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Friday, November 18, 2005

A Real Journalist Looks at Mary Mapes (And Winces)

Rem Reider is the top editor at American Journalism Review. He's a smart, tough, no-nonsense editor in the classic mold. He's not afraid to ruffle feathers when it's required to publish what appears to be the truth of a matter. I don't always agree with him, but I've respected him for years, ever since he was managing editor at States News Service.

Put another way, Reider is the kind of journalist former CBS News producer Mary Mapes will never be.

His review of Mapes new book on the "60 Minutes" attempt to deliver an October Surprise last year that might well have kept President George W. Bush from winning a second term is thus especially worth reading.

Reider is brutally honest and cuts through all the rationalization, the smokescreens and purposeful evasions to reach exactly the right conclusion:

"What she doesn't do is accept any responsibility at all for putting on air a report based on questionable documents furnished by a source with an ax to grind, papers that three of CBS' own document experts warned were problematic.
"The independent report on the ill-fated program by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and ex-Associated Press chief Lou Boccardi was a withering look at a piece of shoddy journalism.
"But it's clear Mapes hasn't learned anything from the debacle. All she wants to do is attack."

Go here for the full Reider.