We just love that Mary Mapes–the gal who’s never heard the aphorism that when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. (Mapes is the since-fired “Rathergate” producer who, in a feat of undercover reporting, discovered that Bill Gates had cribbed the Microsoft Word software program from an early-1970s IBM Selectric typewriter.)

What’s amazing about Mary is that the Mainstream Media are still giving her a free ride–that somehow, despite the blatantly fraudulent memos that Mary took from a blatantly biased and unreliable source, Rathergate was somehow the fault of, oh, bloggers. Plus corporate America and Karl Rove. Mary’s own highly unprofessional anti-Bush animus–well, that’s just a superscript.

For example, in his review of Mary’s “don’t blame me!” book “Truth and Duty,” Jonathan Alter wrote for the New York Times that, sure, Bill Burkett wasn’t exactly a trustworthy guy, but:

“Her description of a right-wing veteran of the Paula Jones case, masquerading as an expert on the technology of 1970’s typewriters, should help dispel the myth that this case was a triumph for the fact-checking prowess of the blogosphere. (The blogger’s anonymous assertion, within hours of the broadcast, that the proportional spacing and type font of the Killian memos did not exist in those days was only one of many falsehoods spread by political hit men.) Seeing how documents change shape and appearance after faxing and e-mailing should give pause to even the most ideologically ardent of amateur document analysts.”

Yes, Jonathan, proportional spacing did exist–on extremely expensive publishing-industry machines not usually found on Air National Guard bases, and the Times New Roman font could be found at…the Times of London. As a gal who held a bunch of secretarial jobs during the early 1970s, I’ll say no more. But even Alter’s semi-whitewash of her wasn’t good enough for Our Miss Mary, for she wrote this angry letter to the Times (reproduced in full yesterday on Powerline, one of the cabals of “political hit men” cited by Alter):

“Alter can question our source, as I have, but here’s what nearly everyone missed: The overhyped typeface criticisms ingeniously hijacked the story and created a false controversy, which media competitors gleefully exploited as proof that CBS had fallen short. In fact, ALL the evidence supported the documents’ genuineness and that holds true today. We carefully vetted their every detail, matched them with official records and corroborated their content with a former commander. Our document analysis has been completely misconstrued by reporters, pundits and the panel [convened by CBS to conduct the Rathergate investigation that resulted in Mapes’s firing]: two analysts validated the documents’ typing and signatures and two others deferred to them before our broadcast, despite their later characterizations.”

Oh, Ok, if you say so, Mary. For a rundown on what’s missing from Mary’s self-servathon, read this review of “Truth and Duty”  by Powerline’s Scott Johnson for the Weekly Standard:

“The authenticity of the documents was originally attacked on the website Free Republic by an anonymous poster (since revealed to be Atlanta attorney Harry MacDougald) late on the evening of September 8. Throughout the following day, blogs including Power Line explored the apparent phoniness of the documents by posting information received from readers and fellow bloggers. At Little Green Footballs, blogger Charles Johnson announced by mid-morning that he had created an exact copy of one of the four CBS documents on Microsoft Word default settings, with the font set on Times New  Roman; he declared the documents forgeries. (Mapes says this replication ‘proved nothing, other than the fact that computers can replicate all kinds of things.’)”

Today Powerline runs a letter from retired Col. William Campenni, who served with Bush in the Texas Air National Guard back then and has published several op-ed pieces picking Mary’s version of the story to pieces:

“I gave her a pass on stuff like the typos, fonts, etc., because you guys and others have already proved that. Instead I went against her new defense, repeated ad nauseam, and in bold italics in the above excerpt; that ALL the evidence supports the documents. I was running out of paper in tearing apart her own arguments and exposing glaring errors. One example: Twice in the 6 fakes one finds Bush’s service number. Problem here for Mary is that these memos are in 1972 and 73. The Air Force stopped using service numbers on July 1, 1969, and switched over to social security numbers, 3 and 4 years prior. All of Bush’s released records had the SSNo blacked out as required by law. But old service numbers from Bush’s earlier documents were not redacted…

“[The fabricator] grabbed the service numbers from released records, not realizing that they would never show up on a 72-73 document. Irony is, he put the anachronistic service numbers in the wrong format – the FG had to be a prefix, not a suffix, like FG 1234567…For a while we used to put the two letter code FG (means Air Guard; FR means Air Force Reserve, FV means active duty Air Force) as a suffix to the new SSNo ID, as in 987 65 4321FG. Later we dropped the two letter code entirely. [The fabricator’s] personal experience was with the 987-65-4321 FV format (actually, the Army Guard used different codes), so when he grabbed the service number from files to add a hint of authenticity to the memos, he probably reverted to habit. Stupid, because if you look at Bush’s real records, you will see the letters FG as a prefix – he couldn’t even plagiarize correctly!

“It’s fun tearing apart this delusional woman’s aberrant thought processes. I hope to meet her some day to talk about this stuff.”

Moi aussi!