This is Dan Rather Be Anywhere But CBS News, reporting
It's been a while since I was in J-school (for those who don't know, or have forgotten, I majored in journalism my first two years of college at Pepperdine, before transferring to San Francisco State to earn my degree in Radio and Television with a broadcast journalism emphasis), but I do remember being taught that you never run with a story without a minimum of two and preferably three verifiable, corroborative sources. Not ever.
What sucks most about this is that it comes on the heels of the Jayson Blair story, and the Mike Barnicle story, and the veritable plethora of other recent stories about journalists fudging facts, or slanting the truth, or just plain making stuff up. I remember Dr. John Hewitt, one of my journalism professors at SFSU, telling us, "Objectivity is a myth. No human being can truly be objective, and journalists are human beings. But we can always be fair. And we must."
I've said since the beginning that what Lt. George W. Bush did when he was a wet-behind-the-ears Ivy League punk is pretty much irrelevant, as is what Lt. John Kerry did when he was a Swift Boat commander in Indochina. That was 30 years ago, people everybody give it a rest. But the actions of Rather and his 60 Minutes crew in this instance will make a greater issue out of this story than it deserves, and it can only hurt the loyal opposition. Right now, that opposition needs all the righteous help it can get, and with friends like CBS News if indeed friends they are Kerry scarcely needs enemies.