Pres. Bush's service int he Texas Air National Guard

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Mass Comm.

On September 8, 2004 60 Minutes hosted by CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather aired a show questioning President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. Rather interviewed Ben Barnes a former Texas House Speaker and Lt. Governor who testified that George W. Bush received special treatment by being admitted in to the Texas National Guard to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam War. Barnes a Democrat who was an active supporter in the Kerry campaign said Sid Adger a close friend to the Bush family asked him if he would recommend young George Bush to the Aired National Guard in order to prevent him from being shipped overseas. Barnes believed his actions were of preferential treatment because there was a list of hundreds of names who wanted to enter the Air National Guard.

Dan Rather claimed following the Barnes interview that 60 Minutes had obtained a number of documents from Col. Jerry Killian who was commander at Texas Air National Guard during Bush’s tenure. One of the documents was from May 1972, where Killian wrote that Lt. Bush had asked him if he can get out of coming to drills from May through November in order to work on his campaign in Alabama. The memo also stated that Bush said he may not have time to take his physical. In a memo from August 18, 1973, Col Killian wrote that Col. Buck Staudt, the man running the Texas Air National Guard was pressuring him to “Sugar Coat” the evaluation of Lt. Bush. The document that brought up the most controversy was a memo written by Col. Killian put in his own personal files stating that Bush was failing to perform to U.S. Air Force and Texas Air National Guard standards. Since Killian died in 1984, 60 Minutes hired a team of individuals with expertise in handwriting analyst and document authentication claimed the memorandums were authentic.

Immediately following the 60 Minutes episode aired on September 8, 2004, the documents used for the program became under heavy scrutiny. The information from the documents used by 60 Minutes did not comply with the military records of Texas Air National Guard. For instance, the official record of the Air National Guard shows that Mr. Bush was suspended from flying on Aug. 1, 1972. That date contrast to a memo given to CBS News, ordering that Mr. Bush be suspended on Aug.
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