Friday, September 10, 2004

Rather Not

What a pathetic defense CBS made tonight. Their critics are engaging the evidence at a level of forensic detail CBS just isn’t able to match—a disjunction only made greater by the different capacities of television and the Internet. But the prima facie shortcomings of CBS’s defense were elementary.

One, the only expert they trotted out was a signature expert, though the signature was not the focus of criticism. Worse yet, he spoke as much about his own feelings about working on the story as he did about the undisputed signature. Two, CBS established that Times New Roman font existed before 1973, but that wasn’t the issue. The issue was the likelihood of such a font and such kerning being found on a government typewriter in 1973—font and kerning that appear to match identically that of the default settings of Microsoft Word. Three, the superscript they showed as a contemporaneous example found in documents from Bush’s National Guard records was not raised above the other letters, as in the Killian memo, and it had an antique-y little underline, which the superscript in the Kilian memo did not.

Most troubling about this defense was, however, its general, theoretical character. So long as it was anywhere in a seemingly infinite realm of possibility that this document could have been created as reported, they felt no need to go any further to establish its authenticity. How about more on the source of the document?

8 comments:

mulp said...

Responding to the postscript in your weekly standard mailing on the quality of the information on the internet:

I'm surprised that you, a presumed free marketeer, would be concerned that "consumers" would not find the "best quality products" of the internet, even when it came to news and commentary. Are you a closet east coast liberal rino, or would that be east coast liberal cino?

John K. said...

Neither did Rather address the most glaring substantive error in fact regarding the memos, i.e., the supposed August 18, 1973 statement: "Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush." It turns out that Brigadier General "Buck" Staudt retired in 1972. How long can CBS keep this up?

Jim Nardulli said...

The media - and here I suppose I mean the 'elite' media - is choking on its own success and we have a front row seat. Mr. Rather has made a career of being in the right spot at the right time, and now is no exception. He is the new poster boy for the wretched state of broadcast news. Mr. Rather will, I think, retire soon. His pathetic 'defense' of using the documents will for a long time to come be classroom fodder.

I am not a journalist. I think I must be one of those 'ordinary Americans' politicos talk about.

Some things about those documents:

Um.. why not check with the postmaster - did PO Box 34567 exist then? Does it now?

Monospacing and proportional spacing within the same document in 1972? Umm... yeah, that's likely.

Superscript and non-superscript in the same document?
Sure... At the age of 44, I am old enough to recall how one would do that. Type along, then Change the ball on your selectic, roll the platen down a bit, type the 'th', release the platen, replace the ball...
All of that for a memo to 'the file'. Sure, nothing else to do.

This is not a case of CBS and Rather being 'duped'. This is a case of CBS and Rather looking to deliver votes for the democratic ticket. Plain. Simple. Obvious.

Jim

TopCat said...

I'm old enough to remember a picture of RoseMary Woods sprawled spead-eagle accross her desk on the cover of Newsweek. The Nixon White House was trying to prove that she could have accidently erased 18 minutes of the Watergate tapes. That image came to mind reading/listening to CBS' lame defenses of this fraud. Maybe this incident will be dapper Dan's Watergate.

Anonymous said...

I used one of those typewriters back then (ok, I'm old) and in fact you could get the typeface because I had one. That's not the point. The point is, if Karl Rove and his swiftvet minions are going to lie and smear and sling garbage, why shouldn't CBS, the Dems, or THEIR minions???

DelphiGuy said...

Personally, I don't deny that the document could have been created back then. I do have a hard time believing that Killian would a) have access to such equipment and b) would take the time to change to superscript for a personal note.

However, the fact that they match MS word exactly, are factually incorrect, have questionable formatting and a very questionably origin is an issue.

>The point is, if Karl Rove and his swiftvet minions are going to lie and smear

That's a rather sad and often repeated defence which only shows the levels the dems are sinking to. The swiftvets are alive and ready to answer questions with documents to back them up, many of which come from Kerry himself. A smear isn't a smear if it's true, an issue Kerry and the media have yet to tackle and are avoiding. The left are often whining about the right running a campaign of smears. Cheney and Bush have both commended Kerry on his service, Kerry and Edwards responded by calling them cowards. The Swiftvets have a case backed with documentation and more testimony than Kerry has, the left respond with fake documents, a Kitty Kelly book, and Ben Barnes, a big Democrat donor who has already testified contrary to what he said on 60 minutes and yet again, only a dead guy can refute his claims.

The media, and the left, are trumpeting a document that so far every typographic expert that has commented on has claimed it likely to be fake.

They are ignoring a story of 250 men with documentation and testimony as false, and holding up a document I could have created last week as true.

Anonymous said...

You are playing right into Karl Roves hands.

Shift blame. If the memos are so obviously a fraud then why doesn't the White House come out and say so? I will tell you why, they know that Bush received preferential treatment and he probably did disobey a direct order.

Now, whether or not this matters in this particular election is a whole other question which Karl does not want us to address. He would rather you squabble over whether his typist used the Selectric typewriter than to have a real debate. Honestly, I think it matters little. Consider the fact that 29 years ago Bush was also arrested for drunk driving, did that matter? Well I mean Bush did lose the election by more than 1/2 a million votes. By the way, since this is 9/11, where is Osama? Why have we not caught the guy responsible for this horrific day in our history? This whole election and Bush the President are complete farces. Good Day sir.

Bizarro Jack said...

"if Karl Rove and his swiftvet minions are going to lie and smear and sling garbage, why shouldn't CBS, the Dems, or THEIR minions???"

I don't think this is a serious question but I will nonetheless answer this as if it was: Because they are (marginally) less corrupt than the neo-cons that have hijacked the republican party.