Is CBS For Executive Accountability or Against It?

Its amazing to me that Andrew Heyward still has his job at CBS.  Many others are asking the same question, including Ernest Miller, Rathergate & Captains Quarters.  The overriding question is this one:

The report clearly shows that the head of the embattled news organization did not perform as one would expect the head of a news organization to perform. Though Heyward clearly realized that there were problems with the reporting on the segment and issued a directive to clear up the matter, he does not appear to have provided sufficient overview or leadership to ensure that his directive was followed promptly and systematically. Instead of focusing on good reporting, as the head of a news organization should, he seems to have been primarily interested in damage control and not following up on his own directive.

Here is CBS's opinion of Heyward's performance in this matter, from Les Moonves:

But Heyward is an executive of integrity and talent, and the right person to be leading CBS NEWS during this challenging time

OK, so their position now is that the subordinates are at fault, and that the leader is not responsible for their actions or for the climate and controls in the organization that allowed the problems to occur.

This is really, really different than CBS's editorial position on OTHER organizations and leaders.  Check out the CBS editorial here on Enron.  Should Ken Lay be held accountable or was he an innocent dupe?  Hah, the editorial jumps right past this question, moving up a notch and asking why the board of directors weren't being held accountable. 

Ken Lay argues that he was duped and didn't know what was going on.  Note that this is his criminal defense - which may or may not work - but it certainly would not have worked to keep his job, even if Enron were alive today.  In Heyward's case, he admits he knew what was going on, but didn't get things fixed.  Heyward had his chance in the first 24 hours to save the credibility of CBS News and he blew it.


  1. Bill:

    My take on this is that CBS has done what they believed was the minimum necessary to try to regain some shreds of credibility. They have clearly not faced up to the pervasive political monoculture and built-in bias that exists.

    Until this is addressed there will be no substantive change. Four mid-level newsies have been thrown overboard in hopes that the wolves will stop the chase. Rather still fails to understand the enormity of CBS's failure in judgement, and Mapes statement released after her firing is totally unapologetic.

    I am not sure that there is anything that could be found that would cause the CBS New York types to concede that there is actual political bias in their organization...most simply have totally closed minds to any viewpoint other than that of the eastern urban liberal.

  2. jotsheet:

    And remind me again why Andrew Heyward still has a job?

    Wondering what to make of the aftermath of Rathergate? Try Coyote Blog's take. Warren Meyer is in disbelief that Andrew Heyward's head was spared. Check out the CBS editorial here on Enron. Should Ken Lay be held accountable or was he an innocent dupe?...

  3. MaxedOutMama:

    That's a very clear and compelling argument.