Tuesday, September 21, 2004

CBS - DNC Timeline

Balloon Juice (assist to Instapundit) posts some musings regarding the timeline of the CBS hit-piece, and the "coincidentally" perfectly timed Kerry campaign followup.

Remember, this was not just some random Kerry spokemen leaping on the story after it broke. This was a full-fledged PR campaign, which the Kerry campaign dubbed "Fortunate Son." It was premised on the "facts" that Bush was the son of privilege who used family connections to avoid the draft, and once in the National Guard, used those same connections to shirk his responsibilities. Sound familiar? Sort of like exactly the content of a certain 60 minutes segment featuring Dan Rather?

The Kerry campaign has not been observed to exactly turn on a dime and whip out fully dressed and focused PR campaigns overnight. Yet that's exactly what we're supposed to believe in this case. And "over night" is not just a metaphor. Do what Balloon Juice did and check the timeline:

September 8th- the CBS 60 Minutes hit piece airs [remember it aired late in the evening - Doug]

September 9th- DNC launches 'Fortunate Son' campaign:

Yesterday we found out a few things that make the picture here a bit clearer, whichever side of the partisan fence you sit on. We found out:

"At the behest of CBS, an adviser to John Kerry said he talked to a central figure in the controversy over President Bush's National Guard service shortly before disputed documents were released." from the AP (via Powerline).

Then this morning we further discovered:

"CBS arranged for a confidential source to talk with Joe Lockhart, a top aide to John Kerry, after the source provided the network with the now-disputed documents about President Bush's service in the Texas National Guard." from USA Today (another assist to Powerline).

From that we can establish a couple of things:

1. Whatever information was in those documents was already known by both Burkett, and CBS, at the time CBS contacted the Kerry campaign.

2. The Kerry campaign was ready to followup with a full fledged media campaign, predicated on precisely the charges made in the 60 Minutes piece, and implied by the forged memos, less than 24 hours after the 60 Minutes story aired.

Those two items be established, there are only two reasonable conclusions:

A. An amazing coincidence.

B. CBS (either themselves or through Burkett) slipped the Kerry campaign information about what 60 Minutes was going to air ahead of time.

In my opinion, this is the area Republicans should focus on to unearth the real scandal. We're not talking about sloppy jounalism anymore here. Go ahead and assume CBS was stupid enough to fall for the forgeries, and stupid enough to trust Burkett. Even if that's true, this is election tampering. CBS covertly tried to help the Kerry campaign attack Bush. About two months before an election.


UPDATE:

The timeline seems even fishier when you add in a couple of things noted by Steve, from Fat Steve's Blatherings (assist to Vodkapundit).

Added to the timing of Burkett's communication with the DNC and CBS noted above, here's some more we can add:

September 7th: The Pentagon releases newly discovered Bush TANG records. Also new 527 group, "Texans for Truth," releases an add claiming Bush didn't fulfill his Guard service in Alabama.

September 8th & 9th: 4 media stories (The Boston Globe, U.S.News and World Report, Salon, and 60 Minutes)

Also on the 9th:

" ...Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe announced that the Democratic party would keep attention focused on this issue. In fact, they had ads ready to go against Bush the next week."

I wish Steve had a source for that McAuliffe statement. If it can be established, it's pretty damning.

Steve notes that the rush by 60 Minutes to get their story onto the air might be explained by them being aware of the others, and not wanting to be an "also ran." Sounds a heck of a lot more plausible than anything CBS has offered so far.

Steve's concludes this way:

"...the place to look for signs of collusion is the timing of the stories. Over the course of three days, one commercial, two print stories, a web story, and a television show all did supposedly independent pieces on the same subject. I find that very hard to believe. The DNC was ready to go with "Operation Fortunate Son" a week later, on Tuesday the 14th. We need to investigate that timing."

I totally agree.

(Incidentally, it looks like Steve is another new Minnesota blogger. Welcome to the family, Steve!)


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