CBS and the NY Daily News transform a one-paragraph news story about 12 Secret Service members recalled from Columbia due to allegations of skimping on the bills with a lady of the night into a full-page book promotion for Ronald Kessler.
The story itself depends on a brief statement from the Secret Service (though CBS doesn’t supply even that much) and plenty from ‘sources’. Scant information to run with a “biggest scandal” headline (which we later find is quoted from Kessler):
According to CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante, a source in the Secret Service told CBS News that one or more of the officers was involved with prostitutes and that there was a dispute over payment. One prostitute went to the police, who notified the State Department.
The next several hundred words in the CBS news story become a promotion for Kessler’s book and by extension an implied endorsement of its gossip-style tale.
Whether these quotes were selectively edited for the story, or if Kessler himself pushed the dialogue in this direction, Kessler exploits the opportunity to question the competence of the entire agency: Continue reading