She had other credible sources. As it turns out, it wasn't enough.

People get fooled. The New York Times printed several stories from a reporter who was faking it. Stern Magazine bought the Hitler Diaries. A major publisher bought the Howard Hughes autobiography and was set to publish. It happens.

And when you concider all of those who warned CBS not to go with the documents and not to air the story, I would call it more of a smear job than a gamble.

Who warned CBS not to go ahead? Not the White House.

On what authority do you contend the sentiments in the story are correct? The son and wife of the supposed author of the documents say the sentiments are FALSE!

Yes, they say the documents are false. The woman who typed Killian's memos also says they are false, but that the actions and sentiments in them are TRUE. Who would know better? The commanders wife, or the person who actually typed the status reports?

Marian Carr Knox, the secretary to President Bush's National Guard commander, tells her story to Dan Rather. Knox remembers then-Lt. Bush well, and saw him often as he showed up for weekend training in 1971 and 1972. <snip>

In the past week, those documents have been subjected to extraordinary scrutiny and criticism.

<TRANSCRIPT>

Now, another voice - a credible voice - has entered the debate. Killian's secretary, Marian Carr Knox, describes herself as Killian's "right hand" during much of the 1970s. <snip>

Knox is 86 years old, and completely comfortable in the eye of a storm. She spent more than two decades keeping pilots and officers in line at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston. Now, she wants to set the record straight about the memos that CBS News obtained.

Knox says she didn't type these memos, but she says she did type ones that contained the same information. “I know that I didn't type them," says Knox. "However, the information in those is correct.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/09/15/60II/main643768.shtml

Wait! There's more!

She addressed one memo, and a reference to retired Gen. Staudt pushing for a positive officer training report on Lt. Bush.

"'Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it.' Does that sound like Col. Killian? Is that the way it felt,” Rather asked Knox.

“That's absolutely the way he felt about that," says Knox.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/09/15/60II/main643768.shtml

My reply: Are you Michael Moore?

No. Are you Ann Coulter? You seem as incapable of considering anything which does not conform to your pre-existing bias as she is.
 

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