Friday, January 14, 2005

Crumple Zone

Galley Reader John Schulien sends in a long email with a link to this page. The short version: Last September, the CBS memos appeared to have been Xeroxes of crumpled paper. (See Charles Johnson here.) The version of the memos reproduced in the CBS report seem to be "uncrumpled." What gives?

Here's the long version from Schulien:

Back in September Charles Johnson documented something interesting--that the memos appeared to have been crumpled out and uncrumpled prior to scanning. . . . This evidence shows up when you drop the PDFs into Photoshop, turn the
contrast way up, and the brightness down.

When the final report came out, I took the time to compare the versions of the documents in the appendix with the documents as they were originally released by CBS. I found something very interesting. If you carefully compare, the evidence of the crumpling and uncrumpling is gone in the version released in the final report. (2B.pdf) Not only are the residual crumple marks gone, but the distortion caused by the crumpling is gone from the letters and words as well.

In the spirit of Charles Johnson's animated GIF, I prepared a flashing GIF that goes back and forth between one of the original documents as released by CBS (with the address blacked over), and the new version just released (lower resolution but less distorted.)

If you look at the two images as they cycle, it is easy to pick out areas where the crumpling distorted the text in the original document, and how the newly released document is undistorted.

This raises the question--what is CBS doing with both versions of the document?

There’s probably a simple explanation to all of this, but I’d be interested in hearing it nonetheless. After all, these are the guys who changed the cut-copy permissions on their report’s PDF. Charles, anyone, thoughts?

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