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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Andrea Yates Gets New Trial; Mary Mapes Speaks; Panel Discusses "60 Minutes" Scandal
Aired November 9, 2005 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Andrea Yates gets a chance at a second trial for drowning her own children in a bathtub. Her ex- husband Russell Yates, the father of those kids, tells us what he thinks.
And then, in her first live primetime interviewed, fired CBS News Producer Mary Mapes hits back at those who attacked her over the story that put Dan Rather under fire.
We've got it all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
One quick program note, Judith Miller, the famed, the journalist with "The New York Times" who resigned today, will be our special guest tomorrow night in an exclusive hour interview. Judith Miller tomorrow night.
Rusty Yates joins us from Houston, the father of the five drowned children. You know the story. He was last with us in January. And, today the conviction of his wife was overturned. Tell us the details of what the court said.
RUSTY YATES, EX-WIFE'S CONVICTION OVERTURNED: My understanding of what they did was just basically refused to hear the state's request for discretionary review of the case. So, in essence, they upheld the lower court's decision to overturn Andrea's conviction.
KING: And the lower court had said new trial right?
R. YATES: Well, they just overturned the conviction, so the ball is back in the state's court now. They can decide to, you know, drop the charges or enter a plea bargain agreement or -- or take the case back to trial.
KING: Was this based on the psychiatrist who testified that he saw something on "Law and Order" that never appeared?
R. YATES: Exactly, right. Park Dietz testified that he actually helped produce an episode of "Law and Order" in which a woman drowned her children and pled insanity and "got off" and did that purposefully and that the show aired shortly before our tragedy.
And, the prosecution used that to claim that Andrea had seen the show that it gave her an idea then that she followed, you know, that she patterned her actions after, after that show, when in fact that show doesn't even exist. It never aired. I mean there was no such show, so it was all fabricated testimony. KING: So, have you spoken to her lawyer, Rusty?
R. YATES: Actually I've spoken to one of her attorneys but I haven't spoken to Mr. Parnham yet.
KING: What is she hoping for? You want to do a plea deal and have her sent to a mental institution? What's your goal here?
R. YATES: I think that's -- that's actually a possibility, you know. The state could choose to agree to a plea bargain of not guilty by reason of insanity. It doesn't have to go back to trial.
And, if they do that, then Andrea would go to a state mental institution until she was deemed by both a team of doctors, independent doctors and the judge and possibly a court at trial to be safe to reenter society.
So, that would probably be a number of years but it would at least give her better medical treatment and give her the hope of, you know, being free again or at least partially free someday.
KING: have you spoken to her since the decision?
R. YATES: No, I haven't. I saw her on Saturday and we actually discussed it on Saturday, which is kind of funny. You know we talked about what might happen, you know, if the court found in her favor.
And, you know, she's anxious about the possibility of a new trial but, you know, I think if push came to shove, you know, there's a pretty good chance she could win her freedom even if it goes back to trial. I think she'd support it.
It's very difficult for the family. I mean it's tremendous, tremendously painful for the family and especially for Andrea having to sit there and watch the videos and pictures and have, you know, have the prosecutors point their finger at her and call her a murderer and all this stuff when she loved our children so much.
But, you know, at the same time, you know, she could look past that and say well, you know, it could potentially win her her freedom and she might -- she'd probably support that.
KING: Is she ready to be free?
R. YATES: No, I don't think so. She has been doing pretty well this past year, you know. They finally, you know, they're leaving her on anti-psychotic medication. She hasn't had any relapses in the past year. Her mood is appropriate for where she is and what she's gone through and she, you know, she has been stable.
But I'd like to see her just like most people would like to see her stable for a long time, you know, and also I think have -- have a strong support system outside, you know, that she can lean on, you know, with people that can help her reenter society one day if that's ever an option and, you know, I think it could happen.
KING: You've forgiven her right?
R. YATES: Oh, yes, yes ...
KING: What about her parents?
R. YATES: Well her mom is still alive and her mom, you know, supports her too. We have a slightly different understanding of the case but, you know, all the family is supportive of her and everyone who knows her knows she's a wonderful person, just a very kind, loving person and, like I said, would never, ever harm her own children were it not for the fact she became dramatically psychotic.
KING: You filed for divorce. Where does that stand?
R. YATES: That's final. I filed for divorce I believe it was last -- like a year ago July and it was final in March I believe.
KING: Are you out dating? Are you living a life Rusty?
R. YATES: I'm, you know, seeing somebody now and that's going well so, you know, it's -- and Andrea has actually been pretty supportive of it, you know. I've been up front with Andrea about it and she -- she understands and we both support each other.
