Dan Rather has many sympathetic defenders after his phony National Guard document fiasco. In a Saturday Boston Herald op-ed, Bill O’Reilly believes that Dan Rather “made a mistake… but is not dishonest”, a line Bill himself has no doubt been repeating often in private circles ever since the debut of “The Phone Sex Factor”, and accompanying lawsuit.

O’Reilly completely misses the mark. The point isn’t that Rather knowingly put forward false documents in the hopes that they would be catastrophic to the Bush campaign– It’s that Rather’s Pavlovian response of wanting the documents to be authentic caused his research to be as thorough as your average 17 year old boy trying to do algebra homework while a Baywatch rerun is on TV.

Something else should make seekers of truth as jumpy as a FOX News intern who sees Bill O’Reilly’s number pop up on their caller ID in the middle of the night– Dan Rather’s stepping away from the anchor desk, but CBS is still going to let him do “60 Minutes II”. This is like taking Joseph Hazelwood’s key ring, confiscating the car key, and giving him back the key to the oil tanker.

I’ll cover this more in Monday’s column at WorldNetDaily.

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