Friday, September 10, 2004
CBS's Big Blunder?
Well, the left may have egg on their faces very soon. Seems the 60 Minutes piece the other night may have used false and fraudulent information. One expert on documents went as far as to say that there is a 90% certainty that the documents CBS displayed and reported on were faked. It also seems this Ben Barnes, not only is a big poodle supporter, having raised some half million dollars, but cannot even remember what year he took office. It is going to get even uglier as the left becomes more desperate. - Sailor
CBS'S BIG BLUNDER?
By JOHN PODHORETZ
New York Post
September 10, 2004 -- THE populist revolu tion against the so- called mainstream media continues. Yesterday, the citizen journalists who produce blogs on the Internet — and their engaged readers — engaged in the wholesale exposure of what appears to be a presidential-year dirty trick against George W. Bush.
What the bloggers and their audiences did was call into profound question the authenticity of four documents proudly trumpeted by CBS News in a much-heralded investigative report on Wednesday night's edition of "60 Minutes" about the president's National Guard service in the early 1970s.
These were "previously unseen documents . . . obtained by '60 Minutes,' " the network bragged Wednesday night on its Web site. Their author, supposedly, was Bush's squadron commander, Jerry Killian, who died 20 years ago.
They "include a memorandum from May 1972," CBS reports, "where Killian writes that Lt. Bush called him to talk about 'how he can get out of coming to drill from now through November.' " A document dated "18 August 1973" complains that Killian is being asked to "sugar coat" Bush's record. "I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job," the document says.
Liberals went wild with glee about the story, especially after the onslaught on John Kerry's Vietnam record by his fellow Swift-boat veterans.
Kevin Drum, the most talented of the left-wing bloggers, wrote: "This story is a perfect demonstration of the difference between the Swift-boat controversy and the National Guard controversy. Both are tales from long ago and both are related to Vietnam, but . . . in the National Guard case, practically every new piece of documentary evidence provides additional confirmation that the charges against Bush are true."
Drum simply assumed that the documents were above-board. So did The New York Times and The Washington Post, both of which put the story on its front page on Thursday.
They were doubtless swayed by the fact that CBS said " '60 Minutes' consulted a handwriting analyst and document expert who believes the material is authentic."
Maybe "60 Minutes" should have tried another expert or two.
CBS made the four documents available in their original form on its Web site Wednesday night.
And by yesterday morning, they were being examined with a fine tooth comb.
The Minneapolis lawyers who run powerlineblog.com were on the case early. Two of the blog's readers directed their attention to a note left on an Internet bulletin board on the freerepublic.com Web site — the 47th posting on the topic there.
Post No. 47 pointed out that there was something off about these documents from the 1970s: The spacing between the letters and the words was proportional, and only a few IBM electric typewriters could achieve that effect back then.
From there it was off to the races. Once anyone who had had experience writing and typing in the 1970s began examining the documents, it was impossible not to see some weird anachronisms that suggested they had been crafted not on a 1970s typewriter, but using Microsoft Word.
Charles Johnson, who runs the wonderful littlegreenfootballs.com, simply typed one of the memos over using Microsoft Word's New Times Roman font and, lo and behold, the document came out exactly identical to the one on the CBS site, down to the letter spacing.
The documents contain such features as superscript lettering, which is done automatically by Microsoft Word, and curly quotation marks. A brief glance at a Web site called selectric.org, run by an amateur typewriter fanatic, reveals dozens of IBM electric typefaces — and none of them has curly quotation marks.
By 3 o'clock, the very careful and honest Jim Geraghty, who produces invaluable material every day on nationalreview.com's Kerry Spot, was saying flatly, "CBS had better have one heck of a defense for this."
Yeah, it had better. I thought on Wednesday that it was scandalous for "60 Minutes" to turn over a good deal of its time on Wednesday night to one Ben Barnes, a one-time Texas political powerhouse who now claims he got George W. Bush into the National Guard.
The problem is not, as some would have it, that Barnes has raised half a million dollars for Kerry. The problem is that Barnes has already lied about this on videotape, and I use the word "lied" without difficulty, where he says he pulled strings for Bush when "I was lieutenant governor of Texas."
The thing is that George W. Bush was sworn into the National Guard in May 1968. Ben Barnes didn't become lieutenant governor until 1969.
From the lies of Ben Barnes to the apparent forgeries of who-knows-who-did-it — why has "60 Minutes" exposed itself in this way?
We all know why. Its producers and others in the media think George Bush deserves to be beaten up now because of the beating administered to John Kerry in August. In some weird way, the editors and producers believe this is fairness at work.
Instead, they have unmasked themselves. Or rather, they have been unmasked by ordinary people who can see what they and their hired experts evidently could not.