The discussion surrounding the CBS forgery scandal has taken another interesting turn. In light of the overwhelming evidence that the documents are indeed forgeries, they are hardly being contested, even by left-wing media. There have also been no attempts made to rescue the journalistic reputation of Dan Rather.
But in order to hold onto a shred of the original momentum of the CBS campaign against Bush, the claim is now being made that: The documents were indeed false, but their content was true. "Fake but accurate."
Let's apply this revolutionary "fake but accurate" concept to other areas of politics.
Like Saddam’s WMDs for example.
That could look a little something like this:
Acknowledging questions raised about documents suggesting lapses in President Bush's fight against Iraq's WMD, CBS News promised a full-court effort to determine their authenticity while standing by its story.
"We will keep an open mind and we will continue to report credible evidence and responsible points of view as we try to answer the questions raised ...," CBS News Anchor Dan Rather said on 60 Minutes on Wednesday.
But Rather said CBS' critics have never attacked the thrust of the network's story: that Saddam had tried to acquire WMD in the past and had used chemical weapons against Iraqi people and in the war against Iran.
"If we uncover any information to the contrary, rest assured we shall report that also," the embattled anchor said.
The editorial content of the report was not based solely on the physical documents, but also on numerous credible sources who supported what the documents said.
Through all of the frenzied debate of the past week, the basic content of the 60 MINUTES Wednesday report - that Saddam had tried to acquire nuclear material in the past and had used chemical weapons against Iraqi people and in the war against Iran — has not been substantially challenged.
CBS News President Andrew Heyward defended the work that went into the WMD story. "I feel that we did a tremendous amount of reporting before the story went on the air or we wouldn't have put it on the air," Heyward said last night. "But we want to get to the bottom of these unresolved issues," .... "There's such a ferocious debate about these documents."
Memos on Saddam's WMD Are Fake but Accurate, Typist Says
The secretary for Saddam Hussein said Tuesday that she never typed the documents and believed that they are fakes.
But she also said they accurately reflect the thoughts of Saddam Hussein, and other memorandums she typed for him about WMD.
The documents were supposed to expose Saddam once and for all as a mass murderer. Now, however, there are increasing signs that they were as amateurishly forged as once the Hitler diaries. …what is fading away into the darkness is the fact that the accusations remain true at their core.
(quotes in italics were added to the original reports)
Of course, you'll never see - and never have seen - any such reports in the world of left-wing media. It just wouldn't happen: Acknowledging that Saddam Hussein was a danger to the world who needed to be contained, and that any inaccuracies or mishaps or even fakes in presenting the case against Saddam are completely of miniscule importance, compared to the monstrosities of his system.
The "fake but accurate" argument will be used by the media once and only once: as a desperate attempt to save the smoldering remains of an anti-Bush campaign that exploded in the face of biased journalism.
(Translation by Ray D.)