"Rathergate" Part 1 — an Update (with more details than previous)

My piece on the Rather/Mapes controversy has generated a great deal of passion and interest from readers of my column and from folks who watched me on Bill O’Reilly’s program on Fox. And, yes, as expected, there has been some criticism.

The main point of contention centers on something I never said.  I have been taken to task for hauling out tired old news in the guise of a brand new “Exclusive.”  This, my friends, simply is not true.

First, a little background:

In September 2004, the weekday edition of 60 Minutes ran a story by Dan Rather and his producer Mary Mapes about how a young George W. Bush went into the Texas Air National Guard in order to avoid service in Vietnam.  The story aired just 55 days before a very tight presidential election — and depended on documents that have since been discredited.

The only point I was making (in my column and on The Factor) was this:  Mapes was told before her story went on the air that Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam and left it out of the story.  I made it perfectly clear that this information was in the CBS report on the “Rathergate” fiasco and that it had been available to the public for more than four years.  I never suggested I had new information – only that this fact never gained traction and wasn’t even known by people who worked with Mapes on the story, let alone the public at large.

I made the point that this “lost” fact undermined the Rather/Mapes story.  After all, if Mapes was told Bush volunteered to go to Vietnam and intentionally kept that from her viewers, it rendered the 60 Minutes story suspect – and it put Mapes’ motives into question.

Permit me a brief media culpa:  I should have mentioned that Accuracy in Media was one of the very few organizations to report this fact early on.  I merely said that “a few websites” had noted the finding.  My apologies to AIM.

Now, one other point:  The New York Observer has published a column by Felix Gillette that says none other than Mary Mapes herself had revealed information that George Bush volunteered to fly combat missions in Vietnam – in her 2005 book, Truth and Honor. The clear implication is my “exclusive” (again, I never claimed to be breaking news, exclusive or otherwise) was a joke!

Here’s how Mr. Gillette put it:  “Last night on the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News, Bernard Goldberg told  anchor Bill O’Reilly that he had uncovered an exclusive scoop ‘about a lost crucial fact in the so-called ‘Rathergate’ scandal.’”

Sorry.  I never said anything about “an exclusive scoop.”  Not a word!

Then he said that by writing about the “Bush volunteered” angle in her book, Mapes had already shared the information with … Mr. Gillette’s words … “the entire English-reading world.”

Well, technically, I guess, that could be true.  But let’s be kind and simply say that outside of Mapes’ family and friends, just about nobody read the book.

Gillette tells us that in Truth and Honor Mapes writes about an interview she did with Maurice Udell, Bush’s flight trainer in the late 1960s.  This is the exchange between Mapes and Udell (starting with Mapes’ question) that Gillette quotes from the book:

“Had Bush joined the Guard to avoid Vietnam? ‘That’s bullshit, that he avoided the war,’ Udell told me in 1999. ‘They try to put George down…He performed very well. I’m not saying that because he’s running.’

“Udell told me that Bush had wanted to go to Vietnam.”

Felix Gillette shares this with his readers to make only one point:  that Mapes broke the news – not me.  Never mind, as I say, that I never claimed I broke news, that I was only sharing a fact I had not known about, a fact that practically nobody knew about.

But here’s the interesting part, Gillette apparently doesn’t  wonder why Mary Mapes waited until her book came out (a full year and two months after the CBS broadcast) to reveal what she should have revealed in the 60 Minutes Wednesday piece.

Since she says in her book that she spoke to a source who told her that “Bush wanted to go to Vietnam” and that he didn’t join the Air National Guard to avoid  service in Vietnam, why didn’t she reveal that in her CBS story?

Wouldn’t a curious journalist wonder why Mapes kept that from her viewers and saved the information for her book, which came out long after she got fired and the careers of her colleagues, including Dan Rather, had been ruined, thanks to her.

Instead, all we get are snarky comments from Gillette about an “exclusive” I never claimed was an exclusive, about how “excited” I was to break news, which I never claimed I was breaking.

For those who think I’m naive, let me be clear once again (as I was in my original piece):  I am more than willing to entertain the possibility that Bush volunteered knowing he didn’t have enough flight hours and therefore wouldn’t actually have to go.  But if Mapes believed that she had an obligation to report that some say he volunteered … and if there was a credible source that says it was all a sham … fine … report that, too.  But Mapes did neither.

My next column – “Rathergate” Part 2 – will also contain information that has been available for years.  But I’ll bet it will be news to almost all of you.  I’ll even bet it will be news to Felix Gillette.

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  • Guided By Voices

    Bill White (if thats your real name! lol!) let me first say “Thank You” for your service to our country, I truly mean that. Second, good God you HATE much! Let it go … its long over … we now have a President who apparently surrounds his self with Socialist/Marxist people and groups as well as Nationalization of as many private sector businesses and corporations as possible.

    Think you can pull your self up to 2009 and help us deal with the current situation. If you did serve, you are still honor bound to protect and defend the “Constitution” of the United States first and foremost. What say you and the rest of us make sure a free Republic is still here for our future generations?

  • Don

    You know Mr. Greenberg the sad thing about all this STUFF is nothing can be solved. I was suspened at my job for saying,”mexican” standoff”, Never said it but lost the time. I waas suspended for putting up controversial info on un ion bulletin board.(bosses stealing vac ation days). Never put it up, lost time anyway. Lost time for getting a sandwich t work, at unauthorized place were everyone goes, even bosses. So I know hoe you felt when Blather gtried to fire you, but tell me Mr. Goldberg what does a fellow not as articualte and clever as you do to fight back? I am lost in a quagmire of “DALEY machine politics as a registered Republican. Throw me a lifeline. Victimized

  • Bill White

    “Leland”,

    No one here is being critical of George W. Bush because, like so many others, he was afraid to go to war for his Country. It is the hypocrisy of his Cheerleading the invasion of Iraq and sending National Guard troops to risk their lives in his fabricated war when he himself was unwilling to serve that is so objectionable. As a final insult, he has engaged unscrupulous PR wags to try and reinvent himself as a modern day Rambo to somehow justify his actions.

