September 12, 2004

Forged!

When the CBS scandal first broke, I vowed to myself that I would stay out of it. The reaction in the media and in the blogosphere was so overwhelmingly partisan I didn’t know who to believe. Bush supporters seemed to me a little too sure of themselves. Kerry supporters were too dismissive and defensive.

But I’ll weigh in now because Jim Treacher pointed me to what looks like an awfully comprehensive debunking of those documents by Peter Duncan.

If you think the documents are genuine and that this is some kind of smear campaign, see if you can debunk Duncan’s evidence before arguing with me in the comments.

I rather doubt (pun intended, sorry) that this will affect the election, though, unless it can be shown that the Kerry campaign itself had something to do with it. That would be a real scandal. It would also be a dumb scandal.

We already know Bush wasn’t the best-behaved boy in Texas. Publishing yet more “evidence” won’t affect anyone’s vote for the same reason Bill Clinton’s approval ratings remained high after each successive bimbo eruption. Everyone familiar with Clinton (and that includes most people in Iceland, Pakistan, and Bolivia, as well as most Americans) already knew he had trouble with women, zippers, and pants. And we all know Bush had problems with responsibility and booze.

If you want to dig up new dirt on Bush, you have to find a new kind of dirt, not more of the same old dirt. We’ve already factored the old dirt in. It won’t move numbers.

It looks like the blogosphere found new dirt on CBS, though. It could move numbers.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 12, 2004 09:09 PM
Comments

The blogsphere have tasted blood of CBS. This won't be over until someone is convicted of forgery, heads rolls in CBS, and a very public denounciation by CBS. Oh, Karl Rove wrote the memo :)

Posted by: BigFire at September 12, 2004 09:28 PM

I think what needs to be asked is, if these are forgeries, who stands to benefit most? Here are several possiblities that I have come across in my travels on the web

A) the DNC, using an ends justify the means approach to smear Bush.

B) Karl Rove, and the RNC. Seeing as how they are supposedly obvious forgeries, the Kerry campaign can be smeared as having pushed them to CBS

C) Clinton operatives within the DNC trying to sabotage Kerry's campaign in order to set up Hillary in '08.

Dammit I've been reading to many Hercule Poriot novels recently (slinks off to finish Death on the Nile.)

Posted by: Dave at September 12, 2004 09:49 PM

The issue at hand has nothing to do with W's behavior. I am happy to stipulate that his TANG service was flawed. But since I've been able to watch him as Commander in Chief, I have far better data with which to analyze his abilities in that area.

The issue is that
1. CBS followed their ordinary vetting procedures on this story. In that case, those procedures are obviously inadequate and their credibilty as a news organization should be described as questionable at best; or
2. CBS didn't follow their ordinary vetting practices, in which case they should be termed at best Grossly Negligent; or
3. They actively participated in a fraud in which case they should be termed felons.

But whichever of those cases one believes, Rather and CBS refusing to concede any of these, not refuting the physical evidence and not disclosing any material sources and instead asking us to take their word for it is as hypocritical and arrogant a move as I can remember coming out of big media. Howell Raines is eating Rather's dust in the arrogance department.

The question is what is the appropriate punishment? Seems to me Howell Raines probably has a spot on the porch next to him.

Posted by: spc67 at September 12, 2004 09:53 PM

MT,

BTW here's another lengthy and well explained piece from another expert (via Tacitus)Forgeries

Posted by: spc67 at September 12, 2004 09:56 PM

Here's a theory I read somewhere: Karl Rove in fact arranged for the preparation of the fake documents. He then tricked someone along the way into thinking they were real. They in turn got them to CBS, who also fell for it. Someone then debunks the forgery, and voila! Bush's cr*ppy National Guard record suddenly becomes a topic that the Demos don't want to talk about any more.

Apparently it's been done before...

"Paul's dead, miss him, miss him."

Posted by: Jack Bogdanski at September 12, 2004 10:06 PM

I took some rare time to go visit some leftist blogs. Of course many there say even if forged it doesn't matter because the content of the documents are "based" on truth. How unprincipled and stupid is that? But it is also true knee-jerk dismissal by some conservatives was pretty damn silly as well. Can’t we at least take evidence on the full merits of true vetting by professionals without allowing the prejudice for desired results inspire rigging of such process? This reminds me of the news report back in the 80’s when a report was being prepared by one of the big three networks concerning a car model that had a propensity to explode in certain collisions. So what did they do? They placed a triggering mechanism to “help ignite” the explosion obviously justifying such actions because they just knew the point they were seeking was already valid in their minds, but no doubt this is very unprofessional and leads to libel and slander.

In truth Dan and the producers at CBS has partly done the same thing on a political level. The Swift Boat Veterans (John O’Neil) or MoveOn.org (Michael Moore) are 527 partisan groups with grievances, yet I would even expect better from them. It is not hard to imagine that it fit their realities of truth (Rather and CBS) as they saw it so they “pushed” the findings. Without getting into detail, most of their means of verification by CBS was presented as to get the desired answers, the fix was in. Over the phone type informal confirmations with thin description and “leading the witness” type tactics were in full use.

Michael the sad truth is something I hope is not lost on CBS so they might get off damage control mode and onto true reformation is now most legitimacy that may have been corroborated is now tainted, in short Dan Rather is now Mark Furman… good job Dan!

Posted by: Samuel at September 12, 2004 10:07 PM

it doesn't matter because the content of the documents are "based" on truth.
************************************************
Rather like planting explosive charges in the side of a vehicle to show how easy it can blow up in a collision?

Not even close to the New York Times and their Pulitzer Prize wininng reporter using their reputation to cover up and supress news of the Ukrainian Genocide Holodomor. The Pulitzer Prize was for the articles which covered up this one of the largest examples of genocide in the 20th Century.

Survivors of Holodomor have called upon the NYT to return the Pulitzer.

They have refused.

CBS will stonewall and in time things will go back to the way they were IF we let them get away with this.

Posted by: Daniel Kauffman at September 12, 2004 10:51 PM

>>>"But it is also true knee-jerk dismissal by some conservatives was pretty damn silly as well."

The only thing that is kneejerk here is this comment. It's made by someone who wasn't keeping up with all the evidence flooding the blogoshere that proved the forgery. Rock solid evidence, and it just kept coming. If you had been keeping up, you wouldn't think conservatives were "kneejerk" about it. It was so obvious it's as if it was meant to be discovered.

And let's say it IS a GOP dirty trick. Do you want Dems that stupid running your country? On the international stage they would be eaten alive.

I don't know if it was Karl Rove or not. But I do know that IF it was Rove, then it was a brilliant example of political judo---take Bush hatred and turn it on it's head. Only someone as blinded by hatred, as the Dems are, could have missed this one.

Bloggers caught it though. Yet Dan Rather missed it. And what has this shown? That big media is more than just "biased". They have an agenda; to defeat Bush. Dan Rather's behaviour cannot be explained in any other way. Goodbye CBS. Hello Fox.

Posted by: David at September 12, 2004 10:54 PM

If possible a "Rove conspiracy" could NEVER have worked if CBS had done the minimum expected from a small town news service.

You can't con an honest man.

Posted by: Daniel Kauffman at September 12, 2004 11:04 PM

This really isn't a Left vs. Right thing, Michael. People have been deceived, multiple felonies have been committed, million of dollars is going to change hands and one or more people will be going to jail.

Posted by: d-rod at September 12, 2004 11:05 PM

>>>"You can't con an honest man."

