On September 8, 2004, Dan Rather cited “exclusive information, including documents” to justify major CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes stories alleging that George W. Bush shirked his duties when he was in the Texas Air National Guard in the 1960s and 1970s. Within a few hours of those documents being posted on CBS News’s Web site, however, typography experts voiced skepticism that the documents had actually originated with their alleged author and Bush’s former commanding officer, the late Lt. Colonel Jerry Killian. As the evidence mount, Rather stubbornly clung to the idea that his story was bulletproof, and he derided critics as partisans and Internet rumormongers.
The forged documents were debunked by a blogger Charles F. Johnson, whose work would likely be quickly dismissed as “fake news” by CBS today.
He pointed out the font used in the document did not exist at the time and was, in fact, part of Microsoft Word.
The scandal was so outrageous, four CBS employees were axed from the “news” network.
Four CBS News employees, including three executives, have been ousted for their role in preparing and reporting a disputed story about President Bush’s National Guard service.
The action was prompted by the report of an independent panel that concluded that CBS News failed to follow basic journalistic principles in the preparation and reporting of the piece. The panel also said CBS News had compounded that failure with a “rigid and blind” defense of the 60 Minutes Wednesday report...
Referring to a story about Donald Trump winning the popular vote, CBS “reported,” “The egregious error spurred Merrimack College communications professor Melissa Zimdars to compile a list of fake news sites. She told CBS News she wanted to ‘help my students navigate an increasingly complex and questionable media landscape.’”
For those keeping score, CBS wasn’t on her list, either.