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Monday, September 20, 2004

Dan Rather's Teshuva

As was mentioned last week, Teshuva is a four part process of correcting the mistakes of the past consisting of:
1) Regret
2) Leave the Negativity Behind
3) Verbalization
4) Resolution for the Future

For illustrative purposes, this is what CBS and Dan Rather's Teshuva would look like:
1) There would be true regret that they went with a story without verifying the sources according to their own standards.
2) Stonewalling would immediately stop as well as any statements about the rightness of their actions.
3) A clear stating that a mistake was made would be issued, preferably by Dan Rather himself.
4) A strong resolution not to go with unverified stories in the future, no matter what their potential news impact.

I think if the public saw these actions, a certain measure of trust would be restored to CBS.

Admitting, regretting and resolving to avoid mistakes is his hard work, but in this time before Yom Kippur, G-d makes it a little easier for us.

After posting this entry Dan Rather made the following statement:

EXCLUSIVE // Mon Sep 20 2004 11:58:02 ET

Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question—and their source—vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome.

Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where—if I knew then what I know now—I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.

But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.

Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.

It truly is an easier time to do Teshuva.