Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) — Viacom Inc.’s CBS fired four news employees after an independent panel found errors in a report anchored by Dan Rather that said President George W. Bush received preferential treatment in the Texas Air National Guard.
CBS failed to do fair and accurate reporting and made “lapses every step of the way,” the network said today, citing a report it commissioned by former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and retired Associated Press Chief Executive Louis Boccardi. The network fired senior vice president Betsy West, “60 Minutes” executive producer Josh Howard and his deputy, Mary Murphy, as well as Mary Mapes, the story’s producer.
“The bottom line is that much of the Sept. 8 broadcast was wrong, incomplete and unfair,” Leslie Moonves, co-president of Viacom, said in a statement today. The problems were caused by a “myopic zeal” to be first with the story and a “rigid and blind defense” of the segment after it aired, the report said.