KING: When do you think discussions will take place between the district attorney and your and her attorneys, et cetera, as to what happens from now on?
R. YATES: Well, I don't know. I think, you know, they may both posture a little bit and say, you know, they're both ready to go back to trial so that they can gain, you know, bargaining position and hopefully they'll keep their discussions, you know, quite and private and, you know, each -- each side give a little and be reasonable and come up with some -- some kind of a, you know, workable solution where we don't have to go back to trial. It really benefits nobody to go back to trial and it's tremendously expensive besides, I mean both for the state and to the family.
KING: You don't want another trial?
R. YATES: No. It hurts everybody Larry. I mean just like I said the first time. No one benefits from this going back to trial, nobody.
KING: She is being held in a psychiatric ward of the Rusk Penitentiary right?
R. YATES: Yes, that's a psychiatric prison, yes.
KING: How is she being treated?
R. YATES: I think she, you know, it's a prison so their primary focus is security but on the whole I think they've treated her pretty well, you know. Really, you know, the people there have learned to, you know, kind of see who she is. They've seen her well.
They've seen her sick and they really -- I think they're pretty compassionate toward her and they've done what they can to protect her and to give her reasonable medical treatment.
She'd get better medical treatment in a hospital and it would be better if, you know, family and friends could visit her more frequently to support her. But all things considered it's, you know, it's been good for a prison. I'll say it that way.
KING: Thank you, Rusty. We'll keep in close check with you and whatever is decided we'll have you back on as soon as it is decided.
R. YATES: OK, thank you.
KING: Rusty Yates, the father of five drowned children, the ex- husband of Andrea Yates.
When we come back Mary Mapes, her book "Truth and Duty, the Press, the President and the Privilege of Power," she is the award- winning CBS News producer, worked for "60 Minutes II" and was fired over that Dan Rather story about President Bush's duty in the service. She is fighting back. We'll meet her right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were you thinking?
ANDREA YATES: What was I thinking? Why did I do it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
A. YATES: Because I don't want them tormented by Satan like I was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was Satan tormenting you then?
A. YATES: Yes, I believe so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In what way?
A. YATES: Just the thoughts, bad thoughts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Mary Mapes, the former award-winning producer, well she's still the award-winning producer, just formerly with CBS News. She produced that controversial story for "60 Minutes II" last year on President Bush's National Guard service. She was later fired by CBS after it backed away from the report.
She has a new book out dealing with this with her side of the story. The book is "Truth and Duty" there you see the cover, "The Press, the President and the Privilege of Power." Why didn't you just let it all go away?
MARY MAPES, FIRED BY CBS NEWS OVER DAN RATHER REPORT: The story?
MAPES: I feel that probably what people think they know about this story is wrong, most of what they think they know, and I spent the last year really soul searching what I should do because I guess the easy thing to do would be just to crawl into a cave and say I'm sorry and never mind and not come out and open a small cafe in a little Texas town.
But I don't cook that well and I had to think of something else to do. And I also -- I think there were good lessons in this story for journalists and for Americans.
KING: Are you suing CBS?
MAPES: No, I'm not.
KING: I thought you were going to. I thought I read somewhere that you...
MAPES: Well, I just -- I've been very busy and I haven't done that.
KING: Did they give you proper, I mean were you properly paid?
MAPES: No, I got not one penny after 15 years. I got nothing.
KING: You were just dismissed that day after? Was it after the investigation?
MAPES: It was. I believe it was January 10th. Andrew Hayward called me on a speaker phone and fired me.
KING: In retrospect what would you change?
MAPES: I would speak out during the process because I trusted CBS. I had been with them for 15 years, loved CBS News, still do, love the people there very much, some of whom I know you know. I trusted the corporation to care about me as much as I cared about them and I wanted to do exactly what they wanted me to do and I did and it was dumb.
KING: What would you change about the story?
MAPES: I wouldn't have been so agreeable to put it on, on September 8th, which was too soon but I had never said no before to my bosses. I think like a lot of people who work hard and do well, I wanted to do what they wanted and I had...
KING: You mean it wasn't ready?
MAPES: You know, the funny thing, Larry, is I'm not sure how much would have changed if we'd held it. KING: Until after the election?
MAPES: Well, you don't really -- I mean this was two months before the election, so it's not like this was, you know, the weekend before the election. This was 60 days before the election.
KING: Who wanted it on right away?
MAPES: There was a -- we had a number of discussions there. We decided, you remember we had two things in the story, we had Ben Barnes (ph), who had been the speaker of the House who for the first time was answering questions about getting Bush into the Guard.
And then we had these new documents and there had been quite a scramble in Texas that summer of new documents, supposed new documents and we ended up getting them. And, we decided to go on September 8th in part because of some television concerns I know you're familiar with.
