The latest from the Political Grapevine:
CBS Producer: Truth Irrelevant
CBS (search) is defending its story on Beverly Cocco of Philadelphia, whom CBS said was an ordinary parent, "petrified" that her sons could be forced into the military after receiving mass e-mails saying a draft was pending. CBS failed to mention that the Selective Service has declared it has no plans to conduct a draft, that those e-mails were debunked long ago, and that Ms. Cocco heads a group called "Parents Against the Draft."
Well, CBS correspondent Richard Schlesinger, who reported the piece, insists that rumors of a draft, "[have] gotten people all riled up" and "Whether or not there's any reality to [them] is almost besides the point." Schlesinger's producer goes even further, telling the blog INDC Journal, "the truth of the [mass] e-mails were absolutely irrelevant."
Model of "Scrupulous Accuracy & Fairness"?
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal (search) is standing by one of its reporters, calling her a, "model of intelligence and courageous reporting, and scrupulous accuracy and fairness" after a private e-mail she wrote denouncing the war in Iraq ended up on the Internet.
In the e-mail, Baghdad correspondent Farnaz Fassihi said, "Despite President Bush's rosy assessment, Iraq remains a disaster. ... [the] Iraqi government doesn't control most Iraqi cities. ... The situation, basically, [is] a raging barbaric guerilla war.”
Wall Street Journal Editor Paul Steiger, however, insists, "Ms. Fassihi's private opinions have in no way distorted her coverage."
Guilty by Association Grounds for Suspension?
A student at Salem High School (search) in Rockland County, Georgia, has been suspended for an entire week of school for violating school policy that prohibits smoking or possessing smoking paraphernalia on campus.
Thing is, according to WXIA-TV, even the school admits it's not certain 17-year-old Amanda Bates ever did either one of those. The school insists Bates smelled like smoke, and, "we assume if you smell strongly of smoke, you've been smoking."
Bates, however, says she's not a smoker, and her father says, if anything, she was hanging out with people who were smoking. He has written the school board for an apology.
Monument Plans Muzzled
The city of Nelson, British Columbia, has blocked plans for a monument in the city to honor the, "courageous legacy" of U.S. draft-dodgers who fled to Canada during the Vietnam War and the current war in Iraq.
The Nelson City Council yesterday passed a resolution requiring any memorial being built on public land to have, "widespread community support." And the council determined that, the [draft-dodger] monument does not meet this standard."
– FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report