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Distraction Rides Again

Reported by Eleanor - September 16, 2004 -

On Special Report with Brit Hume (Sept. 16, 6:00 p.m.), Eric Dezenhall, expert on damage control, provided some observations concerning the CBS memo story.

Dan Rather is "keeping an open mind, and continuing to report credible evidence." Dezenhall was asked by Hume what advice he would give. Dezenhall responded that a deadly dynamic is at work - scoop driven media (an ego driven personality) colliding with dirty tricksters. Hume referenced the questions of the experts, and Dezenhall said we don't know what really happened. If it's real, they'll defend it. If false, heads will roll.

Are media organizations competent? We really don't know - they're not necessarily stonewalling. Hume: Experts asked them not to go with this. Dezenhall: Some documents are not right, but they stand by the story - they can't have it both ways. There should be a blue ribbon panel to smoke out the perpetrators - and where network news is going. Hume: While they find out what happened. Dezenhall: You don't disown when you believe some elements are true. They're straddling. CBS and Dan Rather are not the same. CBS is distressed and trying to get to the bottom of it.

Hume asked if CBS is paying a price for standing by the documents, and then reported a large ratings drop for 60 Minutes 2. (He didn't note that some local affiliates failed to air the show as a possible reason for the ratings drop.) He also mentioned a drop in ratings for Rather's CBS Evening News. He discussed the history of the man in Texas suspected of faxing the documents, as well as a threat to drop CBS newscasts if Rather isn't fired by Monday.

The panel spent ten minutes on this story as well, rehashing yesterday's news.

Comment: This story is becoming as big as the swift boat story. With 47 days to go, at this rate, we won't finish with Viet Nam until November 2. Oh yes, and it's Kerry's fault because he made Viet Nam the centerpiece of his campaign, right? Never mind the convenient distraction from ongoing international and domestic disasters. We must put the Viet Nam news first, and we must not don't forget the gory details of Laci Peterson's dead body. How about all these hurricanes? Maybe they'll last until November 2 as well.