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September 14, 2004

Comments

Sydney T

How does Mately's comment: "The main reason, he said, is that they are "copies" that are "far removed" from the originals." jibe with Rather's comment that the documents were "first generation" originals?

mikem

"Oh, so that's why it is so hard for CBS to find supporting experts! The hit-men of the VRWC! Thanks for sharing."
Hilarious.
The white flags are starting to pop up. How do journalism professors sleep at night after watching their charges perform junior high whining on the national stage?
Watch for Dan Rather to retire due to "death threats".

abb1

Final proof.

Dan

This is really silly. CBS' line now seems to be that the authenticity is "disputed" but that's to be expected, so lets move on.

CBS continues to insist (this time via Glennon) that the documents "could have been" created on a typewriter available at the time. If so, then CBS should state what model and what accessories were needed to do so. They should then point to other documents available from the TxANG that have similar characteristics or try to reproduce the documents on the model typewriter they believed was used. But they won't.

Bottom line, the probability that the documents are forgeries is at least 50%; the probability that CBS failed to do due diligence on this story is approaching 100% and the probability that CBS has intentionaly misled the public is at least greater than 0%.

Patrick R. Sullivan

"Brad's wish is the WaPo's command"

Actually, I pointed out to him and his merry band of brothers that they could do that for themselves with documents available at awolbush.com. Maybe Brad deleted that comment, found his conscience bothering him, and restored the idea as his own.

Brad DeLong

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

That's it. Dan Rather is done. Stick a fork in him.

I surrender.

Now may I keep my horse for the spring plowing?

Dean

Prof DeLong:

By "surrender," do you mean that we should just drop the topic? Or do you mean that, since the documents were apparently forgeries, that two distinct lines of inquiry now need to be addressed:

1. The obvious one: Who supplied these documents?

2. The more serious one: What does it say about a major news organization that it could be so easily duped? Was this because of bias (the same bias that is said not to exist, yet doesn't ever seem to wind up affecting Democratic politicians)? Was it simply because of hubris (and whose)? Was it because perhaps the quality control hasn't ever been there, at least not for many years?

It is worth recalling that the surrender of Vicksburg or Island #10 did not result in the end of the war.

capt joe

Brad, thank you

Forbes

Dean:
Not so hard on BDL. I'm certainly not a defender of his, he can speak for himself, but you don't really expect him to carry water for the CBS critics, do you?

Once the defenders stop defending, as you suggest, only half the battle is over. So keep plowing ahead, at least BDL isn't standing in your way!

It now makes it easier to ask, and perhaps get answers to, the questions regarding sourcing, document chain of custody, etc. Dan Rather has two choices--he can retire badly disgraced, or mildly embarrassed--it's his call.

Slartibartfast

That's it. Dan Rather is done. Stick a fork in him.

I second this: well done, Professor DeLong.

TM

Very gracious, prof. Of course you may keep your horse for the spring plowing; it looks like CBS will provide the fertilizer.

Jim Durbin

The blog they're referring to is DailyKos.

Bill Glennon posted to Kos, and CBS is now touting him as an expert.

That's as delicious as it is wrong.

Brad DeLong

Re: "Do you mean that, since the documents were apparently forgeries, that two distinct lines of inquiry now need to be addressed: Who supplied these documents? What does it say about a major news organization that it could be so easily duped?"

We need to find out the answer to the first question. As to the answer to the second, we know it already: our press corps is incompetent to a remarkable degree... pretty men (and women) in front of cameras who know nothing about finance, law, war, diplomacy, education, social services, and now it turns out document authentication...

TM

As to the incompetence of the press corps, Hugh Hewitt was promoting "open source" journalism - in that world, CBS would have put the darn memos on its website, generated lot of traffic and discussion, and we would have drawn some conclusions about their authenticity. The CBS role (I infer) would be to post their interviews with various experts and provide commentary. Sort of like a Big Blog.

Obviously, the main stream media currently have better ability to make phone calls and conduct interviews - 5,000 cranks in pajamas cannot telephone Robert Strong, or Gen. Hodges. But there are other parts of a story that they do horribly.

Somewhat relatedly - I can't quite turn this into a Big Thought, but it strikes me that the media we see today is based on a model created by Vietnam (Pentagon papers) and Watergate - the overarching story line is that the Institutional Authority is hiding something, and our media watchdogs will dig for The Truth. (If the 50's were just that way, well, let me know).

Now, wild irony - Dan Rather has become what he beheld - he is the Institutional Authority saying "take my word for it", and has become Johnson/Nixon. Meanwhile, the rest of us try to crack the CBS cover-up of their sources. And if these memos came from the DNC, and CBS is hiding their dirty tricks, well, the political significance seems to be huge.

Even more ironic - the meltdown was triggered by Vietnam era "documents" - Vietnam provides the starting point and endpoint for this model of the media.

If anyone wants to steal that thought (IS it a thought?) feel free. I am finding it interesting in a "yes, but your point is..." way.

Greg F

Brad DeLong wrote:
“…who know nothing about finance, law, war, diplomacy, education, social services…”

Add science and math (specifically statistics) to that list.

Roy N

On Aug 25,'04 Bill Burkett wrote on the On Line Journal about Bush, "I know from your files that we have now reassembled, the fact that you did not fulfill your oath, taken when you were commissioned to "obey the orders of the officers appointed over you". I know that you not only lied to the American people in 1994, but have lied consistently since then. Mr. Bush, not every serviceman except you is incompetent. When you failed to show up as ordered for duty, they simply recorded the truth."

Is this why Mary Mapes contacted him, to get the files?
Who is we? What are reassembled files?

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