One More Nail

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Yet more bad news for 60 Minutes.

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  1. Just saw tonight’s CBS Evening Dan. They’re going to continue the stonewall. They won’t give any airtime, or even any copy, to their critic’s charges. They’re going to bull their way through this. And probably succeed.

  2. Jesse,

    Do you think that you can get a link that doesn’t require registration?

  3. Yep, it’s another nail, but I don’t put too much stock in what anyone remembers or doesn’t remember from 30 years ago.

    All the proof that’s needed is the documents. They couldn’t have been typed in 1972 and 1973. No bias or recollection or hearsay can change that.

  4. Bugmenot doesn’t seem to work on that one.

  5. Bugmenot worked for me. Try:
    boo@nobug.com
    butter

    It took several reloads before I got anything visible on the page, though.

  6. Well, now I’m convinced. I tuned out the self-described experts who battled over typewriters, since there were some who claimed that available typewriters back then could indeed have done it. But if the secretary in that office says the memos were faked, I’m satisfied.

    (Although even the secretary said that one of the typographical allegations was false.)

  7. Oh, and thanks to Umbriel for providing the password.

  8. It doesn’t sound like it’s all bad news for CBS. She confirmed that the substance of the memos does in fact reflect how Killian thought about Bush and that he had a separate CYA file. The question is now do the ur-memos exist and if so, who has them.

    That would also explain why the White House has been so reluctant to come into this matter-they’re terrified that the real thing may pop up.

  9. She confirmed that the substance of the memos does in fact reflect how Killian thought about Bush and that he had a separate CYA file.

    “Confirmed”? If that’s the standard for “confirmation”, then it is equally fair to say that the Swift Boat Veterans have “confirmed” that Kerry lied on his application for the Silver Star. She has alleged that the substance of the forged memos is accurate; she has not confirmed it.

    That would also explain why the White House has been so reluctant to come into this matter-they’re terrified that the real thing may pop up.

    The reason that the White House has not gotten involved is that if it *does* get involved the story will shift from “CBS and/or the Democrats Forged Documents to Smear Bush” to “Bush Denies Allegations”. The former makes his opponents look bad, the latter makes him look like a man with something to hide.

    The question is now do the ur-memos exist and if so, who has them.

    I suppose that’s *a* question, but a more interesting and relevant question is “who forged *these* documents, and who, if anyone, were they working for?”.

  10. I disagree on your first point, Elvis. The news is all bad for CBS. They’ve run out of legs to stand on.

    The bright spot is for the DNC – although I don’t personally know anyone who ever thought Bush _wasn’t_ a “fortunate son”, it’s still a good hammer to hit Bush with.

  11. Is it time yet?

  12. Dan may wish “the real story” was about the documents themselves, but during a presidential campaign, the real story is always about the candidate.

    “If that’s the standard for “confirmation”, then it is equally fair to say that the Swift Boat Veterans have “confirmed” that Kerry lied on his application for the Silver Star.”

    The difference being, she was actually in a position to make the observations she reports, and does not contradict the official record of any events.

    This, however, is spot on: “The reason that the White House has not gotten involved is that if it *does* get involved the story will shift from “CBS and/or the Democrats Forged Documents to Smear Bush” to “Bush Denies Allegations”. The former makes his opponents look bad, the latter makes him look like a man with something to hide.” This controversy has been very good for Bush (even suspiciously so), in that it has taken the attention away from his embarrassing “It Ain’t Me” problem, and put it onto one piece of evidence.

  13. You’d have to be insane to think CBS as a whole or Rather as an individual would put out forged documents. Ditto with the Democrats.

    First, they didn’t need them to make the case stick, so the reward if they worked was minimal. The risk, on the other hand, is immense; if either group were found to be involved in this level of dirty tricks, the guilty party would be sunk.

    What’s a lot more likely is that Dan and CBS got taken in by someone promising them a scoop that turned out to be too good to be true. Cue Mr. Pink’s speech about Thai Stick.

    The question to ask, if indeed the documents turn out to be fake, is whether they were passed by a Republican operative, or by an individual entrepreneur.

  14. The question to ask, if indeed the documents turn out to be fake, is whether they were passed by a Republican operative

    Come on, Joe. That would require the “operative” to forge something good enough to fool CBS but bad enough to be definitively exposed afterwards. Without benefit of hindsight, that seems like a pretty dubious plan.

  15. “whether they were passed by a Republican operative, or by an individual entrepreneur”

    but not the good people of the Democratic party or a Kerry supporter who might have hoped to help him a bit … no, sir.

    Joe, I admire your steadfastness. Keep it up! (actually, yesterday you were saying Rather refuted the criticism point by point – what gives now?)

  16. The most promising baseless rumor about the forgeries’ provenance is that supposedly Kerry staffers are pissed because they think MoveOn people passed them to CBS. That’s the only one I’ve heard that fits the competency and intelligence of all parties involved.

