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Author: Subject: What's the frequency,Kenneth? CBS forgeries

Zen Peach





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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 05:16 PM
quote:
Those Discredited Memos

The "documents" put forward by CBS News about George W. Bush's service have all the earmarks of forgeries. By WILLIAM SAFIRE

Washington - Alert bloggers who knew the difference between the product of old typewriters and new word processors immediately suspected a hoax: the "documents" presented by CBS News suggesting preferential treatment in Lt. George W. Bush's National Guard service have all the earmarks of forgeries.

The copies of copies of copies that formed the basis for the latest charges were supposedly typed by Guard officer Jerry Killian three decades ago and placed in his "personal" file. But it is the default typeface of Microsoft Word, highly unlikely to have been used by that Texas colonel, who died in 1984. His widow says he could hardly type and his son warned CBS that the memos were not real.

When the mainstream press checked the sources mentioned or ignored by "60 Minutes II," the story came apart.

The Los Angeles Times checked with Killian's former commander, the retired Guard general whom a CBS executive had said would be the "trump card" in corroborating its charges. But it turns out CBS had only read Maj. Gen. Bobby Hodges the purported memos on the phone, and did not trouble to show them to him. Hodges now says he was "misled" - he thought the memos were handwritten - and believes the machine-produced "documents" to be forgeries. (CBS accuses the officer of changing his story.)

The L.A. Times also checked out a handwriting analyst, Marcel Matley (of Vincent Foster suicide-note fame), who CBS had claimed vouched for the authenticity of four memos. It turns out he vouches for only one signature, and no scribbled initials, and has no opinion about the typography of any of the supposed memos.

The Dallas Morning News looked into the charge in one of the possible forgeries dated Aug. 18, 1973, that a commander of a Texas Air Guard squadron was trying to "sugar coat" Bush's service record. It found that the commander had retired from the Guard 18 months before that.

The Associated Press focused on the suspicion first voiced by a blogger on the Web site Freerepublic.com about modern "superscripts" that include a raised th after a number. CBS, on the defense, claimed that "some models" of typewriters of the 70's could do that trick, and some Texas Air National Guard documents released by the White House included it.

"That superscript, however," countered The A.P., "is in a different typeface than the one used for the CBS memos." It consulted the document examiner Sandra Ramsey Lines of Paradise Valley, Ariz., and reported "she could testify in court that, beyond a reasonable doubt, her opinion was that the memos were written on a computer."

The Washington Post reported Dan Rather's response to questions about the documents' authenticity: "Until someone shows me definitive proof that they are not, I don't see any reason to carry on a conversation with the professional rumor mill" and questioned the critics' "motivation."

After leading with that response, Post media reporter Howard Kurtz noted that the handwriting expert Matley said that CBS had asked him not to give interviews, and that an unidentified CBS staff member who had examined the documents saw potential problems with them: "There's a lot of sentiment that we should do an internal investigation."

Newsweek (which likes the word "discredited") has apparently begun an external investigation: it names "a disgruntled former Guard officer" as a principal source for CBS, noting "he suffered two nervous breakdowns" and "unsuccessfully sued for medical expenses."

It may be that CBS is the victim of a whopping journalistic hoax, besmearing a president to bring him down. What should a responsible news organization do?

To shut up sources and impugn the motives of serious critics - from opinionated bloggers to straight journalists - demeans the Murrow tradition. Nor is any angry demand that others prove them wrong acceptable, especially when no original documents are available to prove anything.

Years ago, Kurdish friends slipped me amateur film taken of Saddam's poison-gas attack that killed thousands in Halabja. I gave it to Dan Rather, who trusted my word on sources. Despite objections from queasy colleagues, he put it on the air.

Hey, Dan: On this, recognize the preponderance of doubt. Call for a panel of old CBS hands and independent editors to re-examine sources and papers. Courage.



As Dan Rather continues to take heat, he amazingly brought this gem back up from his career,
quote:
Bombarded with accusations CBS had fallen for an obvious hoax, Dan turned to his trusty Smith-Corona and bashed out a few e-mails: "For the umpteenth time," he said angrily, "this is the kind of sleaze I had to put up with when they scoffed at 'What's the frequency, Kenneth?' "

 

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Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 05:32 PM
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Shame these "memos" weren't out earlier, Michael Moore could have worked with that. Oh well, there is always his next "movie".

