COMMENTS: Weak Safety

All three networks assigned their Pentagon correspondents to the Inspector General's report into the circumstances of Pat Tillman's death. Tillman was the former NFL Cardinal who joined the commando fighters of the USArmy Rangers in Afghanistan and was killed by his own comrades. CBS' David Martin gave us a heads up Friday that the report would expose a cover-up by military brass of the fatal snafu. Martin's full report found that Tillman's bereaved father was left "in the dark at the nationally-televised memorial service."

All three networks aired the army's videotape reenactment of how Rangers traveling down a valley road reacted to Tillman's gunfire in surrounding hills, presuming it was a guerrilla ambush. "Tillman was awarded a Silver Star for bravery," noted NBC's Jim Miklaszewski. "The citation says he was killed under enemy fire." That has now been rewritten. ABC's Jonathan Karl (subscription required) claimed the report "definitively put an end to the myth" of a death in combat and called the army's apology to the Tillman family "heartfelt."

None of the correspondents reported on what the motive may have been for those nine officers, including four generals, to pretend that Tillman had acted more heroically than he actually had.


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