September 20, 2004
USA Today: Still Not Accountable
What has not been noticed in the Killian memo scandal is USA Today's role. USAT reporters Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard have admitted the newspaper obtained the memos after the 60 Minutes story aired. As I've written previously they "had only a few hours to get the story written and handed to editors. CBS News took over six weeks to investigate the memos. USA Today didn't even take six hours." Three days after their initial story the newspaper finally had some experts look at the documents. Some said they probably were forgaries while others said there as technology at the time to create a document that looked like them. This is USA Today's weasely way of covering their tush (or "CYA" like in one of the Killian memos).
In a story this past Wednesday, one half of the Moniz/Drinkard team interviewed Dan Rather with Peter Johnson. There's only a brief mention that the newspaper also ran a story based on the memos. However, there is no mention that Drinkard wrote and reported on the original story. Drinkard has a conflict of interest. There's the potential that he could angle the story to make CBS News look even worse by drawing attention from his and his colleagues' work. It's bad enough neither he nor his newspaper has done much to defend or correct their initial report. It's even worse that one of the flawed reporters is still covering the story.
I understand why Dan Rather became the focal point. He's a news legend, and his defense of his reporting is truly laughable. If we're going to keep MSM accoutable, honest, and accurate we cannot forget the awful work of USA Today.
"Rather Says Memo Flap Doesn't Change His Story"