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 05:41 PM
I guess Dan Rather is the Harold Raines of CBS News now? I don't know what's funnier, all this or Carvell telling Don Imus that the RNC drugged Zell Miller? LMAO!!!

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 05:57 PM
When did op-ed pieces become news? William Safire? Really. LMAO.

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 06:00 PM
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When did op-ed pieces become news? William Safire? Really. LMAO.



Jason Blair?

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 06:06 PM
I almost substituted the word "journalism" for "news". I changed my mind because I can't find a connection between journalism and modern America.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 06:24 PM
quote:
I guess Dan Rather is the Harold Raines of CBS News now?

I'm not seeing the comparison. Rather is standing behind a story he reported (shocking, I know). Raines did a crappy job of running a newsroom, I don't think Rather runs the show.

quote:
Jason Blair?

Uh... what? He didn't write op-eds, he faked news articles. I don't think his opinions had anything to do with it.

quote:
Oh well, there is always his next "movie".

He doesn't make movies?

Safire is, as an op-ed writer, presenting one side of an argument. Meaning there's another side and this isn't as cut and dried as he'd have you believe. The documents may be fake, but I don't buy CBS being as flat-out stupid as Safire is saying.

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 06:25 PM
And your own Daughter calls ya a lier http://www.wbap.com/listingsentryheadline.asp?ID=239369&PT=wbaptopstori es

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 06:31 PM
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And your own Daughter calls ya a lier http://www.wbap.com/listingsentryheadline.asp?ID=239369&PT=wbaptopstori es

Anybody can call anybody a liar. And how did we get to this topic?

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 06:33 PM
Marley, What I'm saying the comparison is, is that Rather does have the same clout within CBS News as Harold Raines had with the Times. Meaning that Dan Rather has pretty much final say (or atleast it looks that way) with what goes to air, as did Raines with what went to print.

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 06:36 PM
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Marley, What I'm saying the comparison is, is that Rather does have the same clout within CBS News as Harold Raines had with the Times. Meaning that Dan Rather has pretty much final say (or atleast it looks that way) with what goes to air, as did Raines with what went to print.

He probably is a producer. It makes him somewhat responsible if the story is wrong (which Safire decided it is, so it must be), but it doesn't make him the one who made the mistakes. I think Raines quit because he'd lost control of the newsroom had failed as an editor. If Rather runs a long string of reports that don't contain errors but are inarguably totally made up (or close), there'd be a better comparison.

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 06:38 PM
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When did op-ed pieces become news?


I think around the same time Michael Moore's films became "documentaries".

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 06:44 PM
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I think around the same time Michael Moore's films became "documentaries".

Moore has never pretended he was presenting an unbiased piece of journalism. If you like I'll find a quote where he says exactly that. A documentary is a style of movie-making, not "a movie containing things everybody agrees are true and no opinions whatsoever."

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 06:49 PM
No, but there are sure a lot of folks proclaiming them as documentaries. We have had more than one discussion about that here before.

quote:
I almost substituted the word "journalism" for "news". I changed my mind because I can't find a connection between journalism and modern America.


Now I agree with Billy on this most of the time.

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 06:52 PM
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No, but there are sure a lot of folks proclaiming them as documentaries. We have had more than one discussion about that here before.

Yeah, we have. But people are "proclaiming them as documentaries" because that's what they are.

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 06:58 PM
Marley, I am curious to know your opinion being a journalist as to what the fall out could be if in fact these documents are proven to be false with relationship to CBS?

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 07:03 PM
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quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----
No, but there are sure a lot of folks proclaiming them as documentaries. We have had more than one discussion about that here before.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----


Yeah, we have. But people are "proclaiming them as documentaries" because that's what they are.


In your opinion.

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 07:13 PM
It's a documentary because that's what the definition of a documentary is, Denza. It is a very one sided, partisan documentary, to be sure. But a documentary nonetheless...

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 07:41 PM
quote:
In your opinion.

