CBS Fires General Batiste
As ThinkProgress has reported, CBS has terminated Gen. John Batiste’s consulting contract with the network over his appearance in a VoteVets ad. CBS News’ blog sought comment from Linda Mason, CBS News Vice President, Standards and Special Projects. Here’s what Mason said about Batiste:Petraeus condemns torture.
“When we hire someone as a consultant, we want them to share their expertise with our viewers,” she said. “By putting himself front and center in an anti-Bush ad, the viewer might have the feeling everything he says is anti-Bush. And that doesn’t seem like an analytical approach to the issues we want to discuss.”
Mason’s concern is hypocritical. CBS hasn’t shown a similar level of apprehension for being painted “pro-Bush” when former White House communications director Nicolle Wallace appears on its programming. Nor has it been concerned when its military analyst Michael O’Hanlon advocated in favor of Bush’s Iraq policy.Nicolle Wallace has propagated talking points advanced by her old colleagues in the White House communications office. Some examples:
“The Democrats have to walk a fine line and be careful. People don’t want to turn on the TV and see every story being about the obstruction of people trying to do things.” [Washington Post, 3/7/07]
“Well, you know, people ask me all the time, ‘Do they [in the White House] get it? Do they get how bad things are?’ And the answer is yes.” [CBS Evening News, 12/12/06]
At the end of the day, no matter how discontent some voters are, they really don’t want to see Democrats in control of the Congress. [CBS Evening News, 10/23/06]
It’s apparently only advocacy when you’re opposing Bush. Americans United notes that it took two weeks for CBS to fire Don Imus for racial slurs, but two days to fire Batiste for speaking up on Iraq.
In an open letter yesterday, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, “admonished his troops regarding the results of an Army survey that found that many U.S military personnel there are willing to tolerate some torture of suspects and unwilling to report abuse by comrades.” From the letter:
I was concerned by the results of a recently released survey conducted last fall in Irasq that revealed an apparent unwillingness on the part of some US personnel to report illegal actions taken by fellow members of their units. The study also indicated that a small percentage of those surveyed may have mistreated noncombatants. This survey should spur reflection on our conduct in combat. …
Some may argue that we would be more effective if we sanctioned torture or other expedient methods to obtain information from the enemy. They would be wrong. Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary.
UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan calls it a “stunning letter“:
[I]t’s one of the most important letters to come from a senior military official in a very long time. The very fact that it is necessary reveals the extent of the damage that Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney have done. But the fact that it is addressed to every servicemember in the field from their commander in the field shows that honor is not dead in the US military, and that repair is possible.
The New York Times reports:
Two years ago, Robin C. Ashton, a seasoned criminal prosecutor at the Department of Justice, learned from her boss that a promised promotion was no longer hers.
“You have a Monica problem,” Ms. Ashton was told, according to several Justice Department officials. Referring to Monica M. Goodling, a 31-year-old, relatively inexperienced lawyer who had only recently arrived in the office, the boss added, “She believes you’re a Democrat and doesn’t feel you can be trusted.” […]
Ms. Goodling would soon be quizzing applicants for civil service jobs at Justice Department headquarters with questions that several United States attorneys said were inappropriate, like who was their favorite president and Supreme Court justice. One department official said an applicant was even asked, “Have you ever cheated on your wife?”
Ms. Goodling also moved to block the hiring of prosecutors with résumés that suggested they might be Democrats, even though they were seeking posts that were supposed to be nonpartisan, two department officials said.
On Friday a Federal Judge approved Goodling's Immunity Deal to testify before Congress.