    I have posted my comments under my real name and my service as a Navy fighter pilot during the Vietnam era is fully documented. Why are you afraid to disclose your true identity while attacking the meritorious service of others?

    • Buddy

      Bill White, After all your rambling factitious posted statements, you have finally admitted that you were a ‘VIETNAM ERA’ pilot just like Bush. End of game, ‘CHECKMATE.’

  • granpa jim

    If you would like to determine if the Bush documents were faked or forged check doug clifford , a member of the Massachusetts Governors council on vets. I know for fact, of my own knowledge, that he forged and altered servive documents. He was a clerk in the Air Force so had the knowledge and experience to forge Air Force documents. He is the former head of Mass vets foe Kerry.

  • exlrrp

    Why are you stilll flogging this, Mr Goldberg? George Bush did NOT voolunteeer for Vietnam, according to his own testimony.
    In this interview http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4179618 with Tim Russert, watched by milllions, george Bush definitively says “no I didn’t” when asked if he had volunteered for Vietnam. (see full quote below) There’s no evidence he did and we have his own word for it that he didn’t, which I see no reason to doubt (in this case). The truth is, he did NOT volunteer too go to Vietnam. Talking to other people about it doesn’t count as volunteering if he didn’t go to his unit and filll out the form
    Therefore, any people who do say that he volunteered for Vietnam are lying, for their own reasons.
    “…Russert: Were you favor of the war in Vietnam?

    President Bush: I supported my government. I did. And would have gone had my unit been called up, by the way.

    Russert: But you didn’t volunteer or enlist to go.

    President Bush: No, I didn’t. ….”

    Your “factoid” that mary Mapes withheld important informattion about Bush’s service means nothing. It never happened—according to Bush himself, so she wasn’t withholding anything. She probably, along with millions of other people, heard him say” No I didn’t” when aasked about it and took him at his word.
    Wy don’t you research the people who want to spread this lie about him?
    Amd while youre at it, why don’t you research the fact that Bush’s discharge shows him with NO medalls at all, not even thee NDSm which everyone gets for 6 months of service. Thats right, Bush’s minions slandered the medals of a Silver Start winner for a man who got nO medals at all on his discharge. Why don’t you research the fact that it says NONE in his qualification box, tho it says he was a “Pilot1125d” in his MOS box—–how can one be a pilot when he’s not qualified to do ANYTHING in the miltary? Why don’t you research the snetnce on Bush’s discharge that says “”…Officer has a six year miliitary serviice obliigatiion…… and has completed 5 years 4 months and 5 days of this obligation?…” Some one who only competes 5 years 4 months and 5 days of an obligation can hardly claaim to hhave completed the obligation—can he?

  • Buddy

    THIS IS A ‘REAL’ FIGHTER PILOT “During A 1992 bid for the presidency, Sen. Tom Harkin (D) of Iowa claimed that he had served as a fighter pilot in Vietnam. His claim had surfaced eight years before, during a 1984 bid for reelection to the senate, when Harkin boasted that he had served one year in Vietnam flying F-4S and F-8S on combat air patrols and photo-reconnaissance support missions. Challenged by Sen. Barry Goldwater, Harkin did a quick shuffle, claiming that he had actually flown combat sorties over Cuba during the sixties. Harkin finally admitted he had NOT seen combat but had served as a ferry pilot stationed in Atsugi, Japan, flying aircraft to be repaired from Atsugi to the Philippines, when pressed by reporters to explain how much time he really spent in Vietnam, Harkin estimates that over a year, He flew in and out of Vietnam a dozen or so times. But Harkin’s military records showed NO Vietnam service decorations. He finally conceded he had NOT flown combat air patrols in Vietnam and began describing himself as a Vietnam era vet.”

    • Bill White

      So tell us Buddy, what makes you such and authority on real fighter pilots? Were you selected to serve at the point of the spear, trusted with a multi-million dollar aircraft, and awarded a top secret security clearance? Did you risk your life for your Country?

      You appear to be nothing more than a dissembler trying to divert attention away from George W. Bush’s impersonating a fighter pilot by making false allegations againt commentators who expose him as the imposter that Dubya is. You and your game are so very transparent.

      • Global Cooler

        Billy Boy
        We’re still waiting for your combat time and Vietnam service medals.

      • Buddy

        Bush and Harkin
        Both were fighter pilots.
        Both served their country with honor.
        One embellished his service record for political gain.

  • Ardy2009

    It still amazes me how hypocritical nutroot leftists are. If you want to talk about privilege let’s discuss Ted Kennedy leaving the scene of a fatal accident and going back to his hotel to sleep. He then awoke and had breakfast. He never did call the authorities. And all you and the press can do is try and tar a man who at worst was taking advantage of access to privilege. I should note that there is no proof of this, including your use of internet myths.

    You deranged nutroots cannot leave this alone even when the man is out of office. Yet you idolize a man who killed a young women and then not only get’s a free pass, he jokes about it in his later years. Your sir, are a nutroot with no moral compass. You blindly parrot what you read on left-wing blog sites and then make a total idiot of yourself when conversing with rational people. I cannot believe you were a pilot. Being a pilot takes intelligence, common sense, and rationality. You sir, have none. Even a rational liberal would concede that there is no evidence except for some accusations not backed up with any supporting documentation. Please show this board a site we can go to that has any evidence that is documented and certified. Just let it go buddy and face the cold hard facts. You want to ruin a man who may have gotten privileged treatment (which Kennedy also received his whole life. You then deify a man who coldly let a women drown and was only worried about his career.

