Dan Rather, 2004 News
journalist, found himself at the center of a media storm in September, when he and his network, CBS, admitted that they could not definitively prove the authenticity of documents they used in a 60 Minutes segment, which suggested President Bush received preferential treatment when he joined the National Guard and later when he served in it. Supporters of Bush immediately cast doubt on the documents, which were supposedly written by Bush's squadron commander, who has been dead for 20 years. The commander's secretary came forward to say that while the information in the memos was accurate, they appeared to have been forged. Finally, after a flurry of analysts examined the typeface of the memos and came up with conflicting conclusions, former Lt. Col. Bill Burkett, who handed the documents to CBS, admitted he lied about his source and did not say from whom he obtained them. Rather announced in December that he would step down in early 2005.