Don’t you hate it when politicians go on TV and use the verbal crutch “to be perfectly candid?” Or some other variation: “Candidly speaking, blah blah blah.” Or “In all candor, blah blah blah.” You know whatever blah-blah-blah that follows is almost certainly the opposite of honest.
The CBS media executives’ version of this annoying habit is–or rather, was–the “confidence” crutch:
”I’m very confident in the report, but I want to get to the bottom of these continuing questions… As of late yesterday morning, at least, [CBS executive producer Josh] Howard said he still had the utmost confidence in the initial report. ”Everything I’ve seen makes me completely confident in the documents, in the reporting, in the story, in what we’ve done,” he said.”
– Andrew Heyward, New York Times, Sept. 16
When questions first arose, CBS News officials said they were confident about the documents in part because the lead producer of the report, Mary Mapes, had been working on the story for years. But an official said yesterday that the actual documents — six in total, four of which were used in the report — did not fall into CBS News’s possession until Sept. 3. That was less than a week before the report ran…
During an interview yesterday [executive producer Josh] Howard said that Ms. Mapes, who broke the news for CBS about the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal earlier this year, continually pledged confidence in her sources, who were said to have access to Mr. Killian’s personal file.
Mr. Howard acknowledged yesterday that he had not, in fact, known who Ms. Mapes’s primary source for the documents was before the report was broadcast. But, he said, ”Mary Mapes told us her source made her completely confident about where they came from, and that they were authentic, and that made me confident…”
-New York Times, Sept. 19
And, drum roll please, we now have the not-so-confident admission of truth…
–New York Times headline, Sept. 20
Why am I thinking of the Sound of Music?
I have confidence in confidence alone
Besides which you see I have confidence in me!
Update: From Dan Rather’s statement today:
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…I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically.
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Categories: Joe Biden