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Rewriting Rathergate History

Just when I thought I'd seen everything that could be written on Rathergate, Columbia Journalism Review published this spectacularly inept account of the Rathergate affair.

The number of cherry picked items presented as "fact," used out of context, or later proved untrue borders on the obscene. The amount of evidence and thoughtful research ignored (both for and against the authenticity of the documents) is likewise telling. While the author states that the practice of journalism by the mainstream media in this case was suspect, he provides precious little evidence of that assertion. He also completely disregards the fine work done investigating the story by ABC, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, etc. after bloggers put the story in play.

It does make me wonder if we might not see some of this kind of revisionist history in the long-delayed final report from the Thornburgh/Boccardi commission...

Here's the message I sent to the author on his treatment of Haileygate:

Someone found a draft of his work on a publicly accessible university Web site, and it wound up on a conservative blog, Wizbang.
Bullshit. Get your facts straight. Haley was promoting the work publicly and Mapes was referring reporters to the work. It did not become a "draft" until after we found that his work was not done with a typewriter (as was implied), but with a poor cut and paste job in Photoshop. Only upon notifying his university of our concerns, did Haley attempt to quickly rewrite the document to explain our findings. He did this before we published our first story - that too is documented. Of course he didn't bother to fix his clumsily pasted "th" and a host of other errors.
The blog, citing "evidence" that it had misinterpreted, called Hailey a "liar, fraud, and charlatan." Soon Hailey's e-mail box was flooded. Anonymous callers demanded his dismissal.
Again you completely gloss over the fact that his "research" was widely discredited on multiple occasions by multiple sites, including last month when Wizbang revealed that more of his exhibits were not what they were purported to be. You also fail to note that we retracted those three words, but nothing else (save a rumor about university funding of the research in a later story).

Update: Jim Lindgren, Meryl Yourish, Charles Johnson, and Roger L. Simon each address different aspects of the CJR piece.

Additional coverage at Instapundit.

Via e-mail T.S. Allen writes:

I made the ill advised decision to read the entire article at CJR. You were far too brief and temperate in your comments. There are so many untruths in that article, as well as facts that were omitted, that it made my head spin. I am no document expert, rather an IT specialist with over 22 years working with computers. My immediate response upon seeing the memos was that they were done in Word. Add to that reaction that I was in the Coast Guard from 1976-2001, and during those 25 years I NEVER saw the Times New Roman font prior to widespread adoption of desktop computers. My recollections of the Navy and CG Correspondence manuals (those I regularly referenced) from that time are that Courier was the standard font, and we also had Elite as well as OCR for personnel documents. Additionally in the course of my duties I routinely saw Army and Air Force documents and correspondence.

Mr. Pein expects that I must discard what I know to be true, and suspend all logic, reason, and common sense to believe that these documents could possibly be real. I have personally come to the conclusion that for the documents to be authentic, there would have to have been a convergence of nearly impossible events so great in magnitude that it makes the big bang theory pale in comparison. He tosses Dr. Newcomer's work aside like so much road kill, never mentions the serious questions raised by the document experts CBS used prior to airing the story, then cites Lt. Col Hodges as an expert source on "that little"th'." This is the quality of work from an editor at a major journalism review? I've seen better work in the Weekly World News.

For me the icing on the cake was his regurgitation of the "fake but accurate" line. I can't imagine any reputable journalist having the nerve to print that one.

And last but not least, he seems to completely miss the fact that a blog, unless it presents itself as an unbiased purveyor of news, has no obligation to be fair or balanced in presentation. All that should be expected from a blog is sufficient background work to ensure that the information published is accurate to the best of the blogger's ability. CBS, as a network news broadcast, does have an obligation to be fair. Sadly it is one that they have long forgotten, and much of the public has forgotten CBS News as a result.

Thanks for your investigative work. Mr Pein needs to stop tilting and windmills.
Indeed.


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Comments (71)

Instead of simply putting "... (Below threshold)

Instead of simply putting "first" here, I have to ask if anyone is surprised that the conservative blogs which have participated in Haileygate (and for that matter in Rathergate as well) are being turned into the villians here? It wouldn't matter if Dan rather was dressed in a pillowcase (sorry for that image) with blood on his face chanting on TV and then said he is convinced that Bush is the spawn of Satan. As soon as ANYONE even dares to suggest that he is as NUTTY AS A FRUIT CAKE, that blog would be seen as attacking him, not pointing out the truth, but let michael moore make his movie (which is NOT a documentary) and blame EVERYTHING bad on Bush, and he is simply trying to expose something sinister, and anyone who speaks out against him is loony.

Speaking of Mr. Moore, I he... (Below threshold)
julie:

Speaking of Mr. Moore, I heard an ad on the radio this am, stating 911 is qualified for nominating in every catagory but documentary for the Academy Awards. If Moore wins in any catagory, I don't think I will ever see a movie again.

Why is this surprising? It ... (Below threshold)
Sergio:

Why is this surprising? It is the Columbia *Journalism* Review after all, how were you expecting them to behave in all of this? Where are Journalism School graduates going to be looking for work? It would have been remarkable, indeed amazing, if the CJR (or any official MSM-prep organ) actually got the story right and moved ahead bravely from there. I guess that would be too painful.

What did you expect from th... (Below threshold)
Tom Davis:

What did you expect from the folks at CJR? As I recall, they ignored the forged documents story for about two weeks (I think they first opined in a 22 September piece by Steve Lovelady, via their Campaign Desk site), and then dismissed the matter not as partisan hackery but as inexplicably shoddy "journalism". And then they explained that due to the vigilance of the WaPo/ABC/LAT folks, CBS News' viewers were protected from being victimized by a huge CBS News "mistake".

"..you could make a replica... (Below threshold)
goldglove:

"..you could make a replica of almost any document using Word."

That stupid comment has it backwards. While it may well be true, the point is that there are documents Word can produce that NO typewriter in the early '70's could.

Actually, I'm impressed tha... (Below threshold)

Actually, I'm impressed that 911 was NOT allowed to compete in the documentary section, but I don't listen to the oscars (or any other award show for that matter). I watch what I want to, and I listen to the music that I want to, and no one can make me do anything different!

Uh, saying the CJR piece bo... (Below threshold)
julie:

Uh, saying the CJR piece borders on the obscene is a compliment.

Actually, I'd be more surpr... (Below threshold)
Lysander:

Actually, I'd be more surprised if they didn't attempt Stalinist revisions on the whole affair. After all, a bunch of Bloggers successfully taking down an icon such as Danny Rather? Inconceivable!

Danny Rather, cBS, and The New York Times-Democrat coming forward and loudly proclaiming their Leftist stance, and getting criticized for their bias? Inconceivable - but only that they'd be criticized for being partisan political hacks, er, um, reporters.

The self-proclaimed media watchdog being as partisanly political and willing bedfellows of the same? Inconceivable!

It's almost a bad joke, if it weren't true.

"..you could make a repl... (Below threshold)
Stephen:

"..you could make a replica of almost any document using Word."