We had a partial preemption in certain areas of the country the following Wednesday and that following Wednesday we were preempted by a Dr. Phil show. So, I mean I joked in the book I became -- I got in trouble because of Billy Graham when not anyone can say that.
KING: But he had Graham on right?
MAPES: Yes, well no. Graham was doing a crusade and so we had blackout for 62 in some areas.
KING: But there's nothing about the story you would change? In other words, even though they've said the documents were forged and...
MAPES: But no one has been able to prove they were forged and the thing I most want people to know is before that story ever went on the air there was so much vetting done of those documents.
Nobody handed me something and said, you know, "I vouch for them." Bill Burkett (ph) did not vouch for them. He said, "I got these. Take a look at them. See what you can do with them. See if, you know, they meet your standards" or whatever and we -- I had a military consultant.
We had a number of other people. We went through the things with a fine tooth comb. We did what I said were four things. I mean you try to build a table that you can set a good story on. We had them corroborated by Killian's commander. I called him. He told me they were familiar to him.
KING: The story in essence saying he didn't serve?
MAPES: No, that he had gotten out early that Killian, his commander, had been mad when Bush had left to go to work for an Alabama Senate race that Killian had ordered Bush to take a physical and that Bush had not.
KING: Back to the fourth one. MAPES: OK. And then we also vetted the documents, meaning we checked service numbers, addresses, the 1972 Air Force manual paragraph and page, references like that, I mean goofy little things that I always believe are screwed up in forgeries. They typically are anyway.
And then I meshed them with the official records that we had because I -- I thought if this was a forgery I'm going to run into a bump. There's going to be a date that's wrong. There's going to be something that doesn't make sense.
And then we had four document analysts look at, some looked at, one looked at all of the documents and the other three looked at two. The two most experienced said go ahead on the signatures and the documents.
KING: Did you question the motivation of your contacts?
MAPES: You always do that but, you know what, Mother Teresa doesn't hand you documents in the night, you know. Saints are not whistleblowers. Whistleblowers have motivations.
I knew that Bill Burkett didn't like George Bush and I knew that, you know, at that time about half the country didn't and I guess that's about still true today but you don't always -- people have to have motivations to give you things or do things. You accept that I mean.
KING: How about those who said you had a motivation that you were interested in defeating Bush, you, Mary Mapes?
MAPES: Well, yes, well it was a very small campaign on my part. I lived in Texas. That was probably the biggest deal for me. I had been there for 15 years. In the same way I covered Carla Faye Tucker (ph) and a number of other Texas cases I viewed Bush as being in my bailiwick.
KING: But you had no personal...
MAPES: Oh, my God, no, no of course not. I also, I mean we, Dan Rather and I did stories on Hillary Clinton. We did stories on the Clinton administration and terrorism, no. That's not -- you question whoever is in your crosshairs and it doesn't matter.
KING: You felt good the next day right?
MAPES: I did briefly.
KING: Who got you the bloggers?
MAPES: I think at that time the blogs were...
KING: Because a whole campaign suddenly started against this right?
MAPES: Well, I sure thought so. I mean I had never seen anything like it. I was not a real political blog reader at all. I mean I didn't sit around and read political blogs. I read, you know, the Drudge Report and I would read other news, you know, Web sites and things like that but I didn't -- I really wasn't aware of these really political blogs.
But the next day at about eleven o'clock this stuff, this drumbeat started saying the documents were false and I was just incredulous because the White House hadn't raised it. They hadn't indicated this in any way. We didn't have any evidence of that and they went nuts.
KING: Do you believe right this moment they were not false?
MAPES: I believe no one has proved to me that they were false after more than a year.
KING: So you believe they were true ...
MAPES: I believe -- I know. It's an odd situation. I'm perfectly willing to believe they're false if somebody will just prove it.
KING: No one has proven it to you?
MAPES: No, they have not. Their criticisms last year really didn't reach the bar of proof at all.
KING: As we go to break we'll show you a clip from that program of September "60 Minutes II" watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: On August 1st of 1972, Lieutenant Bush was suspended from flying status for "failure to accomplish his annual medical examination." That document was released years ago.
But, until now, this document has not been seen. It is a memorandum Colonel Jerry Killian put in his own file that same day. It says, "On this date, I ordered that 1st Lt. Bush be suspended."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're with Mary Mapes, the book "Truth and Duty, the Press, the President and the Privilege of Power." CBS News gave us this statement today.
"Mary Mapes' actions damaged CBS News as an organizational and brought pain to many colleagues with whom she worked. Her disregard for journalistic standards -- and for her colleagues -- comes through loud and clear in her interviews and in the book that attempts to rewrite the history of this complex and sad affair.
