Monday, September 27, 2004

There Is No Spoon

Looks like Danny Rather is done. In the process, he may just have put the final nails in the poodles Presidential hopes. - Sailor

There Is No Spoon
By Stephen Green

Tech Central Station

Watching Dan Rather twist in the breeze this last week was like watching the creepy little bald boy in The Matrix assure Neo: "There is no spoon." And reading Rather's defenders, you get the feeling they share Neo's quizzical incomprehension -- not to mention that blank doe-eyed look.

The DNC's Terry McAuliffe takes what might be the most desperate tack. Sure, the documents were forged, but the story is still somehow true. He assures us that "we learned that George Bush did not earn enough points to qualify for an honorable discharge and that he has given three different explanations for why he missed his physical."

Except we also know that the Air National Guard, during the post-Vietnam Reduction In Force (RIF) was letting go lots of pilots they no longer needed, no matter how many points they'd earned. Now, I don't know how many excuses Bush has for the missed physical, but the only time he was ever ordered to take one, was in a forged document. "There is no spoon", McAuliffe tells you, so "you can bend it with your mind. And look at how well a bent one still holds soup!"

Time magazine's Nancy Gibbs asks, "Which world did you watch last week? " Gibbs, apparently, watches the world where a bald child in Asian robes who speaks with a British accent can bend spoons with his mind. Read:

"Red Truth holds that Rather has at last taken his place alongside other disgraced liberal icons, who have recklessly disregarded the standards of journalism to try to bring this President down. Blue Truth sees Rathergate as a sideshow; the problem with the mainstream media is not that they are biased but that they are lazy and have given Bush a free pass from the start. Red Truth looks at Bush and sees a savior; Blue Truth sees a zealot who must be stopped. In both worlds there are no accidents, only conspiracies, and facts have value only to the extent that they support the Truth."

Say it with me now: There is no spoon. The forged memos mean nothing. What matters is that wishes can make the spoon bend.

Well, maybe there is a spoon -- but, look quick, here's a shiny fork:

"A group financially bankrolled by Bush money men run ads smearing the military record of Kerry. An apparently inauthentic version of Bush's national guard documents is used to sandbag CBS in an effort to both distract attention from the substance of the story and make it appear as if the Kerry campaign is engaged in dirty tricks."

That's from the popular left-wing blog, Daily Kos -- and it's the last item in a list of reputed Republican "dirty tricks."

Never mind the Swift Boat Vets ads or who financed them. Does Daily Kos think the Vets were going to get money (and they didn't get very much) from the Kerry campaign, or from the First National Bank of Questionable Advertising? Of course not. Yet people still get all breathless because Republicans financed an anti-Democrat ad. Gracious me, next we'll find out that well-heeled Democrat George Soros is funding a bunch of anti-Republican 527 groups.

Never mind the forgeries, too. The "substance" of the story has been gone over since Bush first ran for governor of Texas. Yet it never gained traction until there were documents to back it up. Only, well, the documents were fakes. Take those away, and all you have are the same charges Bush has been deflecting for a decade now.

Never mind the dirty tricks, too. Bush suffered one in the 2000 election when, by some miracle, somebody just happened to come across his old DUI conviction just in time for the last news cycle before Election Day. Don't fault the Gore campaign for that -- it was smart politics. That, sadly, is the way campaigns are fought -- and always have been.

Never mind -- there is no spoon. Except that there is, and all this talk is nothing more than a distraction from the single sterling fact that CBS News failed in its mission. Its mission is to gather the facts, check them thoroughly, and report them to us. Instead, CBS and Dan Rather went forward with transparently false story, and then wasted a week and their good reputations trying to assure us that there is no spoon. They tried to back up their claims using an interview with an 86-year-old former secretary and current partisan Democrat. Only when that failed did CBS finally admit that there might just be a spoon, after all.

Maybe the creepy little kid was right, after all. Maybe there really is no spoon. But there's certainly a fork -- and it's sticking in Dan Rather.

He's done.

The author is a TCS contributor. He recently wrote about The Big Angry. Find more of his writing here.

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