More Mea Culpas
In perhaps the most unqualified mea culpa by a top network news anchor following former White House press secretary Scott McClelland's claim that the media became "complicit enablers" of the administration's war policy, Harry Smith, anchor of the CBS Early Show, told an audience in Rochester, NY Wednesday that he had made a trip to Iraq just before the war began in 2003. "The regret I'll take to my grave is not standing up and saying, 'What are we doing here?'" he said. Reporting on Smith's speech, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle said that when it was over, people in the audience approached the television morning host and asked him to run for office. On Thursday, Phil Donahue, whose MSNBC show was canceled one month before the invasion as he kept up a steady drumbeat opposing it, declared, "The board members of the large megamedia companies, while America is waving the flag and supporting the president, do not want their cable or television channels to be occupied by dissent, protest, all the rights that have been fought for and died for in past wars." In a television documentary last year, Bill Moyers disclosed that an NBC memo about Donohue at the time claimed that he "presents a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war. At the same time our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."