Selectively quoting from a Sunday New York Times story about how Vice President Gore would be one of only four enlisted men to become Commander-in-Chief, CBS anchor Dan Rather darkly hinted on Monday evening that the U.S. military was assuming a more "political" role.
Rather justified pushing innuendo about the military's integrity by quoting the 13th and 14th paragraphs of the 15 paragraph story. "Reporting on changing times and traditions in the U.S. military, the New York Times says, and I quote, 'In recent years, people in uniform, particularly in the officer corps, have tilted increasingly toward the Republican party,' end quote. The tradition of American military leaders, especially generals and admirals considering themselves independent, is weakening, the Times reported. Adding, and again quote, 'A trend that has raised concerns about the increasing politicization of the military,'" Rather told viewers.
CBS reporter David Martin showed Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Hugh Shelton who said the military's long tradition was "of being apolitical, making sure that we, in fact, did not get caught up in the politics."
Shelton was speaking about officers on active-duty, but Martin twisted his words. "But that has not stopped scores of retired military officers, from Colin Powell on down, from endorsing the Bush-Cheney ticket," he noted. "There's no law against it, but the sight of so many admirals and generals throwing their prestige behind the candidate causes concern among other retired officers."
Just for the record, CBS didn't question the propriety of retired Admiral William Crowe's endorsement of Clinton eight years ago, but instead put Crowe on the Evening News on October 8, 1992 to vouch for his candidate's patriotism after it was revealed that Clinton went to Moscow during the Vietnam War.
The real question CBS should be asking, is what do these retired officers know about Gore's national security policies that has them flocking to George W. Bush?