A few weeks ago former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh and Louis Boccardi, former head of the Associated Press, released their report on Dan Rather’s use of allegedly forged Texas Air National Guard (ANG) documents covering President George W. Bush’s military service. The report, as is well known, excoriated CBS for the use of these documents on its 60 Minutes Wednesday program on September 8, 2004. It is, however, a flawed report. It should not be uncritically accepted, as it has been by the press and by television commentators.

The report concluded that CBS failed to hire appropriate experts to clearly verify its statements and did not establish a “chain of custody” for the documents. CBS, according to the report, rushed to judgment on the basis of inadequate evidence, did not promptly acknowledge flaws in its program, and broadcast a false and misleading report.

James Goodale: Dan Rather


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