That stupid comment has it backwards. While it may well be true, the point is that there are documents Word can produce that NO typewriter in the early '70's could.

Another point is that LGF, Powerline, etc. didn't have to go out of their way to re-create it. They didn't measure out the margins, massage the font and spacing, etc. to prove that it could be possibly re-created with Word; the re-creation was done with the DEFAULT Word settings. All they did was boot up the program, which is exactly what the author of the memo did. He didn't even have the sense to change to a typewriter font.

"For example, Bill Burkett ... (Below threshold)
JFH:

"For example, Bill Burkett was quoted in a book published last March using the term “OER,” suggesting he would’ve known better had he forged the documents as Hodges and others implied in interviews."

I've been trying to raise this point until I'm blue in the face! The funny thing is that the author of this brings up this fact without understanding its repercussions. He's saying that Burkett knew better than to use this fake term in a forged memo. The issue is not whether BURKETT forged the memos, but that the memos were FORGED.

This single acronym, OETR, is the nail in the coffin in the authenticity of the document! I still claim that Burkett would not have made this mistake if HE authored the forgeries, but instead was a dupe for someone else. Reviewing the documents, assuming they were authentic, it would be easy to gloss over this, as I believe he did.

I have a theory which Allah posted as to where the forger could have gotten this incorrect acronym, but it's been lost in the typography discussion which is much more compelling evidence to the most in the civilian world and even many in the military world.

"you could make a replica o... (Below threshold)
Boris:

"you could make a replica of almost any document using Word."

Anyone who has actually tried this knows that is not true. You would think a writer at CJR would know that, or at least try it before revealing an arrogant closed mind.

That was the instant giveaway to anyone who has tried it. Why you don't need to have a Phd in typewriter history to know for sure.

The entire premise of the CJR article is that people who have not tried this will believe that to be true, and therefore authenticity is not disproven.

In fact it is false which proves they are fake.

This line in the next to la... (Below threshold)
jmaster:

This line in the next to last paragraph telegraphs the authors bias quite effectively:

“ And the coverage of Memogate effectively killed the story of Bush’s Guard years. Those who kept asking questions found themselves counted among the journalistic fringe.”

So this guy’s final conclusion is that Memogate coverage effectively gave Bush a free pass on his National Guard service “story”.

“America’s Premier Media Monitor”? What a crock.

I suggest you contact the e... (Below threshold)
joesnoop:

I suggest you contact the editors. BUT PLEASE BE POLITE!

Columbia Journalism Review

P: (212) 854-1881
F: (212) 854-8580
E: [email protected]

2950 Broadway
#207 Journalism Bldg, CU
New York, NY 10027-7004

Mr. Michael Hoyt, Executive Editor
P: (212) 854-1885
E: [email protected]

Ms. Gloria Cooper, Deputy Executive Editor
P: (212) 854-1887
E: [email protected]

Mr. Brent Cunningham, Managing Editor
P: (212) 854-1882
E: [email protected]


PLEASE BE POLITE!

CSJ writes...Red f... (Below threshold)
kevin:

CSJ writes...

Red flags wave here, or should have. Newcomer begins with the presumption that the documents are forgeries, and as evidence submits that he can create a very similar document on his computer. This proves nothing — you could make a replica of almost any document using Word. Yet Newcomer’s aggressive conclusion is based on this logical error.

WHOSE LOGICAL ERROR? Word is BACKWARD COMPATIBLE....1970's typewriters can't produce what was written....GO BACK TO TEACHING HOW TO READ TELEPROMPTERS CAUSE YOU HAVE NO CLUE!!

I hope writers will use "fa... (Below threshold)
Ken:

I hope writers will use "fabricated" instead of "forged".

Forgery is unauthorized copying of something that exists such as currency, a signature, or a famous painting. Forgeries are passed as originals.

Unless the famous memos are known to have existed they are fabrications.

I'm not trying to quarrel. We have so many wonderful facets to our language it is a shame when we fail to use them.

In a way forgery is more honorable than fabrication. Usually, a forger seeks material gain but the fabricator bears false witness.

Ken, interesting distinctio... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Ken, interesting distinction between fabricated and forged. However, wouldn't duplicating Killian's signature on a memo constitute forgery?

Yo, I think "Joesnoop" is r... (Below threshold)
Sergio:

Yo, I think "Joesnoop" is representing for the CJR.

I think those kids are reading blogs as obsessively as the rest of us are. And maybe they thought: if we review the Dan affair truthfully, who the hell will notice or care? The blogs already "broke" the story. (Remember how intent Dan was - "If there's a story, *I'll* break it"), so to "me-too" the blogs now would be a hopeless loss of face for the CJR. They're trying to find a niche for themselves, some new blog-like relevance, by mediating between the 'sphere and MSM.

Or is that theory completely whacked and CJR are just snide, lazy, has-beens just like their MSM daddies?

Smoke Eater:Hold u... (Below threshold)
m:

Smoke Eater:

Hold up on being impressed with the Academy, on this one. It's not that "Fahrenheit 9/11" wasn't allowed by the Academy to compete in the documentary category: Moore didn't submit it; here's why, in his own words:

"The only problem with my desire to get this movie in front of as many Americans as possible is that, should it air on TV, I will not be eligible to submit ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ for Academy Award consideration for Best Documentary. Academy rules forbid the airing of a documentary on television within nine months of its theatrical release (fiction films do not have the same restriction). ... Therefore, I have decided not to submit ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ for consideration for the Best Documentary Oscar."

I'm sure the whole speech is preserved on his website. Blecchh.

Kevin missed the funniest p... (Below threshold)
Carrick Talmadge:

Kevin missed the funniest part of the CJR article, the last line:

Enjoy this piece? Consider a CJR trial subscription.

Given the abismal quality of the journalism, sombody has a real sense of humor.

Good point, but I still ref... (Below threshold)

Good point, but I still refuse to watch any of those awards shows!

<a href="http://www.coreype... (Below threshold)
Marko:

http://www.coreypein.com/resume.htm

Per his resume he was voted "most likely to bring down a presidential administration" by Columbia classmates.

He certainly couldn't accomplish that with his prose - the theory must have been that he would someday reach a cabinet position and would then be able to bring an administration down from the inside through incompetence . . .

Obviously, none of you 'get... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

Obviously, none of you 'get it'. You see, CJR's interpretation of what happened is just as valid as everyone else's. (unless you're a Republican, in which case shame on you and your culturally imperialistic notions of "objective truth")

I'm joking, in case you didn't notice. This is what I get for all my years in school: I can speak Moonbat quite fluently.

reply to Time ' interesting... (Below threshold)
Ken:

reply to Time ' interesting distinction between fabricated and forged. However, wouldn't duplicating Killian's signature on a memo constitute forgery?'

Good point! And exactly why I said I wasn't looking for quarrels. The line between the two words can get so small as to vanish. Think about a newly 'found' draft of a lost Mark Twain story.

And dictionaries have to accept usage not dogma (certainly my dogmatic views anyway).

I would answer that each 'memo' and everything on it constitutes a whole - a single thing (which is not known to exist.) Hence a fabrication.

