It’s about time–like six days after the story broke–but the Washington Post has finally decided to cover L’Affaire du Selectrique like the major media story that it is (See The Other Charlotte’s CBS to World: Oh Shut Up, today below, and my Selectric About the Facts, Sept. 13.)
Well, almost like the major media story that it is–because the Post has tucked the story into the bottom half of page 8 of its front section. Back last Thursday, just after CBS News’s Dan Rather had just waved around those “typewritten” memos stating that G.W. Bush had disobeyed his superior officer’s order to take a physical in 1972–the story was above-the-fold front-page news. Now that the graphological expert CBS hired to supposedly authenticate the documents has admitted that he did nothing of the kind (he examined only a single signature) and that nearly every typewriter and computer expert on the planet has ruled the four memos supposedly written by Bush’s commanding officer, Jerry Killian, to be Microsoft Word-generated forgeries, well inside the paper is the Post’s idea of good placement.
Hardly a thing in the story by Post political reporter Michael Dobbs and media reporter Howard Kurtz will come as news to anyone who’s been following the tale of Killian and his magic IBM Selectric where it’s actually been breaking: here in the blogosphere. Dobbs and Kurtz write:
“A detailed comparison by The Washington Post of memos obtained by CBS News with authenticated documents on Bush’s National Guard service reveals dozens of inconsistencies, ranging from conflicting military terminology to different word-processing techniques.
“The analysis shows that half a dozen Killian memos released earlier by the military were written with a standard typewriter using different formatting techniques from those characteristic of computer-generated documents. CBS’s Killian memos bear numerous signs that are more consistent with modern-day word-processing programs, particularly Microsoft Word.
“‘I am personally 100 percent sure that they are fake,’ said Joseph M. Newcomer, author of several books on Windows programming, who worked on electronic typesetting techniques in the early 1970s. Newcomer said he had produced virtually exact replicas of the CBS documents using Microsoft Word formatting and the Times New Roman font.”
Well, duh. Power Line did that as soon as Rather got off the air.
Nonethless, Old Journalists Dobbs and Kurtz did do some original reporting, comparing the four memos to authentic early ’70s documents from Bush’s Air National Guard unit, including some with genuine signatures by Killian. Here’s what they report:
“Of more than 100 records made available by the 147th Group and the Texas Air National Guard, none used the proportional spacing techniques characteristic of the CBS documents. Nor did they use a superscripted ‘th’ in expressions such as ‘147th Group’ and or ‘111th Fighter Intercept Squadron.'”
The Post also posts side-by-side photos comparing a Rathergate memo “signed” by Killian to an authentic typewritten one. Click here to laugh your head off at how all those overpaid news-dinosaurs at CBS could have been fooled for five minutes by Dan’s Folly. Isn’t anyone, anyone at CBS old enough to remember what the product of a real typewriter looked like? Or, do they just have Selectric memories?
And click here to read the New York Sun’s account of how four blogs broke the biggest document-forgery story since Hitler’s diaries. Alas, we at InkWell weren’t among the four. We don’t break the news here at InkWell; we just put on our pajamas and vent on it.