'Fake news' before we called it 'fake news'

We remember September 2004 and one of the biggest media blunders in recent memory.

During the 2004 election, CBS broke a story about George W. Bush's military service.  Eventually, the network had to retract it and apologize:

CBS television issued a humbling apology yesterday for a report on an investigative programme, saying that its story claiming that George Bush had been given special treatment during his stint in the Texas air national guard was deeply flawed and should not have gone on air.

It abruptly changed course after days of expressing confidence in the report on 60 Minutes, which relied heavily on four memos purportedly written by a now dead commander in the guard to show that Mr Bush received special treatment during his military service.

"Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report," a statement by the president of CBS News, Andrew Heyward, said.

"We should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret."

Dan Rather, the anchorman who presented the story and defended it for nearly two weeks, issued a separate apology.

"We made a mistake in judgment and for that I am sorry," he said.

The statement from Rather, an American television idol for 20 years, went on to make the embarrassing admission that the programme's producers had been duped by a disgrunted [sic] former member of the Texas national guard, who had provided the documents.

And that was it.  Dan Rather was finished, and a massive hit on President Bush blew up in their faces.

I warned my liberal friends back in 2004 to stay away from this story.  In fact, it was this "fake story" that got me blogging.  I was so angry that I decided to share my anger via blog posts.

The anti-Bush journalists of 2004 could not avoid believing what someone was peddling about President Bush's military service.  They fell for it like a bunch of suckers eating out of Karl Rove's hand. 

And so they learned the hard way that the story was nonsense, as many of us had warned them!

This month, we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the CBS hoax with the New York Times in panic mode about the story about Justice Kavanaugh.

It's the same old song, as The Four Tops used to sing!

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