Mary Mapes and Burden of Proof

Mary Mapes, the CBS producer fired last year for running a story using forged documents, is standing by her story. She says she doesn’t have to prove her story is true; you have to prove it is false. Newsbusters has the transcript:

Ross: “After 12 days of defending them, CBS and Dan Rather later admitted they could not vouch for the authenticity of the documents and that they should not have been used and the story should not have aired.

“Do you still think that story was true?”

Mapes: “The story? Absolutely.”

Ross: “This seems remarkable to me that you would sit here now and say you still find that story to be up to your standards.”

Mapes: “I’m perfectly willing to believe those documents are forgeries if there’s proof that I haven’t seen.”

Ross: “But isn’t it the other way around? Don’t you have to prove they’re authentic?”

Mapes: “Well, I think that’s what critics of the story would say. I know more now than I did then and I think, I think they have not been proved to be false, yet.”

Ross: “Have they proved to be authentic though? Isn’t that really what journalists do?”

Mapes: “No, I don’t think that’s the standard.”

And now we know why she’s unemployed.

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