NEW YORK – CBS News has shelved a “60 Minutes” report on the rationale for war in Iraq because it would be “inappropriate” to air it so close to the presidential election, the network said on Saturday.
The report on weapons of mass destruction was set to air on Sept. 8 but was put off in favor of a story on President Bush’s National Guard service. The Guard story was discredited because it relied on documents impugning Bush’s service that were apparently fake.
CBS News spokeswoman Kelli Edwards would not elaborate on why the timing of the Iraq report was considered inappropriate.
The report, with Ed Bradley as the correspondent, has long been in the works. Originally scheduled for June, it was first put off because of new developments, Edwards said.
CBS said no other reports on the presidential election have been affected.
The network last week appointed former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and retired Associated Press chief executive Louis Boccardi to investigate what went wrong with the National Guard report and recommend changes.
The controversy has put CBS News officials squarely on the fire line, particularly anchor Dan Rather, who narrated the National Guard report.
Meanwhile, the network announced that Rather would anchor the network’s coverage of all three presidential debates, starting Thursday.