CBS News Draft Hoax

Bill at INDC Journal conducted has done more original reporting on the media:

Yesterday I interviewed several CBS News employees about their controversial story highlighting the possibility of a Draft reinstatement. I spoke with Richard Schlesinger, the story’s reporter, Sandra Genelius, a CBS Spokeswoman, and Linda Karas, the producer of the piece.

It’s an interesting look at how a news organization ran a story on something that is a talking point of the Kerry campaign, based entirely on various hoax e-mails that have been widely debunked, and yet seemed oblivious to the fact that people might take exception to their story.

Update (1331): John Cole makes an amusing analogy between CBS research techniques and penis enlargement spam.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    So, when are we going to see a report on all the mainstream media reports over the last couple of years that have been verbatim GOP talking points, based on hoax e-mails and ‘astroturf’ campaigns?

    If it’s bad when one side does it, it’s bad when the other side does it too.

  2. Bithead says:

    I’d be interested in seeing some proof of that.
    See, t’s kinda funny; I keep hearing this kind talk from Democrats… invariably when htey’re getting the snot beat out of them… but I’ve never seen anything solid to back it up.

  3. BigFire says:

    You know, CBS News should do a story about the danger of DHMO. Recently over 3000 people in Haiti were killed by this substance, and thousands and thousands more each year.

  4. James Joyner says:


    One suspects that story will get picked up if it happens. Which specific cases are you referring to?

  5. LJD says:

    We’re not talking about “mainstream media reports over the years… that are GOP talking points”. We are talking about a deliberate attempt to influence politics by a public information source. It is borderline election tampering!

    Everyone knows, perhaps with the exception of the truly disillusioned far-left, that “mainstream media” (a.k.a. network news) has a leftward bias.

    All we hear from the left are complaints about talk radio and Fox news. (As if conservatives are not entitled to one or two such resources compared to the many, many print and televised sources with leftward bias).

    I seem to remember Fox news being the ONLY network to carry the Democratic debates! I also remember the big three refusing to air an address by the President of the U.S.! Unbelievable!

    Even with the great inequity in media, the democratic left continues to lose. Why? There is no consensus in the party, and the moderates are allowing the crazies too much slack.

    CBS news probably got the idea that this would be a good idea by watching Michael Moore. Guess what? They’re going the way of the Ditsy Chicks. The American public is smart and informed. More than 50% aren’t buying this crap.

  6. Bill K says:

    Well, “Flip-flop” in and of itself is a Republican talking point, so I don’t think people can say no major network has carried water for the right.

    That isn’t my main contention though. When did the draft become a Kerry talking point? All he says is that he won’t reinstate it. All CBS said was that it was a possible issue. Correct me if I am wrong, but neither Kerry nor CBS stated that Bush would reinstate the draft. In fact, CBS explicitly stated Bush’s policy was to not reinstate the draft.

    I guess implying that Bush would reinstate the draft by Kerry is the same as Bush and Cheney saying clearly that if Kerry is elected terrorists will kill us.

    Don’t get on the high horse when you have been playing dirty the whole time. It is offensive. (not you James, the Republican party)

  7. Bithead says:

    Ah… a specific.
    Bush and Cheney saying clearly that if Kerry is elected terrorists will kill us.

    Oops… that’s not what they said. They said indecision and poor judgement would kill us, and then pointed at Kerry’s record of same… then allowing the voters to judge the matter in their own minds.

    Now perhaps we understand better why Demorats tend to shy away from sepcific charges, insted rather giving us the usual vauge nonsense… specifics tend to get knocked over.

  8. Bill K says:

    Well, first you are innately inferring that the CBS story is against Bush just because they are talking about the draft. You are also putting words into Kerry’s mouth about the draft when he never said Bush was going to reinstate the draft. So, if we are allowed to make logical leaps in what people said and meant, I think it is safe to say Cheney meant if Kerry is elected more people would die.

    That being said, CHENEY DID SAY IT:

    “It’s absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we’ll get hit again and we’ll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States,”

    Was he talking about Nader?