  • eda

    test

  • Bill White – (real) Fighter Pilot

    Global Cooler, You are obviously trying to provoke me by making comments like: “Billy Boy, get back on your meds.” and “Please stay away from playgrounds and sharp objects.” These are the type comments made by cowards who hide behind Blogwhore aliases like “Global Cooler”. It is also the type hit job done routinely by Log Cabin Republican “journalists” of the ilk of Jeff Gannon – the male prostitute that then-President George W. Bush arranged to have attend his White House press conferences to ask him soft-ball questions. It would not be at all surprising to learn that Global Cooler and Jeff Gannon are one in the same. Why are you afraid to come clean and identify yourself? Are you afraid to confront a real man with your snide comments? My response to your attempts to refute my list of Bush Air Guard irregularities:

    (1.) his leapfrogging over many qualified candidates already on the waiting list,

    “Sorry – no leapfrogging. There were few candidates for pilot slots in that 1967-69 period, not many, not hundreds, not thousands as you and your ilk claim. The TexANG selected 8 candidates from that pool – oil workers, farmers, a NASA technician – nobody famous, not even Bush back then.” First of all, I never mentioned a number as you wrongly suggest. But if Bush moved ahead of even one qualified pilot (and he did) he leapfrogged. Those 8 “selected candidates” that you reference were chosen for non-pilot positions (mechanics, line crew, refuelers, ordinance men, etc.) . They were not selected to fill cockpit seats flying the air guard’s fighter-interceptors because how could they be? — they were not even qualified pilots at the time. The Ellington Unit was s perfect fit for getting Bush out of his military obligation because it was a bifurcated squadron. In addition to hosting the real fighter pilot cadre, it served as a repository for the children of other prominent Texas politicians. The unit was notorious for creating non-existent jobs (like “finance officer”) to accommodate these slackers. That is the reason that it was dubbed the “Champagne Unit”. The political hacks running the Texas Air Guard even went so far as to provide refuge for Dallas Cowboy football players who were also evading the draft.

    (2.) his unprecedented commissioning without having undergone officer’s (or leadership) training,

    “Direct commissioning for pilots and navigators accepted for flight training was the normal procedure for the Air National Guard until they opened an Officer Commissioning school in Knoxville, TN yearslater.” Bush was commissioned into the US Air Force – not into the Texas Air National Guard. Commissioning requires stringent FBI background checks, among other things, to protect the security interests of the United States. Furthermore, the Services require that its officer corps undergo leadership training as a prerequisite to commissioning. In all my years in the service I never once encountered an officer who had not graduated from one of the military academies or attended OCS. Since you maintain that bypassing the legislative requirements for commissioning was the “normal procedure”, it should be easy for you to provide the names of all officers who received direct commissions during the 1968 – 1970 time frame who went on to become fighter pilots. It’s time to put your direct commissioned fighter pilot officers where your mouth is.

    (3.) his selection for a coveted flying slot when he was not even a pilot (and scored at the lowest possible passing level on the pilot’s aptitude test),

    “Everybody selected for ANG pilot slots was not a pilot (maybe a private pilot). They were sent to regular AF pilot training bases for training”. By all means tell us who exactly comprises this “everybody” of whom you speak. How many walk-ins off the street who announced that they wanted to fly fighter jets were assigned pilot slots before they were even pilots? If you have support for this absurd notion then name these individuals. Also, disclose your identity and background and let us know how you purport to be the definitive authority on this topic.

    (4.) his (predictable) problems flying the air guard fighter-interceptors,

    “There is no proof of problems that Bush had flying fighters – none. He was an excellent pilot as stated by his instructors and fellow pilots. A weak attempt by AP reporter Matt Kelly revealed Kelly’s ignorance not Bush’s incompetence”. No “proof” of problems that Bush had flying fighters??? Try reading Bush’s flight log book notations. Competent fighter pilots do not transition from flying solo in their squadron’s F-102s to flying T-38 two-seater training aircraft (accompanied by a seasoned pilot) unless they are having problems. Furthermore, the wife of Bush’s replacement pilot told the news media that she overheard Bush’s Commanding Officer tell her husband that Bush was being replaced because he was having difficulty landing the fighter-interceptors that the Unit flew. How much more proof do we need?

    (5.) his unprecedented removal from flight status for failing to take the required annual flight physical,
    “Unprecedented?? Happens all the time. Even the former Director of the Air National Guard admitted it happened to him.” How can the Air National Guard defend the Country from attack if its pilots are grounded and unable to fly because they refuse to take their flight physicals? This “happens all the time” argument is patently absurd. There a world of difference between someone taking their physical a few days late and not taking it at all (as did Bush and Jim Bath). Refusal of a pilot trained at tax payer’s expenses to keep current is a courts martial offense. It is an extremely serious matter as it diminishes the national security of the United States. How can you possibly make light of Bush’s irresponsible and cavalier conduct when it had potentially devastating consequences for the security of the United States? This is not a game – we are talking about a life and death issues here.

    (6.) his failure to fulfill his commitment by serving out his mandatory service term.

    “He was honorably discharged by and within the authority of the regulations of the ANG and the USAF. You can pin this charge on John Kerry, however, who can not explain his whereabouts in the last years of his six year commitment, and the strange “Honorable Discharge” he got six years later when a Democrat appointee took over the Navy Department”. This is a diversionary tactic and a thinly-veiled dodge of the real issue – George W. Bush’s failure to serve. Political influence was used to get George W. into the Air Guard and political influence was used to get him an underserved “Honorable discharge”. There is nothing in his service record to indicate that he regularly attended monthly drills or the mandatory two weeks active duty every year over the last two years of his service commitment.

    • Global Cooler

      For the last time Billy Boy, you don’t know what you are talking about, so stop making claims about stuff you are clueless about, like:

      Claim: “Those 8 “selected candidates” that you reference were chosen for non-pilot positions (mechanics, line crew, refuelers, ordinance men, etc.) . They were not selected to fill cockpit seats flying the air guard’s fighter-interceptors because how could they be? — they were not even qualified pilots at the time.”