Bingo

Posted by: David at September 12, 2004 11:09 PM

David

The only thing that is kneejerk here is this comment. It's made by someone who wasn't keeping up with all the evidence flooding the blogoshere that proved the forgery. Rock solid evidence, and it just kept coming. If you had been keeping up, you wouldn't think conservatives were "kneejerk" about it. It was so obvious it's as if it was meant to be discovered.

Settle down guy and read closely, intemperance can lead to missing something and being silly. Do me a favor, read the following (a more intemperate post by me)...

http://www.rogerlsimon.com/mt-archives/2004/09/will_rather_be.php#c14408

and then re-read the above post. I think you might rethink your interpretation, because you got it way wrong. Look I am an ex-Democrat supporting Bush and have followed it all with a disgust that probably exceeds yours. Again I beg of you to humor me on this and I would love for us to have a second crack at this.

Posted by: Samuel at September 12, 2004 11:19 PM

David

Read this one as well if you have time...

http://www.rogerlsimon.com/mt-archives/2004/09/wlf_blitzer_cha.php#c13951

Posted by: Samuel at September 12, 2004 11:27 PM

Samuel,

never mind. Sometimes I "over post" in my enthusiasm.

Posted by: David at September 12, 2004 11:34 PM

You're right: this is not a story about presidential politics. It's a story about rot in the news media. To me this is more about arrogance, decay, laziness, story-over-truth, than about cold-blooded corruption...and it's about the era of transparency that will hopefully endanger that kind of irresponsible slackness in the press.

The mainstream media has to rebuild itself; the blogosphere is just the messenger on this one.

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at September 12, 2004 11:41 PM

Yehudit

Man if the fake Killian memos are in her book then it is indeed libelous and/or defamatory. Further if Kitty's book helped inspire this, or acted as a corroboration, then CBS is truly foolish beyond belief for that would mean they had completely thrown themeselves on the trash heap of gossip and lies, very unbecoming for a major News organization.

Posted by: Samuel at September 12, 2004 11:50 PM

Assuming the memos are fakes, CBS is toast. But more importantly, someone GAVE those memos to CBS. Anyone want to guess who? I'd say the most likely source is someone from the DNC or the Kerry campaign. Unless CBS discloses the source, I would proceed under that assumption. If so, then this shows the extreme lengths the Demcocrats and their hack mouthpieces in the dominant illiberal media will go to regain power.

Posted by: HA at September 13, 2004 03:25 AM

I can scarcely imagine the tsunami of outrage, calls for investigation, impeachment, "off-with-his-head" that would be swirling around us now, if this smear had been perpetrated on behalf of the Bush campaign.

The fact that the MSM could do nothing but basically ignore John O'Neill and the Swiftvets is apparently strong evidence of their veracity.

On one hand, I am tremendously disheartened by the fact that this story will likely be buried by CBS and the rest of the mainstream press......but OTOH I am optimistic that, in the absence of any ethical journalistic response from CBS, the citizen journalism of the blogosphere will fill the void for many more people than have previously looked to the internet as a news source.

A side note : I spent the weekend visiting the campus of an elite, east coast liberal arts college, well-known for its left wing activism. The students I spoke to ,who were overwhelmingly anti-Bush, were flat out horrified by what CBS had done,and much more so by the cover-up than by the use of the forgeries. It made me hopeful for the future.......

Posted by: Priscilla at September 13, 2004 04:39 AM

Priscilla, that is good news. The most disheartening thing about recent elections has been the underlying assumption that the ends (getting elected) justify the means.

Don't get me wrong, I think real dirt has a place in politics; slamming Kerry for his Winter Soldier history seems fine to me, as does slamming Bush for his way-too-cosy relationship with antidemocratic fundamentalists. Ties to the House of Saud are fair game.

But crossing the line into fiction is a disqualifying tactic. Michael's right, this wasn't going to help Kerry much one way or the other (TANG -- been there, done that) but getting tainted with the forgery could realy hurt the Dems.

If Rather really does want Kerry to win, he'd better fall on his sword and get an early start on his retirement.

Posted by: Mark Poling at September 13, 2004 05:43 AM

Kevin Alywaryd of the blog Wizbang!, who's also been tracking the memo forgery has come up with a known candidate for these memos.

Posted by: BigFire at September 13, 2004 05:46 AM

Michael,

Given the immediate widespread appearance of columns attacking Bush and based on the "documents", the prepared Democratic campaign speeches and ads, and perhaps the content of the Kitty Kelly book, which I haven't seen myself, it is pretty clear that this whole debacle was planned and coordinated at a higher level. Evidently the documents were widely available -- USA Today had their own more extensive set of six -- and this whole thing has been under preparation for at least 6 weeks, if not months. I think it is naive to think that it just happened. Politics isn't just a bunch of amateurs getting together and having fun. I am beginning to suspect it is more like the mafia. Live and learn, as the saying goes.

Posted by: chuck at September 13, 2004 07:01 AM

All the facts are not in yet. I know that most people reading this are salivating at the prospect of humiliating the liberal media and the terror-appeasing Democratic party, but it seems that we ought to avoid jumping to conclusions until all the facts come out.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 13, 2004 08:01 AM

Markus,

The facts on the authenticity of the memos is in: they're fake. The facts of their provenence and who is behind the campaign are still obscure. Watching this all work out will provide lots of entertainment for the coming weeks.

Posted by: chuck at September 13, 2004 08:07 AM

Markus,

I'm not salivating because Rather turned out to be a lousy liar and/or fool - I'm rather deeply disappointed because couple of years ago I would adjust my plans to be able to watch 60 Minutes.

On the other hand what kind of details are you missing that prevent you from calling these documents faked?

Posted by: marek at September 13, 2004 08:52 AM

Markus,

enough facts are in to know that the liberal media stumbled all over itself to get these memos out, in stark contrast to all the vetting they required before they were forced to give the Swifties some coverage.

That alone is already enough for me to know that Big Media is not only biased (which is forgiveable), but that they have a clear agenda (which is not).

Posted by: David at September 13, 2004 08:55 AM

“I know Dan Rather personally, well enough to know he would never put forged documents on the air EVER!” – Bill O’Reilly on the Radio Factor, (10 minutes ago)

Posted by: d-rod at September 13, 2004 09:54 AM

I am not defending the documents - I think that enough questions have been raised that the burden of proof is legitimatly on CBS, and they have not impressed me with their responses.

Having said that though, I do want to comment on just one point. I find the Hodges reversal to be bizarre and unbelievable.

Hodges is not a handwriting or typewriting expert. He was not consulted for his opinion on the legitimacy of the documents as documents - he was consulted as to his judgement about the CONTENT of the documents. They were read to him, and he found them credible. Now he claims he was misled, and thinks them forgeries. Why? Because he had a chance to see them? But what does that tell him? On the basis of seeing them, as opposed to simply hearing the contents, he has no new information on which to make a judgement on any subjcet for which he has any expertise.

Seems to me that the only interesting thing he has to offer is his judgement about the sentiments expressed - the content - of the memos. And that he found credible.

I find it odd that the document-debunkers would trot him out as further evidence to debuk the docs. Maybe it is just the instinct to pile on, or maybe it is something else - a willingness to spin the facts when spinning is not necessary. Maybe we should all do a more careful job of de-spinning all the evidence they are presenting.

Posted by: Tano at September 13, 2004 10:00 AM

How long until some enterprising soul offers pajamas with little Rather heads on them?

