Power Line on CBS' case ... again

I have not paid much attention to the 60 Minutes segment on the supposed plot by Karl Rove to take down Don Siegelman, mostly because I consider CBS News the New York Times of broadcast news. They have so little credibility any more that their claims of plots and conspiracies do little to move the needle. However, John Hinderaker at Power Line still pays attention to 60 Minutes, almost four years after his partner Scott Johnson helped expose their George Bush-TANG fraud that attempted to hijack a presidential election.

John takes an in-depth look at the 60 Minutes story, especially its prime source, Jill Simpson. Like Bill Burkett, she has a strange history and changing stories:

The centerpiece of Simpson’s account, as presented on 60 Minutes, was her claim that she did “opposition research” for the Republican Party in Alabama at the request of Karl Rove. She said that in 2001, while Siegelman was still governor, Rove asked her to follow Siegelman around and try to get photos of the Governor in bed (“in a compromising sexual position”) with one of his female aides. Not only that: Simpson said that this request by Rove didn’t surprise her, because Rove had asked her to carry out other secret missions in the past.

Put aside for a moment the inherent stupidity of this account. CBS aired it without disclosing the fact that Simpson has told her story several times before–without mentioning that she had ever met or spoken to Karl Rove, let alone that he asked her to spy for him.

Simpson first came to public attention last summer, when she signed an affidavit about a conversation that she allegedly had with Rob Riley, son of soon-to-be Republican Governor Bob Riley and several others, in November 2002. The affidavit, 22 paragraphs long, purported to set out Simpson’s recollection of a phone conversation that was then five years in the past. It says that “Karl” was mentioned in the phone conversation, and she understood “Karl” to be Karl Rove. The affidavit does not say that Simpson had ever met Rove, spoken with Rove, or been asked by him to spy on Governor Siegelman.

John has much more on Simpson, which proves that CBS had much, much less reason to run this story. Maybe CBS would do better to hire Power Line as their executive editors, because as John shows, no one at the network seems willing to perform that function in any meaningful manner any more. Be sure to read the whole post.