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Centurio Epistula - CBS News … Do the Right Thing

Have you ever heard the old saying, “If it sounds to good to be true, it probably isn’t” Dan Rather and CBS News should have been reciting that saying last week when they presented certain documents that impinged the dignity and honor of Lt. George W. Bush. Perhaps their bias got in the way of their better judgement. By everything I see now, it appears the alleged memoranda of Lt. Col. Killian were fraudulent. CBS was duped; and they know it.

So, Centurions, what is the right thing to do?

My opinion: to begin with, based on the overwhelming evidence against these documents, CBS ought to lead the investigation into their source and get the affair out in the open where a good airing can heal it. If they are fraudulent, then a retraction and apology are in order. At the very least now, there should be an admission that the allegations are not founded because of the doubt behind the witnesses’ credibility. That isn’t what we got, however. What we got instead was self-righteous justification..

By Wednesday, Rather was inhaling smoke from his own fogging machine, claiming that if the documents were forgeries, "I want to break the story." Really, folks, he actually said that. And then he went on to say that the authenticity of the documents didn't matter, only that what was in them was true. Really, he actually said that, too. [Federalist Journal]

I am doing a detailed study of Exodus these days, and the IX Commandment comes to mind:

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”

Now the IX Commandment concerns giving testimony, but the spirit goes much beyond that. Whenever a person utters something about his neighbor that causes people to believe bad things, and that something is not true, then he has indeed born false witness. We are all subject to commit this sin from time to time if we pass along information. Last year I was caught twice on this very thing when I forwarded stories in the form of emails {I don’t know why I gave them credibility – probably because of bias an I wanted to believe the worst was true).. Benevolent friends on my mailing list referred me to and a site called where one can see if the story has been investigated. I ended up publishing two retractions to almost my whole mailing list. In the age of the Internet, when news travels “faster than a speeding bullet”, if behooves all of us to take care in what we might forward to others as “news” when it defames a neighbor.

One of the good things to be appearing on the Internet these days are blogs from some very wise and inquiring folk. It was the bloggers who quickly saw this "witness" for what it was and blew the whistle on CBS.


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