Posted by: Jim Treacher at September 13, 2004 10:07 AM

Tano, the story on Hodges is that he was read only excerpts over the phone and that his repsonse was, if that's what Killian wrote, then that's what he thought. I think this explanation of his appeared in the LA Times.

If you believe him, then CBS exaggerated his authentication. We know that Dan Rather exaggerated Marcel Matley's authentication, so Hodges's telling of CBS's vetting is not particularly unbelievable.

Posted by: Brian O'Connell at September 13, 2004 10:24 AM

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. We can have fun conspiracy theory discussions all day long about whether Kerry's team did it to smear Bush, or whether Karl Rove is so diabolically clever that he framed himself to make it look like Kerry was framing him. Or, as here, we can imagine that there was an intentional fraud perpetrated by CBS and Dan Rather who is secretly Kerry's closet lover or something.

As boring as it may sound, some partisan likely forged those documents to try to hurt Bush's chances, and Dan Rather and CBS just got plain old snookered because they were trying to hard to land a hot story and make some headlines. They were the victims of a fraud, not the perpetrators, in my never so humble opinion.

I bloviated a bit on this already.

Posted by: Jazz at September 13, 2004 10:49 AM

d-rod,

that's a misquote. That he would ever KNOWNGLY put forged docs on the air.

Regardless, being duped isn't a crime. It's the coverup.

Posted by: David at September 13, 2004 10:53 AM

Jazz,

I agree.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 13, 2004 11:04 AM

If it was a misquote, I apologize. That was the way I heard it (without the word "knowingly"). Anyway, crimes were likely committed before the "cover-up", including federal wire fraud since the documents were probably faxed across state lines.

Posted by: d-rod at September 13, 2004 11:20 AM

Regardless, being duped isn't a crime.

It is if you're the press. They have a traditon and a responsibility to verify information like this from multiple sources, and to consult a number of experts if necessary. Those memos could be detected as fakes in 30 seconds by someone knowledgable about typewriter technology and typography.

Needless to say, continuing to claim that they're legitimate is unforgivable.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 13, 2004 11:21 AM

double,

and here's why Dan Rather MUST stand by his story:

"Why did Dan Rather and CBS News, against all expectations, impeach their own credibility to defend the authenticity of memos that are almost certainly forgeries? The obvious answer is that they did it to save the faltering Kerry campaign from a final and decisive blow. If CBS were to admit that the documents were forgeries, it would have no grounds for protecting its sources. In fact, CBS would have a positive obligation to do everything in its power to expose the malefactors behind the forgeries. If the trail led back to the Kerry campaign, president Bush's reelection would be assured."

--Stanley Kurtz

Posted by: David at September 13, 2004 11:23 AM

David,

Do you have a link to the Kurtz piece? I'd like to read the rest of it. It's interesting.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 13, 2004 11:38 AM

Michael,

http://nationalreview.com/kurtz/kurtz200409131046.asp

Posted by: David at September 13, 2004 11:43 AM

Ah, for some reason I thought that was from Howard Kurtz. That was one of the reasons it was interesting. Howard Kurtz is a Kerry guy. (I think.) I'll read the rest anyway, thanks...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 13, 2004 11:45 AM

Seems quite a coincidence that they forged memos were found just one week before the Kerry Campaign started operation "Fortunate Son" to discredit Bush's national guard service.

Posted by: Dave at September 13, 2004 11:46 AM

David, that piece by Kurtz involves an awful lot of mindreading. Or does he have evidence that the Kerry campaign supplied the forgeries?

There are a few less nefarious reasons that I can think of for continued insistence that these are not forgeries:

- ignorance
- stupidity
- hubris
- denial
- stalling

...and none of these are good, but they do avoid tinfoil hat conspiracy theories.

My own personal feeling is that these were created by someone who passed them on to someone who passed them on to someone else. They're too obviously bogus for this to be an official fakeout attempt. And I think that 60 minutes made an enormous mistake, and that their sin is stupidity, not partisanship.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 13, 2004 11:50 AM

Dave,

I think you and Chuck nail it. This was was set in motion weeks, possibly months ago.

Posted by: David at September 13, 2004 11:51 AM

double,

you are correct. It's pure speculation. It's all we have right now, thanks to Dan Rather. He would have it no other way.

Posted by: David at September 13, 2004 11:52 AM

"And I think that 60 minutes made an enormous mistake, and that their sin is stupidity, not partisanship"--DPU

In this case,the sin of stupidity does not preclude the additional mortal sin of partisanship.CBS ,all by itself,is prooving ALL the allegations made against the supremely tendentious media.The cavalier contempt for FAIRNESS,the unwavering POLITICAL overlay, and the clear unwillingness to admit error,are part of systemic flaws in the MSM information oligarchy.It is questionable whether these attitudes are compatible with a modern democratic system,as to make informed decisions,the people must be informed,not propaganized.
Something must change or we will all be victims of this shoddy type of performance.

Posted by: dougf at September 13, 2004 12:10 PM

I must say, that from watching the blogosphere in action over these documents, I only wish that a fraction of this effort would be going into finding out who forged the Niger uranium documents.

A cheap forgery to land some slime on a political candidate is pretty bad. But an effort to hoodwink a nation into war - that strikes me as infinitly more urgent a matter.

Posted by: Tano at September 13, 2004 12:17 PM

Gee Tano, maybe Sixty Minutes should look into that as well as who outed Valerie Plame.

Posted by: d-rod at September 13, 2004 12:24 PM

I must say, that from watching the blogosphere in action over these documents, I only wish that a fraction of this effort would be going into finding out who forged the Niger uranium documents.

That occured to me as well. Too bad they weren't published by someone before being used to support an invasion.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 13, 2004 12:42 PM

MJT

Howard Kurtz is indeed a Kerry guy, but he also very fair minded in my opinion. I also look forward to hear his take on this after the dust settles.

Posted by: Samuel at September 13, 2004 12:43 PM

>>>"I must say, that from watching the blogosphere in action over these documents, I only wish that a fraction of this effort would be going into finding out who forged the Niger uranium documents."

Tano,

it was said that the French secret service did it to entrap the Americans. I don't remember where I read that.

Posted by: David at September 13, 2004 01:09 PM

it was said that the French secret service did it to entrap the Americans. I don't remember where I read that.

Instapundit, sometime last year, mentioned this. I believe that it was another of his half-baked assertions that was never mentioned again. But I could be wrong.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 13, 2004 01:34 PM

Dems say:

"George W. Bush's campaign literature claimed that he 'served in the U.S. Air Force.' The only problem? He didn't."

Drudge finds doc that proves them wrong:

http://www.drudgereport.com/bush.pdf

Posted by: David at September 13, 2004 01:35 PM

DPU,

I'm pretty sure the Italian government said something to the effect of the documents being French a few weeks ago. I think I read that, but I'm honestly not sure. You'll notice I haven't written anything about it...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 13, 2004 01:57 PM

It is wrong for a major network to be so partisan that they put forward forgeries to influence an election. This is a huge story, and the mainstream media doesn’t want to touch it.

The lesson from Nixon’s demise is that it is the cover-up, not the crime, that kills you. Rather and CBS knows that. So, why the cover-up? The only answer must be that they think the revelation of who perpetrated the scam is so damaging that they are willing to go down with the ship rather than (pun intended) open it up to investigation.

Who would they protect? Rather himself. Kerry himself. Major operative in the Kerry campaign. A huge power broker in the Dem hierarchy. Certainly not Rove.

