Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

INTERVIEW WITH LOUIS BOCCARDI

Louis Boccardi is one of the most respected news
executives in the nation. The low-key, self-effacing former
president of the mighty Associated Press was called back
into the limelight to investigate CBS News during the
“Rathergate” contretemps. His brilliant counsel has also
benefited our community radio stations over the years.
Boccardi is an icon of the profession. We spoke with him
on January 11, 2005.

WILLIAM O’SHAUGHNESSY (W.O.): CBS has just released his report. He’s been on all the networks and cable shows, and he’s been quoted this day in all the major journals of our nation. He’s also one of our Westchester neighbors … Louis Boccardi. For a good, long time, he was president and CEO of the mighty Associated Press, one of the most respected news organizations in the world, and he is a director of the mighty Gannett Company. In recent months, he’s been behind closed doors on an important assignment with Dick Thornburgh, the former U.S. attorney general, trying to figure out what the hell went wrong with CBS and Dan Rather. Lou Boccardi, was this one of your toughest assignments?

LOUIS BOCCARDI (L.B.): It was very difficult, Bill, because there were a large number of good people who thought they were doing the right thing—at least it seemed so to them at the moment they were doing it. Also, it’s just a complicated story. So it was a tough assignment, yes.

W.O.: Louis Boccardi, three or four people lost their jobs. Do you feel bad about that?

L.B.: Well, that’s a question you’d think would be awfully easy for me to answer, but we’ve made a pact with ourselves. CBS asked us to look at the story and both how it was done and the aftermath and didn’t ask us to intervene in personnel issues, so I’m not commenting on anything they did in the way of personnel.

-77-

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