: Last week the pundits had a field day over
‘s $70 million suit against CBS. Rather claims that CBS violated his contract when it cut back his airtime on 60 Minutes, forced him to step down as evening news anchor and otherwise tried to make him a “scapegoat” for CBS’s bungling, after his report questioning Bush’s Vietnam-era Air National Guard service. CBS claims that the suit is without merit and that “these complaints are old news.” CBS is half right. The issue of whether one of the documents shown on-air was or wasn’t authentic is old news. Either way, it seems clear that Rather was right and that Bush avoided the draft by joining the National Guard. Then, proving he was shrewder than his critics give him credit for, Bush finagled his way out of Guard service.
But the real news is something the pundits have by and large ignored. As Rather’s complaint states, it was “on November 3, 2004, the day after
George W. Bush
was re-elected as President,” that “CBS informed Mr. Rather that he was being terminated.” Suppose the election had gone the other way: Would CBS have taken the same action? It is more than a century since Mr. Dooley famously declared that “the Soopreme Court follows th’ iliction returns.” With Rather’s decision to sue CBS, we are reminded that the television networks do, too–or at least, so does CBS. VICTOR NAVASKY
With Congress unwilling to pull funding for the Iraq War, antiwar activism has never been more crucial. Four new campaigns caught our eye. September 21 marked the launch of the
–a DIY pastiche of rallies, screenings, vigils, singalongs and strikes that encourages Americans to break “daily routine” and “take some action” on the third Friday of every month. Endorsed by
Gael García Bernal
and FBI whistleblower
, among others, the
has inspired actions from New York City to Provo, Utah. We say: TGIF! In a more Zen mode, religious leaders–calling on the spirit of Ramadan, Jesus, Yom Kippur and Gandhi–have planned an Interfaith Fast to end the war on Monday, October 8, when participants will abstain from food from dawn to dusk.
The American Friends Service Committee
, an endorser of the
, has created a series of banners that highlight the cost of the Iraq War. Using figures from Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, AFSC points out that one day of the war costs $720 million, or the equivalent of 34,904 four-year college scholarships, 12,478 teachers’ salaries, 95,364 Head Start places or 6,482 new homes. Finally, in a twist on Rovian strategy,
aims to put antiwar initiatives on ballots in the 2008 election in the swing states of Michigan, Missouri, Colorado, Arizona and Oregon. Anti-gay marriage initiatives turned out masses of values voters for Bush in 2004– or so legend goes. Could antiwar initiatives “boost antiwar turnout on Election Day, providing a true antiwar mandate to the next President”?