Thursday, January 13, 2005


Big Trunk has another excellent take on the Rathergate report over at Powerline called Prove It:
Indeed, this finding, though based on conflicting evidence, is the key to the panel's conclusion that haste rather than political bias was responsible for the airing of the 60 Minutes story in its radically defective form on September 8.

If the standard of proof is metaphysical certainty, how could the panel possibly draw such a conclusion in the face of conflicting evidence? The answer is that when it suited its purposes, the panel conducted itself in the fashion of factfinders operating under the traditional civil law standard of proof for the finding of facts: the preponderance of the evidence. The severest standard of proof known to Anglo-American law is the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard applicable in criminal cases. In between is the "clear and convincing evidence" standard of proof that is applicable in some civil actions, such as defamation cases involving public figures.
A must read.

In the search for the Holy Grail of a story Mary Mapes chose.......poorly. From the SF Chronicle:
Mapes' quest for the grail began in 1999, when she looked into allegations that Bush pere's political connections got Bush into the National Guard despite a waiting list. "Significantly," the report noted, "Mapes indicated in the April 1999 e-mail that she had been informed that there was no waiting list for President Bush's TexANG unit at the time he entered." Maj. Gen. Bobby Hodges told her that the Guard was "hurting for pilots at that time. "

No waiting list. No story.

But five years later, Mapes had rejoined the crusade. She contacted a Bush-hating blogger, who told her she believed that a retired Lt. Col. Bill Burkett had a classified document damaging to Bush. Mapes began courting Burkett, apparently undeterred by that fact that he had a history of changing his story.
An interesting analogy.

Peggey Noonan(what a great last name) has another article over at Opinion Journal about Rathergate, but it focuses on the changing face of journalism
The Rathergate Report is a watershed event in American journalism not because it changes things on its own but because it makes unavoidably clear a change that has already occurred. And that is that the mainstream media's monopoly on information is over. That is, the monopoly enjoyed by three big networks, a half dozen big newspapers and a handful of weekly magazines from roughly 1950 to 2000 is done and gone, and something else is taking its place. That would be a media cacophony. But a cacophony in which the truth has a greater chance of making itself clearly heard.
Well that's all for this Rathergate roundup, more as it comes in.