This will come out, it always does. Network news will go down the tubes unless ABC and NBC lead the charge themselves. Fox News, Washington Times, the Blogosphere, many others will investigate, they will discover.

Posted by: thedragonflies at September 13, 2004 02:53 PM

thedragonflies,

that sounds the most likely explanation. That's the only explanation for Dan Rather's dogged behaviour.

It's incredible how subservient we are to the big three for "the news." If they don't report it, it's not news.

But now we have Fox, and blogs. Things are going to change around here.

Posted by: David at September 13, 2004 02:57 PM

The Italian government DID blame the French for the Niger documents.

http://washingtontimes.com/world/20040905-105320-3012r.htm

"Italy eyes French ruse to dupe U.S. over Iraq

By Bruce Johnston
LONDON SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

BRUSSELS — Italy is blaming France's intelligence service for circulating forged documents that showed Iraq trying to buy uranium from Niger in an elaborate ruse to embarrass Britain and the United States.
Italian diplomats say privately that France was behind the forged documents that at first appeared to prove Iraq was seeking yellowcake uranium in Niger — evidence used by Britain and the United States to press the case for war with Iraq.
They say that France's intelligence services used an Italian-born middleman to circulate a mixture of genuine and bogus documents to "trap" the two leading proponents of war with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein into making unsupportable claims."

More here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/09/05/wuran05.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/09/05/ixworld.html

Posted by: Sydney Carton at September 13, 2004 02:58 PM

double,

does that answer your question?

Posted by: David at September 13, 2004 03:04 PM

But didn't Sen. Carl Levin seem to blame America when he said:

"The statement that Iraq was attempting to acquire African uranium was not an inadvertent mistake. It was negotiated between CIA and National Security Council officials, and it was highly misleading."

Posted by: d-rod at September 13, 2004 03:20 PM

does that answer your question?

What question?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 13, 2004 03:44 PM

I see.
We are supporsed to believe the charge against the French. But not a charge against Karl Rove.

The charge is the same. Some convulted scheme to forge docs in a way that they will be discovered to be forgeries - thus destroying the credibility of those who fell for them.

If the French could do it, so could Karl. If it is too farfetched for Karl, then its probably a bit far fetched for the French.

How about some consistency guys?

Ooops, I guess you are being consistent, in your own ways.....

Posted by: Tano at September 13, 2004 04:39 PM

When I first saw the documents, I thought they looked like they were created in Word, too. But then I read that in 1973 there were in fact typewriters that can space the lettering like a word processor.

So I looked closer at the August 1, 1972 memo. Whatever font was used to create this, it definately was NOT Times New Roman. To confirm for yourself, zoom in on the subject line. There are distinctive curly-cues under the capital E and L. Also, the R has a flourish. I can't find one font on my machine that has these features. Faxing and scanning would not create this. If you are familiar with old fonts, you will recognize that flourishes like these were common way back when, but not now.

That's not to say there isn't a font out there like this. But that begs the question: If the "forger" went to the trouble of using some special font, why not use one that looks like a standard old typewriter, or for that matter, an actual typewriter?

The August 18, 1973 memo looks a lot like this August 1st memo. It also looks like a Word doc, as the noted web site demonstrates.

I cannot prove these are not forgeries, but I can say, definatively, they are NOT obvious forgeries. So give ol' Dan (and Karl, I guess) a break on this one.

Posted by: sivert at September 13, 2004 05:18 PM

>>>"If the French could do it, so could Karl. If it is too farfetched for Karl, then its probably a bit far fetched for the French."

Tano,

there is one very big hole in your conspiracy theory. It doesn't explain why Dan Rather is holding on for dear life to his story. My conspiracy theory does. To reveal his sources would sink John Kerry.

Posted by: David at September 13, 2004 05:56 PM

ps. it's actually Stanley Kurtz's theory.

Posted by: David at September 13, 2004 06:18 PM

Sivert,

When will you get off your kiester and pick up one of those old typewriters, bang out a copy of the memo, and pick up your 38 grand?

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at September 13, 2004 06:21 PM

Just for informational purposes, not for argumentation - what is the latest assessment of CBS's defense (i.e. tonights)?

They are holding firm to their claims regarding the authenticity, and marshall some arguments.

The ones I remember are: that both the superscript "th" and a regular "th" appear in the same doc - something that would be complicated to do on a computer (turn the function on and off mid doc.- and why would a forger do that), but not difficult at all on a typewriter. Also, the use of the lower-case L instead of the numeric 1 - a habit of us old typewriter users, but not something a computer user would do.

I also have never heard the forgery-advocates address a point made in defense of the docs - that some of the letters - especially "e" are floating above the baseline - something a computer does not do, but typewrites often did.

Posted by: Tano at September 13, 2004 07:19 PM

David,
What on earth are you talking about? I have put forth no conspircay theories.

Posted by: Tano at September 13, 2004 07:29 PM

The ones I remember are: that both the superscript "th" and a regular "th" appear in the same doc - something that would be complicated to do on a computer
*************************************************
Yawn you leave a space between the th and the last character typed.

NOW tell me what kind of "computer expert" would not know that and instead leave you with the impression that, as you quoted it would be
"something that would be complicated to do on a computer (turn the function on and off mid doc.-"

Hmmmm INTERESTING I can think of two possiblities, one not a computer document expert at all or lying?

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at September 13, 2004 07:41 PM

ah Dan,,,nice answer in theory. But is it not the case that the normal "th" does NOT have a space before it?
In which case your answer is completely besides the point.

Posted by: Tano at September 13, 2004 07:46 PM

Tano,

quite right! that's what I get for skimming.

Posted by: David at September 13, 2004 07:55 PM

Tano, David;
If you delete the space after you've typed the "th", it does not revert to superscript. That appears to have been done throughout most of the memos, but in a few places the space remains, and in one or two spaces, the forger missed the th completetly and it shows as a superscript.

Posted by: KC at September 13, 2004 08:10 PM

ah Dan,,,nice answer in theory. But is it not the case that the normal "th" does NOT have a space before it?
In which case your answer is completely besides the point.

Posted by Tano at September 13, 2004 07:46 PM
***********************************************
Oh lord son, if you have it, open MS WORD type 111 type th immediately after it, when you space it will superscript automatically

If you put a space between the end of the letters before the th it will not superscript
Oh if you have letters with numerals it will not supercript and it will ONLY superscript the correct version ie 111th will superscript 122th will not but 122nd will.

If for some reason you want simple letters not a superscript just leave a space.

NOW if you need 111th not superscripted but need the th immediately after the 111 type 111 space th then put the cursor between the 111 and the th and back space.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at September 13, 2004 08:10 PM

You know it sure is a lot easier to do than to explain and it is NOT NOT NOT

"that both the superscript "th" and a regular "th" appear in the same doc - something that would be complicated to do on a computer (turn the function on and off mid doc."

Anyone who is "supposed" to be an expert and tells you so is blowing smoke up your rear.

Don't take my word for it.

Open MS Word and DO it.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at September 13, 2004 08:12 PM

You know it sure is a lot easier to do than to explain and it is NOT NOT NOT

"that both the superscript "th" and a regular "th" appear in the same doc - something that would be complicated to do on a computer (turn the function on and off mid doc."

Anyone who is "supposed" to be an expert and tells you so is blowing smoke up your rear.

Don't take my word for it.

