(CNSNews.com) - A media watchdog group said Monday CBS has "a long way to go" before the controversy surrounding documents critical of President Bush's National Guard Service is "put to rest."
The network and veteran Dan Rather's apologized Monday, saying they were "misled" by Texas Guard official Bill Burkett about the source of the documents. CBS said it could not prove that the documents were authentic, but did not admit that the memos were forged.
"Dan Rather and CBS suggest they were 'misled' as if they are the victims here," said Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, the parent organization of CNSNews.com. "They were not misled.
"Their sources were dubious at best - so much so that their primary source was never cited publicly - and they were certainly partisan with a political agenda against the President," Bozell said in a statement. He pointed out that "CBS did not check all of their facts, and even their own experts told them not to go with the story.
"CBS also had on-the-record statements from Lt. Col. Jerry Killian's own son who said the story wasn't true - and still they were repeating the discredited 'sentiments' a week later," he added.
"Dan Rather has said: 'If I knew then what I know now - I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.' Mr. Rather, what you know now is what you knew then," Bozell said.
"The documents were not a credible basis for this story and CBS had no business airing this attack on President Bush. CBS is not the victim here, the victims are the President, his family, and the general public that was misled," he said.
"This issue will only be resolved when the public knows not just why CBS fell for this fraud but who exactly was behind this smear. CBS owes it to the public to take definitive action against all in its ranks who are culpable - no matter how high up the blame goes," said Bozell.
"Then, and only then, will the public have confidence that stories reported by CBS are based on fact, not fiction," he concluded.
See Related Stories:
CBS News, Rather Acknowledge They Were 'Misled,' Promise Probe (Sept. 20, 2004)
'Serious' Questions Remain About Source of Documents, White House Says (Sept. 20, 2004)
Burkett Boasts He 'Reassembled' Bush Files, Aided Michael Moore (Sept. 17, 2004)
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