Friday, September 10, 2004

Peter Jennings Trying to Cover His Ass, Part Deux

It helps, of course, that he employes Terry Moran and Chris Vlasto, but the forgery argument itself moronic.

The most cursory of investigations would reveal how rediculous the argument is. First, a young child, who would someday be known as Attaturk [let's call him "Mustaf(f)a Kem(m)al -- use google if you don't get it] remembers an IBM Selectric being used in the early 1970s at podunk little offices in the backwaters of America. A young boy, destined to be a minor-league blogger, remembers how cool the ball looked. Those typewriters were hardly rare, and hardly exorbitantly expensive if the guy who had one could afford it.

Second, it's not exactly like CBS News would just stick its ass out on something so elementary, hence their statement that they had submitted it to experts on documents and handwriting. They had also gone even further:

CBS News released a statement yesterday standing by its reporting, saying that each of the documents "was thoroughly vetted by independent experts and we are convinced of their authenticity." The statement added that CBS reporters had verified the documents by talking to unidentified people who saw them "at the time they were written."

CBS spokeswoman Kelli Edwards declined to respond to questions raised by experts who examined copies of the papers at the request of The Washington Post, or to provide the names of the experts CBS consulted. Experts interviewed by The Post pointed to a series of telltale signs suggesting that the documents were generated by a computer or word processor rather than the typewriters in widespread use by Bush's National Guard unit.

A senior CBS official, who asked not to be named because CBS managers did not want to go beyond their official statement, named one of the network's sources as retired Maj. Gen. Bobby W. Hodges, the immediate superior of the documents' alleged author, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian. He said a CBS reporter read the documents to Hodges over the phone and Hodges replied that "these are the things that Killian had expressed to me at the time."

"These documents represent what Killian not only was putting in memoranda, but was telling other people," the CBS News official said. "Journalistically, we've gone several extra miles."

The official said the network regarded Hodges's comments as "the trump card" on the question of authenticity, as he is a Republican who acknowledged that he did not want to hurt Bush. Hodges, who declined to grant an on-camera interview to CBS, did not respond to messages left on his home answering machine in Texas.

So not just documents, but verification of their message.

And don't forget this:

On Wednesday evening, the White House e-mailed reporters copies of the documents, as supplied by CBS, as well as the transcript of a CBS interview with White House communications director Dan Bartlett rebutting allegations that Bush had shirked his military duties. While Bartlett described the emergence of the documents as "dirty politics," he did not dispute their authenticity.

And it is not like Proportional Font was brand spanken new in an IBM typewriter in the early 1970s in any case. As this 1954 Ad will tell you.

In addition:

The IBM "Selectric" Composer was the first desktop typesetting machine. It was based on the successful "Selectric" technology. In case you're not familiar with that, the IBM Selectric typewriter is the one that has a small ball with all the letters imprinted on it.

The basic task of the IBM Composer was to produce justified camera ready copy using proportional fonts. It has the capability of using a variety of font sizes and styles.

The first IBM Composer was the IBM "Selectric" Composer announced in 1966. It was a hybrid "Selectric" typewriter that was modified to have proportional spaced fonts

The original forgery accusation went on to say:

But the use of the superscript "th" in one document - "111th F.I.S" -gave each expert pause. They said that is an automatic feature found in current versions of Microsoft Word, and it's not something that was even possible more than 30 years ago.

But what is this? Another Bush TANG document the freepie do not allege to be forged using the superscript "th"? (Second typed line stating...tah dah "111th") Available Here

Based on the qualifications of the experts used by the original claim, I hereby declare myself a typewriter expert.

It took me about a half-hour to write this post. I bill at $500 an hour, I expect L. Brent Bozell and Richard Mellon Scaife to have a check for $250 sent to this address, Democratic National Committee — 430 S. Capitol St. SE, Washington DC 20003, send it in the name of Attaturk.

Thanks guys.

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