As always, revisionist history must be tested against the facts. Not only are those facts contained in the extensive media coverage that took place at the time, but also in the 200-plus-page report of the independent panel which investigated the matter for more than three months.
We believe those facts speak for themselves. The idea that a news organization would not need to authenticate such important source material is only one of the troubling and erroneous statement in her account."
MAPES: Well, I know they've been working on that for weeks and...
KING: That statement?
MAPES: Yes, I mean it's a very -- it's -- I think it's a very carefully worded public relations statement. I guess what I would say is they were very proud of my work and proud to air my work for 15 years. They have awards in their building that I won for them.
I was very proud to work at CBS News and I will put my loyalty and my love for my colleagues up against theirs anytime. I think part of what I'm doing is sticking up for my colleagues. I think the way CBS handled this was just the most divisive and dreadful way possible.
I joke that it turned "60 Minutes II" into "Survivor." You know everybody was feeling threatened. Everybody was scared to death. Everybody was under the gun. Everyone was encouraged to blame each other. That's a horrible thing to do in a news organization.
KING: But wasn't the commission that investigated it, weren't they fair, weren't the independent?
MAPES: Well, I don't know, Larry. I mean if your work was being judged, wouldn't you like your work to be judged by people who did the kind of work you did? I mean I don't know what Dick Thornburgh knows about journalism.
I suspect he knows as much about it as I know about being a securities analyst or attorney, which is what the other attorneys were, securities specialists or internal corporation investigation specialists.
I think it was a very legalistic approach. You know they even said we had put Ben Barnes and his story on that he had gotten Bush in the Guard and he was sorry and they ruled that I shouldn't -- we should not have put that on because we couldn't prove it.
Well, if that were the case, we'd have blank newspapers every day and there would be nothing on the news because the news is what people say, what they think. I mean you go to a presidential press conference and when the president says something you don't only put it on if you can prove it, you put it on because it's what's being said and because it's relevant.
KING: Do you think there was a Viacom corporate CBS thing way above you? MAPES: Well, yes I do. I do because I did early on have a CBS executive say to me, you know, with great exasperation, "Mary, don't you know how many millions of dollars Viacom spends every year lobbying in Washington and nothing you've done in the past year has helped." And I took that to mean Abu Ghraib had not exactly been a smash hit in Washington either when they didn't have...
KING: You broke that story?
MAPES: Well, Dan Rather and our team did, yes.
KING: Should Dan have resigned because of...
MAPES: No, absolutely not. I think they're lucky that he's still there. I think Americans are lucky he's still reporting. I think he's got a lot of good work ahead of him. He's an ace.
KING: What did he say to you when this was all happening?
MAPES: He said the same thing to all of us again and again and I wish CBS had been as smart and as loyal as Dan was. He said, "We went into this together and we're going to come out of this together" and that's the kind of man...
KING: Except you lost your job and he didn't though.
MAPES: Well, but we're together I mean at least in terms of respecting each other and caring about each other. I don't feel like Dan should have lost his job because I don't think anybody should have gotten the death penalty for this.
KING: How have you dealt with it emotionally?
MAPES: Well, I mean I did -- there's one chapter in the book that I mean people read and they think it's very funny because it's just, boy, I just tell you I was a wreck. I was a complete wreck. I mean it was like I had had a death in the family only, you know, it was worse than that.
I was ashamed. I didn't want to go outside. I didn't want to talk to reporters. I, you know, I just didn't know what to do with myself. I started knitting obsessively. So everyone I knew even, you know, remotely at Christmastime got the same gift, a scarf.
KING: So, there's nothing in the story you would have done differently? You might have released it a little later but nothing you'd change?
MAPES: I would have worded some things differently. I would have put in some of the proof, some of the corroboration I felt we had so people would understand that it wasn't just the document analysis that was an issue for us. And I actually think this is something even the CBS executives didn't understand. It wasn't just document analysis. It was corroboration. It was vetting. It was meshing.
If you read my book, I off and on worked on this story not, you know, maniacally for five years because I did about 30-some stories for "60 Minutes," but I worked on it in '99 and 2000 and I have lots of on the record interviews with people there that gave me and Dan really solid background to believe we were doing the right thing and we were on track here.
Frankly, I also think the story we did was something akin to reporting that cigarettes cause cancer, yes they do, and having some new documents showing that they do in that I think a lot of people know and have known for years there are problems with Bush's record in the National Guard. There always have been problems and I think he should have had to answer these questions early on.
KING: Similar to CBS and their trouble with the insider story on tobacco?