      Uhh Billy, those eight were all pilots. THeir names are already out there if you check 2004 news stories. They all went to pilot training as Guard trainees. I’m not putting their names here lest guys like you start harassing them like your ilk did in 2004.

      Claim: “The unit was notorious for creating non-existent jobs (like “finance officer”) ”

      There was a Finance Officer, and still is in every Guard unit. Who do you think handles the payroll and purchasing – an ATM machine? Ironically, the Finance officer at the time was the son of a future Democrat Vice President candidate. Didn’t hear much about that, did you?

      Claim:”Bush was commissioned into the US Air Force – not into the Texas Air National Guard.

      Nope! Wrong. ANG Officers have dual commissions in both the Reserve of the Air Force and in the (Air) National Guard of their state. Both are required because of the militia clause of the US Constitution, which, among other things, “. . . reserves to the states the appointment of the officers thereof”.

      Claim: Furthermore, the Services require that its officer corps undergo leadership training as a prerequisite to commissioning. In all my years in the service I never once encountered an officer who had not graduated from one of the military academies or attended OCS. Since you maintain that bypassing the legislative requirements for commissioning was the “normal procedure”, it should be easy for you to provide the names of all officers who received direct commissions during the 1968 – 1970 time frame who went on to become fighter pilots. ”

      There were about 300 each year, pilots and navigators. You won’t get their names from me because in the past you and Daily KOS and Huffington started a jihad on them and their privacy. Go the the National Guard Bureau and FOIA their names. And also look up your soul brothers web site (glcq.com) to see Bush’s actual application for UPT pilot training. But since you claim that Bush was the only guy that got such treatment, they must have made this official application just for him.

      Claim: “Try reading Bush’s flight log book notations. Competent fighter pilots do not transition from flying solo in their squadron’s F-102s to flying T-38 two-seater training aircraft (accompanied by a seasoned pilot) unless they are having problems.”

      Show me one page of Bush’s flight log notations – there are none for you to have seen. However, a Matt Kelly of the Associated Press via a FOIA request got some summary flight records which have the Form 781 flying time data on it, saw some multiple approaches, and came to the amazing conclusion that “Bush had trouble landing the aircraft.” If you are the aviator you claim (BTW, how much combat time did you log since you served during the Vietnam War?), are you going to say you never did low approaches and beat up the airfield?

      And it wasn’t a T-38, it was a T-33, because during the period in question most of the F-102′s were grounded because of several fatal accidents and pilots got their flying time (and pay) hoping in the T-Bird. Sorry, nothing to do with flying with an instructor, because as an F102 pilot, Bush wouldn’t be qualified to log anything but copilot time in the T-33.

      But enough time wasted on you. You are not worthy of further comment. I only took this time because there might be a few out there who actuall believe your nonsense.

      And do tell us how much combat time you have when you served in the war.

      • Bill White – (real) Fighter Pilot

        Jeff Gannon? aka Global Cooler,

        Still afraid to come out of the closet? Still can’t muster the courage to reveal your true identity? Even though Bernie has already spanked you good for being intellectually dishonest you continue in your attempt to provoke me by making comments like: “you don’t know what you are talking about’ and “You are not worthy of further comment.” These are the same comments you made to castigate Bernie Goldberg! At the very least that puts me in good company – thank you very much.

        Whoever and whatever you are the word “coward” is certainly apropos. No real men hide behind Blogwhore aliases like “Global Cooler”.

        Jeff Gannon (the male prostitute that then-President George W. Bush arranged to have attend his White House press conferences to ask him soft-ball questions – whose website was “Hot Military Studs.com” comes to mind when I read your rantings. After all, it was Gannon who first hinted on the air waves that the Bush guard documents might not prove to be authentic. If the documents are in fact copies of the originals prepared on more modern equipment it is almost certain that Gannon and his butt-buddies had a hand in retyping and distributing them.

        Is this the reason that you refuse to reveal your identity or disclose the names of all of your mythical direct-commission fighter pilots? If any of the phantom fighter pilots (except for George W. Bush) actually exists, you should not withhold their names for fear that they will come under attack from people like me. You see fighter pilots, unlike milk toasts like you, are endowed with an aggressive fighting spirit. They are not afraid of being attacked. To the contrary — they love a good fight.

        Why are you afraid to come clean and identify yourself? Are you afraid to confront a real man with your snide comments? Next time try refuting facts presented by a genuine military aviator with evidence instead of innuendo and supposition. Or then again, why not just go ahead and throw another hissy fit – it suits you to a “T”.

        • Global Cooler

          Zero combat time, eh Billy Boy?

          • Bill White – (real) Fighter Pilot

            That’s right Jeff. Just keep changing the subject to dodge the question. That way you can keep your self-loathing under wraps.

        • Mark Ladd

          Funny how the supposedly egalitarian left is the first to try and slander someone by calling them gay. I don’t know which of you is right, thought it seems as if Global Cooler has rebutted the arguments well, but I do recognize the tactics of a liberal. Anyone remember the hell Roy Cohn was put through?

          • Bill White

            No one is attacking Jeff Gannon because he his gay. It just so happens that the George W. Bush disinformation enforcers and legacy builders are comprised of a group of closeted gay Republicans.

            “Global Cooler” has not refuted the facts – he’s thrown up a smoke screen an attempted to change the subject. His objective is to divert the focus from George W. Bush’s counterfeit military stint as a fake fighter pilot to my credentials, motivation and credibility. To his credit, he appears to have done a pretty good job of this since you have morphed the topic being discussed from Bush’s malfeasance to one of big bully fighter pilots beating up on hapless gays.

