The Vanity Fair excerptÂ 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 pointÂ — she neglects to mention thatÂ his report outrageously ruled bias out as a “factor” in theÂ fiasco.Â Dick Thornburgh, whom Mapes calls an “empty suit” andÂ delights in reminding readersÂ was one of the firstÂ victims of an Ali G.Â prank,Â went along with the whitewash.Â MapesÂ should thank those guys forÂ letting her off the hook on that. Boccardi knew thatÂ she was an axe-grindingÂ liberal butÂ omittedÂ thatÂ from his account andÂ declared that “haste” was theÂ cause of the bungling — a veryÂ novel explanationÂ 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 lecturesÂ the media onÂ the journalistic virtue ofÂ skepticism. “Skepticism,”Â she writes,” isÂ “largely forgotten.” While she is stillÂ convinced thatÂ her crackpot source is a font of truth, she blasts bloggersÂ 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 aÂ talk show andÂ explained her forgery mess as the work ofÂ a feminist who lost her way) –Â but sheÂ repeatedly labels bloggers “far-right.”
This tell-all will beÂ good for at least one thing — showing that Rather’s and Andrew Heyward’s highlyÂ “professional” operation was a shoddy operation of comic proportions.Â When theÂ bloggers had them all on theÂ run, HeywardÂ 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.”Â Meanwhile, Mapes was slowly climbing out of her cocoon of self-delusion. She assumed theÂ report was impregnable. After all, her colleagues had given her “hugs and kisses and congratulations” after it aired.Â “We were on a roll,” she writes.