[Mb-civic] CBS censoring the truth about Bushs case for war

Peter Schurman, MoveOn.org moveon-help at list.moveon.org
Mon Sep 27 13:42:28 PDT 2004

Dear MoveOn member,

President Bush based his famous and false claim that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger on a set of crudely forged documents.  For the last two years, no one has uncovered who falsified these documents, which lie at the heart of Bush's case for war.  

Now, CBS' 60 Minutes program has uncovered new and important revelations about the Bush administration's reliance on the documents.  But, in an unprecedented and astonishing move, CBS bumped the report back until after the election, saying it would be "inappropriate" to air the piece when it might interfere with the political season.

It's outrageous that a major TV news outlet would censor an important piece of news for political reasons.  Especially since this report has met CBS' standards for accuracy -- it's true.  One can only assume that CBS is buckling under pressure from the right -- and that's just plain wrong.

Call CBS and its parent company, Viacom, now, at:

  Sumner Redstone, Chairman, Viacom
  (212) 258-6000

  Les Moonves, Chairman of CBS; co-President & co-CEO, Viacom
  (323) 575-2345 

  Andrew Heyward, President, CBS News
  (212) 975-3247 or
  (212) 975-4321 

If you don't get through, you can write to CBS at:
You can also contact CBS' local affiliates, which are linked here:

Urge CBS to reverse its decision and air the 60 Minutes piece on Iraq before the November 2nd election.  Let them know how important it is that they not censor the news.

Please let us know you're calling -- we'd like to keep a count -- at:


Recently, CBS came under heavy criticism for failing to thoroughly authenticate documents in a story on the President's National Guard record.  Apparently CBS' embarrassment over that flap has made CBS too timid to run important news critical of President Bush.  According to the New York Times: "a report in the online edition of Newsweek... described the frustration of CBS News reporters and producers who said the network had concluded that it could not legitimately criticize the president because of the questions about the National Guard report." [1]

Still, censorship for partisan purposes is a familiar pattern at CBS.  Last year, CBS refused to air "Child's Pay", the ad that won the "Bush in 30 Seconds" contest sponsored by MoveOn.org Voter Fund, during the Super Bowl.  Although the ad was well within the bounds of good taste -- it showed children working at menial jobs and asked "Guess who's going to pay off President Bush's $1 trillion deficit?" -- CBS cited a policy against running "advocacy" ads.  

But then it turned around and aired millions of dollars worth of ads promoting Bush's new Medicare plan, which wouldn't come online for years.  It also aired controversial White House ads claiming that drug users supported terrorism.  

CBS' censorship decisions make its partisanship obvious.  But here's more: CBS is owned by Viacom, and Viacom's chairman, Sumner Redstone, endorsed President Bush on Thursday [2], just one day before CBS pulled the 60 Minutes report on Iraq. 

Partisan censorship by CBS betrays our trust on a fundamental level.  All of us own the airwaves CBS broadcasts on.  They're a public resource, licensed to CBS, and in return CBS owes us a balance of viewpoints on major issues like Iraq.  

Especially now, when more than 1,000 Americans have been killed in a war whose reasons have yet to be honestly explained by the Bush administration.  

And especially just before an election.

Please call CBS and Viacom now.  

Thank you, for all you do.


- Peter Schurman
  Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

[1] '60 Minutes' Delays Report Questioning Reasons for Iraq War
New York Times

[2] Guess Who's a GOP Booster?
The CEO of CBS's parent company endorses President Bush. 
The Wall Street Journal

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