KING: All right, we'll take a break. And when we come back we will go to some of your phone calls. And, in a panel discussion we'll discuss what Mary just talked about.
As we go to break, here's Dan Rather's statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RATHER: The documents purported to show that George W. Bush received preferential treatment during his years in the Texas Air National Guard. At the time, CBS News and this reporter fully believed the documents were genuine. Tonight, after further investigation, we can no longer vouch for their authenticity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The book, "Truth and Duty: The Press, The President and The Privilege of Power." The author is CBS award-winning producer, former CBS producer, Mary Mapes.
By the way, at the time of, Les Moonves, the head of CBS said her basic reporting was faulty and her responses when questioned led others who trusted her down the wrong road.
Her confidential source was not reliable and her authenticators were unable to authenticate the documents and, yet, she maintained the opposite.
Is this a question of, you can't authenticate it, pro or con. You just have the documents. We can't say they are real, yet we can't say they're not. MAPES: There are a couple of things. First, about what Les said. I got to say, God love him. Les Moonves is a fabulous television programmer. As a journalist, he doesn't know what he's talking about.
In the book, I did say that hearing Les Moonves talk about journalism is like listening to Jessica Simpson after she watched an episode of "Chicago Hope." I mean, she's got some of the sayings down, but that's -- he doesn't know what he's talking about. And I admire his work in television, but not his work in television news.
What we did have -- there are times as a journalist that you get documents and this happens all the time. You get copies of documents. You really can't authenticate in terms of ink. Those copies, you absolutely cannot. But, you do everything that's humanly possible to believe in them. If I didn't believe in them, I wouldn't have put them on the air. If I didn't believe they were real, I would have thrown them in a wastebasket, but I believed, based on number of things that I've told you, that those were real.
KING: You believe in them now?
MAPES: I do.
KING: Let's take some calls.
Tempe, Arizona, hello. Tempe, hello.
CALLER: Hi. Mary, I just wanted to know if the documents were fake and the contents within them were correct, what is the big deal of this story?
KING: If they were fake, what's the big deal?
CALLER: Yes. If the documents were fake, but the context within them was correctly reported...
MAPES: What you're saying is, even if the documents were fake, if they're true, what's the big deal?
KING: The concept was true.
MAPES: Right. You want the documents to be real. You absolutely do, but, as I said, as a journalist, sometimes you just cannot. You can't do ink tests on documents and you do have to, you do have to deal with issues of content and, you know, and corroboration and meshing with the other documents and that's what we did.
KING: Vancouver, British Columbia, hello.
CALLER: Hello. What I would like to know is, how come you did not have Killian's secretary on? I saw her on TV and she said that she did write such a memo. She absolutely substantiated that she wrote that memo or memo, very, very similar. So, why didn't you have her assist you in -- because I am very passionate about this. I think the White House has gotten away with not clarifying anything they do and sabotaging anything against them. So, my passion is with you, and I'm sorry for your fate. But why didn't you trace that down and have -- or play sound bites or have that show on again where she said, I wrote that memo?
MAPES: Well, you know what, we did have her on. We had her on September 15th and I remember we flew her in that day. She is an incredible woman. She was 86 at the time. Very fun, memory like crazy.
She felt she had done all the typing for Killian and so she felt that if any documents had been typed, she would have typed them. She confirmed the content. Again this is the weird thing you got into with this.
She confirmed the content of the documents. She remembered Killian ordering Bush to get a physical and Bush not complying. She remembered issues with Bush's performance there as a guard pilot.
And, so, she was very supportive of the content, but she believed that the typing style was not hers. Therefore, she believed that the documents were not authentic. But the content was. I mean, it was, it was a very interesting, hair-splitting deal.
KING: Houlton, Maine, hello.
CALLER: Hi Larry, hi, Mary. Thank you so much for standing up for freedom of the press.
MAPES: Well, thank you.
CALLER: Do you really feel that the Bush administration put pressure on CBS to retract or suppress this story?
MAPES: I don't know. I have no evidence that they put direct pressure on, but I can tell you, you're really feeling the pressure as a network when you're getting thousands of e-mails from conservative bloggers telling you that Dan Rather needs to be fired and Mary Mapes needs to be in stocks in the front yard.
It was tremendous pressure. You know, Viacom is a large corporation, like all large corporations has a lot of issues in front of the FCC, in front of Congress, the Justice Department. Issues about whether or not decency standards are going to apply to cable. All that stuff. This is a big money deal and, as the executive said to me, I just was not very darn helpful.
KING: What can journalists learn from your experience?
MAPES: I hope what they learn is to stand up for themselves. I hope what they learn is that it hurts and it's hard, but that's what we're supposed to do. As Dan says, don't give in, don't give up, don't back up, don't back down. Those are words to live by as a journalist. I think some of the things we have seen happening in this country in the last five years are the result of us not doing our jobs.
