Here goes the CBS axe

Here goes the CBS axe

: CNN just announced that three execs at CBS — including the top two producers of 60 Minutes II — have been asked to resign and the fourth, Mary Mapes, was fired. Here’s the report at CBS.

: Speaking of Dan — and we’ll be doing a lot of that this week, I suspect — there are some incredible (as in incredibly numbnutty) quotes from him on covering the tsunami in today’s NY Times:

“It’s very difficult, perhaps impossible, from the outside to understand the conflicting undertows that go through you as a journalist,” Mr. Rather said. “Flying out, I’m saying to myself, ‘They’re talking about death tolls that are practically impossible to imagine.’ At the same time, you’re saying to yourself, ‘What a story.’ ”

“There is no place else I’d want to be,” he added. “I literally say a prayer of thanks every day in order to have this work. A story like this is why you get in the business.”

First, the “undertow” reference is about as stupid and insensitive as Jonathan Klein’s “flood the zone” maximalaprop.

But what’s worse is that last line. Let’s play a little word substitution. What he’s saying there is this: The horrendous deaths of more than 150,000 innocent souls is why you get in the business.

Of course, the real reason Dan loves this story is that he hopes it is the story he’s covering as he leaves, not the journalistic scandal he abetted at his own network.

: I was supposed to get that report. I don’t have it yet. CBS starts quoting it before the rest of the world got it:

The action was prompted by the report of an independent panel that concluded that CBS News failed to follow basic journalistic principles in the preparation and reporting of the piece. The panel also said CBS News had compounded that failure with

  • Boyd

    The Digital Journalist has an article by Ron Steinman that you might find interesting:

  • Mike Williams

    Heard you, for the first time, on AirAmericaRadio then saw you on FOX News this morning (1/10/05). I was impressed with what you had to say on both programs until you hedged on bias in the media. You had the chance to state on Fox News that they were biased in their news reporting but instead stated that they have their opinions, like all news reporting, leaving the impression that their opinions are separate and does not sway their news reporting. Too bad you missed an opportunity to state the obvious on Their network, a network with not reporters.

  • Good Day…. With regard to RATHER, I would simply remind everyone who has viewed the ZAPRUDER film of exactly how RATHER “reported” what he saw to the world after viewing the film on 25NOV63….
    “… The Govenor’s coat was open. He, he reached back in this fashion…. back…. as if to, offer aid, or, ask the President something. At that moment a shot clearly hit the Govenor in the front and he fell back in his seat. Mrs. Connally immediately threw herself over him in a protective position. In the next instant, with, apparently, Mrs. Kennedy looking on, a second shot, the third shot total, hit the President’s head. He, his head, can be seen to move violently forward.”
    ….any 4-year-old could have reported it more accurately.
    U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, CV-67, “Big John” Plank Walker
    Sooner, or later, the Truth emerges Clearly
    My professionally surveyed Dealey Plaza map with info, witnesses, suspects, evidentiary artifacts:
    My public JFK assassination file:
    My discovery of ROSEMARY WILLIS’s ultrafast headsnap towards the grassy knoll:
    T ogether
    E veryone
    A chieves
    M ore

  • Mark Butler

    Have you seen that movie Die Hard ? It’s awesome!

  • Excerpt from the CBS story ( ):
    “The producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, was also faulted for calling Joe Lockhart, a senior official in the John Kerry campaign, prior to the airing of the piece, and offering to put Burkett in touch with him. The panel called Mapes

  • steve

    “I disagree that Mapes’ call to Joe Lockhart was a ‘clear conflict of interest that created the appearance of political bias.'” Rather it was a clear conflict of interest that *exposed* the *existence* of political bias.”
    While I agree with your assessment…. what the report states is fact and what you state is opinion; which is part of the problem we are dealing with here.
    Also…. we may have to remove the word “rather” from the English language… I laugh every time I see it used.

  • Jaybird

    I’m terribly disappointed that you didn’t use your opportunity to moon the camera and yell Baba Booey five or six times.
    It would have really gotten your Howard Stern message out and put a thumb in the eye of both Fox News and the FCC.
    Perhaps it may not have allowed you to make some more important points and probably would have resulted in you not being invited back, but isn’t purity of message in every medium available even when it costs you a medium here or there more important than getting your message out to as many people as possible?

