Man Without Qualities

Monday, September 13, 2004

Things Looks Worse And Worse For Dan Rather...

... and Kerry-Edwards and the Democrats.

Et tu, Washington Post?!

The excerpts below from the Post article linked are actually not nearly as good as material that has been generated and presented by bloggers and others (including John Fund) who have now become too numerous to mention - with Instapundit of course being a terrific clearinghouse. I reproduce these excerpts more as evidence that the Washington Post - at least at one time a pillar of the liberal media and still often pretty far off course - has turned on Dan Rather, and, by extension, perhaps on the Democratic National Committee and Kerry-Edwards, which are believed in many quarters to have provided at least some of the contested documents to the hapless Mr. Rather.

The Post's ferocity manifested in these excerpts is an interesting harbinger of what may well be in store for the Democrats and Kerry-Edwards if (as now seems all but certain) the documents turn out to be obvious fakes - especially if it also turns out (as now seems likely) that the DNC and Kerry-Edwards have suckered Mr. Rather and CBS News. Some commenters, including Rush Limbaugh, have already been making the argument that the media is irritated with Kerry-Edwards over relatively minor issues, such as the Democrats providing private but misleading assurance to reporters that Kerry-Edwards would vigorously contest many states that, at the time the assurances were given, the campaign had already all but written off. If the worst and now-apparently-most-likely story turns out to be the correct one (that is, the documents are fake, and the DNC and Kerry-Edwards the Rather-suckees), those Kerry-Edwards peccadilloes would be insignificant compared to feeding fraudulent documents to CBS and then inducing Mr. Rather to continue his defense of them. Indeed, in that case, it is possible that a broad section of the liberal media may turn on high Democrats with a cannibalistic ferocity not witnessed in our lifetimes. Perhaps another early example: these USA Today articles also show signs of a ferocity towards the Democratic cause uncharacteristic of that left leaning media organ. More, bigger, acts of cannibalism to come? - despite an ingrained disinclination on Big Media's part to gnaw at things Democratic or CBS noted by John Ellis.

It would be sweet to see.

[UPDATE: This White House story seems a lot less strained than the Rather confused version CBS is pushing.]

Here are the excerpts:

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. ....

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.

"I am personally 100 percent sure that they are fake," said Joseph M. Newcomer, author of several books on Windows programming, who worked on electronic typesetting techniques in the early 1970s. Newcomer said he had produced virtually exact replicas of the CBS documents using Microsoft Word formatting and the Times New Roman font. .... CBS News has declined to reveal the source of the disputed documents ... or to explain how they came to light after more than three decades..... A detailed examination of the CBS documents ... suggests at least three areas of difference that are difficult to reconcile:

Word-processing techniques. Of more than 100 records made available by the 147th Group and the Texas Air National Guard, none used the proportional spacing techniques characteristic of the CBS documents. Nor did they use a superscripted "th" in expressions such as "147th Group" and or "111th Fighter Intercept Squadron."

In a CBS News broadcast Friday night rebutting allegations that the documents had been forged, Rather displayed an authenticated Bush document from 1968 that included a small "th" next to the numbers "111" as proof that Guard typewriters were capable of producing superscripts. In fact, say Newcomer and other experts, the document aired by CBS News does not contain a superscript, because the top of the "th" character is at the same level as the rest of the type. Superscripts rise above the level of the type.

Factual problems. A CBS document purportedly from Killian ordering Bush to report for his annual physical, dated May 4, 1972, gives Bush's address as "5000 Longmont #8, Houston." This address was used for many years by Bush's father, George H.W. Bush. National Guard documents suggest that the younger Bush stopped using that address in 1970 when he moved into an apartment, and did not use it again until late 1973 or 1974, when he moved to Cambridge, Mass., to attend Harvard Business School.

One CBS memo cites pressure allegedly being put on Killian by "Staudt," a reference to Col. Walter B. "Buck" Staudt, one of Bush's early commanders. But the memo is dated Aug. 18, 1973, nearly a year and a half after Staudt retired from the Guard. Questioned about the discrepancy over the weekend, CBS officials said that Staudt was a "mythic figure" in the Guard who exercised influence from behind the scenes even after his retirement.

Stylistic differences. To outsiders, how an officer wrote his name and rank or referred to his military unit may seem arcane and unimportant. Within the military, however, such details are regulated by rules and tradition, and can be of great significance. The CBS memos contain several stylistic examples at odds with standard Guard procedures, as reflected in authenticated documents.

In memos previously released by the Pentagon or the White House, Killian signed his rank "Lt Col" or "Lt Colonel, TexANG," in a single line after his name without periods. In the CBS memos, the "Lt Colonel" is on the next line, sometimes with a period but without the customary reference to TexANG, for Texas Air National Guard.

An ex-Guard commander, retired Col. Bobby W. Hodges, whom CBS originally cited as a key source in authenticating its documents, pointed to discrepancies in military abbreviations as evidence that the CBS memos are forgeries. The Guard, he said, never used the abbreviation "grp" for "group" or "OETR" for an officer evaluation review, as in the CBS documents. The correct terminology, he said, is "gp" and "OER."

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.

On last night's "CBS Evening News," Rather said "60 Minutes" had done a "content analysis" of the memos and found, for example, that the date that Bush was suspended from flying -- Aug. 1, 1972 -- matched information in the documents. He also noted that USA Today had separately obtained another memo from 1972 in which Killian asked to be updated on Bush's flight certification status.

CBS executives have pointed to Matley as their lead expert on whether the memos are genuine, and included him in a "CBS Evening News" defense of the story Friday. Matley said he spent five to eight hours examining the memos. "I knew I could not prove them authentic just from my expertise," he said. "I can't say either way from my expertise, the narrow, narrow little field of my expertise."

In looking at the photocopies, he said, "I really felt we could not definitively say which font this is." But, he said, "I didn't see anything that would definitively tell me these are not authentic."

Asked about Matley's comments, CBS spokeswoman Sandy Genelius said: "In the end, the gist is that it's inconclusive. People are coming down on both sides, which is to be expected when you're dealing with copies of documents."

Questions about the CBS documents have grown to the point that they overshadow the allegations of favorable treatment toward Bush.

Billionaire Henry H. Rogers
A billionaire is a person who has a net worth of at least one billion units of currency, such as United States Dollars (USD), Pounds or Euros.

Though a "billion" used to be a million million in much of the Commonwealth of Nations, the American version (one thousand million) is commonplace now; so in Britain a billionaire is someone with a net worth of at least 1,000,000,000
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