Patterico's Pontifications

9/9/2004

Evidence that CBS’s Documents Were Forged

Filed under: 2004 Election — Patterico @ 6:30 pm

I assume that, by now, most of you are aware of the substantial and growing body of evidence suggesting that CBS may have presented forged documents last night. The documents were alleged evidence of efforts to embellish George W. Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. As documented in links collected here, a number of document experts have raised serious doubts about the documents’ authenticity.

Meanwhile, CBS is refusing to answer questions (according to Hugh Hewitt), and has not provided the name of the supposed document expert who authenticated the documents for the network — unlike the experts in the links cited above, who have put their names behind their opinions.

This had better be front-page news in the major papers tomorrow (as the existence of the documents was today), or there will be hell to pay.

UPDATE: I should note an important caveat: none of the aforementioned experts cited by the right-wing blogs has been afforded an opportunity to review the original documents — yet. So their opinions are necessarily less than 100% definitive.

Meanwhile, Kevin Drum says he has talked with someone from CBS who claims their vetting of the memos was rock-solid.

This is so interesting. The right-wingers’ experts have raised so many questions about the documents that it’s hard to imagine that they could all be explained. Yet CBS is (anonymously) sticking to its story.

Someone is wrong here. We’d better find out who. Let’s get to the bottom of this.

UPDATE x2: Here is a Weekly Standard article that quotes a named expert as saying that he is 99% sure the documents are fake.

I’m less interested in what this means for the President than I am in what this could mean for the credibility of CBS News. This is fascinating.

It’s also pretty dang obvious that this is a huge boost to the concept of citizen journalism, as practiced by my pals at Power Line and INDC Journal.

UPDATE x3: This story is on Page A1 in the Washington Post tomorrow. Moreover, the Post explicitly says that it didn’t bother to check on the authenticity of the documents until folks on the internet starting questioning the documents:

After doubts about the documents began circulating on the Internet yesterday morning, The Post contacted several independent experts who said they appeared to have been generated by a word processor.

In other words, my pals at Power Line and INDC Journal spurred the news media to investigate critical information in a presidential campaign. Otherwise, it might never have happened.

Absolutely unbelievable.

Would it have killed them to have credited these bloggers by name??

Meanwhile, the New York Times appears to have posted its stories for tomorrow — and I find nothing on whether the documents are forgeries. [See UPDATE x4 below.] I swear, the NYT and L.A. Times have no excuse for not following the Washington Post‘s lead. Front-page stories all around, gentlemen — or your credibility is in the toilet.

UPDATE x4: Commenter Jonathan points me to a story in the New York Times. I can’t tell whether it ran on Page One, as today’s NYT story about the documents did.

I’m not staying up to see what the L.A. Times did. We’ll have to check back tomorrow morning.

UPDATE x5: The NYT story is not on Page One — even though the story about the documents today was. Pathetic. I guess they didn’t want to highlight any facts that might undercut this editorial — which relies on the memos, and mentions only in passing that their authenticity is being challenged. Hey, once the editorial is written, you want to use it . . . even if the basis for the editorial is blowing up in your face.

Clueless Dog Trainer Editorial on Cheney Remarks

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:25 am

As I explained yesterday, an Associated Press Dowdification of a Dick Cheney quote started the sheep in the press bleating about Cheney’s alleged “scare tactics.” In unscripted remarks, Cheney made a valid point about the likelihood that a Kerry Administration would treat future acts of terror as a law enforcement matter. The AP snipped off his quote in the middle of his sentence, and told readers that Cheney had warned Americans that a Kerry presidency would cause more terror attacks. All the major papers obediently portrayed Cheney’s comment as an inflammatory and tactless warning. (For details read my post from yesterday.)

As readers learned how they had been duped, many became annoyed. For example, Michael J. Totten wrote an angry post about Cheney’s comment. After a commenter told Totten that my post showed that Cheney’s quote had been snipped, Totten (to his credit) ran a correction, saying:

That is a lot less inflammatory. The AP ought to be smacked for that.

As Totten explained in his comments: “In the first version Cheney ‘said’ we would be terrorized because John Kerry is in the White House. In the second version he said Kerry would under-react to an attack. Those are very different statements.”

Not content with misrepresenting Cheney’s actual remarks, the editors at the Los Angeles Dog Trainer are now snipping a spokeswoman’s explanation of Cheney’s remarks — so that they can more easily mock that explanation. The result is yet another demonstration of the mainstream media’s willingness to misrepresent others’ positions, when it suits them.
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