Last Thursday, 60 minutes II aired a story which produced documents that raked George Bush over the coals for his national guard service.
These documents were questioned less than six hours later on Free Republic, a conservative website. A poster, known as “Buckhead”, raised the first questions about the CBS report. From there the story was picked up by Powerline, and then made national news when it hit the Drudge Report.
Once the news hit the Drudge Report that bloggers were questioning the authenticity of CBS documents, other major news outlets went with the flow and began reporting the possibility that these documents were forged, bringing the Los Angeles Times to post this article (jacked from PowerLine for those without subscriptions to the LA times or BugMeNot).
The house of cards for CBS is slowly coming down. As expert after expert states that Times New Roman was not a font available on typewriters until the advent of the computer, and was exclusively used by typesetters. As piles and piles of bloggers continue to do their own research, attempting to prove or disprove these documents one way or the other, things start to look worse for CBS.
Dan Rather has made several attempts to defend the documents with evidence that is not only loose, but questions that are poorly asked and so heavily laiden with spin that my dog, whom we all know is lovable, but dumb, could see it coming from a mile away.
There is only one shred of evidence supporting any claim that these documents are authentic. Let’s go down the list:
1. Jerry Killian’s (the author of the documents in question) wife and son not only say that he had no secret files, but that he did not type.
2. The font used is undisputedly Times New Roman, which was not available on typewriters and was only used by typesetters prior to its inclusion in Microsoft Word.
3. Typewriters in the 1970’s did not have proportionally spaced fonts, nor were their space bars so accurate as to produce a space of exactly 13 pixels in height every single time.
4. A handwriting expert has verified Jerry Killian’s signature.
5. CBS failed to produce copies of the documents for people who could have easily verified their authenticity by looking at them.
What we do know for sure is this:
1. That document could have easily been produced on Microsoft Word.
2. We know that a fifteenth generation photocopy of such documents will look grainy and old such as that one.
3. Signatures can be physically cut from other documents and pasted onto a forged document to make it look authentic.
4. A fifteenth generation photocopy would easily be able to hide the fact that a signature was cut and pasted onto a sheet of paper.
5. Some people originally interviewed by CBS and the Boston Globe have since retracted their statements regarding the authenticity of the documents after having actually seen copies for themselves.
So what we are left with, is the obvious conclusion that these documents are forgeries. And according to Rathergate, it looks like CBS is fessing up to the fact that the typewritten documents are forgeries, but are still standing by the statements made in the documents because they were made from handwritten notes, the originals of which, CBS is not in posession of, nor will be.
At the end of the day, it looks like somebody forgot to read their Sherlock Holmes.
This reflects very badly on CBS news. Letter writing and faxing campaigns requesting Dan Rather’s Resignation from CBS news along with a retraction of the story and a public apology have already begun. More are sure to follow.