Open MS Word and DO it.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at September 13, 2004 08:12 PM

Tano, David;
If you delete the space after you've typed the "th", it does not revert to superscript. That appears to have been done throughout most of the memos, but in a few places the space remains, and in one or two spaces, the forger missed the th completetly and it shows as a superscript.

Posted by KC at September 13, 2004 08:10 PM
*************************************************
Thanks KC you are much more consise than I was.

OK Tano? Your responce please? You were quick enough with your AHA.

I think I will call a failure to respond in a situation like this pulling a "Rather" ;-))

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at September 13, 2004 08:21 PM

Dan,
you sure are both an obnoxious and an inarticulate jerk.

I, as well as everyone here, I am sure, understands how Word works. The argument presented by CBS's expert is that a potential forger would have to go out of his way to produce superscripts and normal scripts in the same doc. Turning on and off the function is an example of that. Typing a space, then deleting it, is also complicated, although less so. The question remains - why would a forger do that? Why go out of your way to use different formats in the same doc? Why would the forger, as you say, feel the need to produce the normal th, in a document in which they use the superscript as well?
Seems far more likely to me to be the work of a harried officer forced to type up lots of forms, rather than a forger trying, with concentration, to produce a credible document.

I am not taking sides on this yet - just trying to assess the credibility of the arguments I hear flying around me. Seeing these two formats used, something that can be routinely produced on a typewriter, but only with effort on a computer, strikes me as weighing (not heavily) on the side of validity over forgery.

Posted by: Tano at September 13, 2004 09:14 PM

Now, anyone have any responses to the other two points I raised?

Posted by: Tano at September 13, 2004 09:16 PM

Typing a space, then deleting it, is also complicated, although less so. posted by Tano
**********************************************
We have a different definition of the word complicated.
*************************************************
Dan,
you sure are both an obnoxious and an inarticulate jerk.
*************************************************

Oh poor baby did I strike a raw nerve? ;-)

Uh that was supposed to hurt my feelings make me angry?

You will have to do better good buddy I have had guns stuck in my face. Experiences like that do put things into perspective.

YAWN adhominen attacks? Bring them on.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at September 14, 2004 12:31 AM

The argument presented by CBS's expert is that a potential forger would have to go out of his way to produce superscripts and normal scripts in the same doc. posted by Tano
*************************************************
Oddly enough ealier this evening I was discussing this topic with a man at work who WAS a clerk typist in the Air Force about that time and they DID have to go out of their way to produce superscripts.

The superscript at least with the version of MS WORD on my computer here at work only occurs when the th follows a number for which it is appropriate. Otherwise it is just text.

I don't know why they typed up those memos in MS Word, you would think they would have been bright enough to use an old typewriter.

You know you stated, "I, as well as everyone here, I am sure, understands how Word works"

Actually for me that is NOT true. I don;t use MS WORD it is on the computer.

When I read your post, what popped into my mind was, I am appealing to authority, I just posted what I had READ, this guy may have a point, How will I know until I try it?

SO I opened up MS WORD typed in 111 and then th space and bang superscript, then I typed 111 space th space NO superscript, I then put the cursor between the th and the last one and backspaced.

STILL no superscript. Tried some different combinations of letters and numbers.

It was EASY NO repeat NOT complicated.

This guy who says its so complicated, implying that it is an involved and cumberous process is full of it.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at September 14, 2004 12:44 AM

Bush was probably not a stellar performer, militarily, but then, he didn't base his candidacy on it either, the kerry camp did, to their everlasting regret.

The ironic thing about all this is that it looks like the left partisans have handed over the election to Bush, handed over CBS's viewer market to Fox, handed over news reliability to the blogosphere, and like a wierd Captain Bly, surrendered captainship of the vast information juggernaut to a bunch of misfits in pajamas.

Talk about "power to the people!"

Talk about a suicidal campaign.

Posted by: Sam_S at September 14, 2004 01:00 AM

The other day I fisked an anchorman in my pajamas. How he got in them I'll never know.

/groucho

Posted by: Alan K. Henderson at September 14, 2004 01:26 AM

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.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at September 14, 2004 04:38 AM

Here is the answer to preventing these problems i the future. ;-)
http://www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester/archives/005093.php


MS Forger
Introducing a new product in our Office line called Microsoft Forger. We have been copying other peoples software ideas for years, so who is better to provide you with a product that imitates other peoples style and signature. Microsoft Forger is the ultimate product for pundit-proof forgery.

Even if you are just getting into forgery or are an old hand, this product will deliver all the power that you need to turn out credible documents with little or no effort.

Just look at some of the incredible features included.

Output machine selection - Select from a variety of emulators for everything from manual typewriters, IBM Selectrics, early model word processors such as Wang and many others.

Font selection - Once you have selected the machine type, font selection is limited to only those fonts actually available for that machine. No longer will you make stupid mistakes like selecting Times New Roman for memorandum that were suppose to be typed on a IBM Selectric.

Proportional fonts and kerning - Again options are limited by machine type

Key emulation - Only those keys actually on the selected machine type are activated. Special features such as subscript and superscript will appear only as that machine would have outputted it. Some extremely amateur forgers have actually used features such as reduced font sized superscript "th" in documents that were suppose to have been from a normal typewriter. Our product will prevent such simple mistakes

*************************************************
And MUCH more! ;-)

Posted by: Daniel Kauffman at September 14, 2004 06:05 AM

After reading today's article in the Washington Post, I'm starting to agree it was probably a forgery. CBS obviously needs to come forward with their source.

If it was a forgery, it doesn't change any of the following:

1. Service in the National Guard during that era was widely recognized as a way of avoiding service in Vietnam.

2 Bush used his family connections to get into a National Guard unit that was known as a refuge for the children of the politically well connected, even though he did not perform well on initial tests.

3. Though he did well the first four years of his service defending Texas from Oklahoma, there is no credible evidence that Bush performed his Guard duties in Alabama 1972-1973 (as well as a tremendous amount of lingering mystery about just what the hell he was doing at all that year).

4. Bush took the cowardly route at that time, particularly compared to John Kerry, who volunteered to serve in Vietnam, did a decent job there AT WORST.

5. None of his supporters give a damn about any of this, although if Kerry had the same record, they would be yelling loudly about their outrage, and working overtime to tar Kerry as a smug child of privilege.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 14, 2004 07:07 AM

Ah Marcus,

You agree that these were forgeries, but if they are forgeries...

Your polemistic acumen is just astounding.

Posted by: marek at September 14, 2004 07:22 AM

Markus -

1. Does it occur to you that if the documents are forgeries what they say is not reliable? 2. Does anybody really care about George Bush's service in the National Guard? 3. This issue has been brought up in every campaign he has run since 1978. At some point, doesn't it stop being news? 4. In light of 2 and 3, is there any doubt that this was a partisan hit piece by CBS against George Bush? 5. In light of 4, how can I trust CBS in the future?

Posted by: Ben at September 14, 2004 07:29 AM

Ben -- I would suggest that you DO NOT trust CBS or any other single media source...I certainly don't.

You are correct -- the claim that I made are OLD CHARGES. And they keep coming up because they are never refuted. To answer your question #2, I guess not too many people do care about Bush's service in the Guard. I'm trying to figure out why that is. Of course, for many, it is water under the bridge, the actions of youth.

But for people upset about Kerry's conduct in the war, I'm having a hard time understanding why people are so tolerant about rich kids using their connections to get out of fighting a war they ostensibly support.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 14, 2004 07:41 AM

Hey Markus, WTF did you do during Vietnam? Flying Fighter Jets is not a 'simple thing'. And it is not 'cowardly'. If there is one thing the Air Force can do, its train pilots.

