Friday, September 10, 2004

Memo Hoax Recap

This is what I get for having a day job and the sleep that's required to go with it.

Because if it wasn't for that, I would have been able to watch the folks at Free Republic completely destroy the credibility of CBS, 60 Minutes and Dan Rather.

As many of you know by now, CBS apparently has based a report attempting to smear President Bush with "documents" that "prove" that Kerry operative Ben Barnes tried to get the then young George W. into the National Guard to avoid service in Vietnam.

As usual, a "live thread" was started on the board for readers to comment on Wednesday night's 60 Minutes airing of the so-called Killian memos. At reply #107 on the thread titled "Live Thread: Ben Barnes and CBS Attempt Another Bush Smear (60 Minutes), Freeper TankerKC posted the following:

WE NEED TO SEE THOSE MEMOS AGAIN!
They are not in the style that we used when I came in to the USAF. They looked like the style and format we started using about 12 years ago (1992). Our signature blocks were left justified, now they are rigth of center...like the ones they just showed.
Can we get a copy of those memos?
107 posted on 09/08/2004 7:19:00 PM CDT by TankerKC

Then, on a follow up post called Documents Suggest Special Treatment for Bush in Guard where Freepers were commenting on the New York Times story about the memos, another person noted:

Howlin, every single one of these memos to file is in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman. In 1972 people used typewriters for this sort of thing, and typewriters used monospaced fonts. The use of proportionally spaced fonts did not come into common use for office memos until the introduction of laser printers, word processing software, and personal computers. They were not widespread until the mid to late 90's. Before then, you needed typesetting equipment, and that wasn't used for personal memos to file. Even the Wang systems that were dominant in the mid 80's used monospaced fonts.
I am saying these documents are forgeries, run through a copier for 15 generations to make them look old. This should be pursued aggressively.
47 posted on 09/08/2004 10:59:43 PM CDT by Buckhead
And it was pursued aggressively.

Enormous research was done overnight (Freepers never sleep) and by the next morning, there was enough evidence to take the theory out of the realm of Internet conspiracy theory and turn it into serious questions about the accuracy of the 60 Minutes report. Power Line picked it up here, and the rest is now history.

The report spread through the Blogsphere from there, with other experts weighing in. What was CBS thinking? Did they not realize that in this age of citizen journalism and the Internet, everything that the Old Media reports is going to be gone over with a fine tooth comb and any foul up is going to be spotted and taken apart?

The New Media nailed the Old Media. Again.

As soon as Drudge posted it on his site, it was all over for CBS. At this time, this story is no longer just another Internet rumor. He is reporting that CBS is launching an internal investigation into this. Heads may roll.

ABC Nightline did a piece on it.

The Washington Post, yes folks, The Washington Post is reporting on it.

AP, of recent non-existent boo fame, has chipped in with this.

The New York Post is calling it a "blunder."

The American Spectator is calling it a forgery.

The DNC is backing away from this as if they've suddenly encountered a rabid dog. But it may be too late for that, as this graph from the Spectator article says:

Now, the producer says, there is growing concern inside the building on 57th Street that they may have been suckered by the Kerry campaign. "There is a school of thought here that the Kerry people dumped this in our laps, figuring we'd do the heavy lifting on the story. That maybe they had doubts about these documents but hoped we'd get more information," says the producer. "If that's the case, then we're bigger fools than we already appear to be judging by all the chatter about how these documents could be forgeries."
Indeed.

6 Comments:

Blogger Catherine Wilkinson said...

Great work putting this all together. There's so much to read everywhere in the blogosphere and I appreciate you working into the wee hours putting up the links.

Is this fun or what? I can't help thinking of Joe Trippi's book, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" (or something like that)...this is probably NOT what he had in mind.

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