Tuesday, October 26, 2004

See? B.S.

Thanks for the Memory to Drudge via Ace of Spades HQ.

I really, honestly thought that my days of blogging on stories in which CBS news combines blatant political partisanship with really lousy journalism techniques was over. Honestly, I did. I figured, heck, they're probably still as partisan as ever, but getting burned as badly as they did on Memogate, they've learned to be a bit more judicious in how they act upon it.

How naive of me.

This time the "Big Story" being touted by CBS is the 350-400 tons of high explosives missing from Iraq. The slant to the story was that this is proof that the US is losing control of Iraq, that we were lax with security, and that the world is in greater danger because we dropped the ball. The Kerry campaign even took advantage of it and criticized the Bush administration for letting this happen.

But there are a couple of issues with the story that CBS conveniently omitted. First of all, the explosives have been missing since April of 2003. They've already been reported on. Secondly, the explosives were already gone by the time the first American troops ever arrived at the munitions dump for the first time during the invasion. They were already gone -- how were we supposed to have guarded them before we were there?

So yeah, that's poor reporting. But assuming it had been a good story, it is newsworthy -- how does that make it partisan?

Well, according to breaking news at Drudge, CBS planned to hold the story until October 31st in order to minimize the response time allowed the Bush camp: Jeff Fager, executive producer of the Sunday edition of 60 MINUTES, said in a statement that "our plan was to run the story on October 31, but it became clear that it wouldn't hold..."

See, the LA Times decided to run the story, and CBS essentially got scooped. They couldn't hold off on the story, so they ran with it.

And now, Ace links to Garfield Ridge, who is reporting that the document that alleges the missing explosives may be fake.

Hmmm.... Dubious documents, incomplete reporting, blatant political machinations.... yup: This is CBS.