Rather and his CBS team perpetuated journalistic fraud of the highest order. Conservative bloggers and alternative media called out Dan Rather and his con-artist producer Mary Mapes for their malpractice. CBS denied this and delayed addressing the hoax. The mainstream media tried to shoot the messenger and discredit critics of CBS/Rather.

The evidence of bias was overwhelming — forcing CBS to appoint an independent review panel that concluded that the network “failed to follow basic journalistic principles in the preparation and reporting of the piece,” was “rigid and blind” in its defense, and demonstrated “myopic zeal” in its manufacturing of the Bush/National Guard fraud. After the report was issued, Mapes and three executives were fired and the editorial practices at CBS were revamped.