The producer at the center of last year's "Memogate" (search) scandal at CBS News (search) says she was derailed by a vast right-wing conspiracy.

The producer, Mary Mapes (search), is one of four CBS staffers fired last January in the wake of the scandal.

She is convinced she was the victim of a group of loosely associated Internet bloggers "with a harsh political bent" who pounced on CBS News minutes after the airing of the now-infamous Texas Air National Guard story on "60 Minutes 2" in September 2004.

The story purported to have proof that George W. Bush received preferential treatment while serving with the Guard during the Vietnam era. The story was based in part on alleged "newly discovered" memos about his attendance record that were later discredited.

"Within a few minutes, I was online visiting Websites I had never heard of before: Free Republic, Little Green Footballs, Power Line," writes Mapes in the first chapter of her new book about the reaction to the story.

"They were hard-core, politically angry, hyperconservative sites loaded with vitriol about Dan Rather and CBS."

The potentially explosive 320-page book, titled "Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power," is due in bookstores Nov. 8 from St. Martin's Press. Chapter One was recently posted on amazon.com.

"This was something else, something new and fundamentally frightening," Mapes writes. "I had never seen this kind of response to any story.

"It dawned on me that I was present at the birth of a political jihad."

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