  • Kris

    Jeff —
    For you, an off the cuff critique of Fox Rathergate appearance, my first impressions and thoughts…
    Content: The Fox news segment just finished — you were good. You made the point that news is a conversation. Twice. Your blog was plugged a couple times. You fudged a bit on whether CBS was biased, but at least said that Rather disliked Bush. You clearly stated, reworded here, that newspeople have to declare their bias, or at least tell where they stand, to have credibility. Your stress on credibility was great.
    My husband, who watched the program with me, wondered why you didn’t allow for nightly news to morph into another form in the future rather than fade away slowly.
    Style: Try not to move around so much in front of the camera, Jeff. You came off as a bit eager and antsy. Plant your butt and hands on the chair. You’ve got a wonderful voice, by the way, low and melodious. Unfortunately you talked a wee bit too fast. That gal kept interrupting you, which is probably why you spoke so quickly. By speaking quickly you got a lot of information in that short segment.
    Husband loves your voice as well. Says you have a good voice and face for radio. :) He says you came off nerdy, which is okay, and did not have a reporter style. He liked this, though, and said it gave you authenticity and “outsiderishness.” You looked more academic than television reporters.
    Keep it up!

  • You’re da man, Jeff! “Bloggers are just like a bar”

  • Dan

    Oh, this is the unsolicited advice thread? Cool!
    My advice is – ignore people who have never been on TV. What do we know?
    As for bias: It seems to me that there is a definite disconnect between what journalists believe and what Joe Blow believes.
    Self-aware journalists believe that there is bias in the media, but that it is unintentional and essentially benign. Joe Blow believes that the bias is overt, pervasive, and malignant.
    Now, from Joe’s perspective, the Mary Mapes call to a Democratic operative can only be viewed as a forehead-slappingly obvious confirmation of bias.
    From Joe’s perspective, CBS’s language regarding that call is absurdly out of touch with reality. This is the kind of media denial that makes Joe want to curse and throw beer cans at the TV.

  • Ron Hardin

    The horrendous deaths of more than 150,000 innocent souls is why you get in the business.
    News is entertainment (is this news?). No news organization can stay in business unless they draw audience, and audience is their product. They sell audience to advertisers.
    Entertainment, on the bright side, does not mean “make happy.” Horror will do as well. In short, anything that holds an audience.
    The audience in turn is not as bad as it sounds : the instinct to help is what holds the audience. It’s parasitic, you could say, on good instincts.
    Whether these instincts are not empty, or on holiday, when it’s not a matter of personally dashing into the street to snatch a child to safety, is another matter. Don’t let it take over all the terrain, would be my suggestion.
    There’s virtually no market for “hard” news (think city council meetings). The business model needs an audience that comes every day, news or no news, to support the organization. Hence the tendency to soap opera news, whatever the underlying story is.

  • I’m with Jaybird. If news is a conversation, why can’t that conversation include phrases like “Stern rules”?

  • jon

    Look, I’m no Rather fan, and he’s a kook, but let’s stop the piling on. I don’t see what you’re seeing with regard to his comments on covering TsunamiQuake. He’s a reporter, of course he wants to go where the action is, he’d be a bad reporter (see, Jayson Blair) if he didn’t. And it is a hell of a story. He is simply voicing the ambivalence that, yes, there is a pull (‘undertow’ not the best word choice) between the voyeurism of wanting to see what the carnage looks like, and the horror of the deaths. As a reporter, I’d think you’d understand that.
    As far as the last quote about “why he got into journalism,” I see it as a man who wants to bear witness to history. And it is a hell of a story. There is nothing wrong with saying this, and this pseudo-piety I’m hearing about “innocent souls lost” seems misplaced. Of course, everyone recognizes the horror.

  • tex

    Of course, the real reason Jeff loves this story is that he hopes that banging the Rathergate drum will enhance his status with the He-Man Mainstream Media Haters and Watchdog Society.
    Is that about as fair as your Rather word-substitution game? Yeah, I think so.

  • They should have fired Rather (not just waited for his retirement), but the guy is a newsman, and he wants to go where the STILL dominant news is coming from. A lot of other people headed to the disaster zone too… nurses, relief agency workers, etc. They could all claim that events like those are why they get in the “business”.
    The images and stories beamed back to us have moved us as a society… and the MSM for the most part are the storytellers. What’s unfortunate, of course, is they are typically forced to tell their story in 90 seconds or less.

  • Chuck C

    ‘They’re talking about death tolls that are practically impossible to imagine.’ At the same time, you’re saying to yourself, ‘What a story.’
    “There is no place else I’d want to be,” [Rather] added.
    We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde
    Who comes on at five
    She can tell you

  • Great job on Fox News! I have found another great blog. Keep up the good work!
    Josh Breland

  • J. Peden

    I feel lucky to have brave Dan Father Rather, my guardian and shield, as he encounters the so Horrible, the “conflicting undertows”, yet Dan so incorrigable. That I will not have any such Horrible.
    Thank Dan, for Dan. He is Himself Both.