The right-wing Internet community can't get enough of stories that make Dan Rather look bad, but, curiously, I'm not seeing many gleeful links to this New York Observer story.
The reason is obvious: the story doesn't fit the Right's narrative. It says that there may have been links between Rather and a guy who's hardly a candidate for lefty heroism: Jonathan (Jack) Idema, the American bounty hunter and war-hero wannabe who was recently convicted of running a torture prison in Afghanistan. (Video footage of Idema in Afghanistan bore a CBS "watermark," and a 60 Minutes spokesman confirms that the footage was transmitted by a CBS technician; Idema's lawyer says Rather's voice can be distinguished clearly in a taped phone conversation with Idema. Oh, and Idema's been a source for a couple of previous 60 Minutes stories.)
A producer for a rival network says in the Observer story that he found Idema untrustworthy and didn't want to work with him, even in order to get a scoop. Similarly, USA Today got the Burkett National Guard documents and didn't think they were trustworthy.
Is that the common thread -- that Rather and CBS News, perhaps because they're foolhardy and irresponsible, perhaps because they're just journalistically aggressive, are more willing to trust suspect sources in pursuit of a story?
Seems reasonable to me -- but I'm not a right-winger. The right-wingers have an idee fixe -- that Rather is an agent of the Left -- and evidence to the contrary just doesn't concern them.
(Oh, and for what it's worth, the Observer article reminds us that Idema claims to be working in cooperation with the Pentagon -- and says one of his contacts is General William G. Boykin, of "I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol" fame.)