But it is fair to contend otherwise.

Anyway, it is good to be tested. Fabrications are stories, especially disgusting when they are used to destroy character and incite hate. They can start panics and wars. That is why it is so important that media avoid them. Forgeries seldom cause much trouble.

p.s. all this assumes the memos are fake. I don't know that but it's the way to bet.

As a journalism piece it is... (Below threshold)
Neo:

As a journalism piece it isn't too bad, but as an investigative journalism piece it reeks of narcissism. I mean it is shallow; it's an afternoon knockoff.

The CJR author writes, "The... (Below threshold)
John S:

The CJR author writes, "The bottom line, which credible document examiners concede, is that copies cannot be authenticated either way with absolute certainty."

Isn't that just dead wrong? Isn't is universally conceded that copies can be proven fakes with absolute certainty? For example, a copy purporting to be dated 2002 that refers to the recent tsunami can be absolutely proven fake right?

So where's the story herre?... (Below threshold)

So where's the story herre? CJR gives the MSM propaganda. This is news?

A more interesting question to me is why nobody ever asked "why do we care what Bush did in the National Guard?"

Kerry was an unproven leader running as a war hero.

Bush was a proven (or at least known) leader with 3 years of command of the whole military under his belt.

The whole idea of the MSM that digging up dirt on Bush's NG may present something newsworthy shows how far away they are from actually reporting on things that count.

Let's not forget that this is the MSM turning over every rock in Texas and Arkansas, while refusing to examing critically Kerry's war record - the centerpiece of his campaign.

Don't expect much from CJR or the MSM. They are destructive and counterfactual.

Boy, that article was just ... (Below threshold)
John S:

Boy, that article was just awful. I had hoped that as time rolled by the representatives of MSM would edge closer to reality -- and take some collective responsibility on behalf of responsible journalism.

1. His thesis is so modest: CBS may have screwed up but so did others. But then he plays the agnostic regarding CBS and the authenticity of the memos. There's no real basis for him to say that CBS screwed up in the slightest.

2. He suggests that Newcomer's proof is simply the typing of a similar document -- when any fair reader of Newcomer's work knows that Newcomer used multiple independent lines of proof.

3. As others have noted, he gets Newcomer's simple experiment exactly backwards. The fact that Word can create exact facsimiles of decades-old documents does not prove that decades-old typerwrites can produce exact facsimiles of perfectly spaced, modern Word documents. This is a real killer, and if the CJR has any integrity they will correct this portion of the article.

4. On the "th" issue, the CJR writer turns to -- can you believe this -- the old military guy, Hodges, who's not a typeface expert and who nonetheless thinks these things are total forgery. C'mon, CJR, pick up the phone and talk to an expert, and try to find any expert who will support Rather's position on the "th" or other typographical features.

5. His conclusion is, "When the smoke cleared, mainstream journalism’s authority was weakened. But it didn’t have to be that way." I agree completely. CBS didn't have to ignore its own experts who warned about fakes. CBS didn't have to stonewall once the legitimate questions were raised. CBS didn't have to taunt Laura Bush for offering no proof of the memos authenticity. CBS didn't have to do any of that.

Here's another slant the CJ... (Below threshold)
John S:

Here's another slant the CJR took: they suggest that Hailey was the quiet, cautious one, while Newcomer was the loud, incautious one.

But recall that Hailey started out making all sorts of wild accusations and conclusions then backed way off when confronted with facts.

Newcomer laid out his code, his conclusions, his results, and his methodology for anyone to test. (Hailey? He refused to explain himself at step after step, and engaged in "hide the ball.") Newcomer patiently analyzed each new theory and each new development and laid it out for the world to see.

The longer one reflects on the CJR piece, the more obviously it is a quick "take" piece, offering a partisan slant.

Pein's college thesis was "... (Below threshold)
Billy Burketty:

Pein's college thesis was "Domestic Propaganda in the War on Terrorism." I wonder if that is online somewhere.

"The CJR author writes, 'Th... (Below threshold)
kcom:

"The CJR author writes, 'The bottom line, which credible document examiners concede, is that copies cannot be authenticated either way with absolute certainty.'

Isn't that just dead wrong? Isn't is universally conceded that copies can be proven fakes with absolute certainty? For example, a copy purporting to be dated 2002 that refers to the recent tsunami can be absolutely proven fake right?"

Posted by: John S at January 3, 2005 08:00 PM

Yes, that's just dead wrong. Nothing can be "authenticated either way." Authentication means proven true. It's only one way. If you fail to prove something is true, you've failed to prove it's true. When the burden of proof is on you in making an accusation that's all that matters.

And as John S points out, in a given situation proving a negative is often very possible when, in the same situation, proving a positive is not possible. For instance, before the era of DNA testing, it was very possible in a paternity dispute to exclude a particular man as the father of a certain child even when it was not possible to prove (or conclusively disprove) that a different man was the father.

The writer's attempt to draw some sort of moral equivalence between the totality of evidence needed to prove something to be true and the single piece of exculpatory evidence needed to prove it to be false shows either his lack of critical thinking or, more likely, a willingness to use obfuscation and fuzzy logic to gloss over a point that isn't in his favor.

Mr. Pein actually claims th... (Below threshold)
TomC:

Mr. Pein actually claims that the typographical evidence against the memos was inconclusive? Where does he stand on the flimsy hypothesis that the sun rises in the east?

No one has yet been able to reproduce the Guard memos using any device that was available in 1972, despite widespread publicity of the $10,000 prize offered to the first person to do so. (No, David Hailey did not win that prize.)

Yet anyone with Microsoft Word, using the default settings, can easily reproduce the Guard documents in all their tiny particulars – the exact shape of every character, the microspacing between characters, linespacing, word-wrap, precise position and precise font size of superscript. (The fuzziness introduced by copying and faxing is an obvious artifact.) Taken together, for such a mountain of microscopic details to be mirrored in Microsoft Word’s output is overwhelmingly persuasive evidence that the memos were produced on a computer, not a typewriter, and therefore that the memos were not produced in 1972. No competent source maintains that the Times New Roman text produced by ANY typewriter is virtually identical, on microscopic analysis, to Times Roman text produced by Microsoft Word.

To assert that this body of evidence is “inconclusive” without providing a point-by-point rebuttal of the detailed analyses by Dr. Joseph Newcomer and others is just gratuitous. Pein’s words would carry exactly as much weight had he said, “I want for Dr. Newcomer to be wrong, therefore he is wrong.”

There is much else wrong with this piece, but it just isn’t worth the time. When he leaves journalism school, Pein will doubtless be offered plenty of jobs, based on his willingness and ability to furiously spin the news to fit the left’s agenda. The MSM prefers to hire those who distort the truth, not those who report it.

There is much else wrong... (Below threshold)
SPG:

There is much else wrong with this piece, but it just isn’t worth the time. When he leaves journalism school, Pein will doubtless be offered plenty of jobs, based on his willingness and ability to furiously spin the news to fit the left’s agenda. The MSM prefers to hire those who distort the truth, not those who report it.

