By Jack Cashill
Sunday, December 28, 2008
There is no science to validate the thesis that follows, no
academy to adjudicate it, and little hope of convincing the
Obama faithful even to consider it, let alone concede its
validity. That much said, the evidence is self-evident,
accessible to all, and overwhelming.
The thesis is simple enough: Bill Ayers served as Barack
Obama's muse in the creation of Obama's 1995 memoir, Dreams
From My Father. Ayers breathed creative life into this
ungifted amateur, who had written nothing of note before,
and reconceived him as a literary prodigy. . . .
American Stinker more appropiate.
As George W Bush prepares to leave the White House, at least one unpleasant
episode from his unpopular presidency is threatening to follow him into
A $70m lawsuit filed by Dan Rather, the veteran former newsreader for CBS
Evening News, against his old network is reopening the debate over alleged
favourable treatment that Bush received when he served in the Texas Air
National Guard during the Vietnam war. Bush had hoped that this controversy
had been dealt with once and for all during the 2004 election.
Eight weeks before the 2004 presidential poll, Rather broadcast a story
based on newly discovered documents which appeared to show that Bush, whose
service in the Texas Air National Guard ensured that he did not have to
fight in Vietnam, had barely turned up even for basic duty. After an outcry
from the White House and conservative bloggers who claimed that the report
had been based on falsified documents, CBS retracted the story, saying that
the documents' authenticity could not be verified. Rather, who had been with
CBS for decades and was one of the most familiar faces in American
journalism, was fired by the network the day after the 2004 election.
He claims breach of contract against CBS. He has already spent $2m on his
case, which is likely to go to court early next year. Rather contends not
only that his report was true - "What the documents stated has never been
denied, by the president or anyone around him," he says - but that CBS
succumbed to political pressure from conservatives to get the report
discredited and to have him fired. He also claims that a panel set up by CBS
to investigate the story was packed with conservatives in an effort to
placate the White House. Part of the reason for that, he suggests, was that
Viacom, a sister company of CBS, knew that it would have important
broadcasting regulatory issues to deal with during Bush's second term.
Among those CBS considered for the panel to investigate Rather's report were
far-right broadcasters Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.
"CBS broke with long-standing tradition at CBS News and elsewhere of
standing up to political pressure," says Rather. "And, there's no joy in
saying it, they caved ... in an effort to placate their regulators in
Rather's lawsuit makes other serious allegations about CBS succumbing to
political pressure in an attempt to suppress important news stories. In
particular, he says that his bosses at CBS tried to stop him reporting
evidence of torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. According to Rather's
lawsuit, "for weeks they refused to grant permission to air the story" and
"continued to raise the goalposts, insisting on additional substantiation".
Rather also claims that General Richard Meyers, then head of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, the top military official in the US, called him at home and
asked him not to broadcast the story, saying that it would "endanger
Rather says that CBS only agreed to allow him to broadcast the story when it
found out that Seymour Hersh would be writing about it in the New Yorker
magazine. Even then, Rather claims, CBS tried to bury it. "CBS imposed the
unusual restrictions that the story would be aired only once, that it would
not be preceded by on-air promotion, and that it would not be referenced on
the CBS Evening News," he says.
The charges outlined in Rather's lawsuit will cast a further shadow over the
Bush legacy. He recently expressed regret for the "failed intelligence"
which led to the invasion of Iraq and has received heavy criticism over the
scale and depth of the economic downturn in the United States.