In her first interview since being fired, former CBS News producer Mary Mapes maintains that her controversial "60 Minutes II" story on President Bush's National Guard service was "true" and that "no one has proved that the documents were not authentic."
Mapes was fired after an independent panel found her basic reporting was "faulty."
In her interview with ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross, to be broadcast Wednesday morning on "Good Morning America," Mapes says she is unrepentant about her role. "I don't think I committed bad journalism. I really don't," she says.
Mapes is author of a newly-published book about the controversy, called "Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power" (St. Martin's Press).
Where would the publishing industry be without disgraced public figures writing books to
Mapes says she is continuing to investigate the source of the controversial documents whose authenticity was seriously questioned by the CBS panel. She tells Ross that she had no journalistic obligation to prove the authenticity of the documents before including them in the "60 Minutes II" report. "I don't think that's the standard," she said.
Am I the only person dumbfounded by the above paragraph? How seriously can you take a journalist who produces a report yet who doesn't feel obligated to prove the authenticity of documents that are the report's underpinnings? Objective journalists examine the facts and come to a conclusion. Propagandists start with a conclusion then attempt to buttress it with truths, half-truths and out-and-out lies.
From the Amazon.com review of Mapes' book:
TRUTH AND DUTY is a riveting account of how the public’s right to know—or even to ask questions—is being attacked by an alliance of politicians, news organizations, bloggers and corporate America. It connects the dots between the emergence of a kind of digital McCarthyism, a corporation under fire from the federal government, and the decision about what kinds of stories a news network can cover (human interest: yes; political intrigue: no).
So, the bloggers who smoked Mapes out are "Digital McCarthyites." The only digit that I would give Mapes is the one in the middle of my hand.
Mapes should try her hand at writing fiction. She's finished as a journalist.
UPDATE: T.M. Ergin, the latest addition to The Right Place crew, gives his take on Maples here. And welcome to Miriam, who suggests that Mapes join O.J. Simpson in the quest for the truth.