Apparently Dan Rather, former CBS Prime time anchor, is still claiming he basically got the story right when back in 2004, during the presidential campaign, he reported that he had documented evidence that President Bush went awol when he served in the national gaurd and did not get a legitimate leave of absense as he claimed.
He spoke about this when commenting on the Lara Logan forced leave of absence she recieved from CBS for inaccurately reporting a story about a self-proclaimed hero in the Benghazi attacks
Rather said that unlike the situation with her story, he basically got the report right. I would like to know what about his report was right.
This is a story that first broke about in 2000. It was reported that Bush did not serve out his full term in the National Guard. The former president admitted this but said he received a legitimate leave of absence. Apparently he was not able to prove that he received a legitimate leave of absence, but the media, as hard as it tried, failed to produce evidence that it had. Of course that didn't stop the media from giving this issue lots of attention during the 2000 campaign. From what I remember Bush didn't seem to want to talk about the story, which gave me the impression, and I think the majority of voters, that there was legitimacy to the story in spite of the lack of proof. Given the amount of attention the story got, it seems that most voters were aware of the accusation, but it also seemed they didn't care. Probably thinking that this was something that happened thirty years ago and shouldn't be a part of the 2000 Presidential campaign. Down the stretch of the campaign, after some intense coverage, the issue died out, and Bush won the Presidency.
The awol story never came up again until the next presidential campaign. In spite of the voters lack of interest in the story in 2000, the mainstream news media decided to go into awol scandal overdrive once again in 2004, just in time for the presidential election. Why it hadn't gotten any attention in the interim, you can guess for yourself. The biggest rallying cries came from CNN and of course CBS.
Dan Rather, CBS News Anchor, claimed he had indisputable evidence that President Bush did not have an approved leave of absence and received favorable treatment. He did the story on CBS's highly rated show '60 minutes'. And showed a document, supposedly by his commander to prove it. It contained criticisms regarding his performance as well as his commander claiming Bush went awol. That is when the story became immediately disputed. Experts on typewriters and print used by typewriters said the document had to be a fake. Dan Rather denied that it could be. He reasoned this claiming that his source was impeccable. The Commander had passed away. His source was the person who provided the document to him.
It turned out that it was proven the document was a fake. His source turned out to be a long time enemy Goerge W. Bush, and he ultimately admitted it was fake and that he faked it himself. How Rather could say that a long time enemy of Bush is an impeccable source is beyond me. The wife of the deceased gentleman who produced the document said it couldn't have been true. She said her husband liked Bush and never would have said the things in hte document. She also said she wanted to talk to Rather but he refused.
CNN responded to this by saying it's no big deal. The main story is that Bush didn't serve all the time he was supposed to and that was really all that mattered. It did get some decent attention on MSNBC and some other mainstream sources.
I still can't figure out what about his story could have been right. Maintaing that Bush hadn't properly served his time isn't his story if that is what he is talking about. That had been reported long before him. The guy who produced the documents said he burned the originals after he made the copies so c'mon already. And I have seen it reported that he actually admitted the documents were false
To me this was a blockbuster scandal. A major news anchor was attempting to bring down a president with a story that he knew wasn't true.