The American Gazette

Commonsense political and social commentary from "Flyover Country"

Location: Rural Michigan, United States

Friday, September 10, 2004

CBS Fraud----AGAIN

Well, well, well. It seems that CBS has been caught using fraudulent documents regarding President Bush's National Guard record. Many people are going to wonder how did the upstanding citizen of Mr. Rather and the icon CBS get taken in.

I won't be one of those people.

In 1988 CBS did a series on Vietnam and it's Vets, one of those was called "The Wall Within." The entire story is well detailed in B. G. Burkett's book "Stolen Valor" book I wrote about in my very first post here.

The propoganda efforts of both CBS and Dan Rather, then and now, are not so very different. The idea is to paint a picture favorable to a specific political viewpoint, and leaving true journalism in the dust they simply take to the air what fits that viewpoint. Regardless of the truth, or a bit of simple digging would have shown how erronous they were. (with a couple changes what follows is a cut/paste because I worked 12 hour's last night and I'm feeling just a bit lazy this morning.)

The highly hyped 1988 CBS program, "The Wall Within," purporting to tackle the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is a perfect example of the lies and distortions about Vietnam that have been fed to three generations of Americans. The program profiled six "Vets" who it claimed were "representative" of those who served in Vietnam. It claimed that the symptoms suffered by these men were shared by hundreds of thousands of other veterans. The Dan Rather "documentary" became part of the CBS video history series on Vietnam and is graced with a formal introduction by Walter Cronkite.
This is how Dan Rather introduced his TV audience to one of his prize victims: "At age 16, Steve was a Navy SEAL, trained to assassinate. For almost two years, he operated behind enemy lines, then he broke. He came home in a straightjacket, addicted to alcohol and drugs."

According to the CBS propaganda piece, "Steve" had been trained to massacre and mutilate Vietnamese civilians and then blame the atrocities on the Communists. "You’re telling me that you went into the village, killed people, burned part of the village, then made it appear that the other side had done this?" Rather asked. "Yeah," Steve responded. "For propaganda purposes at home," Rather added. "That’s correct," Steve confirmed.

Terry Bradley, another supposed Vietnam vet suffering from PTSD, told a grisly tale of having, on one occasion, skinned alive up to 50 Vietnamese men, women and children. He told of cutting out hearts and eyeballs, of mangling and stacking their bloody bodies. The CBS program showed the mentally tormented vet at night in a dark forest howling at the sky.

Another PTSD victim, George Greul, told the CBS team that he had been traumatized by witnessing his friend’s gruesome death on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier while the ship was on a "secret mission" off the coast of Vietnam. He had seen his buddy accidentally walk into a spinning propeller blade and had been spattered with his blood.

The critically acclaimed "Wall Within" was a colossal fraud. The man identified as "Steve" turned out to be one Steve Southards, and through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, Burkett obtained his military records. The truth, he found, was that "Southards was not a SEAL, nor had he taken any SEAL training.... In reality, Southards was an ‘internal communications repairman,’ assigned to rear area bases and had no combat decorations. His only special training was a ‘motion picture operation course (16mm),’ at Subic Bay in the Philippines." What’s more, he had spent time in the brig for going AWOL six times. According to Burkett’s research, "Little that Southards had told Rather was true except that he had been in the Navy, and that his first name was Steve."

Terry Bradley was not a "fighting sergeant," as Dan Rather had described him, but another storytelling misfit who had spent 300 days either AWOL or in the stockade. No evidence was provided by CBS, and Burkett could find none either, from official sources or otherwise, to verify Bradley’s tales of mass atrocities.

George Greul’s carrier, the Ticonderoga, was deployed on a training mission off the coast of California, not a "secret mission" off the coast of Vietnam, when the fatal propeller accident he referred to took place. But Greul was not present when the accident happened; he was merely repeating what he had heard. However, his story had convinced the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that he had been sufficiently traumatized to receive a couple thousand.

It seems to me that right now, and the issues raised in the current Presidental Campaign, the time is right to note not only the issues with CBS and Dan Rather are now, but what they were in the past. It all ties together, particularly the myths of atrocities told by those who WERE NOT VIETNAM VETS, but whose stories were nonetheless given legitimacy by Guess who? John Kerry in his 1971 Senate Testimony, and by, that's right boys and girls, Dan Rather. Interesting how they both seem to come together again? And right in the middle of the same issues so many years later.

Things that make you go-HHMMMM.



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