            Jeff Gannon, as well as his league of “fixers”, deserves our disdain because they are enablers of irresponsible, self-serving people in government. Instead of performing their civic duty to uphold the Constitution, they have sold out for a quid-pro-quo from the likes of the Bushes. In the Navy we had a job to do. There were sailors who did their jobs without complaint and those who did not. The “do-nots” were the ones who always made excuses. They blamed their supervisors, they blamed the weather, they blamed their fellow sailors… – it was always someone else’s fault that their job did not get done. The most derisive term the Navy could come up to call these individuals was “Sea Lawyers”. Global Cooler Gannon is indeed a Sea Lawyer worthy of our disdain. Not because he happens to be a gay prostitute, but rather because he attacks people who honorably served this Country while making excuse after excuse for frauds like George W. Bush’s who did everything possible to dodge their active duty military service obligation. This is just a game to Gannon – one for which he is being handsomely compensated. Gay or straight, I will stand opposed to anyone and everyone who puts personal gain ahead of responsible governance. You see, real fighter pilots actually take their oaths “to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic” seriously. Too much blood has been shed in defense of this cause for us to sit back and watch it being torn apart by a bunch of agent provocateur Sea Lawyers.

            Now that the record has been set straight on this diversionary issue, I am prepared to concede a victory (of sorts) to Global Cooler Gannon. I am prepared to admit that George W. Bush is every bit as legitimate a fighter pilot as Jeff Gannon (dba HotMilitaryStuds.com) is a legitimate journalist.

  • Bill White

    Bernie,

    Just an FYI heads-up for you and your readers. The Huffington Post published an article about your story:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-lipscomb/is-bernie-goldberg-right_b_271579.html

    • EddieD_Boston

      Don’t use the Loonington Post as a source.

  • Global Cooler

    Bernie

    I don’t know how far back you review comments, so I am reposting here my response to your put down of me in the original posting on this topic, which was several days ago and I did not see till now:

    Reply
    Bernie says:
    August 27, 2009 at 12:04 am
    I never said I had an “Exclusive” as you falsely claim. Never. So I can only assume that you carelessly got it wrong … or simply made it up. It’s the latter that troubles me. I don’t like deleting comments from this area. But, as I’ve said before, I won’t allow this site to become a garbage dump like so many others. Honest disagreements are fine. Rabid partisanship, not fine. Be careful next time or post someplace else. Thanks.

    Reply
    Global Cooler says:
    August 29, 2009 at 11:40 am
    Let’s get the facts out here.
    You yourself did not use the word “exclusive”. But you allowed O’Reilly to say “exclusive” at least twice during your session with him, to which you never objected. Your unwillingness to correct him on something you now say you knew was wrong is no different than Rather remaining silent when Mapes was promulgating unsubstantiated comments about Bush. “Qui tacet consentit” – silence is consent.

    Let’s go over some of the comments you made in your original article, to show that you also are guilty of some shoddy reporting, poor research, and important omissions:

    First off, you say:
    “This information, despite the fact that it has been available since the CBS report came out four years ago, has remained a secret to almost everybody both in and out of the media — one lonely fact in a 234- page report loaded with thousands of facts, and overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the documents.”

    This is grossly wrong. Nothing had “remained a secret” regarding Bush’s volunteering. It was out there in 1994 when Bush ran for governor, in 1999 in a Washington Post piece by Romano and Lardner, in a FEBRUARY 11 2004 LTTE discussion in the Washington Times and Headlined in the Richmond Times Dispatch on February 14th. Of course Mapes was going to ignore items not supportive of her agenda. But she also deliberately ignored or omitted far more damning items than these that she was well aware of. That list is too long to mention here, but I will be glad to go over them with you.

    You also created a misimpression when you imply that Bush’s volunteering was somehow countered and watered down when you state:
    “It is also true, however, that in his 1968 application to join the Texas Air National Guard Bush was asked if he wanted to go overseas and he checked the box that said “do not volunteer.””

    That form with that box on it, AF Form 125, had nothing to do with serving in Vietnam or overseas, nor was it an application to join the Texas Air Guard (he was already in at that point). It was a request to be put on active duty for 53 weeks to attend pilot training, nothing else. (A reservists has to ask to be put on active duty – he can’t be forced unless it is a Presidential callup). Since all eight pilot training bases where in the southern United States, you had to check that NO box (there was no N/A option). Your statement unfortunately gives credence to Bush-hating journalists and bloggers who constantly use this form as proof of Bush’s cowardice.

    Finally, I take umbrage at your admonition to me:
    “. . . I can only assume that you carelessly got it wrong … or simply made it up. It’s the latter that troubles me. I don’t like deleting comments from this area. But, as I’ve said before, I won’t allow this site to become a garbage dump like so many others. Honest disagreements are fine. Rabid partisanship, not fine. Be careful next time or post someplace else.”

    I will give your favorite charity $100 if you can find one statement that I made above that is in error. I find it insulting when my facts, easily substantiated if you wish to contact me, are labeled “garbage”.
    You may delete my verifiable and documentable facts if you wish, in which case you are guilty of the same sins as Mapes.

    There is a Part II coming you say. Let’s hope you actually did better research on that segment, or be prepared to delete further rebuttals from me.

  • Bill White

    Buddy,

    I have forthrightly identified myself as a former Navy fighter pilot while you have yet to disclose your background or the source of your Naval “facts”. It would help your credibility immensely if you came clean as to who you are and your military experience.

    You have a highly suspicious, one-sided sense of moral outrage over “fake” stories. You find Mary Mapes’s conduct reprehensible while you yourself invent “facts” and falsehoods in an attempt to justify perhaps the biggest and most destructive fake in American history – George W. Bush.

    If my facts are wrong there is no need for name calling. Just produce the evidence that you have to back up your assertion that I am “part of the Mapes-Rather inner circle”. Produce the evidence that you have to back up your claim that I was “touting the fake memos when they were first released”. Refute with facts the numbered irregularities cited by me pertaining to George W. Bush’s stint in the Texas Air National Guard. Instead you respond by changing the subject because you have nothing to counter the truth.

