Tracking the hard knocks network

CBS could use a few lessons in Crisis Management 101

CBS’s famous eye is turning a deeper shade of black as the days tick by. Actually, it’s shaping up to be a real shiner.

The network’s self-inflicted black eye is the result of phony documents used in a 60 Minutes segment about President George W. Bush’s service in the National Guard.

CBS stood by anchorman Dan Rather, who initially denied accusations that the documents were forged until it became clear, thanks to some savvy bloggers, that Rather was wrong. CBS is currently investigating how the story was handled and Rather subsequently apologized—but both moves came much too late.

The fallout sparked a PR nightmare for CBS. Some attacked the network’s journalistic integrity while others screamed for Rather to hang up his hat.

And then the PR storm got worse. In fact, there’s no other word than bizarre to describe the latest move from CBS.

The network decided to delay a 60 Minutes segment that questioned the Bush administration’s decision to attack Iraq. The report claims that the government was duped by forged documents related to Iraq’s attempts to buy uranium from Niger, Newsweek reported in its online edition. Bush cited the phony uranium purchase as yet another reason to attack Iraq.

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