September 10, 2004

INDC Bill versus the New York Times

Not to sound like a blogger triumphalist type (who we all know need to follow Wonkette channeling Sgt. Hulka's koan: Lighten up, Francis), but today is a singular day in the history of blogs and political coverage: the day that INDC Bill scooped the New York Times. Or the New York Times plagairized INDC Bill.

Let's go to the tape:

"Commander's Son Questions Memos on Bush's Service"

The headline is admirable: one would expect "Right-wing deranged smear-artist hack, probable illegitimate son of Chimperor's former Guard commander, questions (alebit in halting English) documents provided to CBS by Kerry Campaign"

So far, so good.

A day after memos emerged suggesting that George W. Bush received favorable treatment when he was in the National Guard during the Vietnam War, the son of Mr. Bush's squadron commander said he doubted the authenticity of some of the memos his father was said to have written.

The White House, meanwhile, for the second day in a row dismissed renewed questions about Mr.Bush's service as "recycled" and said they were part of a "coordinated attack" by Senator John Kerry, Mr. Bush's Democratic opponent in the presidential campaign, and his associates.

Fair enough so far, although of course you have to admire the objectivity and professionalism of the Times et al that after weeks of ignoring and then dismissing the Swift Vets stories that they leaped on this story like maggots on a meat pinata.

The new fracas over Mr. Bush's service began after CBS News and its program "60 Minutes'' reported on four memos they said were from the personal file of Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, who died 20 years ago. The memos said that Mr. Bush had disobeyed a direct order to go for a physical in 1972 and that Colonel Killian had felt pressure to "sugarcoat'' Mr. Bush's record.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, the officer's son, Gary Killian, said he doubted that his father had written some of the memos. "I am upset because I think it is a mixture of truth and fiction here,'' Mr. Killian said.

CBS said in a statement that it stood by its story and the memos' authenticity.

"As is standard practice at CBS News, the documents in the '60 Minutes' report were thoroughly examined and their authenticity vouched for by independent experts,'' the statement said.

I presumed Trevor Roper was, like Franco, still dead: perhaps they had popsicled him up like Teddy Baseball and defrosted him for this last yeoman's labor.

If anyone's seen a defrosted corpse cashing any checks from CBS this week in suburban Arizona please let the Llamas know....

Still, throughout the afternoon and evening, questions arose about the authenticity of the memos as various forensics experts told news organizations, including The New York Times, that the fonts of the documents resembled those of modern-day word processors, specifically Microsoft Word.

I love that line: "Questions arose about the authenticity...." That's the beauty of the left-wing old media's primary weapon of attack: things are never done by reporters, things are always done to reporters. Questions arose like the ghost of Hamlet's father appearing to him (perhaps in the NYT restroom? or the back booth at that NYT bar that Jayson Blair dealt coke to NYT staffers from?) No, these questions didn't "arise" by themselves: they were dug up and put forward by serious amateur journalists.

Will the NYT acknowledge this work that came out yesterday (as the Chicago Sun-Times does)? We wait with baited breath..... It's almost as if this organization has trouble acknowledging the work of others or something.

What follows is the money shot, if you pardon my Sully-ism:

Philip Bouffard, a forensic document specialist from Ohio who created a commonly used database of at least 3,000 old type fonts, said he had suspicions as well. "I found nothing like this in any of my typewriter specimens," said Dr. Bouffard, a Democrat. He also said the fonts were "certainly consistent with what I see in Times Roman," the commonly used Microsoft Word font.

However, Dr. Bouffard said, a colleague had called his attention to similarities between the font in the memos and that of the IBM Selectric Composer of the early 1970's.

But he said it would be unusual for Mr. Bush's commanding officer to have had the IBM machine because of its large size.

Dr. Bouffard said he would see if the fonts match more closely on Friday. "The problem I'm going to run into if this matches and Times Roman matches, to the extent of what we are able to see on these poor miserable copies that are passing around,'' he said, "then I don't think anybody's going to be able to say for sure.''

Compare this interview from today with INDC Bill's interview with Dr. Bouffard yesterday:

Its just possible that this might be a Times Roman font, which means that it would have been created on a computer. Its very possible that someone decided to create this document on a computer... Ive run across this situation before my gut is this could just well be a fabrication.

Needless to say, Bill's interview with the same source, the previous day, is much more hard hitting as it lays out in great depth the problem with the documents, which, of course, the NYT fails to do.

I guess day's like today it's hard to be a blogger who prides himself on being like crisco to donuts.

A senior executive at CBS said said, "We are convinced our source who got the documents had access to them and we trust the source.'' He added, "Can we produce the typewriter they came from in 1972 or 1973? Obviously not.''

Somebody needs to kill Carl Bernstein just so he can roll over in his grave on that one (I'm kidding of course): that quote right there symbolizes the death of serious investigative journalism on the part of old media. If there's any chance that a line of inquiry is going to harm their candidate or exonerate the Chimperor, then, mon dieu!, it must not be pursued.

"We did have a number of experts,'' he said, adding that the producers also showed the documents to numerous people who worked with Colonel Killian and who said the memos were consistent with what he thought and representative of the sorts of documents he produced back then.