This is precisely why we should go out of our way to bring Pein to task for his intentional distortions, to name and shame him. The more the public at large makes it clear we won't sit quietly and accept this sort of thing any more, the sooner the MSM will start to fear hiring such distorters.

Stephen Glass. Jayson Blair. Corey Pein. They can be brought down.

I am a resident of Olympia,... (Below threshold)
Bruce Davies:

I am a resident of Olympia, WA, so I noted with special interest Corey Pein's resume, which was posted on Instapundit. His resume says he is a graduate of Evergeen State College (located here in Olympia) and was the editor of its newspaper.

Evergeen is renowned locally as the most wacky left wing college in the country. They pride themselves on their dopesters, lesbians, dreadlocks and marxist, anti-american professors. They sponsor, on a regular basis, anti-corporate, anti-war, anti-globalism protests.

I read the college newspaper on occasion for comic relief. It is loaded with sixties era diatribes about imperialism,the evils of the zionist entity, George Bush as a war crimial, etc.

With this background, Pein cannot be considered a mildmannered, broadminded and impartial commentator.

I noticed that Mr. Pein has... (Below threshold)
Garrett:

I noticed that Mr. Pein has picked up the assertion: "The very first post attacking the memos — nineteen minutes into the 60 Minutes II program ..." As I understand it, this was an error made earlier by groups attacking the initial report. According to Patterico (via NRO), the error is based on a failure to account for the differences in time zones between the East Coast, where the writer was, and the West Coast, where the blog was hosted. This error has been subsequently pointed out and corrected many times, including by ABCNews who made the original error. If Pein could repeat this error, he really is a very poor journalist. Once somebody has corrected their own error, it seems quite stupid to repeat the original mistake.

GG

Reading the article in more... (Below threshold)
GG:

Reading the article in more detail, I am stunned at what a hack Pein is. He seems to prefer the typographic analysis of General Hodges over Newcomer, who actually developed fonts, without giving any reason. He says, "The specific points of contention about the memos are too numerous to go into here," and then picks the issue of the raised "th," the one easisest to defend. Who is this "star CBS producer Mary Mapes?" Is that her official title, or has Pein knighted her as such so that the reader will understand that she is perfect and infallible, as opposed to the "blogmob?" This is a wonderful piece of propaganda. Pein only directly addresses those arguments which can be deflected. Unqualified adjectives and adverbs abound to paint a picture of the poor and pious party, the press (Look Corey, I used alliteration! Alert the NY Times!) Anyone reading Mr. Pein's piece could only conclude that the documents were probably real and that the mindless uproar caused by the hopelessly ignorant red-state mob caused the press to miss the real story of Bush performing Satanic rituals on puppy dogs instead of defending his country from the non-existent threat of benevolent communism, which would have stopped all natural disasters and cured every disease.

I try to address the articl... (Below threshold)
"This single acronym, OETR,... (Below threshold)
BR:

"This single acronym, OETR, is the nail in the coffin in the authenticity of the document!"

JFH - you're so right!

Ken & Tim - re fakery & forgery. Very interesting points. Fortunately, under Texas forgery laws, fakes have been incorporated under the forgery category for law enforcement purposes. (I read that at scyllacharybdis.blogspot.com.)

WHAT GOD?.....May ... (Below threshold)
Liquid:

WHAT GOD?.....

May I point out to all you people who rushed to defend God's existence that all the classical arguments for the existence of God were demolished in the 18th century by the Scottish philosopher, David Hume, and the German philosopher, Immanuel Kant (who substituted the Categorical Imperative for God).
Since that time (to my knowledge) no new arguments have been advanced which command any kind of intellectual respect. Those people all seem to rely heavily on the First Cause argument; alas, is totally invalid for the simple reason that it negates its own premise. If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause; if however, we can conceive of anything as happening without a cause, it might just as well be the universe as God. I personally believe that the man who got it spot-on correct was the great scientist and biologist, J B S Haldane when he very perceptibly wrote: "My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."
I believe that another word from me on the subject would be totally superfluous.

BR and Tim re: fakes, etc</... (Below threshold)
Ken:

BR and Tim re: fakes, etc

Most states have an omnibus law about fakes, forgeries, etc. Some throw in verbiage to defeat any permutation of word meanings that a defense lawyer can try. From what I understand Texas actually is quite sensible (severe) about such matters.

Everyone has their own ideas about the nuances of language. I just hate to see a weak word 'forgery' used when 'fabrication' is asserted. The MSM media certainly wouldn't say a drug company 'forged' some test results. They would say altered, or lied-about, or dreamed-up, or faked, or fabricated.

Again, I can't judge the actual memos. Hell, I'm still trying to learn english.

"Consider the memos in ques... (Below threshold)
Gary:

"Consider the memos in question. They were supposed to have been written by Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Killian, now dead, who supervised Bush in the Guard. We know Killian’s name was on them. We don’t know whether the memos were forged, authentic, or some combination thereof. Indeed, they could be fake but accurate, as Killian’s secretary, Marian Carr Knox, told CBS on September 15. We don’t know through what process they wound up in the possession of a former Guardsman, Bill Burkett, who gave them to the star CBS producer Mary Mapes. Who really wrote them? Theories abound: The Kerry campaign created the documents. CBS’s source forged them. Karl Rove planted them. They were real. Some of them were real. They were recreations of real documents. The bottom line, which credible document examiners concede, is that copies cannot be authenticated either way with absolute certainty."

Talk about a bunch of BS. This idiot claims that they don't know if they're authentic or not. If they don't know that, then how can Rather say that he got these documents from "an unimpeachable source" & how could he say that they represented proof of President Bush's wrongdoing?

It's worth repeating that their "unimpeachable" source was quite easily impeached because of his longstanding hatred of President Bush.

This article proves, though, that Rather & Ms. Mapes didn't worry about getting it right. They just wanted something to possibly tip the electorate Kerry's direction & to set off a firestorm against President Bush.

SPG wrote:This is... (Below threshold)
TomC:

SPG wrote:

This is precisely why we should go out of our way to bring Pein to task for his intentional distortions, to name and shame him. The more the public at large makes it clear we won't sit quietly and accept this sort of thing any more, the sooner the MSM will start to fear hiring such distorters.
Stephen Glass. Jayson Blair. Corey Pein. They can be brought down.

SPG:
Glass and Blair (and Janet Cooke) were brought down because they were con artists who conned their editors as well as the public, not because they were biased. My guess is that Pein is a much more common type, a leftist ideologue who wants to “make a difference” by convincing his readers of his political views using slanted reporting. He does not have to con anyone, he will be hired by the MSM because they understand and approve of what he wants to do.

“Name them and shame them,” fine, best of luck, but I’d rather pick my fights and not waste too much time battling a rather dim journalism student. Besides, Kevin Aylward, Glenn Reynolds, Eugene Volokh, and especially Meryl Yourish have already reduced Mr. Pein to a nice little pile of ash.

