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Friday, January 14, 2005

Momentum Gathering For More CBS Firings, Including Dan Rather

The New York Times is reporting this morning that CBS Chairman Les Moonves is now saying Dan Rather will remain as a "60 Minutes Wednesday" reporter as long as the show itself continues. Hmmm. That sounds like the next in a series of thinly veiled requests from CBS management that Rather retire from the network, not simply as the network's top news anchor.

Meanwhile, Fox's Eric Burns is asking why CBS is not devoting energy and resources to determining the true source of the forged National Guard memos, noting that forging federal documents is a criminal act. At one level, Burns is zeroing in on the most important issue presented for the rest of the media by Rathergate.

All media organizations - and all bloggers who comment on public policy issues and events - have a vested interest in discouraging potential sources from trying to pass-off forgeries as genuine. That means CBS is betraying everybody else in the MSM by not aggressively pursuing the identity of "Lucy Ramirez" or whoever produced the forged Naitonal Guard documents. This explains in part why some MSM notables like Al Neuharth, Gannett's retired czar, are now blasting CBS and why in the days ahead we will see more MSM figures putting distance between themselves and CBS News.

Meanwhile, the Blogosphere is chock full today of in-depth analyses of the CBS Rathergate report and its ramifications - including speculation about why somebody made it impossible to copy and paste from the web version of the report. Here are three that are most worthy of your attention: Hugh Hewitt goes after The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz and his quibbling with Newsweek's Howard Fineman over the media-as-political-party metaphor. Captain's Quarters' has a lengthy analysis as "Fallout for CBS Continues."

Finally, Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine is cranked up about the many ways in which CBS management has blown the opportunity presented by the report to begin the process of reconstructing the network's credibility. Click on the headline above and start reading at "Dan Rather: Unemployed after all?" As always, it's tough figuring out what Jeff really thinks, so read closely! :)