Bush’s Vietnam war ‘service’ scandal continues

From British weekly The Observer:

CBS newsman’s $70m lawsuit likely to deal Bush legacy a new blow

* Christopher Goodwin in Los Angeles
* Sunday 28 December 2008

As George W Bush prepares to leave the White House, at least one unpleasant episode from his unpopular presidency is threatening to follow him into retirement.

A $70m lawsuit filed by Dan Rather, the veteran former newsreader for CBS Evening News, against his old network is reopening the debate over alleged favourable treatment that Bush received when he served in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war. Bush had hoped that this controversy had been dealt with once and for all during the 2004 election.

Eight weeks before the 2004 presidential poll, Rather broadcast a story based on newly discovered documents which appeared to show that Bush, whose service in the Texas Air National Guard ensured that he did not have to fight in Vietnam, had barely turned up even for basic duty. After an outcry from the White House and conservative bloggers who claimed that the report had been based on falsified documents, CBS retracted the story, saying that the documents’ authenticity could not be verified. Rather, who had been with CBS for decades and was one of the most familiar faces in American journalism, was fired by the network the day after the 2004 election.

He claims breach of contract against CBS. …

Rather contends not only that his report was true – “What the documents stated has never been denied, by the president or anyone around him,” he says – but that CBS succumbed to political pressure from conservatives to get the report discredited and to have him fired. He also claims that a panel set up by CBS to investigate the story was packed with conservatives in an effort to placate the White House. Part of the reason for that, he suggests, was that Viacom, a sister company of CBS, knew that it would have important broadcasting regulatory issues to deal with during Bush’s second term.

8 thoughts on “Bush’s Vietnam war ‘service’ scandal continues

  1. Posted by: “frankofbos” FrankOfBos@yahoo.com

    Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:13 pm (PST)

    Bush History – The GOP and Dems Agree: Bush has Been a Fiscal Train
    Wreck – 12/28

    The Bush fiscal mess comes into sharp focus when contrasted with a
    report from the Office of Management and Budget that is highlighted by
    the Clinton administration on this date (2000). The Clinton record
    includes nine consecutive years of fiscal progress, and the details are
    stunning, esp. after the last eight years of Bush. Also, a related

    More details, from the 2009 Bush Blunder Calendar …

    Today’s category: Bushisms, Deficit Mismanagement


  2. Posted by: “frankofbos” FrankOfBos@yahoo.com

    Mon Jan 5, 2009 10:16 pm (PST)

    Bush History-Top GOPer Admits Bush War Management was “terrible”, &
    Lies to Congress, 1/6

    The administration lies to Congress on this date to get Bush friend
    Alberto Gonzales named as Attorney General (2005). Also on this date,
    a top Republican admits that Bush war handling was “a terrible mistake”
    (2008). And a related Bushism.

    More details, from the 2009 Bush Blunder Calendar …

    Today’s category: Bushisms, Dishonesty, Incompetence, Iraq, Revolt of
    the GOP & Insiders


  3. Friday 4th March 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Arts

    MARIA DUARTE recommends a film on the shackling of journalists who exposed George W Bush’s draft dodging before he became president

    Truth (15)
    Directed by James Vanderbilt

    AFTER the Oscar-winning Spotlight comes another powerful newsroom drama, this time about the overwhelming pressures from the authorities, financial interests and 24-hour news that have been stifling and slowly killing off investigative journalism.

    Truth outlines the 2004 CBS 60 Minutes report investigating president George W Bush’s military service record in the run-up to his second presidential election.

    The ensuing controversy that erupted ended the careers of veteran CBS news anchor Dan Rather (Robert Redford) and his award-winning producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett), who won a Peabody award for breaking the Abu Ghraib story.

    Based on Mapes’s memoirs Truth and Duty, the film shows the painstaking process she and her team (played by Dennis Quaid, Elisabeth Moss and Topher Grace) underwent to stand up the story of how Bush avoided Vietnam by joining the Texas Air National Guard, where he went Awol.

    Their work was derailed by bloggers claiming a key memo featured in the report was fake and compiled on computer — 1970s typewriters didn’t have the Microsoft typeface. The revelation became headline news everywhere.

    As Mapes, accused of political bias, tells the independent panel appointed by CBS to investigate the scandal: “Our story was about whether the president fulfilled his service. Nobody wants to talk about that. They want to talk about fonts and forgeries and they hope to God the truth gets lost in the scrum.”

    Which is what happened because, as the film suggests, CBS was more interested in safeguarding its financial concerns. It would be better served by another Bush/Republican administration rather than by supporting their staff over the original story, which no-one stated or proved to be untrue.

    With another powerhouse performance by Blanchett and an equally superb turn by Redford, this thought-provoking political drama is an impressive directorial debut by writer James Vanderbilt, who scripted Zodiac and the The Amazing Spider-Man.

    Any film that make typefaces nail-bitingly gripping deserves all the accolades it gets and Truth certainly merits them in showing the importance of safeguarding investigative journalism.



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