And I -- you know, I've joked that somehow I didn't get the memo that I was not supposed to cover Bush like he was the president. And I don't know what I missed out on, but I'm glad I did and I think when I look back on this from years from now, I'm going to be happy for what I did.
KING: Thanks, Mary.
MAPES: Thank you. Thank you very much.
KING: Mary Mapes. Truth and Duty: the press, the president and the privilege of power. Published by St. Martin's Press.
We'll have a panel discussion about what Mary just said. As we go to break, here is what Dan Rather said on this program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What went wrong, in your matter, on the international guard story?
RATHER: This panel came forward. What they concluded, among the things they concluded. After months of investigation and spending millions of dollars. They did not determine that the documents were fraudulent. Important point. That we don't know whether those documents are fraudulent or not.
KING: Are you saying the story might be correct?
RATHER: Well, I'm saying a prudent person might take that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's welcome our panel. In Washington is Lou Boccardi, the former president and CEO of The Associated Press, a member of the independent review panel that investigated the controversial "60 Minutes" Wednesday segment about President Bush's national guard service.
In Boston is David Gergen, the White House adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, professor of public service at Harvard's JFK School of Government and director of its Center for Public Leadership and editor-at-large at U.S. News & World Report; and in Seattle, the noted conservative and syndicated radio talk show cost, Michael Medved.
All right, Lou, what do you make of what Mary had to say, that you can't disprove this?
LOU BOCCARDI, FORMER PRESIDENT & CEO, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, I'm not sure that it's our job to disprove it. It's a curious kind of journalism that say if you say something, you're not responsible for proving it. Other people are responsible for disproving it. That's not the kind of journalism I grew up with.
You saw the engaging Mary tonight, and she's very engaging. But she's written an angry book and I don't think it changes. I know it doesn't change any of the findings that Dick Thornburg and I together made.
She disdains in the book my 44 years as a journalist. She's venomously attacks Dick's integrity and I'm not going to go down those roads. But just on the points she made, she talked about the examiners, the experts. She said I had four and then there were two -- well, two of the four jumped off. One of them told her not to go ahead. If you do this, the morning after you do it every document examiner in America is going to be after you. So, two jumped off. And none of the four said that they could authenticate the documents because of the difficult nature of authentication.
And Mary says in her book in a nice Texas line, "what I knew about authentication when this started you could put on the head of a pin and have room for the state of Texas." Unfortunately, that seems to have been so.
KING: David -- I'm sorry, we'll get back to you Lou.
KING: David, if you were in the position Mary Mapes was, wouldn't you be angry and wouldn't you strike back if you totally believe the story you ran? She still believes it.
DAVID GERGEN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Well, I would hope I'd produce a better case than she has produced.
I have to say this, Larry, just for starters. Mary Mapes is a journalist who has had broken big stories, especially the Abu Ghraib, for which she deserves a lot of credit. Dan Rather, of course, has had a long and distinguished career in journalism. But on this particular case, Mary Mapes is coming on the air and telling you, Larry, everybody else is wrong except me.
Les Moonves, the head of ACBS is wrong, Ed Haywards is wrong, Dan Rather who went on the air to apologize about this as a bad story, he must be wrong by implication, all the other people in ,CBS the outside investigatory team that Lou headed so ably, "Washington Post" which looked at this carefully, outside experts to CBS who tried to stop this story it was published, or at least slow it down.
She's saying all of them are wrong, I'm the one who's right. But she doesn't have any facts. It's very hard to take that story on face value.
KING: Michael Medved, Dan Rather -- and we cut out at the end of the clip -- said none of the reports disprove the documents. How do you react? MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, as Lou Boccardi has said, that is a very, very strange idea of journalism.
Look, the most amazing thing about what Mary Mapes said to you, Larry, is that she disclaimed any bias at all. The entire obsession with this particular story in the midst of a presidential campaign is prima fascia evidence of profound bias.
Look, Hillary Clinton is going to be running for president in 2008. Now, if "60 Minutes" decides in 2008 that they're going to go over the White House travel scandal office, or the cattle future scandal, or God help us, Whitewater, and they're going to go over that scandal for the 1,000 time in the middle of her presidential campaign, well that would be biased journalism.
And that's exactly what Mary Mapes was engaged in with old documents that she said were old news and that were very, very likely forged. And she says she can't prove or authenticate, which is shameful for someone who has won the kind of distinction she has in the past.
KING: Well, what do you do, Lou, as a journalist, when you get a document? What do you do?