And in case you weren't old enough to be drafted then, obviously the all volunteer Military makes it easy for cowards like you to avoid service altogether.

Posted by: Eric Blair at September 14, 2004 07:46 AM

"you sure are both an obnoxious and an inarticulate jerk.

....

Posted by Tano at September 13, 2004 09:14 PM"

I just can't stop laughing.

Anyway, for those people still fighting the losing battle, let's ask a couple of questions.

1. In order to deny the forgery there has to have been a machine capable of making all the special letters/fonts/etc despite the fact that noone has yet produced one that can make ALL of them. What was this machine?

2. Why are there no documents from the TANG group which show the same characteristics?

3. Are we to believe that this advanced machine, capable of production quality far beyond its contemporaries, not only was available for "personal file" use, but was in fact never used for any other purpose?

If these are not forgeries someone should be able to produce an inarguably authentic document from roughly the same period showing all these characteristics. Until I see one I will continue to believe these are forgeries.

Posted by: mj at September 14, 2004 08:13 AM

Eric -- During the Vietnam era, I was a gleam in my daddy's eye, then I was in diapers. Seriously, the point is that he was a rich kid with a Congressman for a daddy, and he took advantage of these connections in order to minimize to the greatest extent possible the possibility that he would be sent off to fight a war that both he and his father supported. Is that fair or honorable?

Posted by: Markus rose at September 14, 2004 08:29 AM

The forgery argument has one extremely strong point, regardless of what machines were available at that time, and what fonts or characters they were able to produce. The document can be duplicated using Microsoft Word using the default settings.

Some people have said "So what, this is what word processors are suppused to do," but that's because they don't have much experience with typography. MS Word used TrueType fonts, which contain kerning-like placement information. While not true kerning, it does provide something close (kerning is turned off in Word unless otherwise set by the user, but the "pseudo-kerning" is always on). To see this, open Word, and type the word "interference". Change the view to 500% and look at the second "e". You'll notice that the "e" is tucked under the preceding "f".

Typewriters in 1973 could not do this, and, more importantly, could not use the spacing information imbedded in TrueType fonts, which were released in the late 1980s.

Yet typing the content of the memos into Word results in identical spacing. Identical, not a single character out of place. Additionally, the leading is identical, the margins are identical, the font is identical, and the tab stops are identical. And the centered heading is identical, which could not be done on even the most advanced proportional spacing typewriters in the early seventies.

Lastly, the whole debating point that there were typewriters in the 70's that could do superscript, proportional fonts and spacing, etc, etc is dumb. Yes there were. There were also typesetting machines which could produce that output. But both were extremely expensive, required special training to operate, and were used to produce camera-ready output without having to go to a prepress shop. But they weren't used to produce memos, for Pete's sake. That's like using a Porsche to deliver manure. And why would they only use this hideously complex and expensive machine to only write memos about George W. Bush? All other available documents from that office used standard monospace typewriters.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 14, 2004 08:42 AM

Markus -

IMHO, the only reason any of this is relevant is the extent to which it provides insight into the what type of President the particular candidate will be. Bush's TANG service is completely irrelevant because we have 4 years of history to examine and because he has acknowledged that he was young and irresponsible at that time. People are allowed to change, and he appears to have done so.

Kerry's conduct in Vietnam is somewhat relevant because (1) he advanced it as a reason to support his candidacy, and (2) he has never held that office before. That said, Kerry's service in Vietnam is less relevant than his conduct after the Vietnam War, which itself is less relevant than his time in the US Senate. Also, Kerry has never made any attempt to reconcile the seeming inconsistency between his anti-war conduct before and after his service and his service. Quite frankly, I think Kerry could have put most of this to bed by explaining it - to do so, however, he would have to decide whether he wants to be a hawk or a dove, which he doesn't seem to be able to do.

I believe that Kerry's failure to explain himself, coupled with the anger a lot of Vietnam Veterans have for Kerry's conduct after the war (VVAW, Winter Soldier, etc.) explains why this is still in the news, why SBVT hurts Kerry, and why TANG doesn't hurt Bush.

Posted by: Ben at September 14, 2004 08:53 AM

Ben -- a somewhat reasonable response. But you are implying 1) that it WOULD have been fair to attack Bush in 2000 for TANG, and/or 2) that Kerry, Clinton, Dean or ANY CANDIDATE can simply wipe their slate clean by saying they were irresponsible in their youth.

I think that Kerry has tried to make about 100 times more of his Vietnam service than he should have, HOWEVER, I do think the difference between how he behaved in the war vs. how Bush behaved is SOMEWHAT relevant as an insight into their respective characters.

You have two children of privelege, one who temporarily renounced the benefits of that privilege and willingly put his life on the line at the service of his country, and one who took advantage of that privilege to minimize the chance that he would be in harm's way.

Without knowing your views, I can say that I guess this is not a big deal for most conservatives because most of them don't give a damn about the privileged using the benefits and advantages they have received as a birthright. I guess it is one of the fruits of freedom.

Regarding Kerry's 1971 anti-war work, the opposition of himself AND OTHER VETERANS to the war was honorable, and he was also truthful in pointing out that atrocities by US soldiers were being committed more than occasionally. However, at the same time, he should have made it EXPLICITELY clear that MOST soldiers were NOT engaging in atrocities, and he should make that clear now.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 14, 2004 09:28 AM

For a comprehensive rebuttal of all the "but it must be a forgery" arguements, go to:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/9/10/34914/1603

Also, as I mentioned earlier, the August 1 memo cannot be recreated in Word using default settings because the font is NOT Times New Roman. In fact, today I checked my Adobe catalog, and although they make seven different "times" style fonts, none have the distictive squiggle under the E, L and R.

(And yes, I would love to prove it by typing it all out on an old typewriter that I painstakingly tracked down at one of the many local typewriter stores, but, while it must seem like I have a lot of free time, I don't.)

Posted by: sivert at September 14, 2004 09:40 AM

sivert: Also, as I mentioned earlier, the August 1 memo cannot be recreated in Word using default settings because the font is NOT Times New Roman. In fact, today I checked my Adobe catalog, and although they make seven different "times" style fonts, none have the distictive squiggle under the E, L and R.

These documents have been photocopied multiple times, and substantially exhibit what press people call "artifacts". Repeated copying introduces errors and "drift" that are magnified each time they're run through a copier or fax machine. The Squiggle you're seeing is most likely caused by repeated copying. If you print out the text from Word, make copy, make a copy of that copy, and repeat six or seven times, you'll see the squiggle

Personally, I believe that they are Times New Roman, or the overlays would not match up so well (the fonts would have small changes to their spacing information, and these small changes would aggregate into larger differences at the right side of the lines).

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 14, 2004 10:24 AM

dpu:

The charge against CBS is not just that they fell for forgeries, but that they fell for quickie, half-ass forgeries. That is a pretty serious charge.

I am not a typography expert, but I KNOW (I can see it with my own eyes) that the 8/1 document was not typed in a commonly available font. This means that if it was forged, the forger went to some trouble to find or create a vintage looking font. Ergo, the document must at least bear some resemblance to documents from that era, or why take that extra step?

So while I personally do not have the means to validate that these documents are real, I can say definatively, that the 8/1 memo was not just spit out from Word with all the defaults unchanged.

