Monday, September 20, 2004

Blame Shift

Dear Mary Mapes:

Now that the suits have decided to abandon ship, the game begins. The name of this game, as you well understand, is called "blame shifting" and the person to whom the blame will be shifted is you.

This process is now underway. The quotes about your integrity and character will quickly be flipped to read "we had no idea she was as crazy as a hoot owl." The pivot (for them) will be the assertion that you've been working on this story for five years. Diligence, they will say, crossed over to obsession. And obsession, they will say (sadly), caused you to disregard better judgement.

Since they have a record of all your e-mails and phone calls and cell phone calls, they will likely find there a number of telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of people affiliated with the DNC, the Kerry campaign and various anti-Bush 527s. They will use those to destroy your credibility. And they will say that had they known about these "unprofessional" oppo research relationships, which the e-mail traffic and phone calls will almost certainly document, they would never have allowed "your" story to air.

Mr. Rather, your erstwhile colleague, has a choice to make and he will side with management. So if you're looking for help there, forget it.

Hire a lawyer and an agent. Do not resign. Do not agree to any "internal inquiry" until you have talked to a lawyer. Have the agent put out word to various publications that you are drafting a longish article on "what really happened." The one thing they can't afford is "your side of the story" out there for all to read. So they will pay you a ton of money not to publish.

Take the money and run, with a contract that says "one disparaging word about Mary Mapes and the 'tell-all' article runs" on your new blog.

Welcome to the blogosphere.

All Best -- Ellisblog