Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
CBS News Anchor Dan Rather (search) says he has read yesterday's report on CBS' now-discredited Bush National Guard story and "My strongest reaction is one of sadness and concern for those [four] individuals" who lost their jobs. In a statement to CBS employees, Rather says, "It would be a shame if we let this matter, troubling as it is, obscure their dedication and good work over the years." But, he says, "CBS News is a great institution with a distinct and precious legacy. ... I have seen us overcome adversity before. I am convinced we can do so again." Rather concludes, "I take [the report] seriously, and I shall keep its lessons well in mind."
Meanwhile, fired CBS producer Mary Mapes (search), whom yesterday's report concluded had "pushed aside" valid questions over the CBS story in a rush to air is blaming her bosses, insisting she's the victim of "vitriolic scape-goating." In a statement issued yesterday, Mapes says, "I am very concerned that ... actions [by CBS President Les Moonves] are motivated by corporate and political considerations — ratings rather than journalism. ... Airing this story when [CBS] did, was ... a decision made by my superiors ... If there was a journalistic crime committed here, it was not by me."
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Speaking of the CBS story, contributors to the Web site FreeRepublic.com (search) are pointing out that they actually sounded the earliest warnings that something was fishy about the story ... minutes after it aired.
USA Today (search) is weighing in with disappointment over CBS' conduct, saying in an editorial today, "Journalism, by its nature, puts two priorities at odds: The need to get a story to readers as soon as possible, and the [greater] need to get that story right. ... CBS News ... reversed those priorities."
But USA Today never says in its editorial or even in its front-page story on the CBS report that it also went with the story, based on the same memos. USA Today has yet to issue a retraction or a correction for its own reporting, though it did cover the controversy over the CBS report in its news pages.
Probe Now Before A Federal Grand Jury
The probe into why former Clinton aide Sandy Berger (search) took classified documents out of the National Archives in the midst of the 9/11 investigation has now reached a federal grand jury. This after federal agents interviewed Berger several times, according to the New York Post.
Berger admits taking up to 50 classified documents from the archives, but insists it was a "honest mistake" made while reviewing papers for the 9/11 commission. Witnesses at the time said they saw Berger stuff the documents into his socks and pants. He has since denied that.
Tsunami Had A Positive Effect?
Some in Thailand are now saying that despite tens of thousands dead, the Indian Ocean tsunami (search) has actually had a positive effect: washing away rampant coastal development, and returning the beaches to nature.
One American on a beach in Thailand says, "This whole area was littered with commercialism. There were hundreds of beach chairs out there. ... It looks much better now." And a Thai resident insists, "[The tsunami] is telling people not to mess with nature. Paradise should be paradise and should not become this civilized."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report