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MediaWatch:TV
UNDER FIRE
CBS Dismisses Batiste Over Anti-Bush Ad
VP Says Appearance Violated Network's News Standards
05/11/2007 4:32 PM ET
WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 25: Retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste testifies during a Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing on Capitol Hill September 25, 2006 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty
WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 25: Retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste testifies during a Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing on Capitol Hill September 25, 2006 in Washington, DC.

Maj. Gen. John Batiste's recent appearance in an ad criticizing the President's war strategy has cost him a consulting gig with CBS News.

CBS News Vice President Linda Mason confirmed for CBS's "Public Eye" blog that Batiste had been asked to vacate his position.

“When we hire someone as a consultant, we want them to share their expertise with our viewers,” she said. “By putting himself front and center in an anti-Bush ad, the viewer might have the feeling everything he says is anti-Bush. And that doesn’t seem like an analytical approach to the issues we want to discuss.”

She said that Batiste's appearance violated CBS News standards, in which “we ask that people not be involved in advocacy.” Mason said the decision would have been the same if Batiste had done a pro-Bush ad.

Batiste worked closely with Paul Wolfowitz and was involved in the Pentagon's advance planning for the war, then went on to lead the Army's 1st Infantry Division in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

The TV ad, sponsored by a group of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who oppose the war, VoteVets.org, opens with footage of the President saying how he listens to his commanders on the ground. Then Batiste, formerly one of those commanders on the ground, appears on the screen:

"Mr. President, you did not listen. You continue to pursue a failed strategy that is breaking our great Army and Marine Corps. I left the Army in protest in order to speak out. Mr. President, you have placed our nation in peril. Our only hope is that Congress will act now to protect our fighting men and women."
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