Let's count the ways CBS kowtowed to the GOP during Memogate

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

When controversy erupted in September 2004, about CBS' report regarding Bush's Texas Air National Guard service and documents used in the report, CBS execs, as they created an "independent" panel to review the saga, were for more concerned with pacifying their right-wing partisan critics than they were actually getting to the bottom on the Bush story.

That's become quite clear thanks to the revelations found amidst the ongoing lawsuit between CBS and Dan Rather, who was shown the door after Memogate. No wonder CBS attorneys were so desperate to get Rather's civil suit tossed; the revelations about CBS's butt-kissing to the GOP are nearly as damaging as the original Memogate story. Let's review:

*In coming up with names of media luminaries to serve on its "independent" panel, CBS included committed fact-finders such as Rush Limbaugh, Roger Ailes and Matt Drudge.

*CBS attorneys conceded the "independent" panel list tilted way right in order to "open itself up to its harshest conservative critics and to ensure that the Panel's findings would be found credible."

*CBS reached out to "GOP folks" prior to assembling its "independent" panel and took their temperature on who should oversee the work.

*CBS insiders were concerned that former GOP senator Warren Rudman would not "mollify" the network's right-wing critics; he was not selected for the "independent" panel.

*CBS tapped GOP attorney Dick Thornburgh, who enjoyed close relations with the Bush family, to head up the "independent" panel.

*When Thornburgh sent detailed questions to the White House for Bush to answer about his indifferent military service, Thornbugh was told by Bush aide Dan Bartlett that Bush would not cooperate. The "independent" panel dropped the queries and made no mention of Bush's lack of cooperation.

*After the "independent" report was issued, CBS rewarded the White House stonewalling by hiring Bartlett to be an on-air news analysis.

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