    Please don’t purport to tell an experienced Naval carrier pilot what he “should know” regarding flight operations. Your representations regarding carrier operations demonstrate a mixture of ignorance and deceit. Virtually all of your “facts” are dead wrong.

    Let’s begin with your take on the Bush carrier landing fiasco. I was appointed head of the carrier qualification division at VT-23. This is the jet training squadron in Kingsville, Texas that trains aspiring aviation students for among other things – carrier operations. In addition to teaching carrier landing procedures, as one of three squadron LSOs, I would fly out to the carrier and take up position on the platform near the back end of the USS Lexington so that I could “talk down” my students when they attempted to land on the ship. So in addition to flying off carriers myself, I taught many of the next generation of Naval aviators how to take off and land aboard United States aircraft carriers.

    Back on the beach, one of my collateral duties as a flight instructor was to fly indoctrination flights with ROTC college students who were interested in taking up Naval aviation when they graduated. I routinely let these non-pilot students handle the controls for short periods of time on these demo flights. Funny thing is that when we landed from these hops, the college kids who had handled the controls during these flights were never “high-fived” by the line crew personnel when we landed in Top Gun fashion as if they had single handedly shot down a half dozen attacking enemy aircraft and saved the carrier and the lives of her crew. To say that the Bush dog & pony show was faked is a gross understatement.

    Finally, having flown on and off more than one of our Nation’s front line attack aircraft carriers, I have yet to see even one ‘Mission Accomplished Banner’ displayed at the end of a deployment. To my knowledge no Naval ship is outfitted with such a banner and the one used for Bush’s PR stunt was created and flown out to the carrier specifically for that purpose. I’d love to see your evidence to support your contention that all carriers carry and display such banners.

    • Buddy

      Bill, This is my last reply. I have better things to do than argue with someone who apparently has such deep hatred for Bush that you are unable or unwilling to accept the true facts. This goes way beyond Bush’s service record. It’s something very personal in your past between you and him. I salute you for your service as I know Bush would, even if all your Navy flight duty had had been state side.

  • RDG

    I like Bernie becuase he reports what he knows and doesnl’t claim anything more.
    He is prepared to be wrong and goes to great pains to make this clear.
    How you can fault the man for his open approach is truly beyond me.
    I really like his clarity and transparency about whatever he talks about.

    • Bill White

      The only problem with Bernie limiting reporting to a critique on the reporting of the Bush Texas Air National Guard fiasco is that it completely ignores the underlying issue itself. This approach is calculated to divert attention away from what really matters in this story – the compromising our Armed Forces to obtain self-serving personal benefits by an unscrupulous Congressman. The central issue remains unaddressed while readers are led to focus on the reporting of that issue. In this case, a draft-dodger who has done grievous harm to this Country gets a free ride while pundits criticize the reporters who were making a good-faith effort to get the truth out on the matter. Were Dan Rather and Mary Mapes completely neutral and without prejudice? Hardly. They would have to be less than human to not have some preconceived notions about the Bush Family. Since only the good Lord is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, it is impossible for us to know the motivation of any reporter. It is our job to read conflicting views and discern what is fact and what is fiction – not divine the intentions of the reporter. Although I disagree with Bernie’s approach, I have the utmost respect for his intellect and journalistic abilities. It is my sincere hope that his reporting on the reporting of this issue will lead to Bernie making an in-depth study of the underlying Bush air guard story and the reporting of his findings.

      • Buddy

        I recall a “REAL FIGHTER PILOT” named Bill White who was part of the Mapes-Rather inner circle touting the fake memos when they were first released. You be that same “REAL FIGHTER PILOT”?

        • Bill White

          Buddy,

          You are correct — I am a real fighter pilot as opposed to a make-believe imposter fighter pilot like George W. Bush. I actually earned my commission, underwent leadership training, and flew into harms way during time of war off our Nation’s aircraft carriers to defend our great Country.

          You are incorrect, however, in your characterization of me as “part of the Mapes-Rather inner circle” as I have never worked for, been compensated by, or affiliated with CBS. You are also wrong when you accuse me of “touting the fake memos when they were first released”. I had nothing whatsoever to do with those memos although my understanding is that the only issue with them is that they could not be definitively authenticated. I also understand that the people who are mischaracterizing the memos as “fake” are promoters of the Bush legacy project.

          Buddy, since you are so concerned about “fakes” I suggest you revisit issues like the legitimacy of George W. Bush’s admission into the Texas Air National Guard. The facts will enlighten you in regard to all of the irregularities like (1.) his leapfrogging over many qualified candidates already on the waiting list, (2.) his unprecedented commissioning without having undergone officer’s (or leadership) training, (3.) his selection for a coveted flying slot when he was not even a pilot (and scored at the lowest possible passing level on the pilot’s aptitude test), (4.) his (predictable) problems flying the air guard fighter-interceptors, (5.) his unprecedented removal from flight status for failing to take the required annual flight physical, and (6.) his failure to fulfill his commitment by serving out his mandatory service term. You will learn about the $ one million dollars plus in tax payer money spent to put Bush through the flight training program – an “investment” worthy of a Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme as it did not yield one iota of benefit to the national security of this Country. After you are outraged by the deleterious consequences to the American people resulting from Bush faking it, turn your attention to the fake “Bush at the controls” carrier landing stunt that he pulled off during his infamous “Mission Accomplished” PR debacle. For a change of pace, try checking out the fake characterization of Bush as an accomplished business man. The number of his business failures, all of which were covered by miraculous donations from the Saudis and the Harvard endowment, will blow you away.

