The Proud Duck
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
As long as I'm in the letter-posting business, here's one I sent to CBS:
Defending a document based on its content, not on its authenticity, is something I expect from a religious apologist, not a news organization. CBS might as well be claiming that even though the Donation of Constantine was forged, its content (a purported selection of the Bishop of Rome to be the head of the Catholic Church) is still true. Leave the question "What is truth?" to the metaphysicians, and do your job as journalists.
I do notice that your statement uses the word "accurate" instead of "authentic" in describing the memos. I presume that this word choice is not accidental; that, having failed to reproduce the memos in question on any 1972-vintage typing equipment (despite what must have been an afternoon of desperate scrambling), and having failed to find any credentialed document expert (typewriter repairmen and handwriting analysts don't count) willing to stake his reputation on a statement that the documents are authentic, you are essentially conceding the documents are forged.
"We publish forgeries, but only if they're accurate" is not a slogan CBS wants to stand on. Your source has lied to you. You have no obligation to maintain his anonymity. In keeping his identity secret, you are an accessory to journalistic fraud.
Since you show no signs of coming clean, I intend to contact my Congressman and request that he request that hearings be opened on this issue, as I doubt that CBS will not do the right thing absent the application of the subpoena power.