Tuesday, September 21

Lucy, you got a lotta 'splainin' to do...

"I didn't even ask any questions," Burkett said. "Should I have? Yes. Maybe I was duped. I never really even considered that."

That's essentially a summary of Rather's statement from Monday.

I can't wait to read how the other blogs will assess the USA Today interview with Burkett. It would be easy (and technically correct) to write off Burkett as a certifiable loon, but there's something much larger in the works here. The whole story is just plain bizarre, a sort of cross between a bad episode of "The X-Files" and a John le Carre' novel.

But it's more than a bizarre conspiracy theory- it frighteningly and credibly hints at serious dirty tricks. I know I'm being horribly naive in hoping it's a bad dream, but I just don't want to believe that this kind of electoral manipulation could go on, and certainly not involving a major media outlet as a willing co-conspirator. If I ever held them at all, I long ago gave up any lofty notions of a noble and unbiased big media, but something inside this journalism student still recoils at the suggestion of such blatant betrayal by a powerful media organization.

If the boldest of accusations proves true- that CBS explicitly worked in concert with the Kerry campaign to subvert our political traditions- it will indeed be a tragedy. If any of the lesser accusations proves true, I fear the case for total cynicism will have been reinforced.

I surely have learned more about media ethics in the past two weeks than I could hope to learn in four years of journalism school.

"CBS would not discuss the propriety of the network serving as a conduit between Burkett and the Kerry campaign."

Thanks for the lesson, Dan.

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