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May 13, 2005

CBS News: Still Fabricating, Still Forging Ahead?

Updated: There's room for doubt here, and perhaps I was unwise to take Starr's claims at face-value as I did in the original post. See Kaus Isn't So Sure Update below.

This time they're not forging documents but rather soundbite quotes -- deliberately editing Ken Starr's remarks about the judiciary fight to make it sound as if he was attacking the idea of the so-called nuclear option, when in fact he was attacking the idea that the Democrats are now imposing, unconstitutionally, a 60-vote supermajority for the confirmation of judges.

It's from Rush, and yes, I know he's suspect in many quarters (including some quarters on the right), but it contains direct quotes from Ken Starr who insists he was speaking of the Democrats' unconstitutional supermajority requirement and not the nuclear option, as the CBS piece implied.

Ken Starr has demanded CBS News release the full transcript; they have refused.

What do you suppose that means? People generally don't refuse to release exonerating evidence, do they?

CBS "News" is no longer news at all.

Bloggers, I think, have to keep on this story, and not let it be swept down the memory hole. This is partisan lying of the most egregious and clumsy sort, and the vaunted "multiple layers of editorial fact-checking" once again did not prove up to the task of uncovering a blatant deception.

Rathergate weakened CBS News. This could kill it. Or at least compel them to do some major house-cleaning and restructuring.

CBS News flat-out lied to you, for the second time in less than a year.

Want to contradict us "unedited, shoot from the lip" bloggers? Then release the goddamned transcript.

I have a feeling CBS News will release that transcript somewhere around the time CNN releases the Eason Jordan Davos transcript.

PoliPundit Is on F'n Fire Update: Laurie's outraged about this, and links to others in the blogosphere pounding the story. I think we need the full-court blogswarm press on this.

Kaus Isn't So Sure Update: Mickey Kaus suggests the story may not be all that misleading, and suggests that Starr really was talking about the nuclear option -- or changing Senate rules generally -- despite his current claims.

Kaus makes a good case for doubt, but he doesn't prove his position (and he doesn't claim to). As he says: Release the tapes. Let's see who's lying-- CBS or Ken Starr.

I think it's likely that CBS News is lying-- or at least guilty of a negligent assumption about what Starr meant.

If Starr was against the filibuster, I just don't think he'd reverse himself and claim to have been misquoted just because he got pilloried by anti-filibuster conservatives. Why would he? Other conservatives are also against the nuclear option, and it's not as if Starr is running for anything, or has a job as a pundit which causes him to rely on keeping his conservative fans happy.

And, PS, he doesn't have that many conservative "fans." Yes yes, we all give him props for taking on Clinton in the face of a very nasty smear campaign against him, but, in the scheme of conservative heroes, Starr ranks somewhere low on the list, someplace between, say, Denny Hastert and that guy who played the drug kingpin villian in the James Bond movie License to Kill.

He's not exactly Jeff Gannon, in other words... so I just don't see it as likely he would reverse a thoughtful position just because he got razzed by radio show hosts and because he didn't want to alienate his "base," whoever that base might be.

Thanks to Ray Midge for keeping me honest.

I don't have those vaunted multiple layers of editorial fact-checking, after all. I'm just a simple Unfrozen Caveman Blogger. All this strange talk of "ethics" and "verification" frankly confuses me... I just want to paint pictures of Jeff Gannon killing a prehistoric auroch on the wall of my cave. That's my idea of "journalism."

Correction: The Bond film was "License to Kill," not "License Renewed" as I originally wrote. License Renewed was the title of a later non-Flemming Bond book (or was it Licence Revoked? forget), and License Renewed was the working title of the movie until the studio realized it was a really lame, boring title.

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posted by Ace at 11:28 AM

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