BOCCARDI: Well, you know, when you get a document like this that you're going to have trouble authenticating. And everyone seems to agree that you can't really authenticate a copy that's been faxed and sent through -- run through copiers. So you look at everything that surrounds it and you look at where did it come from. It's 30-years- old, where has it been?
You know, as an editor when you see something like that, little bells start to go off. And here you have every indicator that there's a problem with this stuff. And it got pushed aside, finally. The warning of the one examiner who said, don't do it, was just cast aside.
And at every stage here there were problems, warning signals, the source. The source Mary describes in her book as an anti-Bush zealot. I'm not sure anybody at CBS "60 Minutes" knew that when the program was put on the air, but, still, that tells you, be careful here. There's a guy with some view of this. Doesn't mean he doesn't have good documents, but be careful. You ratchet it up and that didn't happen here.
KING: David, what about when the other side points out -- or the side in her favor, nobody has come forward who served with him. People haven't come forward who said we had lunch together. I flew with them in the same group. Didn't she have some basis to lean towards authenticity here?
GERGEN: She had some -- she clearly had basis for suspicions. But suspicions do not make a story, especially in the middle of a presidential campaign. It's not sufficient to simply think, well let's take a risk, let's take a leap, I mean, especially in a presidential campaign. When this is about a sitting president in the middle of a hot campaign, it does seem to me that that does put a special burden on journalists. And CBS, in this case, by its own admission -- you know, everybody in CBS except Mary Mapes, apparently, believes they made a mistake. And they manfully owned up to it and went on.
It seems to me CBS is saying there is a higher standard and we didn't meet journalistic standards to the kind that Lou has stood for for these well more than 40 years that journalists stand for.
And it's one of the problems -- you know, this has now gotten to be a problem that has hit more than CBS here. A lot of other people who are suffering because of these kind of journalistic excesses that the public looks at and says, well, what -- how can we trust people in journalism if they're going to rush stories into print when they're not sure of them?
KING: We'll take a break and come right back with more. We'll also include some of your phone calls for our panel, as well.
Right now standing by in New York, there he is, the bright face of Anderson Cooper. Who better to host "ANDERSON COOPER 360" than Anderson Cooper?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: There you go. There you go. What's up, baby?
KING: What's up tonight?
COOPER: Larry, thanks. Coming up next on 360, terrorists strikes American targets in Jordan. Three apparently suicide attacks on three separate U.S.-based hotels, one even taking place during a wedding celebration. Now, 67 confirmed dead, more than 150 injured. Those numbers continue to rise, Larry. We're going to devote a lot of time to this tonight.
We'll talk live to people who witnessed the brutality, people who were there. You'll find who intelligence officials think is responsible. And we'll break down what it means for soft targets here in America. Could we stop an attack like this in this country? Larry, that's at 10:00.
KING: Thanks, Anderson.
Anderson Cooper coming up right at the top of the hour. And we'll be back with more right after these words.
KING: Michael Medved, how much in this business does reputations count? She had an extraordinary career at CBS.
MEDVED: Well, I think that's one of the reasons that CBS made the terrible mistake of relying on that extraordinary career. She also had a reputation -- I've spoken to people who have worked with her in various capacities. She had a reputation of being somebody who was very, very passionate in her beliefs.
And the basic lesson here, Larry, for everybody is that when you're a journalist, you can't be a partisan. If the Kerry campaign had come forward with these documents, well then it would be the job of CBS and of Dan Rather and of Mary Mapes to analyze them and look at it.
But in the middle of the campaign not to have the opposite campaign come forward with an indictment of your opponent but to do that with one of America's prestige brands in journalism, "60 Minutes," it was a shameful, low point there the so-called Tiffany network.
KING: Sacramento, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hello, Larry. I have a question for the panel.
CALLER: I seem to recall when this whole incident came about that somebody -- I believe I heard it on CNN, as a matter of fact, that somebody had suggested that the documents were forged by an individual associated with the Democratic Party organization. I was wondering if anybody on the panel has any further information on that and, if true could that individual be prosecuted?
BOCCARDI: We never found any evidence of that at all. I'd like to make a suggestion in terms of lessons learned. Mary talked about standing by, we should stand up for ourselves. As an amendment to that, stand up for yourself when you know you're right.
KING: Well, do you think she knew she was wrong, Lou? are you saying she knew she was wrong?
BOCCARDI: I think she -- no, no. No, I think they all thought they were right. The issue is, make sure when you're challenged, go back and make sure that you have it and they didn't do that.
MEDVED: Larry, the one question I have is, I was on talk radio the day after and there were people calling my show with these complaints about the kind of typing and the kind of anachronistic typewriter and typeface that was being used.