          • Buddy

            Bill, every point you have tried to make has been refuted. In regard the the carrier landing, Bush or the navy never claimed he was at the controls during the landing. The pilot did let Bush handle the controls for a short period of time on their flight out to the carrier. You would have to be crazy to hand over controls to a pilot who is unqualified for carrier landing or take off. If you were carrier qualified like you said, then you of all pilots should know that. In reference to the ‘Mission Accomplished Banner’ you of all people, having served on a U.S. Navy combat ship, know that displaying a ‘mission accomplished banner’ after the ships deployment tour of duty is common place. Most Navy ships carry this banner to display upon returning to their home port. It means that the specific job they were deployed for was accomplished, not that they won the war. Anyone who has served on a U.S. Navy ship should know that. It seems to me that you are purposely touting those lies because of some personal rage.

          • Global Cooler

            Billy Boy, get back on your meds. Your decades-long attempt to get revenge on George Bush for your own business failings is sad. Are you going to spend your remaining years in perpetual anger? Get over your Bush Derangement Syndrome – you are acting irrational. Please stay away from playgrounds and sharp objects.

            You continue to display your ignorance over things you have no knowledge, such as your enumerated claims above:

            (1.) his leapfrogging over many qualified candidates already on the waiting list,

            Sorry – no leapfrogging. There were few candidates for pilot slots in that 1967-69 period, not many, not hundreds, not thousands as you and your ilk claim. The TexANG selected 8 candidates from that pool – oil workers, farmers, a NASA technician – nobody famous, not even Bush back then.

            (2.) his unprecedented commissioning without having undergone officer’s (or leadership) training,

            Direct commissioning for pilots and navigators accepted for flight training was the normal procedure for the Air National Guard until they opened an Officer Commissioning school in Knoxville, TN years later.

            (3.) his selection for a coveted flying slot when he was not even a pilot (and scored at the lowest possible passing level on the pilot’s aptitude test),

            Everybody selected for ANG pilot slots was not a pilot (maybe a private pilot). They were sent to regular AF pilot training bases for training.

            (4.) his (predictable) problems flying the air guard fighter-interceptors,

            There is no proof of problems that Bush had flying fighters – none. He was an excellent pilot as stated by his instructors and fellow pilots. A weak attempt by AP reporter Matt Kelly revealed Kelly’s ignorance not Bush’s incompetence.

            (5.) his unprecedented removal from flight status for failing to take the required annual flight physical,

            Unprecedented?? Happens all the time. Even the former Director of the Air National Guard admitted it happened to him.

            (6.) his failure to fulfill his commitment by serving out his mandatory service term.

            He was honorably discharged by and within the authority of the regulations of the ANG and the USAF. You can pin this charge on John Kerry, however, who can not explain his whereabouts in the last years of his six year committment, and the strange “Honorable Discharge” he got six years later when a Democrat appointee took over the Navy Department.

          • Bill White

            Buddy, You have a peculiarly one-sided sense of outrage over fackes. You also have virtually all of your facts dead wrong irt carrier qualification flight training and carrier operations. After my sea tour aboard the USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) I was made the head of the carrier qualification division in VT-23 in Kingsville Texas. I taught carrier landing proceedures and as LSO, was stationsed on the back ind of the carrier when my students came aboard.

          • Global Cooler

            Fackes wrong?
            Please rebut any of the six items above, and explain how your limited Navy experience qualifies you to speak about Air Guard procedures and regulations.
            You would have made a good researcher for Mary Mapes.

          • EddieD_Boston

            You seem to be out of your mine. Seriously, some people get things in their little pea brains and all the reasoning in the world won’t change it.

          • Leland

            If Bill White is for real, he is a traitor to each and everyone of us that served honorably. I’ll bet money he isn’t even old enough to remember what it was like in the 1960s.

            I freely admit that I would not have signed up for the Navy if my birthday did not come up so early in the lottery. It was not the same as being dragged in to service kicking and screaming every inch of the way, but it was very close to that.

            So what. I served. I did my job.

            Does that make me any less honorable then some semi-suicidal maniac that volunteered for Vietnam because he thought it would be fun to kill people? (Yes, those did exist. I knew one of them.)

            I tend to believe President Bush’s side of events. I too was told what boxes to check on the forms in order to get my job. (That didn’t work out either, but that is another story.)

            I don’t blame Bush. No one my age knew why we were fighting in Vietnam. We didn’t care what the reasons were either. No one was threatening our neighborhood. The shores of our country were not being invaded. Very few of my peers had the bad judgment to volunteer for that mess.

            Billy, based on the things I read and the terminology you use in your writing it is doubtful you are now or ever were in the service. You are painfully uninformed on your military subject matter.

            For one simple example, the military does not “leapfrog” personnel. They call that being “passed over” for an assignment. A recruit three weeks into boot knows that.

            I think you are rewriting Bush hate sites. I think you are a liar about your service record. I also think some recently made a federal law about impersonating a veteran.

            I will defend to the death your right to hold and speak whatever political views you choose. Even if those views are complete nonsense. It is your right and I would not change that even if it was my choice.

            But I will not stand by and let you try to lay credence to your outlandish crap by claiming you are an honorably serving member of the armed forces when everything you write indicates otherwise.

  • Fighter Pilot

    The only “deception” in this matter is the notion that George W. Bush was a “fighter pilot” at all. To become a military pilot applicants must be officers first. This means that they had to have graduated from one of our Nation’s military academies or attended Officer Candidate School (OCS) and been commissioned. In order to get a flying slot in the air guard applicants (with the possible exception of medical doctors – MDs), in addition to being commissioned officers, need to have completed Air Force or Navy flight training and served out a five-year active duty tour in either of those branches of the Armed Forces. Pilots selected to fly fighter jets have to have excelled during flight training and, for the most part, have graduated at or near the top of their class. This is because flying high performance jets requires the utmost in hand-eye coordination and spatial orientation.

