Patterico's Pontifications


The Circular Dan Rather

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 9:02 pm

So, did you watch Dan Rather tonight? I did — and I never watch him. I wonder if his ratings are inversely proportional to his credibility. I wouldn’t be surprised. There’s something strangely fascinating about watching his implosion. It’s the same reason traffic slows near a terrible accident on the road.

One of Rather’s major defenses tonight was that the documents must be authentic, because they line up with what we know about Bush’s National Guard record. [N.B. I am not kidding. I swear it.]

This had me laughing out loud — with bitter disdain, of course.

The documents must be from the early 1970s, because their content is consistent with what we now know about Bush’s National Guard record. Of course, this is meaningless if you consider the possibility that they were forged recently — since any recent forger could easily fill the memos with content corresponding to what we already know about Bush’s National Guard record.

So: this evidence that the memos are authentic depends upon the assumption that . . . the memos are authentic. Otherwise, it’s pretty damn worthless, isn’t it??

If the circularity of this sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Part of how we “know” the memos are authentic is because they were “validated” by Maj. Gen. Bobby W. Hodges. Of course, that “validation” consisted essentially of CBS News telling Maj. Gen. Hodges: “the memos are authentic” and Maj. Gen. Hodges responding: “Uh . . . okay. If you say so.”

See, Dan? It’s called circular reasoning. And it’s the whole basis of your defense, dude.

It’s interesting now. But once they scoop the bodies off the road, the scene of the accident becomes nothing more than a bad memory that you’d rather forget.

I have a feeling that’s the way people will remember Dan Rather when this is all over.

UPDATE: Alert reader Hank K. notes the flaw in my analogy between the ghoulish fascination of watching Dan Rather digging himself deeper into a credibility hole, and the strange appeal (for many) of seeing a tragic auto accident.

The difference is that you feel sorry for the victims of the auto accident.

UPDATE x2: RatherBiased has a transcript of the defense. The relevant language that I found so amusing is this:

CBS news relied on an analysis of the contents of the documents themselves to determine the contents[‘] authenticity. It is in line with [what] is known about the service and dates.

Gee, Dan. It is also in line with what is known by the forger about the service and dates. Do you get my point yet?

Your Blogosphere Triumphalism Post

Filed under: 2004 Election — Patterico @ 8:20 pm

William Safire praises bloggers in a piece titled praises bloggers too.

The New York Sun praises bloggers.

Power to the Pajama-wearers!

More Vindication for the Dan

Filed under: Humor — Patterico @ 6:17 pm

It’s more potential vindication for Dan Rather. (Or is it? Frank J. takes a closer look.)

Rathergate Roundup

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 6:08 pm

Allah has today’s Rathergate roundup. See what you missed while you were, you know, working.

The most interesting tidbit in the roundup comes from the American Spectator. Take it with a grain of salt:

“We’re having a hard time tracking how we got the documents,” says the CBS News producer. “There are at least two people in this building who have insisted we got copies of these memos from the Kerry campaign by way of an additional source.”

That would be rather fascinating . . . no pun intended or implied. Because proof of this could be the end of the Kerry campaign.

UPDATE: Or you can just start reading — an entire web site devoted to the scandal.

UPDATE x2: I guess the American Spectator allegation is not new; I just hadn’t noticed it when it was reported. It’s an interesting lead, but there doesn’t appear to be any meat there; it’s almost in the nature of a rumor.

Tim Blair Takes Down a Piece by One of the Sheep at TIME Magazine

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 6:33 am

We all know that, when you want regurgitated pack-mentality conclusions, there’s no better place to go than TIME or Newsweek. So it’s instructive to read a piece on the Bush/National Guard issue, just to take the pulse of the sheep in the mainstream media on this issue.

Instructive, and maddening.

Council Winners

Filed under: Watcher's Council — Patterico @ 6:10 am

The weekly winners of the Watcher’s Council contest for best post of the week have been announced. Congratulations to Chadster for the winning Council entry, It’s Not the Thought, It’s the Dream That Counts, and to Smash for the winning non-Council entry, The Bush Doctrine.

Another Expert Calls ‘Em Forgeries

Filed under: 2004 Election — Patterico @ 1:14 am

Details here.

Dan Rather Vindicated?

Filed under: Humor — Patterico @ 1:12 am

Slings and Arrows has a disturbing document that just could result in the vindication of Dan Rather.

L.A. Times Story on Bloggers

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 12:43 am

The L.A. Times has a story (published yesterday) on the internet’s role in breaking the CBS forged documents controversy. The story, by Peter Wallsten, is titled No Disputing It: Blogs Are Major Players.

It’s actually not too bad.

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