Topic: Accuracy in Media
The other day, Bernard Goldberg made a big deal about discovering that former "60 Minutes" producer Mary Mapes, who was in charge of the notorious 2004 report on President Bush's National Guard service that eventually got her fired and forced Dan Rather to retire from CBS, knew that Bush had volunteered to serve as a pilot in Vietnam but did not put that in her report.
Cliff Kincaid is not happy about this. He writes in an Aug. 26 Accuracy in Media column:
Sorry Bernie. Your "scoop" is old news. It's no "exclusive." Your Deep Throat is pulling your leg. AIM had the story four years and seven months ago and everyone knows it.
Indeed, it looks suspiciously like Goldberg's secret "source" simply had access to the AIM archives, even if Goldberg did not. It's too bad that Goldberg failed to acknowledge on the air that we had the story four years and seven months before he did. Of course, to make such an admission would make Goldberg look like a Johnny-come-lately-more than four years after the fact-to an important story.
Well, it seems Kincaid is taking a little too much credit. As David Neiwert at Crooks and Liars details, the fact that Bush had volunteered to serve in Vietnam was reported by the Washington Post as early as 1999. While this may be, as Goldberg said, a "crucial fact," it isn't the way Goldberg and Kincaid think it is. Neiwert points out that the 1999 Post report notes that "there was no chance Bush's unit would be ordered overseas" because the plane Bush was trained to fly was being retired by the military:
In other words, if Bush actually did volunteer for Vietnam duty, he did so secure in the knowledge there was no chance he'd actually be called upon. That is, he was talking big talk, once again, knowing full well he'd never have to back it up.
This is especially so considering what followed -- namely, that Bush wound up failing to fulfill his obligations to the Texas Air National Guard, precisely because he failed to maintain even the most basic, fundamental components if his TANG pilot's status beginning in the summer of 1972.
Indeed, there is a set of facts about Bush's service that is irrefutable: Lt. Bush did refuse an order to take a required physical, and he was suspended for "failing to perform up to standards". Moreover, the sequence of events that failure set in motion eventually ensured that Bush did not fulfill the entirety of his military obligation.
Somehow, we don't see Goldberg or Kincaid falling over themselves to address that.