    By way of contrast, at the time that he was accepted into the Air National Guard, George W. Bush was not a commissioned officer, had not been trained as a military pilot, had not graduated at or near the top of a flight training class, had not completed the requisite active duty time, and had not served in a front line fighter squadron. He had absolutely none of the perquisites needed to qualify him for consideration for a flying slot in the air guard — except for his Father’s political influence that is.

    Over half of the boys in the Country wanted to be fighter pilots after the movie Top Gun was released. But wanting something and reality are two different things for most Americans. In George W. Bush’s case, however, his wish was his father George H.W. Bush’s command. Every rule was bent, every political string was pulled, and every deception perpetrated – all at the expense of the American people.

    To have pulled off this charade and for Bernie Goldberg to attempt to legitimize it by attacking Dan Rather’s reporting of it is unconscionable. The entire George W. Bush – “Fighter Pilot” saga is an insult to every real man who has strapped on a fighter jet and flown into harms way in defense of this great Country.

    • Global Cooler

      Hey real man “fighter pilot”
      Since everything you just said in this screed is factually wrong, how about telling us a little bit about your own “fighter pilot” experience so we can see your bona fides.

      • Troy

        I thought if you got in a plane and flew it that made you a pilot

    • Bill

      Hey “Real Man”:

      You probably have little fighter jet models hanging from your bedroom ceiling and a Tom Cruise “Top Gun” poster on your wall! It is laughable that you would denigrate the service of someone who volunteered for the Air National Guard during the Viet Nam “conflict.” Who are YOU?

      The whole nonsense about Bush’s service was just before the 2004 election opposing John Kerry (i.e., the guy who got three Purple Hearts in Viet Nam – if anyone does not know already). You have not provided one shred of evidence that the so-called TANG documents that Dan Rather obtained for his obvious “hit piece” on Bush were genuine. Indeed, the overwhelming evidence is that they were fakes produced decades after the events by folk like you and Rather who hate Bush.

      Please go back into your bedroom and play with your toy jets – you disgust me!

    • Leland

      Dear Fighter Pilot,

      Have you ever heard of a Warrant Officer?

  • Viewer

    I know this isn’t the right place to post this, but I just watched your Real Sports profile on the four football players who went fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Simply an incredible story. I know it’s probably not the apex of investigative journalism, and you won’t get any trophies for letting a guy just tell what happened… but what an incredible story. You did a great job and you’re the best thing on Real Sports.

    • http://www.bernardgoldberg.com Bernie

      Very kind of you to write such kind words. Many thanks.

  • Charlie

    Bernie,

    Putting aside the fallacious issue of Lt. Bush being a “slacker” as the duo of Mapes/Rather suggest, piloting the F-102 Delta Dagger (an aircraft with a reputation for being difficult) required guts, not to mention intelligence, to fly the damn thing.

  • James Cain

    Bernie, I have journalism degree and a brief career in journalism. That we have in common.

    You were raised a Jew on the East Coast and I, an Irish Catholic Democrat in Kansas.

    Now, in this time, we have something else in common. The realization that if Journalism and History isn’t completely honest it’s worthless.

    I’m in the shadows and you are in the spotlight. Thanks for being there. You have my gratitude and full support.

  • Dave from Levittown, Pa.

    Bernie, as a former newspaper who knows how hard it is to keep confidentiality … and to maintain clear and relevant facts (especially in a story that takes place over 40 years), I must say you are a true gem in the modern journalistic world.

    Bravo my friend.

    • http://www.bernardgoldberg.com Bernie

      Thanks Dave for riding to my defense. It means a lot my friend.

      • Global Cooler

        Bernie also says in the original article:

        “I made an online check and discovered that while a few websites noted the CBS finding, the story got no ink (that I could find) on the news pages of any big mainstream paper. I did manage to find two opinion pieces about the CBS mess – one in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the other in the Miami Herald — that briefly, and only in passing, mentioned the “Bush volunteered” angle. But that was it! A check of network newscasts turned up nothing. And when I questioned two journalists with intimate knowledge of the story, both said Mapes never shared her information with them.”

        Actually, that’s not true. The issue was brought out as a news story in the Richmond Times Dispatch on February 14, 2004, by Peter Bacque:
        BUSH’S GUARD RECORD DEFENDED ; EX-AIR GUARD PILOT SAYS BUSH ASKED ABOUT VOLUNTEERING FOR COMBAT, WAS TURNED DOWN

        which was preceded by a Letter to the Editor of the Washington Times on February 11, 2004, that describes Bush volunteering for Vietnam service, as follows:

        “A pilot program using ANG volunteer pilots in F-102s (called Palace Alert) was scrapped quickly after the airplane proved to be unsuitable to the war effort. Ironically, Lt. Bush did inquire about this program but was advised by an ANG supervisor (Maj. Maurice Udell, retired) that he did not have the desired experience (500 hours) at the time and that the program was winding down and not accepting more volunteers.”

        This was SIX MONTHS prior to Rathergate and easily discovered by any true journalist. Or a ten year old kid with access to Google.

        And I question the “two journalists with intimate knowledge of the story”, since there were NO journalists familiar with the whole story. Most of the reportage of the story was from unknowing reporters quoting each other’s work. The investigative work of everyone connected with this story was sloppy. There are many more facts out there waiting to be uncovered, or going to the grave with expiring but uninterviewed witnesses.

        For example, Bush’s supposed avoidance of Vietnam on a form he signed. It said NOTHING about going to Vietnam. It asked about overseas assignment preferences for an active duty tour for pilot training which was impossible because all the pilot training bases were in the USA. You had the check the No box. They weren’t going to gin up an overseas base for you alone. Mapes missed this too, as did most bloggers and reporters.

        • EddieD_Boston

          Global Cooler…it’s been great following your posts. I’ve learned a ton from you. It’ll give me some good ammo when I encounter my next Bush-hating loon.