"Consider the memos in ques... (Below threshold)
Ken:

"Consider the memos in question. They were supposed to have been written by Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Killian, now dead, who supervised Bush in the Guard. We know Killian’s name was on them. We don’t know whether the memos were forged, authentic, or some combination thereof. Indeed, they could be fake but accurate, as Killian’s secretary, Marian Carr Knox, told CBS on September 15. We don’t know through what process they wound up in the possession of a former Guardsman, Bill Burkett, who gave them to the star CBS producer Mary Mapes. Who really wrote them? Theories abound: The Kerry campaign created the documents. CBS’s source forged them. Karl Rove planted them. They were real. Some of them were real. They were recreations of real documents. The bottom line, which credible document examiners concede, is that copies cannot be authenticated either way with absolute certainty."

Well said Gary. Notice the CSJ doesn't include any chance that CBS people themselves were at fault in their "theories abound" list.

I also dispute the phrase "copies cannot be authenticated EITHER WAY". It implies the copies (pictures) CBS received are just as likely to come from real memos as not. It is often quite easy to determine what is fake from a picture. What is difficult is to decide what is real from a picture.

Corey Pein writes in the CJ... (Below threshold)
BR:

Corey Pein writes in the CJR article: "Hailey is more restrained in his comments than other document examiners more widely quoted in the press. Of course, cautious voices tend to be quieter than confident ones."

I guess Corey Pein didn't read Hailey's self-professed drunken rants spewed out at wizbangblog.com in the Dec. 14, 2004 thread entitled "The Hailey Complex" - in the comments section. Referenced in the Dec. 16 thread "Cleanup On Aisle 4..."

(P.S. Kevin, Paul - can you restore the link to Hailey's Comments?)

The more I read Corey Pein'... (Below threshold)
BR:

The more I read Corey Pein's article, the more I'm breaking up laughing. That famous reliance on "multiple sources" - oh hoo haa haa ha!

"...as Internet analysts contended that typewriters at the time of the memo could not produce that character. But they could, in fact, according to multiple sources."

Who are they, pray tell? If unnamed "multiple sources" are the criteria for truth, then the blogosphere wins hands down. I'm being facetious, of course. Truth is truth, whether spoken by one or many. And lies repeated by multiple sources are still lies. Quality not quantity counts.

"Fake but Accurate." What a... (Below threshold)
Rankin:

"Fake but Accurate." What a standard. Imagine if it were applied to a murder trial:

"Yes your honor, much of the evidence against the defendant has turned out to be fake, but we believe it's still accurate. After all, we all KNOW he did it."

"Agreed. Guilty!"

Good job, CJR.

The memos in question were ... (Below threshold)

The memos in question were fabricated - some of these fabrications incorporate forged signatures.

The curmudgeon rests.

The author, Corey Pein, sta... (Below threshold)
BR:

The author, Corey Pein, started his blog, coreypein.com, with this entry:

"Friday, June 11, 2004

The amount of time and energy I devote to this site should strike you right away. I generally don't like blogs. I don't even like the word. So I'd rather not discuss how "I Power Blogger." But there it is, for any and all to see. Onward!

posted by Corey at 1:30 PM"

******

I don't know what he means in the last 3 parts (did someone force him to start a blog?!), but the first 3 sentences are revealing.

Most Freepers and Wizbanger... (Below threshold)
A_retrogrouch:

Most Freepers and Wizbangers are angry closet fascists with closed, fuzzy minds. Exhibit A: They'd rather put down Pein than his facts and conclusions...

Screw you all.

Hey retrogrouch,Ta... (Below threshold)
Inspector Callahan:

Hey retrogrouch,

Talk about projection. First you call the posters here angry closet fascists with closed, fuzzy minds. Then you complain that we're putting someone down instead of arguing the facts. Notice the hypocrisy?

Have you read any of the many comments above? Followed any links from the top? There's PLENTY of discussion of "facts", if you'd get off your lazy ass and read.

Please see a neurologist for a brain transplant.

Nitwit.

TV (Harry)

....His resume sa... (Below threshold)
Tongueboy:

....
His resume says he is a graduate of Evergeen State College (located here in Olympia) and was the editor of its newspaper.

Evergeen is renowned locally as the most wacky left wing college in the country.
....

And we all know another alumnus of that illustrious institution, don't we? I'll give ya' a hint: tried to stop a bulldozer with her bare hands. Unsuccessfully.

You people are insane. ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

You people are insane.

Did anyone notice that he never said that the documents were real? There were no distortions here. He said exactly the truth: that the evidence and corroboration on both sides were so sloppy that we can't reasonably draw a conclusion. Hence, those who said there was no doubt that the memos were forgeries were just as irresponsible as CBS. I defy one of you to logically refute this conclusion.

The other point of the report was of the nature of mob behavior; playing with Word fonts became the focus, rather than the story of whether Bush showed up or not. Let's remember that the only person still living with personal knowledge of these alleged documents in their alleged original form claims they're accurate, whether they're reproductions or etc. Nobody has been willing to swear that they remember Bush reporting, and there is no documentary record of him reporting.

The fact that following up on this was ignored in favor of font diddlings tells any rational person that there is not a liberal bias in the MSM. There's simply a gang flavor-of-the-minute bias.

One more logical point to a... (Below threshold)
Brian:

One more logical point to address. A number people mentioned this, I'll quote it from John S:

--
As others have noted, he gets Newcomer's simple experiment exactly backwards. The fact that Word can create exact facsimiles of decades-old documents does not prove that decades-old typerwrites[sic] can produce exact facsimiles of perfectly spaced, modern Word documents. This is a real killer, and if the CJR has any integrity they will correct this portion of the article.
--

This is a good point as stated; but its footing is flawed.

1. You assume facts at issue. "Exact facsimilies"? That is very much debated, which is part of the central point. None of the experiments were particularly exact, which leads to the more important point: we're dealing with photocopies of photocopies of photocopies. The idea that you can match it up with a clean copy is simply absurd. You can get rough, comparative ideas (like: "It's closer to Times Roman than Chicago"), but the arguments that got into letter spacing and the like are laughable.

2. What did the author actually say? Quote: "Red flags wave here, or should have. Newcomer begins with the presumption that the documents are forgeries, and as evidence submits that he can create a very similar document on his computer. This proves nothing — you could make a replica of almost any document using Word. Yet Newcomer’s aggressive conclusion is based on this logical error." Read carefully. The point here is not that Word can replicate any document; that's a secondary clause. The point is that how closely Word can replicate it is completely irrelevant without first establishing that the document is at substantial variance with what you would expect from a document of that time and place, which, again, is the very fact at issue.

Does that make sense?

Amazing. You just gave Paul... (Below threshold)
julie:

Amazing. You just gave Paul another example.

In his inability to underst... (Below threshold)
MrGrumpyDrawers:

In his inability to understand the font issues in the fake memos, Corey Pein resembles those pathetic types who hang around mathematics departments with their 'discoveries' how to square the circle or trisect an angle. These wretches do not have enough grasp of the subject to fathom why they are wrong - they can't even follow the mathematics that show that their 'discoveries' are flawed and fruitless. Anyone who has every worked in a typesetting and layout environment can immediately recognize that the memos are fake. To those like Corey Pein who don't know the trade, the only thing one can say is, go get some experience and come back later.

