Student or Learner
Would someone proofread this for me.
"Journalism has its ups and downs," a former CBS producer said, "and I'm living proof."
Fired "60 Minutes II" producer Mary Mapes defended the controversial story she produced on President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service at the Society of Professional Journalists Region 8 conference March 31 in Clear Lake.
The report delivered by Dan Rather was structured around photocopies purported to show Bush receiving preferential treatment in the National Guard.
Mapes stressed the documents were neither proved nor disproved. Unapologetic about the report, Mapes said all that she learned from her termination was that it was a mistake " … trusting CBS to be a news organization and not an entertainment company."
With rampant criticism of the current administration, "the amnesia that's gripping the capital," Mapes said, "would it not be believable that documents were suppressed?"
She referred to an absence of records for Bush's service from 1972 to 1973.
Mape's primary argument was that the standard of proof applied to the story was immoderate.
"Journalism is the rough draft of history," she said and argued that encyclopedic standards had been the prism of criticism.
Mapes has 25 years' experience as a news producer and reporter with 15 of those years employed by CBS.
Mapes also is the recipient of a 2005 Peabody Award for a story in which she exposed the abuses prisoners were subjected to at Abu G'hraib detention center.
Drawn to journalism because "it's a front-row seat at life and history," Mapes said she resisted merging with "careerist" journalists, those "in for the career and not for the work," and refuses to be included in this "phantom limb" of the media, preferring to be involved in the "skeptical arm of democracy."
Hindsight has unaltered Mary Mape's notion of the story's veracity aired two months before the re-election of Bush.
"I love questioning authority," she said.
The story aired Sept. 8, 2004, as former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes said publicly that he helped get President Bush admitted into the National Guard.
Mapes said Barnes' first attempts to go public in 1999 were in vain and that "no one comes forth unless they are pissed off …"
Barnes was active in John Kerry's campaign for the presidency and had been involved in the Texas Sharpstown scandal as the lieutenant governor of Texas from 1971 to 1972, a story of corporation-favorable legislation, illicit corporation practices and tainted reputations.
Handwriting analysts, document experts and military officers assured Mapes of the documents' authenticity, she told journalists.
The author of a memo in question, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, described preferential treatment Bush may have received because of genealogy, but Killian has been dead since 1984.
In one of the contested memos, dated May 19, 1972, Killian allegedly wrote: "Discussed options of how Bush can get out of coming to drill from now through November … Says that he is working on another campaign for his dad."
A report commissioned by CBS to an independent panel concluded that the network had not followed its own reporting standards in compiling the story.
Mapes said one of the chairmen of the committee, Louis D. Boccardi, president and CEO of the Associated Press from 1984 to 2003, was a crony of the Bush family.
Warning of another McCarthyist epoch and a national ethos of "new, different, younger and prettier," Mapes spoke with reverence of Rather and said these two media characteristics compelled Rather to resign.
Journalists and anchors like Rather, with 45 years of cultivation and iconic stature, will be diminishing, Mapes predicts, especially when muckraking reports are postponed for entertainment, which is what transpired with her story "For the Record."
Although she preferred additional time to authenticate the story before airing, the only date available was Sept. 8, 2004, because of scheduling conflicts with a Billy Graham special and Dr. Phil show.
Fired "60 Minutes II" producer Mary Mapes- comma
photocopies purported- purporting / that purported
" … trusting CBS- I see no need for the ellipsis ( after pissed off)
Killian has been dead since 1984.- died in would work better for me
she preferred additional time- would have preferred