For CBS to fall for a good forgery is not nearly as damning as falling for an obvious one. Makes one want to look at all the documents, eh? Maybe Bush never got those "glowing reviews" :-)

And, I think this only hurts Kerry if a forger is linked to his campaign.

Posted by: sivert at September 14, 2004 10:46 AM

dpu:

The squiggle is there if you zoom in. It is not created by repeated copying.

With permission, I'll email you a pdf comparing the 8/1 font to Times New Roman.

Posted by: sivert at September 14, 2004 10:57 AM

Sivert: So while I personally do not have the means to validate that these documents are real, I can say definatively, that the 8/1 memo was not just spit out from Word with all the defaults unchanged.

I'm sorry, you're flat-out wrong on this. Read the third link I posted.

For CBS to fall for a good forgery is not nearly as damning as falling for an obvious one.

To quote from that link,
There has been a lot of activity on the Internet recently concerning the forged CBS documents. I do not even dignify this statement with the traditional weasel-word “alleged”, because it takes approximately 30 seconds for anyone who is knowledgeable in the history of electronic document production to recognize this whole collection is certainly a forgery, and approximately five minutes to prove to anyone technically competent that the documents are a forgery. I was able to replicate two of the documents within a few minutes. At time I a writing this, CBS is stonewalling. They were hoaxed, pure and simple. CBS failed to exercise anything even approximately like due diligence. I am not sure what sort of "expert" they called in to authenticate the document, but anything I say about his qualifications to judge digital typography is likely to be considered libelous (no matter how true they are) and I would not say them in print in a public forum.
If this forger were at all competent, he or she would have used a typewriter. Typewriters are available for a few bucks at most thrift stores. I recently reconditioned a seventy-year old typewriter that someone tossed in the garbage. They ain't that hard to get hold of. If they were only slightly less competent, they would have used a monospaced font in Microsoft Word, like Courier Bold. And if CBS had done ANY verification of the validity of these documents, almost anyone with any typography knowledge would have raised an alarm signal on seeing proportional spacing in the documents.

I am absolutely flabbergasted that CBS continues to say they're legit. When I first read right-wingers calling for Rather's resignation over this, I dismissed it a partisan nonsense, but now I think his stonewalling has forever damaged his credibility. The Washington Post today said pretty much that, and if it weren't for his reputation, I think they would have been much harsher.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 14, 2004 11:02 AM

The squiggle is there if you zoom in. It is not created by repeated copying.

Have you tried the copying?

With permission, I'll email you a pdf comparing the 8/1 font to Times New Roman.

No need, I have both on my screen. I can see the what you're talking about, although it appears in many places in all of the documents. I repeat, this is copier drift, which often happens with faxed documents. The serifs get picked up and exaggerated by the copying process, and end up looking enlarged. I've seen it many, many times before.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 14, 2004 11:08 AM

Markus,

If the President has spent his time in an administrative job someplace, your argument might have some merit.

But all the facts indicate that he volunteered for, was accepted, and was trained as a fighter pilot.

Let me re-emphasize that. FIGHTER PILOT. SUPERSONIC JET FIGHTER. One just doesn't la-dee-da into that. Poppy isn't going to get you there either. As I pointed out, if there is one thing the Air Force can do, it's train pilots. Even so, those pilots make mistakes and some are killed in training accidents every year. It was no different during the Vietnam era. Being a fighter pilot is most emphatically not 'minimizing being in harm's way'. That's just silly.

I have yet to see anybody say he was not a good pilot, and I have seen the reports of people who say he was a good pilot.

And despite your snide remark about 'defending Texas from Oklahoma' the Texas ANG actually did have a contingency mission to defend the Gulf coast from Soviet aircraft flying out of Cuba.

And frankly, what the hell do you know about the missions assigned to the 147th Fighter Group during the time the President flew for it anyway? Hey, I'll even aswer that; NOTHING.

And, you have not answered why you did not volunteer for any of the services. Is that fair or honorable? How come you haven't put your life on the line for the country?

Posted by: Eric Blair at September 14, 2004 11:15 AM

dpu:

If the squiggle was just on one letter here and there, I could buy the drift thing, but it is on all the letters. It is a flourish, and to my eye it looks vintage (I collect old books).

Copying a font over and over will not create a distinctive detail like this, if anything, it will wash details like these out.

Posted by: sivert at September 14, 2004 11:18 AM

sivert Copying a font over and over will not create a distinctive detail like this, if anything, it will wash details like these out.

Sigh.

Okay, I just took a document written in 11 pt Times New Roman over to the photocopier. I copied it, then ran the copy through the machine. Repeated this ten times. Not only do I end up with your vintage squiggle, I also get some characters drifting off the baseline, as I see in the memo reproductions.

I suggest you give it a try. It's easym, cheap, an fun.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 14, 2004 11:48 AM

Sorry, that should be "It's easy, cheap, and fun."

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 14, 2004 11:49 AM

Free training as a fighter pilot is something many young men would love to have. Especially if it was unlikely they'd actually have to use their skills in battle. The risk of death would be more in the line of having fun. Remember, the only videogame was Pong. I knew guys who used to drive over railroad crossings right in front of the train in order to have fun. Cleaning out tunnels in Vietnam is a whole other thing.

There is little doubt that the copies purveyed by CBS are forgeries (give it up sivert). That does not substantially invalidate the implication that Bush used influence to wangle a cushy spot on this side of the Pacific. But I can't blame him a bit. The war as fought was pointless and bloody. We had no intention of winning.

I would like to know, however, who suckered Dan Rather into this. This is the funniest thing since watching him riding a donkey in Afghanistan.

Posted by: jj at September 14, 2004 11:57 AM

Here's an expert of a different falvouur ;-)

The Ranting Raven has a hilarious angle on the CBS Killian documents, from Frank Abagnale Jr.—one of the world’s premier experts on forgery, whose true story was the basis for the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can.

Robin the ranting raven sent email to Mr. Abagnale, and received a reply:

Dear Robin:

Thank you for your e-mail. Though Mr. Abagnale has not personally seen the documents or copies of the documents, from what he has seen on television he believes the documents are forgeries. He feels this should be evident to anyone of any knowledge of forged documents.

I can tell you that he sent an e-mail to Neil Cavuto of Your World on Fox News Network (he knows him personally) that stated: “If my forgeries looked as bad as the CBS documents, it would have been ‘Catch Me In Two Days’”.

Sarah Hammermill
Information Officer
Abagnale & Associates
Washington, DC

Posted by: Daniel Kauffman at September 14, 2004 01:17 PM

This is not really ontopic but I am a little puzzled.

For some reason this " obnoxious and an inarticulate jerk." has been for sometime included in the zogby polling group.

There seem to be some very intelligent people here.

Could anyone exlain to me WHY whether I buy eggs or not on a regular basis matters to the election?

I admit I am stumped!

PS I answered no.

Posted by: Daniel Kauffman at September 14, 2004 01:27 PM

dpu:

I can't try your photocopy trick until after work(ha, ha, like I'm working.) I remain dubious. I would love to see your "magic copier created squiggle that consistently warps three letters the same and affects nothing else."

Can you post it or email it to me?

Posted by: sivert at September 14, 2004 02:10 PM

Markus -

Re your 9:28 a.m. post: You are mostly right in characterizing my views. By way of clarification, let me say that I view the recent past as being far more important than the distant past. What happened 30+ years ago may or may not say anything about who a particular person is today - it just depends on the circumstances.

