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CBS has released the 234-page independent panel report that forms the basis of its firing of four senior executives in the Dan Rather/Bush scandal. It is very much to CBS’ credit that the entire report was released online.
The report states that “CBS News failed to follow basic journalistic principles in the preparation and reporting of the piece,” then “compounded that failure with a ‘rigid and blind’ defense.”
In a Wall Street Journal poll only 6% of the approximately 1,200 people who voted so far agree with me that the dismissals were too harsh.
But then, I don’t think Rather should have resigned. Rather’s apology should have been accepted, and those responsible should have disclosed their roles and gone on with their careers, with better checks and balances in place.
Going forward, will CBS be afraid to break the next big story it finds? Will bloggers now take over the role of investigate journalists while traditional networks and dead-tree media become paralyzed by legal considerations?