Dear MoveOn member,
It took CBS two weeks to fire Don Imus for calling a college women's basketball team "nappy headed hos," but it only took them two days to fire respected retired Major General John Batiste for speaking out against the president on the war.
Batiste, a Republican, commanded troops in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. He left the Army so that he could speak out against the president's reckless policy in Iraq, and CBS hired him as a part-time consultant to comment about it.1 Last week, he appeared in a VoteVets.org TV ad speaking out against the president on Iraq. Just two days later, CBS fired him.2
It's censorship, pure and simple. We're aiming to get over 100,000 messages demanding that CBS re-hire Major General John Batiste by the end of the week. Can you take a moment to add your name? Clicking here to sign the petition.
CBS says they fired Major General Batiste because he engaged in advocacy-but they're holding him to a different standard than their other consultants.
For example, former White House communications director Nicolle Wallace is a consultant to CBS and consistently uses her position to push White House talking points.3 It was even reported that she was advising the McCain campaign, yet CBS did nothing when she appeared as a consultant on their network to promote his candidacy.4
Plus, the Brookings Institution's Michael O'Hanlon also appeared on CBS as a consultant while advocating in favor of President Bush's escalation plan.5
CBS is sending a message that you can't be a consultant to their network if you're critical of President Bush and the Iraq war. That's political censorship and CBS needs to hear groundswell of outrage from concerned viewers right away.
Major General John Batiste is not the first general to speak out against the president on Iraq. Recently a number of generals and military leaders have spoken out against President Bush's failed policy-including Reagan's former NSA director, General William Odom, Vietnam veteran Major General Mel Montano and another former general from Iraq-retired Major General Paul Eaton.6
These generals must be heard, not censored for speaking the truth.
1. "Army Career Behind Him, General Speaks Out on Iraq," New York Times, May 13, 2007
2. "CBS fires consultant Gen. Batiste over VoteVets ad; 'We went to war with a fatally flawed strategy'," Raw Story, May 11, 2007
3. "CBS Fires Batiste For Anti-Bush Advocacy, Hires Bush Aide To Engage In Pro-Bush Advocacy," ThinkProgress, May 11, 2007
4. "CBS Has Allowed McCain Campaign Aide To Advocate For McCain On Air." ThinkProgress, May 14, 2007
5. "CBS Fired Antiwar BatisteBut CBS Consultant O'Hanlon Advocated For Surge," Talking Points Memo, May 11, 2007
6. "Generals Express Outrage at Presidential Veto," National Security Network, May 2, 2007
7. Reid: Senate Will Have Opportunity To Speak On Change Of Course In Iraq, Reid Press Release, Monday, May 14, 2007
"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."- George Orwell