No, I'm really gonna have to insist this is not just my opinion. I'm pretty sure I mentioned in that earlier thread that the Academy's definition of documentary clearly includes Moore's movies (otherwise one couldn't have won an Oscar). I think there was one Oscar-winning documentary that was entirely a re-enactment.

"1. An eligible documentary film is defined as a theatrically released non-fiction motion picture dealing creatively with cultural, artistic, historical, social, scientific, economic or other subjects. It may be photographed in actual occurrence, or may employ partial re-enactment, stock footage, stills, animation, stop-motion or other techniques, as long as the emphasis is on fact and not on fiction."

I've seen a number of people say 'it's not a documentary' because it contains opinions they disagree with or things they think aren't true, and go on to say that makes it a fictional movie. Nope.

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 07:54 PM
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Marley, I am curious to know your opinion being a journalist as to what the fall out could be if in fact these documents are proven to be false with relationship to CBS?


I'm curious to know what the fall out with the eletorate could be if the documents are the documents.

I think the dishonesty on all sides is contributing to a general sense of ennui among all Americans. I've stopped looking at the lies and have started observing the delivery. Rumsfeld mistakenly used Bin Laden's and Sadaam's names interchangeably in two very recent speeches. You can find that same type of bait and switch as a technique in many sales books. I'm actually impressed.

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 08:11 PM
I totally see where you guys are coming from as far as the definition of a documentary, no argument there. Where it breaks down for me is "as long as the emphasis is on fact and not on fiction". That's where the "creative" editing that Moore has done shifts at times from an "emphasis on fact and not fiction". At times he strives to represent an issue by editing to make it appear as he wants with a disregard for "fact".

I would say this applies more to Bowling At Columbine than F911. I did finally watch F911 and actually didn't find many problems with the movie itself other than him trying to try to use John Conyers to put it out there that nobody knew what was in the Patriot Act.

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 09:51 PM
Documentary or not, he's still an ass hole.



Mike

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 09:53 PM
Dan Rather is gonna jump at the chance to report anything that could make GW look like an idiot. Anyone remember how Bush Sr. made Dan Rather look, literally, like a babbling idiot on national television? It was somewher around 1988.



Mike

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 11:07 PM
quote:
Documentary or not, he's still an ass hole.


quote:
Dan Rather is gonna jump at the chance to report anything that could make GW look like an idiot. Anyone remember how Bush Sr. made Dan Rather look, literally, like a babbling idiot on national television? It was somewher around 1988.


Reagan played him better than anyone.

 

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  posted on 9/13/2004 at 11:50 PM
quote:
Where it breaks down for me is "as long as the emphasis is on fact and not on fiction". That's where the "creative" editing that Moore has done shifts at times from an "emphasis on fact and not fiction". At times he strives to represent an issue by editing to make it appear as he wants with a disregard for "fact".

Something taken out of context is not at all the same as fiction. (It's dishonest, but it's definitely not fiction.) The phrase is vague, I'm sure that's intentional. The line between factual journalism and what Moore does, which you think is fiction, is not that clear. All news footage is edited, Moore just doesn't have the same restrictions on him and he's his own boss. He's not pretending to be objective, which the news, arguably, tries to do.

quote:
Documentary or not, he's still an ass hole.

And THAT is an opinion. See?

quote:
Marley, I am curious to know your opinion being a journalist as to what the fall out could be if in fact these documents are proven to be false with relationship to CBS?

I think it depends on who got it wrong (a document expert, a contributor to the report, Rather, somebody else), and if it was an honest mistake or something CBS did intentionally for either political or ratings reasons, or some other reason. If somebody low-level screwed up, you might expect something like a firing and some public apologies. If it's something bigger, the fallout would be bigger as well.

I think the least likely possibility is CBS overlooking the problems for political reasons. Especially if the forgeries are so obvious they were discovered this quickly. The network would have a lot to lose (respect, advertising) and nothing to gain. Could they have messed up? Definitely.

It looks to me like the whole thing is not going to become a long-running story, so I don't think this is going to be a huge scandal no matter what- maybe it would be if there was a conspiracy inside CBS and Rather was involved.

 

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