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October 02, 2004

COMING NEXT, AN EFFORT TO REHABILITATE PHLOGISTON CHEMISTRY: Jim Lindgren notes that an attempt at demonstrating that CBS's forged documents might have been done on a typewriter has fallen apart.

This is hardly a surprise, of course. But it wouldn't be much of a vindication for CBS even if, through some miracle, the documents turned out to be genuine. It's quite clear now that CBS acted without concern for the genuineness of the documents, and in fact in the teeth of opinions from its own experts that the documents were probably bogus. No amount of after-the-fact lawyering can change that evidence of journalistic bias and ineptitude, though CBS's namecalling of its critics, and general stonewalling, compounds the offense and moves it from negligence to the category of 'reckless disregard."

UPDATE: Former 60 Minutes producer Don Hewitt would seem to agree:

"I never would have done the story," said Hewitt, who retired in June as the show's executive producer after 36 years.

"I would have been very wary injecting myself into a campaign. You've got to be very careful that you're not perceived as doing the job that one of the two candidates should be doing himself." . . .

During the radio show, Hewitt said he's sorry that "60 Minutes" and Rather were perceived as doing Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's job for him "by bringing up an old issue, and they weren't careful enough to not make mistakes. And the minute you make one mistake, you're dead."

He also thinks that Kerry was "stupid" to make Vietnam the centerpiece of his campaign.