Why didn't they have people like that who could have raised those questions on the broadcast. If those questions could be raised the day after on a talk radio show why not put them on the broadcast and at least introduce that element of doubt?
KING: Because, David, the truth is "60 Minutes" has a point of view, doesn't it? It has always had a point of view.
GERGEN: It has always had a point of view, but I think that traditionally CBS has -- while their people have been skewered on CBS or are always accused of bias, I think generally speaking that CBS and "6- Minutes" has tried to give some -- allow the other side to have a voice.
And Lou can speak to this with much more authority than I can, but as I understood it, there were outside experts who worked for CBS who raised these questions about the typeface and whether it, in fact, could have been written way back then and their questions were basically squelched inside and the rush to go on the air.
BOCCARDI: Well, yes, David. There were four experts. Two raised -- one said I can't possibly authenticate this. Another one raised serious questions that were brushed aside and that left them with two, one of whom saw only one of the four documents that went on the air and none of them said that they could authenticate this material because it was copied and faxed and old and misshapen in all of those transmissions and copies. So, there really was no authentication.
KING: We'll take a break and we'll be back some more moments with Lou Boccardi, David Gergen, and Michael Medved.
Don't forget, Judith Martin tomorrow night. She resigned today -- Judith Miller, I'm sorry, resigned today from the "New York Times." She's our special guest tomorrow for the full hour. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RATHER: Journalism is not a precise science. It's a -- on its best days, it's a true art. We make mistakes. I make mistakes. With more than 50 years as a journalist, I've at least had the opportunity to flow more stories, make more mistakes than maybe anybody in television. I'm not proud of this, but I do know the reality of reporting, and as good as they were -- and they were as good as anybody in my lifetime, Woodward, Bernstein, Bradley and company they acknowledge it. You make mistakes as you go along. What you hope is the public will understand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: David Gergen, in that same campaign, we had the Swiftboat argument against John Kerry, but that was brought up not by journalists, right?
GERGEN: That's right. That was done by independent groups who were, you know, supporting the president. They went after John Kerry with a savage attack that it was not fully answered by the John Kerry people. I think it caught them somewhat by surprise and their own allies were not able to counter on television. It really damaged John Kerry.
KING: But in that case like this one there was no firm proof.
GERGEN: There was no firm proof. What happened in that case, of course, is when you go on the air with something like this and make this sort of sensational kind of arguments as they did, the media picks it up and runs it as a controversy and so, the Swiftboat people very cleverly got their story out by getting a lot of free media on the controversy itself.
And it's sort of the -- you know, they paid a tiny amount of money for those ads, but they just -- you know, they just boomed and they had a huge explosion. They had, I think -- I don't think John Kerry would have won the election without those ads, but it sure as heck might have been closer.
KING: Michael Medved, what have we learned from the Mary Mapes issue, the whole story, do you think?
MEDVED: Well, again, that people should not play the role of the Swiftboat veterans who were open partisans, who were part of the political process when you're trying to be part of the journalistic process. Look, I do talk radio. That is partisan. We have a bias. "60 Minutes" has the pretense, at least of being up the middle.
And for them to issue the kinds of attacks on President Bush that could even be compared to the political ads that were paid for by the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, that's outrageous. And by the way, I think there's even more controversy about Mary Mapes and her charges than about the Swiftboat controversy.
KING: Lou Boccardi, you think we've learned from it?
BOCCARDI: Well, I hope so. The lessons, I think, are really simple. Don't go on the air with it unless you're absolutely sure. If you have a document, authenticate it, and be careful of your sources. Find out who their sources are, if you can. I mean, this is not complicated journalism.
GERGEN: Yes, Larry, what I would worry about most and I'm sure Lou shares this, is the loss of trust in journalism, which we see happening around us today. It's really damaging to the health of our democracy. It's important that people be able to believe those who go on the air who represent CBS or CNN or anybody else.
And then with the Judith Miller story that you're going to be reviewing tomorrow night, a very hard one for people to understand, very hard to understand the Mary Mapes story, but the public sees those things and they smell something. It doesn't smell right to them about what is going on with these major journalistic organizations.
And it is dangerous for the country when the journalistic leaders -- we just had a survey out of Harvard and U.S. News that found respect for leaders in journalism were at the lowest of any institution in our society today. That's not healthy.
KING: Thank you, all, very much. Lou Boccardi, David Gergen, Michael Medved, earlier Mary Mapes, author of "Truth and Duty." And as David then mentioned, tomorrow night, Judith Miller. She left the "New York Times" today. As exclusive interview, for the hour, tomorrow night.
Right now, exclusive "ANDERSON COOPER 360" stands by in New York with that incredible story in the Middle East -- Anderson.
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