Simple: name them. It's not that complicated: who are they? Because it's beginning to sound suspicously like the "top experts" that the feds assure Indiana Jones at the end of Raiders who are studying the Ark: top experts. So expert you've never heard of them.

"It would be unbelievable for a forger to have written documents that could so closely reflect what the people closest to Killian said,'' he said, "that this is his tone of voice, what he thought back then, this is the situation back then. It would be a little odd to think that these things could have just surfaced.''

Think of the naivete in that loaded first sentence: unbelievable? Chucky, that's what forgers do, for chrissakes! You might as well say "It would be unbelievable for the Kerry campaign to deliver us forgeries that confirm our preconceived notions about the Chimperor's AWOL status--why would they do such a thing?"

Because they want to win. You know, it's funny: France tries to forge intel documents on Saddam's search for uranium, and the NYT is all over Bush's gullibility like Oliver Willis on a donut truck, and that's good journalism. But Kerry's people forge documents that the NYT wants to believe and, hey, that just can't happen? Huh? Do they even realize how stupid this makes them look?

CBS News executives also produced a document released earlier by the White House about Mr. Bush's service that was clearly from a typewriter and had a superscript "th'' in it. CBS said it proved that some typewriters did indeed have superscript keys. But the characters were hard to make out after so much reproducing of the document, a problem, the CBS News official acknowledged, with the documents in the initial "60 Minutes'' program; those documents were not originals and have been copied repeatedly.

CBS News declined to say how it obtained the memos.

But of course. And it is good to know that Carville and Begala have been on the job now for what? three days? and they are already earning their retainer.
And now the funny part:

The White House itself did not contest the memos' authenticity and handed them out to reporters. It continued on Thursday to handle questions based on the memos, particularly about the accusation that Mr. Bush failed to take a physical "as ordered." The physical exam was required for Mr. Bush to remain a pilot.

Asked about a passage in one memo saying Mr. Bush had failed to take the ordered physical, Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, deflected the question and told reporters on Air Force One that such attacks were expected because Mr. Kerry was "falling behind in the polls" and because Mr. Bush had had "a very successful convention."

Chucky, I'd sure as hell love to play poker against you--my kids' college funds would be stocked like a trout stream on the first day of season in no time. Of course they're not going to question the authenticity---because if they do, you write the headline "White House Questions Memos Showing He Went AWOL", arcing the story in a way detrimental to their interests and in favor of your candidate. You know, like you were hoping. Instead, they passed, and let the documents speak for themselves. So you had to scrap the story you had set for today (Day 2: WH in crisis mode as new documents show the Chimperor's Vietnam deceptions) is toast, and you are forced into this story instead. And tomorrow's story will have to be: where did the memos come from? That thing you feel around your neck is rope, dude, and if you've never heard the phrase "give someone enough rope to hang themselves with," well, you're going to undertand it in about another day or so, BIG TIME.

At the same time, Democrats stepped up their criticism of the president. Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat and a Navy flier in the Vietnam War era, called the president a liar for claiming to have fulfilled his Guard duty.

"This is about George Bush not doing his duty in the National Guard and then lying to the American people about it," Mr. Harkin told reporters at a news conference at the Democratic National Committee.

I guess this would be the same Tom Harkin who repeatedly lied about being a combat pilot in Vietnam in the 1992 campaign?

(Image courtesy of Instapundit)

It's like the NYT has never heard of Google..... Look, Chucky, Mr. Guttenberg has invented this thing that allows us all to read the text and decide for ourselves, instead of relying on you priests to tell us what it all means. Get over it, and get over yourselves.

Understatement of the story:

While the two parties were absorbed with the actions of Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry more than three decades ago, both Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry steered clear of the issue on the campaign trail.

Neither candidate was available to reporters.

According to Hugh Hewitt, that would make it 39 days since Mr. Kerry made himself available to reporters. I guess his "magic hat" must function as some sort of Cloak of Invisibility or something. Who knew the CIA was sending powerful wizards via Swift Boat into Cambodia....damn that Richard Nixon!

Meanwhile, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which has ties to the Republicans and has attacked Mr. Kerry's service in Vietnam, said Thursday that it would spend $680,000 to put up a nationwide commercial that criticizes Mr. Kerry for tossing his war decorations.

The spot, which already ran for three days in Florida during the Republican National Convention this month, is to run for seven days on several cable channels.

It opens with film of a rally where Mr. Kerry and other veterans who had turned against the war tossed their decorations, and a voiceover declares: "Symbols. They represent the best things about America." It then shows Mr. Kerry telling an interviewer that same year, "I gave back I can't remember, six, seven, eight, nine."

The voiceover then asks, "How can a man who renounced his country's symbols now be trusted?"

This is the third commercial by the boat group. The Kerry campaign said the Swift boat group was desperate to keep alive accusations that had already been discredited.

Actually, it's at least the fourth commercial: the original one, the one featuring the POWs and the "Jenjis Caaaahn" testimony, and the one on the holiday in Cambodia. If this transcript is accurate......DAMN that one's going to leave a mark!!

And the article ends on a high note:

"This group has less credibility than a trashy tabloid magazine," said Chad Clanton, a spokesman for the campaign.

You mean like Kitty Kelley?

Posted by Steve at September 10, 2004 08:19 AM | TrackBack
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