. . . "the focus, rather... (Below threshold)
geodkyt:

. . . "the focus, rather than the story of whether Bush showed up or not. Let's remember that the only person still living with personal knowledge of these alleged documents in their alleged original form claims they're accurate, whether they're reproductions or etc. Nobody has been willing to swear that they remember Bush reporting, and there is no documentary record of him reporting." Posted by: Brian at January 4, 2005 09:56 PM

Brian, Brian, Brian.

The faked memos ARE the story. They are the ONLY evidence that Bush didn't fulfill his obligation -- as opposed to pay records that clearly show he had what are known as "good years" for the time in question.

My Dad served in the Texas National Guard before doing 26 years Regular Army. He received no credit for his Guard service when he retired -- all the attendance and pay records were missing. (Actually, this happened to hundreds of thousands of servicemembers in al branches, as they have had at least one fire, a couple of water incidents, and several cases of incorrect file destruction of entire vaults at the joint records depot for such "inactive" files.)

I served six years in the Reserves, and two in the Virginia National Guard -- MY records are screwed up.

My best friend did three years in the VA Guard, and three years on active duty as a Ranger -- they managed to lose his file in it's entirity within 18 months of his final discharge, and in his jacket was photocopies of some PFC's personnel file who was given a Bad Conduct Discharge from an armor unit in Germany. I KNOW that one's an error -- as he was living with me when his official honorable discharge (and a set of promotion orders that had been delayed in transit) caught up with him right after his terminal leave (i.e., he spent his last 30 days in the Army using his accumulated vacation time to go home early. . . he was still finishing his enlistment, but was on leave, and didn't have to report back in, since his last day of leave was the last day of his contract). That took a few months to clear up when he wanted to use his veteran's benefits.

I don't know of a single person with service in the Guard (and few in the regular services) who hasn't had a records screwup.

But, there is ONE consistancy with all the errors. Things are either missing in their entirity, or they have been obviously and mistakenly misfiled with someone else's data stuck in the wrong folder (easy to figure out when the name and SSN/service number don't match the guy it's supposed to be -- and those are on EVERY official piece of paper relating to a servicemember. (A little something the military learned after the chaos of trying to figure out veteran's benefits from the CIVIL WAR.)

Data doesn't just get inserted into 30 year old pay records. Those pay records may be missing, or incomplete, or for the wrong guy -- but I haven't heard of them erroneously crediting a guy with TOO MUCH service and making it into the files -- those mistakes get caught at the unit level, when they are reviewed by the clerks.

Absence of ANY evidence that the President DIDN'T fulfill his service as the available records indicate, the partisan attacks on him are revealed as nothing more than that -- partisan attacks. Mapes worked on this story since BEFORE the 2000 election, and ALL anyone has found is:

1. Extremely senior officers who don't remember a very junior officer during weekend warrior duty 30 years ago, in a unit that doesn't even have all it's personnel "drill" on the same days of the week. (Unlike an infantry Guard unit where 200 men all show up at the Armory at 0600 hrs on Saturday morning, aviators DO NOT generally do the "3rd weekend of teh month" thing. . . you might come in this Wednesday evening and next Tuesday morning to fly your missions, and all the support staff have similarly staggered hours. And airbases (and airports) are bigger than a one-building Armory the size of a small kindergarten.

2. Partisan hacks who have been making unsubstantiated attacks against Bush since he first ran for governor.

3. Documents that CANNOT be authenticated as true or even possible.

4. Documents indicating that Bush missed a flight physical (during a period where he has already stated that he wasn't going to be flying anyway) and that he was taken off flight status, during the period where he was performing (and being credited with) nonflying duties in a unit without the aircraft he would have been permitted to fly (you have to be "current" with the airframe in question -- they don't let a guy fly a type of plane he hasn't flown in years).

5. Pay records that indicate that he did complete the minimum attendance requirements for the years in question.

6. An Honorable Discharge dated from the time when his service ended (and not a backdated one from several years later). An Honorable Discharge is NOT possible when you have not completed your minimum service -- you get a General Discharge under Honorable Conditions at best, and can have that upgraded to an Honorable after several years (but the date on the upgraded discharge will give it away).

Who is ignoring facts, here?

Face it -- some people hate the President so much, they really don't care what the facts are, the idea is that the "ends justify the means".

Well said, Geodkyt.<p... (Below threshold)
BR:

Well said, Geodkyt.

Now that wizbangblog's 2004 Comments section are accessible again, here's Prof. Hailey's self-professed drunken rants on the night of December 15th, 2004 at wizbangblog:

http://wizbangblog.com/archives/004541.php.

And Hailey's subsequent apology.

The most damning piece of e... (Below threshold)
RedneckBob:

The most damning piece of evidence that the memo's are fake has been the signatures, which the CJR article doesn't touch. The signatures on the fabrications (I like that word) and the verified memos are nothing alike, nor are the "signature blocks" in any way the same. Col Killian's verified memos have him signing over the title

"JERRY B. KILLIAN, Lt Col, TexANG
Commander"

The fabricated memos have his signature block as
"JERRY B. KILLIAN
Lt. Colonel
Commander"

I have an old blog post here http://www.tblog.com/templates/index.php?bid=stepdad&static=281924
with a side by side comparison of the signatures.

All the talk of typography aside, the most glaring evidence of fakery is right there, IMO.


Thanks guys, for proving th... (Below threshold)
BC:

Thanks guys, for proving the main points of the CRJ article. You and the other right wing blogs are much like those spectators at that Pistons/Pacers game/fight: you're good for tossing garbage from the stands and causing a commotion, but you don't actually contribute in any useful way. The CJR piece was actually much too kind to both the incompetent, lazy-ass journalism shown by the mainstream media -- NOT including CBS, which was mostly guilty of gutlessness -- and the mostly ideological, illogical, vengeful and dumbass nonsense coming from the blog mobs.

I recently posted an addendum of sorts, old school style on Usenet: http://tinyurl.com/5fo6v

Read it and go "Duhhhhh....."

...and: the signatures them... (Below threshold)

...and: the signatures themselves were obvious forgeries. Very few commenters seemed to care at the time, as the preponderance of evidence about the typography simply overwhelmed (and rightfully so IMO) the more traditional forensic examination of the authenticity of the document signatures.

But it was quite, quite obvious to interested graphologists (hand-writing scientists/examiners) that the signatures on the documents were outside the boundaries of common variation (i.e., the sigs were forged ...and indeed, it was the CBS' consultants [graphologists] who informed the Rather team of the discrepencies).

I posted on the sig problem in "...was an expert necessary for THAT signature" back in September.

Ah. I see that someone else... (Below threshold)

Ah. I see that someone else (redneckBOB) DID already mention the sigs! (My apologies for the redundancy: I had a "lunch break" in between starting my comments, and coming back to finish them ...sloooow typist.)

