There I was thinking that the worst case was the documents were forged. No, silly me. The worst case is that the documents are real and the 'forgery' story is the GOP slime machine in action.
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Admittedly, I watched “Shattered Glass,” the t.v. movie of the Stephen Glass story, this week, so I’m probably biased, but I lean towards the “just altogether sloppy work” option…
Does this make me a realist? Or an idealist.
As much as I enjoy reading Digby, he tends towards a certain degree of fatalism and negativity. I think, for example, that while the GOP’s pushback on this issue has been powerful and effective, that it’s hardly “masterful”. They had time to prepare, and they got the talking points out using long-established and well-worn paths.
That’s something that we’re getting much better at. It will take time to match what the right wingers have created. But we will. and we’ll do it better.
There are a number of problems with Digby’s blog.
Unfortunately, one of the experts cited by the Boston Globe artice (which was the source for the the SF paper) is complaining that the Globe misrepresented an interview with him. See, http://www.indcjournal.com/archives/000859.php
The Salon article cited repeats the claim that the Republican spin machine jumped into action on the memos before 60 minutes had finished broadcasting. Apparently, that claim was due to misreading the timestamps of the first posts that questioned the authenticity of the documents. See, Kausfiles, http://slate.msn.com/id/2106296/
Digby attacks ret. Maj Gen Hodges for not standing by CBS’ quote of him. Fine, there are some valid points. However, imagine that a reporter asks you to remember conversations some 30 years ago with one of the people you supervise. Before asking the questions, the interviewer tells you they have contemporaneous documents that are hand-written by the person supervised and that these documents have been authenticated by experts. Would that have a tendency to color your memory? Would it be out of the question that you might tend to agree with the questioner? More investigation is necessary.
Digby claims that, “Nobody, as far as I know, has done the basic forensic task of comparing Killian’s other memos of the period with these, which would probably shed real light on the subject.” Indeed, in my first reply to one of the posts here I said that it would be much easier to authenticate the documents if other contemporaneous documents matched the font and styling. If CBS had any, I would imagine they would be public by now.
These are just a few points. I remain skeptical about the authenticity of the documents and of the conspiracy stories regarding how the documents have become questioned. However, I’ll stop with these few points. Not being a member of the right winger I don’t get the full morning briefing on the talking points. I just attempt to be objective and skeptical.
First reports did lead many reasonable people, myself included, to wonder whether the forgery charge mght be correct. But the more details we find out, the more Digby looks right, as usual. A Free Republic reader with no expertise and no knowledge, really, of anything, thinks the documents look funny because they are different from some Air Force documents he is familiar with. He posts, the slime machine goes into action, and the actual charges keep changing: it’s the proportional spacing (no, IBM did make widely used typewriters with proportional spacing)…. it’s the “th” (no, balls with superscript th’s were used), it’s the “kerning” (whatever the hell that is, and it appears not to be the case). The people who need to explain themselves are not CBS, but the Washington Post. Who ARE those experts the Post consulted? Who called whom? How did the Ohio guy not have samples from the IBM Selectric Composer in his database, when it was one of the most commonly used high-end electric typewriters around? It’s hard to believe that a forger who knew enough to make the details of the memo fit the proven facts so seamlessly would be so clumsy as to write a document in Word. The quality of the print is, to my mind, evidence of authenticity– a forger would have tried harder to make the typing look old. Problem is that some of the key principals are now lying, and CBS cannot prove its case without breaking promises of anonymity. Open and shut case if you think about it.
The IBM Composer is a typesetting machine, not a typewriter. There is no way in the world an officer in the National Guard would use such an expensive machine to type a memo. You are all living in a fantasy world. Killian’s secretary has said the docs are forgeries. She also said that she thinks the message of the memos is correct, but memories are fallible and other people have memories of Killian respecting Bush. And, importantly, genuine documents that support that view. Now ABC News is reporting that CBS was told by more than one expert that there were serious problems with authenticity and Rather still went ahead with the story. This shows that Dan Rather is an accomplice in an attempted fraud on the nation. Rather may or may not keep his job, but CBS News has lost the confidence of the nation.