Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Time for CBS to CYA

Apparently, Dan Rather made one final pathetic attempt on Monday night to defend the fradulent National Guard memos he and CBS hoped to use to put John Kerry in the White House. Today, to its credit, the Washington Post dealt the final blow to CBS's forlorn hope that they could bluff their way through the controversy:

The lead expert retained by CBS News to examine disputed memos from President Bush's former squadron commander in the National Guard said yesterday that he examined only the late officer's signature and made no attempt to authenticate the documents themselves.

"There's no way that I, as a document expert, can authenticate them," Marcel Matley said in a telephone interview from San Francisco. The main reason, he said, is that they are "copies" that are "far removed" from the originals.

Wait, it gets better:

A detailed comparison by The Washington Post of memos obtained by CBS News with authenticated documents on Bush's National Guard service reveals dozens of inconsistencies, ranging from conflicting military terminology to different word-processing techniques.

The analysis shows that half a dozen Killian memos released earlier by the military were written with a standard typewriter using different formatting techniques from those characteristic of computer-generated documents. CBS's Killian memos bear numerous signs that are more consistent with modern-day word-processing programs, particularly Microsoft Word.

The article even shreds CBS's ridiculous efforts to defend the memos authenticity:

In its broadcast last night, CBS News produced a new expert, Bill Glennon, an information technology consultant. He said that IBM electric typewriters in use in 1972 could produce superscripts and proportional spacing similar to those used in the disputed documents.

Any argument to the contrary is "an out-and-out lie," Glennon said in a telephone interview. But Glennon said he is not a document expert, could not vouch for the memos' authenticity and only examined them online because CBS did not give him copies when asked to visit the network's offices.

Thomas Phinney, program manager for fonts for the Adobe company in Seattle, which helped to develop the modern Times New Roman font, disputed Glennon's statement to CBS. He said "fairly extensive testing" had convinced him that the fonts and formatting used in the CBS documents could not have been produced by the most sophisticated IBM typewriters in use in 1972, including the Selectric and the Executive. He said the two systems used fonts of different widths.

The entire article can be accessed here: Expert Cited by CBS Says He Didn't Authenticate Papers

(if you need a Post name and password, go to www.bugmenot.com)

I can only express my appreciation to Michael Dobbs and Howard Kurtz, for an ecellent article and for restoring hope that some shred of non-partisan objectivity yet resides in the elite media.

With the forgery debate all but settled, several key questions remain: Who created these documents? How did CBS wind up with them? Why didn't CBS make a sincere effort to vet the authenticity of these documents before running the story? Did CBS genuinely not know the memos were forged, or did they just not care?

In my view, CBS's behavior is another manifestation of the Michael Moore phenomenon. Many of the people who saw Fahrenheit 9/11 knew that they were witnessing kindergarten level agitprop, but because the movie told them exactly what they wanted to hear, they believed it anyway. The same thing appears to have happened with Rather and his team at CBS. They were so eager to do a partisan hit piece on Bush's guard service that, when these memos arrived, they believed them because the documents said exactly what they wanted to hear. This story from the American Spectator Web site indicates that this is exactly what happened.

The Democrats September smear offensive has now truly turned into a quagmire. Should the forgeries be directly tied to the DNC and/or the Kerry/Edwards campaign, the quagmire will become a disaster.


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