The Story That Didn't Run - Here's the piece that '60 Minutes' killed for its report on the Bush Guard documents
Sept. 22, 2005 - In its rush to air its now discredited story about President George W. Bush's National Guard service, CBS bumped another sensitive piece slated for the same "60 Minutes" broadcast: a half-hour segment about how the U.S. government was snookered by forged documents purporting to show Iraqi efforts to purchase uranium from Niger...
A team of "60 Minutes" correspondents and consulting reporters spent more than six months investigating the Niger uranium documents fraud, CBS sources tell NEWSWEEK...
...correspondent Ed Bradley, asked tough questions about how the White House came to embrace the fraudulent documents and why administration officials chose to include a 16-word reference to the questionable uranium purchase in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech.
But just hours before the piece was set to air on the evening of Sept. 8, the reporters and producers on the CBS team were stunned to learn the story was being scrapped to make room for a seemingly sensational story about new documents showing that Bush ignored a direct order to take a flight physical while serving in the National Guard more than 30 years ago...
60 Minutes: Shelving a Story to Boost Bush?
CBS puts Niger expose on hold as boss endorses Republicans
September 28, 2004
In an outrageous politicization of journalism, CBS announced it would not air a report on forged documents that the Bush administration used to sell the Iraq war until after the November 2 election (New York Times, 9/25/04). A network spokesperson issued a statement declaring, "We now believe it would be inappropriate to air the report so close to the presidential election."
The 60 Minutes segment was ready to air on September 8, but was bumped in favor of the now infamous report that relied on supposed National Guard memos whose authenticity CBS now says it cannot confirm. The furor over the Guard memos has created a situation where CBS executives say "the network can now not credibly air a report questioning how the Bush administration could have gotten taken in by phony documents" (Newsweek online, 9/22/04)...
Sumner Redstone, CEO of CBS's parent company Viacom, made an unusual political statement at a gathering of corporate leaders in Hong Kong (Asian Wall Street Journal, 9/24/04):
"I don't want to denigrate Kerry... but from a Viacom standpoint, the election of a Republican administration is a better deal. Because the Republican administration has stood for many things we believe in, deregulation and so on. The Democrats are not bad people.... But from a Viacom standpoint, we believe the election of a Republican administration is better for our company."
Getting the tinfoil hat label usually means your too close to the truth.