BC? ...read your stuff. A l... (Below threshold)

BC? ...read your stuff. A law firm "done it" (i.e., was the - likely - source of the "true" original memos), eh?

So - to you - this has turned into an Elder's of Zion kind of thing, eh?

(At this point in the issue, it's pointless to bother with a refutation to your obvious obsession ...but may I suggest you seek therapy? - You're too bright to let it go a' wasting in the fever swamps dude.)

...but I gotta add, you are a LOT more literate then most DU denizens. As conspiratorially bizarre as your rants are, at least they're well written rants.

I'm just a voice of reason ... (Below threshold)
BC:

I'm just a voice of reason in an increasingly unreasoning world. I know I'm wasting my time here posting to the neuron-deprived who inhabit this pale blue world, but a smart-aleck has to do what a smart-aleck has to do. All the "proof" so far for the memos being fake is just so much farting into the wind. So far nobody has addressed the matchups between DOD records and especially the Aug. 1st, 1972 memo, not to mention that whole daisywheel thing. Until that's done, none of your "arguments" have a chance. And bringing up the signature issue is especially laughable because,
well: http://tinyurl.com/5rcmf

The problem I have with BC'... (Below threshold)

The problem I have with BC's evidence is that I don't know any command level officer in any branch of the military (and I know at least 6 in the AF/ANG and some in the other branches) who would completely FORGET protocol and acronymns. The fact that an ARMY acronymn (OER) and not the TANG acronymn (OETR) was used, and the fact that the signature block was the ONLY ONE out of all the memos shown from Col. Killian (as comparisons) to deviate shows that we are either dealing with a photocopy of the signature or someone who is VERY GOOD at FORGING signatures!

BC? Therapy. Really. It ... (Below threshold)

BC? Therapy. Really. It might help. Don't waste all that potential. See someone. Soon.

Sigh. Okay. But if you really wanna go there, and get us bluecoats to listen: point-by-point, deconstruct Newcomer. Copy his site. Fisk away. Line by line.

DO NOT introduce any of your pet little conspiratorial asides (leave Bush the younger out of it). Concentrate SOLELY on the typography of the documents.

IF you can actually go through the exercise of "fisking" Newcomer POINT-BY-POINT successfully, you will at least not appear like the bizarre conspiratorialist you're currently presenting for public purview.

...as for the sigs, Matley withdrew his "endorsement" months back (after noting that he wouldn't be able to EVER authenticate a "copy", and that he wasn't given the original memos ...this is fairly standard in forensic handwriting analysis, btw; I'm surprised he too whatever bait he was initially offered by CBS).

And. BOTH of the other TWO CBS experts refused authentication, based on the sigs (and one of 'em included an assessment of the typography being bogus for free). So. No joy with the graphology either, kiddo.

Work on Newcomer (futile though that will be: it has been attempted btw).

THEN, after the inevitable failure, really, seek help, before you've been totally devoured by your obsession. This one isn't the magnificent kind. Escape the bayou.

Such waste.

Smoke Eater - The ... (Below threshold)

Smoke Eater -

The signatures were NOT "good" forgeries: they were lousy forgeries. Really amateurish. Worse then the typography. The incompetents SHOULD have Photoshop'd the signatures; they didn't.

And there were (are? - dunno anymore; too lazy to look) plenty of examples of authentic Killian signatures from as early as (ISTR) 1966 through to the mid-1970's for comparison. The CBS memo signatures were all similar & consistent, and were strikingly and obviously different then the authentic Killian signatures (which were also similar & consistent during a period spanning almost a decade, and which period included the dates of the purported memos).

A real idiot was "responsible" for "sourcing" the bogus memos. Bigger idiots (at CBS) were responsible for ignoring the experts they hired who pointed out the obvious problems. NO ONE WAS FOOLED pre the airing of the show. Er, except the Rather crew (and I've maintained that they weren't fooled either; just unprepared to substantiate the whole fiasco with adequately prepared documents ...the blogs caught them with their pants down: I don't think it will be quite so easy next time ...the whole thing has become an easily available primer on "period document forgery").

And now - ref: BC - the whole thing is going to end up as an urban legend reference amongst the conspiratorially challenged irrationalists. (No offence BC; I think you're a cut above the typical DU'er, and worth being kind to.)

...I do quite agree about the non-spec' use of mil titles though (actually, there was a rich field of discussion on the subject on various blogs at the time from military commenters).

Look. The really obvious point was that the memos were prepared by person (or persons) who, umm, really weren't very competent at their task. They didn't understand the limitations of the technology of the period (typewriters), and they were blithering incompetent idiots when it came to the technology of THIS period (computers, google). And they were clueless as to idiosyncratic military usage (your point). They also didn't research Killian's history (he was a bit of a technophobe according to his daughter, and he certainly couldn't type ...though, to be fair, few non-secretary types COULD type in those days; it wasn't a common skill).

Simply. The forgers were incompetent. The ONLY people who evidenced even LESS competency throughout the tawdry episode were the "professionals" at CBS. Sheesh.

This whole story is one of incompetency, really. But I suspect it will morph into a morass of urban legendry.

What's with this "DU" stuff... (Below threshold)
BC:

What's with this "DU" stuff? I'm just a lone ranger here with no organizational affiliations whatsoever. And to be honest, as much as I dislike this blog site, the Free Republic, Power Line, Little Green...turds, whatever, the bulk of my wrath has been towards the "MSM" (Is that the best acronym you guys can come up with? It sounds like a Microsoft product.) This blog stuff is basically a more organized form of Usenet, nothing more.

The mainstream media, though....those guys have the money, the time, the resources, and no good excuses for the increasingly poor investigative journalism I see. You guys are totally dependent on anecdotes from contributers and there's no way to determine the validity of it. Some of you "know" me from my Usenet postings, but you have no idea what my expertise is, or even if I'm being sincere or just playing the devil's advocate. I do long serious posts with lots of links and logic, but I also do crude if funny, insulting ones. Do you have any idea what my real intentions are? You need media like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the AP, and even CBS News, but only if they are going to do the things they're good at and with the resources they have. Even if you disagree with their politics and how they spin things, if you know where they stand, they can and should tell you things with a lot more authority than some potential weasel such as I.

Now to some of the points raised (I just came from a nice concert, so I'm in a good, non-mocking mood): as far as Newcomer goes, I thought he was worth only a link from my site and only then because of the attention he got -- I found his "analysis" too laughably inane to take seriously. I did pick him apart offhandedly, though, but in some detail in one of my Usenet posts:
http://tinyurl.com/5qyxh

I was planning to a do an update of my site to reflect the CJR article, but I can expand on my Usenet criticism of Newcomer and add that in as well.

As far as the other issues with the memos go regarding signatures, terminolgy and such, those are incidentals compared to the major evidence. Secretaries sign for their bosses all the time, and terminology is often inconsistent, especially for these memos which were PERSONAL documents kept as an ongoing journal and not for anything official, although they could be used to answer official inquiries.

