Friday, September 17, 2004
No Way Out or Maybe One Way Out
Thanks to Dan Rather and CBS News Producer Mary Mapes, the brand image of CBS News and 60 Minutes now lays in a ruinous stench reminiscent of teenage Halloween tricksters' midnight doorstep deliveries. Meanwhile Black Rock executives appear totally clueless as to how they can now ever scrape the last remnants of credibility from the sole of Viacom's truly devastated, tainted entity.
CBS & 60 Minutes have become the laughingstock of society. This wasn't an easy accomplishment as it took a special combination of blindly biased gullibility, elitist arrogance & outright stupidity to continue messing things up this badly.
Much of their failing was in not recognizing how much technology pervades the common day life of many if not most Americans. Beyond their traditional bubble & elitism, CBS execs have treated their American public with all too apparent disdain, as unsophisticated fools or rubes, without realizing the extent to which the internet and modern technologies actually dominate the work and home lives of so many. Their contempt has been particularly ludicrous because it comes from those whom, some years back, so readily mocked the former President George H. W. Bush for marveling at new innovations in scanners, making bar codes much more usable & easier to read (all the while portraying his apparent impression as stupidity, supposedly not even knowing such bar code technologies were to even exist, being so out of touch with the experiences of everyday Americans).
It's now readily apparent that, over all these years, Dan Rather hasn't used Microsoft Word or Windows much, if at all, and doesn't seem to appreciate much of the vast Internet, which his fellow elites readily joined in with CBS in mocking for its legions of partisan Pajamahadeen (credit Kerry Spot), successors to the legendary VRWC. In fact, however, many, many professionals in many, many professions make use of these technologies every day and know it doesn't take a rocket scientist to readily reproduce exact replicas of CBS’ purported (forged) documents and, in fact, many, many were actually even generated in the very homes and offices of millions all across America.
The best hope for CBS at this point might be to set up the equivalent of a Chinese wall and put their best, crack team at the 60 Minutes Sunday show to work on this story. They'll have to focus on the real story, of course, meaning dropping the long worn out National Guard angle and unveil the forging of the documents, their delivery to CBS and 60 Minutes’ dubious use of them in CBS broadcast, and recognition of all the other basic facts & witnesses & conflicting testimonies, etc., etc., etc., which are now all so numerous & obvious for all but Dan Rather to see or ever consider including vs. any more of his self-serving and outright demeaning & belittling public broadcasts.
Supposedly Don Hewitt and others at the Sunday 60 Minutes show have always felt some degree of disdain for their weekday counterpart. I suggest that if they could somehow funnel that contempt & justifiable anger over all the damage Dan Rather & their other counterparts have now wrought, and get the story, the REAL story RIGHT - that could - possibly though far from assuredly - at least stop the bleeding for the time being and allow some feasible hope that what's left of CBS prestige might be rescued from the flames & fumes still smoldering so odorously on their doorstep.
At this point the truth, for Viacom and CBS, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, might be one and only way out.