I keep hearing that CBS was duped, and that its main mistake was in poorly responding to the questions raised about its story.
No, no — a thousand times, no!
As Tom Maguire says:
“…if knew then what I know now-I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired.”
What?! ? If he had only known then that CBS had received six documents, and his own hired consultants laughed out loud at two of them? If he had only known that his producer had interviewed Killian’s son, who was extremely skeptical? If he had only known that one of his “document experts” had only approved the signatures, and claimed that authenticating copies was not possible?
I would add: If he had only known that Bobby W. Hodges hadn’t really confirmed the content of the documents, but said instead: “well if he wrote them that’s what he felt”?
And so on.
These are not people who were duped. And the problem is not how they handled it once they were caught — though they handled that part badly. Their main transgression was in ignoring the evidence staring them in the face before the story ever ran. At the very least, they could have given some time on the broadcast to the dissenters.
But they didn’t. And I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: don’t fool yourself believing that this is the first time this has happened. Come on. If you have watched “60 Minutes” then you are familiar with that feeling you have at the end of a segment, when you think to yourself: “Wow, everything seems to point to one conclusion.” You thought that was because everything really did point to one conclusion?
Nope. It’s because everything else was left on the cutting room floor.
We’re just seeing one very notorious example where they got caught.