CBS: Warren Rudman wouldn't "mollify" the right during Memogate investigation

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Looking through some of the legal documents in connection to the ongoing between Dan Rather and CBS regarding his dismissal from the network following the Memogate controversy in 2004, it's becoming increasingly clear just how spooked the network was by right-wing attacks CBS. And how CBS suits bent over backwards to placate them.

We noted earlier that in an effort to pacify conservatives who were howling about CBS' liberal bias, the network, when putting together its "independent" panel to investigate memo reporting, drew up a list of possible members that included Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh.

Looking at the documents ourselves, we now see that even when discussing more serious candidates for the panel, insiders at CBS were preoccupied with selecting somebody to run the "independent" panel who conservatives would embrace.

One finalist was former GOP senator Warren Rudman. According to an internal CBS memo, he received high marks: "Mentioned by several GOP folks who feel he is above reproach and he would be his own man."

Did you notice how it seems obvious that CBS execs were out taking the temperature of "GOP folks" before they appointed the point person to their "independent" panel? Note that there's no evidence from the assembled memos that CBS reached out to any Democratic "folks" to get their input.

Despite those high mark for Rudman though, reservations persisted. From the memo: "Was not sure Rudman would mollify the right."

And with that, Rudman was not selected.

Anyone else having increased doubts about the conclusions reached by CBS's "independent" panel?

FYI, GOP attorney Dick Thornburgh, who enjoys close ties to the Bush family, was ultimately selected to investigate CBS's reporting on George W. Bush's national guard service. Thornburgh's law firm billed CBS $594,000 for its work on the "independent" panel.

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