10 November 2005

When Fraud, Hype & Ego Collide

I smell fear . . .
It was physically painful, but I watched Mary Mapes on Larry King's show last night. Mapes, of Failed Journalism fame, has a 'the world is wrong and I am right' book out there, screeching, of course that she is right and the whole world is wrong. Mapes may be as full of herself as anyone I've seen, and that includes Terrell Owens and Al Franken. Here's some highlights:

KING: But there's nothing about the story you would change? In other words, even though they've said the documents were forged and... MAPES: But no one has been able to prove they were forged.

You have it exactly backwards, sweetheart. It's not up to the viewer to disprove a reporters story. It's up to the reporter to get it right.

KING: Do you believe right this moment they were not false? MAPES: I believe no one has proved to me that they were false after more than a year. KING: So you believe they were true? MAPES: I believe -- I know. It's an odd situation. I'm perfectly willing to believe they're false if somebody will just prove it. KING: No one has proven it to you?MAPES: No, they have not. Their criticisms last year really didn't reach the bar of proof at all.

Uh huh. See above, Mary.

KING: "CBS News gave us this statement today."Mary Mapes' actions damaged CBS News as an organizational and brought pain to many colleagues with whom she worked. Her disregard for journalistic standards -- and for her colleagues -- comes through loud and clear in her interviews and in the book that attempts to rewrite the history of this complex and sad affair. As always, revisionist history must be tested against the facts. Not only are those facts contained in the extensive media coverage that took place at the time, but also in the 200-plus-page report of the independent panel which investigated the matter for more than three months.We believe those facts speak for themselves. The idea that a news organization would not need to authenticate such important source material is only one of the troubling and erroneous statement in her account."MAPES: Well, I know they've been working on that for weeks . . .

Odd for CNN, especially after they give 20 minutes of free publicity for some hack's crummy book, they found some folks with a different outlook:

KING All right, Lou (Boccardi), what do you make of what Mary had to say, that you can't disprove this? BOCCARDI: Well, I'm not sure that it's our job to disprove it. It's a curious kind of journalism that say if you say something, you're not responsible for proving it. Other people are responsible for disproving it . . . She disdains in the book my 44 years as a journalist. She's venomously attacks Dick's integrity and I'm not going to go down those roads. But just on the points she made, she talked about the examiners, the experts. She said I had four and then there were two -- well, two of the four jumped off. One of them told her not to go ahead. If you do this, the morning after you do it every document examiner in America is going to be after you. So, two jumped off. And none of the four said that they could authenticate the documents because of the difficult nature of authentication.

KING: David (Gergen), if you were in the position Mary Mapes was, wouldn't you be angry and wouldn't you strike back if you totally believe the story you ran? She still believes it. GERGEN: Well, I would hope I'd produce a better case than she has produced. I have to say this, Larry, just for starters. Mary Mapes is a journalist who has had broken big stories, especially the Abu Ghraib, for which she deserves a lot of credit. Dan Rather, of course, has had a long and distinguished career in journalism. But on this particular case, Mary Mapes is coming on the air and telling you, Larry, everybody else is wrong except me. Les Moonves, the head of ACBS is wrong, Ed Haywards is wrong, Dan Rather who went on the air to apologize about this as a bad story, he must be wrong by implication, all the other people in, CBS the outside investigatory team that Lou headed so ably, "Washington Post" which looked at this carefully, outside experts to CBS who tried to stop this story it was published, or at
least slow it down. She's saying all of them are wrong, I'm the one who's right. But she doesn't have any facts. It's very hard to take that story on face value.

(Micheal) MEDVED: Larry, the one question I have is, I was on talk radio the day after (the 60 Minutes broadcast) and there were people calling my show with these complaints about the kind of typing and the kind of anachronistic typewriter and typeface that was being used. Why didn't they have people like that who could have raised those questions on the broadcast. If those questions could be raised the day after on a talk radio show why not put them on the broadcast and at least introduce that element of doubt?

No comments: