The producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, was also faulted for calling Joe Lockhart, a senior official in the John Kerry campaign, prior to the airing of the piece, and offering to put Burkett in touch with him. The panel called Mapes’ action a “clear conflict of interest that created the appearance of political bias.”
of political bias? Appearance
That just SCREAMS political bias. Leaking that source to the Kerry campaign before the story even went on the air could have stolen all their thunder if Kerry decided to go public with it ASAP. What could the Kerry campaign have contributed to the story? What could CBS have gained by leaking the info to Bush's political rival? Nothing. How many TV producers will risk a 'scoop' like that for no reason whatsoever?
It seems pretty clear that Mapes had a political agenda in mind when putting together this piece. The agenda may or may not have ended with Mapes, but her actions make it pretty clear that it was more than just an appearance