As Keith Olbermann first reported on Thursday, Gen. John Batiste’s consulting arrangement with CBS was terminated due to his participation in a VoteVets ad. In post entitled “Revisiting the Batiste Decision,” the CBS News blog cites the following standard as a rationale for Batiste’s firing:
Simply stated, it is the policy of CBS that it will not take any part in any partisan political process in any form.
This is the third different explanation CBS has offered for canceling Batiste’s contract, and like the others, it is not a satisfactory explanation given the record. Batiste was fired for appearing in a VoteVets ad that did not advocate the election or defeat of any candidate. VoteVets itself is a non-partisan organization.
To recap, here are the previous faulty rationales offered by CBS for firing Batiste:
Reason #1: Batiste was engaging in ‘advocacy.’ CBS VP Linda Mason said Friday, “We ask that people not be involved in advocacy.” But Greg Sargent revealed instances in which CBS News military consultant Michael O’Hanlon has engaged in advocacy for the Iraq escalation.
Reason #2: Batiste was ‘raising money’ for VoteVets. Mason later amended her statement, saying “It isn’t just that he took an advocacy position. … General Batiste took part in a commercial that’s being shown on television to raise money for veterans against the war.” But the VoteVets ad that Batiste appears is not a fundraising ad.
Reason #3: Batiste was taking part in the ‘partisan political process.’ In fact, Batiste consciously avoided engaging in partisanship. Newsweek reports, “Batiste says he remains a ‘diehard Republican’ and has no intention of wading directly into the presidential campaign. … He took part in the VoteVets.org campaign, he says, because it’s a ‘nonpartisan group.’”
Were CBS truly concerned about not allowing its consultants to engage in the partisan political process, it would not have a McCain presidential campaign aide currently on staff.