Monday, September 13, 2004

They Should've Listened to Shimon Ben Shetach

As Pirkei Avot 1:9 states:

שמעון בן שטח אומר: הוי מרבה לחקור את העדים, והוי זהיר בדבריך שמא מתוכם ילמדו לשקר.
Shimon ben Shetach says: Increase in interrogating your witnesses, and be careful in your words, lets from them they learn how to lie.

In terms of Rathergate and the bogus 60 Minutes memos, I just read the following, from The American Spectator:
PERHAPS MOST TROUBLING to the CBS News staff looking into how its story went off the rails is the timing of the memos' appearance. "Some 60 Minutes staffers have been working on this story for more than three years off and on," says the CBS News producer. "There have been rumors about these memos and what was in them for at least that long. No one had been able to find anything. Not a single piece of paper. But we know that a lot of people here interviewed a lot of people in Texas and elsewhere and asked very explicit questions about the existence of these memos. Then all of a sudden they show up? In one nice, neat package?"

This CBS New producer went on to explain that the questions 60 Minutes folk were asking were specific enough that people would have been able to fabricate the memorandums to meet the exact specifications the investigative journalists were looking for. "People were asking questions of sources like, 'Have you ever seen or heard of a memo that suspended Bush for failing to appear for a physical?' and 'Have you heard about or know of someone who has any documentation from back in the 1970s that shows there was pressure to get Bush into the National Guard?' It was like they were placing an order for a ready-made product. That is the biggest problem I have with this. It's all too neat and perfect for what we needed. Without these exact pieces of paper, we don't have a story. Dan has as much as admitted that. Everyone knows it. We were at a standstill on this story until these memos showed up."
Little Green Footballs has a good series of posts about the whole issue.

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