Mary Mapes: Still Clueless

Ex-CBS producer Mary Mapes still has her liberal blinders on, judging by the letter that appeared in the New York Times Book Review yesterday. Responding to an unfavorable review of her book by Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, Mapes nevertheless credits Alter for being right about the anti-CBS jihad from "the right."

"A thousand times, yes! The bogus questions about typeface used to 'discredit' CBS's Bush/Guard story were a fraud, as Jonathan Alter wrote in reviewing my book, 'Truth and Duty' (Nov. 20). He's also right that the so-called independent panel was a legalistic/ corporate inquisition against the news division I love. I guarantee you that, given the chance, Dick Thornburgh, his firm's lawyers and Lou Boccardi would find even Alter's work sadly lacking. Despite the millions that CBS paid, the panel got a lot wrong and still won't answer for it, just as the president has never explained his aborted military service. CBS panicked over the blog attack and strained to appease the right, whose tactics against us were the same as with Wilson, Plame, Clarke and other administration 'critics.'

But not even the liberal Alter's paranoid attacks on the right are quite enough to satisfy Mapes:

"Alter can question our source, as I have, but here's what nearly everyone missed: The overhyped typeface criticisms ingeniously hijacked the story and created a false controversy, which media competitors gleefully exploited as proof that CBS had fallen short. In fact, ALL the evidence supported the documents' genuineness and that holds true today. We carefully vetted their every detail, matched them with official records and corroborated their content with a former commander. Our document analysis has been completely misconstrued by reporters, pundits and the panel: two analysts validated the documents' typing and signatures and two others deferred to them before our broadcast, despite their later characterizations.

Our work met every journalistic standard. When has a journalist ever had to ink test a document before reporting otherwise validated information? By that measure, Americans never would have had the Pentagon Papers or 10,000 other stories. The furor that Dan Rather, '60 Minutes II' and I faced was withering and wrong. With humor and candor, I've tried to reexamine this case, its unfair outcome and the questions it raises for journalism and our country. I hope others will, too."

Mapes seems blissfully unaware of just how thoroughly the forged Texas Air National Guard documents have been examined and shown to be bogus.

Scott Johnson of the Power Line blog, one of the first to break the forged documents story last year, pounces: "Whatever humor she writes with is surely unintentional. As for candor, to pick just one small point, Mapes is the lady who couldn't recall what political party she belongs to when asked by Bill O'Reilly in his interview with her on Fox News."

For more stories about New York Times bias, visit TimesWatch.

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