The Spectacle Blog

Mapes’ ‘Essential Truth’

By on 11.2.05 | 11:26AM

The Vanity Fair excerpt from Mary Mapes' book is further proof of the Boccardi/Thornburgh whitewash of CBS's forgery-based National Guard story. While Mapes whines about having to answer questions from Boccardi about her baldly liberal bias -- "Wouldn't you describe yourself as a liberal?" he asked her at one point -- she neglects to mention that his report outrageously ruled bias out as a "factor" in the fiasco. Dick Thornburgh, whom Mapes calls an "empty suit" and delights in reminding readers was one of the first victims of an Ali G. prank, went along with the whitewash. Mapes should thank those guys for letting her off the hook on that. Boccardi knew that she was an axe-grinding liberal but omitted that from his account and declared that "haste" was the cause of the bungling -- a very novel explanation when both Rather and Mapes are standing by the forgery over a year later.

Mapes can't bring herself to question the documents even as she lectures the media on the journalistic virtue of skepticism. "Skepticism," she writes," is "largely forgotten." While she is still convinced that her crackpot source is a font of truth, she blasts bloggers for their "questionable recollections." She thinks it is unfair for anyone to label her a liberal -- she proudly relates how she grew up on a farm under the supervision of hearty parents (she neglects to mention that her father once phoned into a talk show and explained her forgery mess as the work of a feminist who lost her way) -- but she repeatedly labels bloggers "far-right."

This tell-all will be good for at least one thing -- showing that Rather's and Andrew Heyward's highly "professional" operation was a shoddy operation of comic proportions. When the bloggers had them all on the run, Heyward blurted out, "If the blogs are using people that are lousy analysts to make their case, then let's get some lousy analysts of our own." Meanwhile, Mapes was slowly climbing out of her cocoon of self-delusion. She assumed the report was impregnable. After all, her colleagues had given her "hugs and kisses and congratulations" after it aired. "We were on a roll," she writes.

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