CBS Violates Its Own Standards And Practice By Altering Transcript And Video Of McCain Interview

As C&L and many others have reported last night, CBS news had a huge scoop Tuesday night on John McCain, because he falsely claimed that the surg

As C&L and many others have reported last night, CBS news had a huge scoop Tuesday night on John McCain, because he falsely claimed that the surge was responsible for the "Sunni Awakening in Anbar." That is FALSE. The Sunnis changed positions before the surge was ever discussed so---McCain once again makes a major mistake on the one issue his campaign is running on---The Iraq war.

However, CBS probably violated its own rules (Standards and Practice) by altering the video of Katie Couric's interview with McCain that left out his major blunder on this issue and then broadcast it on our airwaves. CBS should not paste together separate answers from different questions to make it appear like an answer was fluid. It was completely taken out of context. I understand that a fair amount of editing has to be done, but what they did failed to meet the legitimacy test.

Here's what happened. ON CBS Nightly News, Katie Couric started off the segment with question #3 of her interview from their website version of the McCain interview:

Couric QUESTION #3: Senator McCain, Sen. Obama says, while the increased number of U.S. troops contributed to increased security in Iraq, he also credits the Sunni awakening and the Shiite government going after militias. And says that there might have been improved security even without the surge. What's your response to that?

They then edited out his major gaffe on "the surge" and inserted his partial answer to question #1 and then spliced in a partial answer to question # 3 to make it appear to be a consistent response.

Q1 Sen. Obama has indicated that by his failure to acknowledge the success of the surge, that he would rather lose a war than lose a campaign.

Q3 Thanks to General Petraeus, our leadership, and the sacrifice of brave young Americans. I mean, to deny that their sacrifice didn't make possible the success of the surge in Iraq, I think, does a great disservice to young men and women who are serving and have sacrificed.

There will still be attacks. Al Qaeda's not defeated. But the progress has been immense. And to not recognize that, and why it happened, and how it happened, I think is really quite a commentary.


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Here's part of his answer from question # 3 that they left on the cutting room floor and which exposes John McCain as not knowing what he's talking about once again about the war in Iraq.

I don't know how you respond to something that is such a false depiction of what actually happened. Colonel McFarlane (phonetic) was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that's just a matter of history. Thanks to General Petraeus, our leadership, and the sacrifice of brave young Americans. I mean, to deny that their sacrifice didn't make possible the success of the surge in Iraq, I think, does a great disservice to young men and women who are serving and have sacrificed. They were out there. They were protecting these sheiks. We had the Anbar awakening. We now have a government that's effective...

It completely changes what he meant and actually said to Couric.

Here's the full transcript.

The story on their website is still solid, but the presentation on air was not and is outrageous. There must be some repercussions against this gaffe no matter who is involved and what happened. They need to come out and apologize for their ethical lapse.

Here's CBS's contact info:

TV Show CBS Evening News with Katie Couric

Producer (212) 975-3019 (212) 975-1893

evening@cbsnews.com

http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/eveningnews/main3420.shtml

Arensberg Chloe Producer, (212) 975-3691, (212) 975-1893

Contct CBS and demand they a) explain themselves on this egregious action. b) to hold those accountable.

evening@cbsnews.com http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/eveningnews/main3420.shtml

(corrected--the draft published when it wasn't finished earlier)

CBS used to have an ombudsman site called The Public Eye:

Public Eye's fundamental mission is to bring transparency to the editorial operations of CBS News - transparency that is unprecedented for broadcast and online journalism.

And what, exactly, is transparency? It has several aspects, but most simply it is this: the journalists who make the important editorial decisions at CBS News and CBSNews.com will now be asked to explain and answer questions about those decisions in a public forum.

It's not around anymore, but here's the old info. Public Eye: 'publiceye@cbs.com

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