Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Mr. Andrew J. Heyward
President, CBS News
524 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
Dear Mr. Heyward:
We are writing to express our dismay that CBS has become part of a campaign to deceive the public and to defame the president.
On September 8, 60 Minutes used documents to discredit President Bush's National Guard service-documents that appear to have been forged. The Washington Post, along with numerous websites, has shown that CBS, at the very least, did not do due diligence to make sure that the documents were authentic.
To date, CBS's response to the specific and devastating criticisms of the accuracy of its reporting has been to question the motives of its critics, to offer half-truths in its own defense, to refuse to disclose crucial evidence, and to circle the wagons. Among the halftruths:
CBS has asked us to rely on the authority of Marcel Matley and Bill Glennon, without mentioning that neither man is willing to vouch for the authenticity of the documents in question. CBS reporters would not accept such behavior from public officials like ourselves, and we cannot accept it from them. In the September 14 Washington Post, CBS spokeswoman Sandy Genelius said, "In the end, the gist is that it's inconclusive. People are coming down on both sides, which is to be expected when you're dealing with copies of documents." We take this remark as an implicit admission that CBS cannot conclusively establish that what it reported was the truth. The evidence suggests strongly that their story was false. We urge CBS to retract its story, and to disclose the identities of the people who have used your network to deceive your viewers in the final weeks of a presidential election. We look forward to hearing from CBS News quickly.