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September 23, 2004
Retraction: a How-to Guide

Jim Geraghty, author of the Kerry Spot at National Review Online, shows the right way to do a retraction when an erroneous report is published and disseminated:


Matt Drudge linked to, and Sean Hannity discussed, a posting below. Well, it turns out that the RNC timeline that the posting referred to was wrong, and I dropped the ball for not checking this out. Terry McAuliffe had several press events about President Bush's military record, but he did not - repeat, did NOT - refer to "sugarcoated" the way the memo did.

His first use of the term was in an e-mailed statement that was distributed to reporters as the "60 Minutes II" report was being broadcast. It was based on seeing the memo on CBS News web site.

Again, the fault is entirely mine for not nailing this down. My apologies to all who ran with it.

[Link in the original.]

It has been over two weeks, and CBS and Dan Rather, who have offered mealymouthed weasel-word laden apologies of the "we're sorry we got caught" variety, have yet to offer an actual retraction of their forgery-based Bush/TANG/AWOL hit-piece.

Will they ever publish a retraction? Probably not, if they can avoid it in any way at all. Of course, their credibility is already shot to hell, so there probably isn't much for them to gain there. But they most certainly owe specific and direct apologies to the parties involved:

  • the Killian family, for tarnishing the reputation of their husband and father
  • Colonel Staudt, for suggesting that he would be irresponsible enough to give any substandard officer a "pass"
  • General Hodges, who was misled into authenticating memos he had never seen
  • the document experts whose opinions were either distorted or ignored
  • all the pajama-clad individuals who searched for the truth, only to be labeled partisan hacks
  • Laura Bush, for suggesting that she needed a reason to disbelieve CBS after the memos were shown to be forgeries
  • President Bush, obviously

    and most importantly:

  • the American electorate, for attempting the most stunning fraud in American political history.

Of course, maybe CBS is withholding a retraction because they found out I have a photoshopped graphic ready and waiting for that moment:

I am so amused with myself.

Posted by Russ at 09:05 PM, September 23, 2004 in Politics

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