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Sunday, September 12, 2004

CBS - BBC

Listening to FoxNews earlier today I heard Newt Gingrich bring something up that I have thought a little about since Powerline and others started to break the CBS forgeries scandal. Incidentally, I am beginning to think that "the preponderence of evidence" is beginning to show that those memos are forgeries. In any event Newt Gingrich made a comparison between the CBS forgeries and the BBC's report last year that Tony Blair's government had knowingly "sexed up" the arms dossier with untrue information. After a judicial inquiry The Hutton Inquiry (named after Lord Hutton, who directed it) basically concluded that the BBC reporter, Andrew Gilligan, had created large parts of his story and that the BBC editorial was "at fault" in its handling of the issue. The result was the resignation of Andrew Gilligan, of the Director-General Greg Dyke, and of the Chairman of the BBC Governors, Gavyn Davies.

Later the BBC exonerated itself it what looks and sounds like a cover-up internal inquiry, but given that the reporter had already gone and the BBC effectively decapitated no-one really wanted to push the issue.

Is CBS now going down a similar path?

There is, of course, one very significant difference. The BBC is a public corporation, CBS is not. The BBC betrayed a public trust, CBS's private nature alters that equation. So far it looks as though there are similarities, where one person (at CBS Dan Rather) has now gone out on a limb, and may be hung up to dry. That said there are differences. The Bush camp is noticeably quiet on the forgeries - Tony Blair was very much more forceful as regards to Andrew Gilligan.

In the end I don't know.

As others have said, the real question now is where these documents come from.

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