The August 1st, 1972 memo is the big gun for shooting down the forgery charges. The contents of that memo, in date and detail, are corroborated directly by 4 FOIA DOD records and indirectly by a 5th. I've brought this point a number of times, with all the links, and nobody has been able to come close to semi-coherent explanation that still
maintains the forgery charge. The closest was that the forger would have access to the same DOD documents and could have used those to fill in the details of the memo. Possible, but then that begs the question, why? Unlike the infamous CYA memo, there were no juicy asides in the Aug 1st memo -- it was all matter-of-factly formal, so why go through all the trouble to duplicate details in a personal memo what was already in more authoritative military records? And if you put in the all of the memos chronologically along with all the available pertinent DOD docs (as I did), they ALL fit in perfectly.

I do my homework. All things considered, it's virtually certain that the memos are NOT fakes in any real sense. At worst, they are accurate and faithful transcriptions; at best, they are simply copies of the originals. There is no other way to explain the content issue, which overrides the much less consequential questions over appearance. And as the appearance issue goes, daisywheel printers were around since 1969, could proportional print in huge assortment of fonts, kern, super/subscript and were common in law offices at the time of the memos. If you can't eliminate the daisywheel printer, then ALL questions about the appearance are moot.

And lastly, I still find it really annoying with how the DOD was able to release another PDF packet of Bush's records very belatedly, just 4 days after CBS had backed away from authenticating the memos and nobody in the MSM (hate that term but it's short at least) paid it any mind, even though one of the records, dated Feb 19th, 1971, was proportionally printed -- the only one printed like that in the whole official release of Bush's records.

That's why you guys and others like you will never rise beyond #2 in my hit parade.

Oh, look at the time. Gotta crash. I'm not going to be a regular here. This memo thing is a pet project of mine that I've been following up on. Plus I hate this shade of blue and I also prefer the more rough and tumble play on Usenet. You guys are way too polite here to provoke me into using insults and mockery, and I like being provoked into using insults and mockery....

Ciao!

BC nailed it when he said "... (Below threshold)
jukeboxgrad:

BC nailed it when he said "at worst, they are accurate and faithful transcriptions."

Considering all the evidence I can get my hands on, I think the simplest explanation is that the memos were
recreations, done by someone who is very familiar with the contents of the original memos, but also painfully naive about typography.

This doesn't mean that Rather is off the hook. It does mean it's a damn shame that Bush ended up off the hook (with regard to his TANG issues). If Rather had set out with the goal of creating a smokescreen to obscure the real TANG story, he couldn't have done a better job.

Yes, they are fake but accurate. The fake part means Rather has a problem. But the accurate part means Bush also has a problem. Not just blogs but also mainstream media focused on the first part of this equation and ignored the second part.

This is vividly reflected in the many stories with headlines like this: "Secretary: Memos are forgeries". Then when you read further you find out Knox, Killian's secretary, said "these are not real ... the information in here was correct, but it was picked up from the real ones."

Knox reportedly talked with several reporters, including Matt Drudge. According to him, this is what she said: "I did not type these particular memos. I typed memos like these ... I typed memos that had this information in them ... The information in these memos is correct ... What really hecked me off was when it was somebody on TV, associated with the White House, who said that all of this information was lies. And I got excited at the time because I knew that I had typed documents with this information."

She worked for the Guard for 22 years.

The bottom line is that Bush used family influence to get into, through, and out of the Guard. He got away with stuff that would have gotten you or me nailed. What's worse, he has denied all this, and that's a lie. There are many, many other indications of this, aside from Knox's statements.

Meanwhile, as a result of Bush's policies, the Army Reserve is "rapidly degenerating into a 'broken' force." And certain reservists who are involuntarily mobilized are required to sign a "volunteer statement" (same citation). Nothing like requiring your soldiers to lie! This is to make it easier for Bush to claim that we still have a volunteer army, when in fact we're rapidly sliding toward a back-door draft. Bush had little regard for playing by the rules back in his own TANG days, and that hasn't changed now that he's in charge.

It's a disgrace that Rather's poor behavior has gotten a lot more attention than Bush's poor behavior (on this issue). The latter's job fitness is a lot more critical than the former's.

DC said: >I found ... (Below threshold)
TomC:

DC said:

>I found his "analysis" too laughably inane to take seriously. I did pick him apart offhandedly, though, but in some detail in one of my Usenet posts:

http://tinyurl.com/5qyxh

Anyone tempted to take DC seriously should read the extent to which he “picks apart” Newcomer in “some detail”. Seriously, go to

http://tinyurl.com/5qyxh

and look at DC’s notion of “some detail.” Then compare it to Newcomer’s detail:

http://www.flounder.com/bush2.htm

DC is puzzled by Newcomers use of an 11.5 point font to duplicate the Guard memos. Apparently he is unaware that documents are often magnified or shrunk in copying and faxing, and the Guard memos had obviously been copied or faxed.

DC’s theory is that a magical 1969 – 1972 daisy wheel printer was used to make the documents. Of course, he provides no details about the printer. He assures us that “daisywheels were completely capable of true kerning,” again without citing a source confirming that any daisy wheel printer could actually do this (or could even do proportional spacing) in 1972. The fact that no one the planet has yet duplicated the memos using ANY 1972 technology despite a $10,000+ prize – well, he simply forgot to mention that. The fact that the memos are exactly duplicated by Microsoft Word in microscopic detail –he forgot that too. A mind is a terrible thing to lose. There is no mention of the likelihood that such a bleeding-edge printer, if it even existed in 1972, would have been used by the TANG, even after Killian’s secretary said that…

OK, right, obviously there is no point in my bothering with DC, though I liked his “laughably inane” line.

"BC," not "DC," sorry.... (Below threshold)
TomC:

"BC," not "DC," sorry.

Tom, clever of you to compl... (Below threshold)
jukeboxgrad:

Tom, clever of you to completely to ignore my arguments, which take into account that the documents might be fake.

"without citing a source confirming that any daisy wheel printer could actually do this (or could even do proportional spacing) in 1972"

See page six of this pdf.

This document clearly shows that TANG could produce proportionately spaced documents well over a year before the first Killian memo.

Jukeboxgrad;Page s... (Below threshold)
TomC:

Jukeboxgrad;

Page six of your PDF file does indeed show what appears to be a proportionally spaced document, which is dated 1971.

I asked for a source documenting that a daisy wheel printer could do proportional spacing in 1971. You didn't provide one. Certainly, some typewriters of that era could do proportional spacing, and assuming that this document is genuine, it was almost certainly created with such a typewriter.

The typeface used in the document is obviously different from that used in the Guard memos, with much wider, heavier characters and clear differences in, among others, the lower case "e" and "a". The proportional spacing is very sloppy in your sample -- look at the position of the "t" in the word "Certificate" and the position of the second "i" in "official". The proportional spacing in the Guard documents appears just as good as Word's.

I can overlay a Word document that I produced over a printout of the CBS memos and find exact alignment of all characters. I can't come close to doing that with your document without considerable work. Word's lines are about 35%-40% shorter at the same character height as your sample.

The device that produced the Guard memos was obviously not the same device that produced your page six.




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