Friday, May 11, 2007

CBS News Selectivly Applies 'Internal' Standards

CBS has fired retired General John Batiste due to his violation of what they are calling an "internal" standard that says (via TPM)

Genelius told me that CBS had "internal" standards that dictated against this sort of advocacy, which she defined as "expressing a public opinion that is coming from an advocacy point of view." She added: "You are not allowed to take a public position on an issue." Think Progress got a similar explanation from Genelius today.

So General Batiste appears in an Oliver Stone ad for MoveOn expressing his opinion on the war, and he can't work for CBS anymore (if you haven't seen the VoteVets videos, MoveOn has them up on their site).

Now this would be ok, assuming this 'internal' standard exists and is known, and is applied fairly and unbiased to all CBS staff. But wait, it's not . . .
On December 31, 2006 (via Nexis), the Brookings Institution's Michael O'Hanlon appeared on CBS as a "CBS News Consultant" -- the same type of arrangement Batiste had. O'Hanlon, however, has repeatedly "advocated" in favor of the "surge."

Here's an Op ed by O'Hanlon in The Washington Post called "A Skeptic's Case For The Surge":

President Bush's plan for a surge of American troops in Iraq has run into a brick wall of congressional opposition. Critics rightly argue that it may well be too little, way too late. But for a skeptical Congress and nation, it is still the right thing to try -- as long as we do not count on it succeeding and we start working on backup plans even as we grant Bush his request...
Rather than deny funding for Bush's initiatives, Congress should provide it now -- but only for fiscal 2007 (meaning through September). By that point, or even the August congressional recess, we should know if the surge is showing promise. If it does, Congress could consider continuing its support....

If the surge fails, we will need a whole new paradigm for Iraq policy, and it is hardly too soon for Congress to start fleshing out our choices. But for now, Congress should also give the president the money and support that he requests.

No statement from CBS yet on O'Hanlon's firing.

1 comment:

  1. Via Talking Points Memo and Think Progress, there are two more CBS consultants who engaged in public advocacy and didn't get fired.

    Fouad Ajami criticized Congress for wanting to end the occupation of Iraq. Not fired by CBS.

    Former Bush aide and current McCain advisor Nicolle Wallace talked up McCain's candidacy. Not fired by CBS.