Westin Cautions Care with CBS Story


ABC News' president has cautioned reporters that their mission in reporting on the CBS document story is not to stick it to a competitor.

ABC is hot on the story, breaking ground by unearthing a document examiner who warned a CBS producer of the Bush records’ questionable status, but nobody's gloating.

In a memo sent last week, ABC News President David Westin issued a directive for covering the allegedly forged memos cited on 60 Minutes.

“We need to stick as close to the facts and what we know about them as possible,” he wrote, because, noting, ABC could be in the hot seat next time. How best to sum up CBS’s dilemma? Westin chose to paraphrase Churchill: “When boys are throwing rocks at a frog, it may seem like good fun to the boys, but to the frog, it's serious business."

While ABC may not be able to turn a frog into a prince, it is willing to vindicate a competitor. “If CBS News is wrong, we owe it to everyone to make the point; if they’re right, we owe it to everyone to make that point as well.”