- 2 hr 1 min
Mary Mapes, producer of the long-running primetime news program 60 Minutes, her crew, and eminent CBS national news anchor Dan Rather face an onslaught by right-wing bloggers, talk radio, and Bush Administration supporters following the airing, in the months before the 2004 presidential election, of a report that President Bush, then seeking re-election, had in the early 1970s received preferential treatment from officials of the Texas Air National Guard. Such treatment, which included concealing Bush's failure to meet even minimal training and performance requirements, and his absence from the Guard for most of 1972 following a transfer to the Alabama National Guard, allowed Bush to avoid combat duty during the latter part of the Vietnam War. It also caused consternation for Bush's commanding officer, Lt. Killian, who died years before the 2004 election campaign. Lt. Killian apparently authored three contemporaneous memoranda to be maintained in a general file, but not directed to higher ranking officers, detailing Bush's failures to meet the Guard's standards and the pressure Killian felt to facilitate the favoritism shown Bush. The controversy resulted from a report which appeared on a right-wing blog, which various talk radio hosts and right wing media outlets amplified, claiming certain characteristics of the memos, including the font, proportional spacing of the letters and lines, and use of "superscript" indicated the memos were created on a home computer using the Microsoft Word processing program, and could not have been typed on typewriters available at the time.