I believe that people are capable of changing. If a person says he has changed and his actions support his statements, I will take him at his word and "wipe the slate clean" (w/r/t drawing conclusions about future actions, not w/r/t dealing with the consequences of whatever bad acts may have occurred). The fact is that Bush got an honorable discharge from the TANG. It is way too late to second guess that decision now. Similarly, the alleged problems relating to Kerry's service would not be an issue now, but for the issues I previously stated. Simply put, Kerry needs to explain himself - if he does so satisfactorily, the issue should be dropped.

As to your concerns regarding the actions of two sons of privilege, I guess I just don't care because: (1) it was 30 years ago; (2) each had his reasons for what he did and those reasons are relevant to today only insofar as I have previously discussed; (3) it has always been better to be rich than poor, and I don't see how that issue has anything to do with who would be a better commander in chief in a time of war - physical courage is far less important for a commander than moral courage.

Posted by: Ben at September 14, 2004 02:17 PM

Sivert - no, I haven't scanned it. Just give it a try when you have to. And there's no need for a "magic" photocopier. As I've said, this is standard font degradation through multiple-copying that anyone who's been involved in any way with printing technology is familiar with. The reason it looks like a "vintage" font is that older printing technology used lead, and the lead type degraded during press runs. The degradation through copying gives a similar appearance, I.E. spidery lettering with quirky (or squiggly) serifs.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 14, 2004 03:05 PM

I find this thread absolutely fascinating.

People with such a tenuous grasp on reality that they actually believe these documents are legitimate. How remarkable! Suddenly so many things become clear to me.

Kudos to Kevin Drum and Doubleplus. Nice to see some sharp folks on the other side of the table.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at September 14, 2004 04:47 PM

Eric -- Unlike both Bush and Kerry, I did not face a draft then, and I'm not running for President now. Unlike Bush, I did not use my privilege and my connections to dodge the draft. Unlike Kerry, I did not volunteer. That makes me a lesser man than Kerry, and a better man than Bush.

Ben -- sure its better to be rich than poor. But on a moral level, in regard to duties and obligations that are shared by all, including military service during a time when there is a draft, I believe that it is better to renounce rather than take advantage of the benefits and privileges available as a result of one's riches.

all -- As I said a few days ago, all the facts are not in yet. Here something new from today's Washington Post. Not that any Bush supporters give a damn:

"In another development last night, Killian's former secretary told the Dallas Morning News that she believes the documents are fake but that they reflect authentic memos that once existed.

"These are not real," Marian Carr Knox told the paper after examining copies of the disputed memos. "They're not what I typed, and I would have typed them for him."

Knox, 86, who acknowledged she was not a supporter of the president -- calling him "unfit for office" and "selected, not elected" -- said the typeface on the documents did not match either of the two typewriters that she used during her time at the guard, a mechanical Olympia and later an IBM Selectric. But she said the contents reflected the views of her boss, who, she said, kept a personal "cover his back" file in a locked desk drawer.

Knox's recollections suggest that CBS may have been duped about the documents even if the substance of its story was accurate."

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 15, 2004 11:53 AM

You are right, I don't give a damn about Bush's service 30+ years ago. I do give a damn about the Kerry campaign and CBS colluding in "Operation Favorite Son" by forging documents and running them on 60 minutes, even when. And I'm pretty sure that's what happened at this point, given CBS's otherwise inexplicable behavior in running documents that its own experts said are frauds, the current stonewall, and the timing of the 60 minutes and Kerry and Edwards public speeches.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at September 15, 2004 12:25 PM

Matthew -- and I don't give a damn whether Lt. Kerry or his accuser John E. O'Neill were being accurate when they BOTH claimed they made swift boat incursions into Cambodia, or whether Lt. Kerry injuries were self-inflicted, as Bob Dole's own first Purple Heart was. I do give a damn about his opponents bringing up these "issues" in order to draw attention away from the incompetence of our current commander in chief in prosecuting our current war.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 15, 2004 01:31 PM

The difference is the RNC never coordinated with the SwiftVets, nor did Dick Cheney tour the country on the day the ads ran on a campaign theme called "Unfit to Serve" talking about Kerry's service in Vietnam.

The swifties are a creation of John Kerry's anti-war activities and the outrage at the lies he spread about his brothers in Vietnam when he came back.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at September 15, 2004 03:15 PM

Matthew -- I do wish that Kerry had the guts to stand up for his activities in 1971. They were honorable and patriotic for the most part.

Regarding your purported "difference" between swift boats and TANG, do you have any evidence that the DNC coordinated with CBS, or supplied them with fake docs?

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 15, 2004 03:56 PM

Why are Rather and CBS persisting in maintaining a storyline that is ruining their credibility for many years to come? Why did they run with a story that their own document experts told them was bogus? Why did operation "Favorite Son" begin the day after the CBS hit-piece?

I don't have the answers, but I have a strong suspicion. It sure looks coordinated. That doesn't necessarily mean DNC fabricated the docs, but the refusal to back down or reveal the source sure looks bad.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at September 15, 2004 04:39 PM

DPU:

I doubt you are still montitoring this line, but if you are, I finally got a chance to try the photocopier bit, and was ..... unimpressed.

1. Random Squiggles? Yes. Squiggles that show up on same letter consistently throughout document? No.

2. Letter stretching: On the document I tried, the spacing was streched and compressed on the same line. I see no such effect on CBS docs.

3. Ghosting: The CBS docs have it, mine didn't. Ghosting implies (but of course doesn't prove) the bit of ink spray characteristic of typewriters. I thought repeated copying would cause this effect as well, but it didn't.

All this proves nothing except that I couldn't have created facimilies of these with a Word Doc and a copier. As in, if these are indeed forgeries, someone put at least a bit of work into it.

Ok, I'm done beating this very dead horse.

Posted by: sivert at September 15, 2004 05:19 PM

Markus wrote: "Unlike both Bush and Kerry, I did not face a draft then, and I'm not running for President now. Unlike Bush, I did not use my privilege and my connections to dodge the draft. Unlike Kerry, I did not volunteer. That makes me a lesser man than Kerry, and a better man than Bush."

Markus, kindly remove your head from your ass. They both went to Yale. They both had student deferments. The BOTH used their privileges. Senator Kerry even tried to extend his and go to France. But it didn't work out. President Bush volunteered for the Guard and got in. Oh well.

Even I volunteered. If I could do it, what's your excuse?

Since that apparently makes you a lesser man than them and even me, quit grousing about your betters, you haven't earned the privilege.

Posted by: Eric Blair at September 15, 2004 06:22 PM

There was a great post about this story the other day at Mayflower Hill (mayflowerhill.blogspot.com). What everyone seems to forget is that this story- for the most part- is a huge distraction and that with day we cover it we lose another chance to talk about the real issues before the country this November. Lets get our focus back.

Posted by: Chris at September 16, 2004 11:41 AM

There was a great post about this story the other day at Mayflower Hill (mayflowerhill.blogspot.com). What everyone seems to forget is that this story- for the most part- is a huge distraction and that with day we cover it we lose another chance to talk about the real issues before the country this November. Lets get our focus back.

Posted by: Chris at September 16, 2004 11:43 AM

What people are forgetting is that the CBS story is just a distraction from the real issues- Iraq, the economy, etc. It doesn't help us evaluate either candidate any better or worse. There was a great post about this a few days ago at Mayflower Hill (www.mayflowerhill.blogspot.com)

Posted by: Chris at September 16, 2004 11:46 AM
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