What if analysis of the Linda Tripp / Monica Lewinsky tape were strongly suspected to be fakes, say, because Lewinskly referred to events she would likely have no knowledge of? And what if the conservative press had released those tapes to break the Lewinsky story, and then stood by it becuase nobody was confronting the larger truth that Clinton has a wandering eye? Do you think they'd get away with it?
That seems to be what Dan Rather and CBS are trying to do here:
Having said that, 60 Minutes feels that it's important to underscore this point: Those who have criticized aspects of our story have never criticized the major thrust of our report -- that George Bush received preferential treatment to get into the National Guard, and once accepted, failed to satisfy the requirements of his service. If we uncover any information to the contrary, that information will also be reported.
Of course, it's impossible to prove that Bush never received preferential treatment. What would be damaging in my mind would be if his family applied pressure for preferential treatment, or if he disobeyted direct orders. That's what the documents showed. Without them, CBS doesn't have much that we didn't know before.
And the "information to the contrary" would be Bush's honorable discharge forom the gurad, wouldn't it?
With this statement, CBS has pretty much declared that it's out of the news business and into the agenda business. What they're saying is it's OK (or at least not terribly bad) to use fabricated evidence so long as it is in service of a point that we all know is true.