  17. How are those back pains comin’ joe? Must be getting mighty uncomfortable bending over backwards so far…and for so long too! You’ve got some amazing stamina..but for what? Why is it so hard to admit the glaringly obvious? Is it impossible to imagine that the left can sink to the same level as the right? Gotta live in a manichean universe?

    There’s only one reasonable explantion at this point: some one on the left cooked up these documents to hurt Bush. They did an incredibly shitty job of it, the hacks at CBS pounced on it and they’re getting screwed by they’re own axe-grinding bias. Any other conclusion is just stretching reality to the breaking point now.

    Give it up. Really, what’s the big deal anyway? It doesn’t invalidate a political viewpoint that some of those who believe in it are dishonest. None of this means a damn thing about left wing viewpoints, any more than the many crazy right wing theories about Clinton invalidate all the opinions of the right. Stupidity is an equal opportunity human failing.

  18. Man, it’s amazing how difficult it is for people to hold evidence like this in a vacuum.

    You don’t have to revoke your support of Kerry to admit that they’re complete and utter forgeries.

    It’s ok, you can still vote Kerry/Edwards in November.

    The documents are faaaake!

    Issue closed.

    However, I posed the question in a previous thread (albeit somewhat rhetorically): Is it possible that someone was so desperate to get some ‘evidence’ out about Bush that they took some real documents (or even verbal rumours from reliable sources) that related to this subject and retyped them?

    Paul

  19. joe:

    You’re absolutely right–and this document has come to light explaining just how the Republican operatives managed to get it to CBS.

    Sneaky, you have to admire them.

  20. The question to ask, if indeed the documents turn out to be fake, is whether they were passed by a Republican operative

    Krikey. This would be a looooooooooooooooooooong chess play if so. Think about the logic.

    I’ll pass some documents that will be obviously fake, but good enough to fool the top journalists at CBS news. Dan Rather will accept the documents in his fervor to make Bush look bad. Then, after passing muster at CBS only, CBS will use them in a show called ’60 minutes’. Once aired, the unwitting Bush supporters will realize suddenly that these documents are fake. Eventually the rest of the mainstream media will pick up on the story and also declare them fake. Once declared fake, CBS will continue to stonewall, thus giving the impression that CBS and Rather are hopelessly biased in Kerry’s favor. Furthermore, the Kerry campaign will look bad in that it’s pushing a fake issue about the sitting President. Enough swing voters will be turned against Kerry and thus propel Bush to eventual victory in November.

    Ready? Go!

    Paul

  21. “That would also explain why the White House has been so reluctant to come into this matter-they’re terrified that the real thing may pop up.”

    And then… what? Nobody cared about it until the memos turned out to be fake. Even if authentic documents came out now, which seems like a bit of a long shot (didn’t CBS work on this story for four years?), the whole National Guard thing is a dead end.

    Wonder if the people around Dan Rather feel like it was worth it?

  22. Dan may wish “the real story” was about the documents themselves, but during a presidential campaign, the real story is always about the candidate

    This one will probably end up being about “the candidate” too, just not the one you’d like. Hm, phony documents smearing Bush, released just after the Democrats threaten to launch a dirty-tricks campaign… who could possibly have forged that memo…

    The difference being, she was actually in a position to make the observations she reports, and does not contradict the official record of any events

    The official reports from Killian give Bush glowing reviews, you silly little man. So, yes, the official record directly contradicts what this woman is saying. And the SVBT contains people who were present for every portion of Kerry’s Vietnam service, including the incidents that won him his medals, so your “actually in a position to make observations” argument doesn’t fly either.

    You’d have to be insane to think CBS as a whole or Rather as an individual would put out forged documents. Ditto with the Democrats

    Oh, obviously. Believing that the Democrats might fake evidence against Bush is just crazy. Sane people realize that the far more likely theory is that Republican operatives forged documents in a manner precisely calibrated to fool only CBS and its hand-picked experts, but virtually nobody else on the planet, so that CBS could launch a prime-time expose accusing Bush of shoddy Guard service, after which Bush’s honor would be rescued by the Blogosphere. Now there’s a theory a sane man could get behind. But the notion that the Democrats might have tried to smear Bush? Crazy talk!

  23. I would say that we are already at the stage of drawing some lessons. And the behavior of the White House IS interesting, and instructive.

    Throughout the 90’s the James Carvelle paradigm of mad-dog scorched-earth defence was the Conventional Wisdom of American politics- absolutely gospel. Probably after this campaign the Democrats will STILL swear by it…and claim that Kerry’s downfall was that he DIDN’T go “medieval” on the Swift-Vets.

    And good for them…because it is always good for the Democrats to be foolish! Arguably Carvelle’s approach kept the Clinton WH in turmoil for most of 8 years, and turned a yawner about ANOTHER Clinton infidelity into an impeachment proceeding.

    Bush’s White House has triumphed by under-reacting…and the lesson will be lost on the Dems- in part because political operative types want to market their skill-set, rather than concede that much of it may be obsolete in the post-Blog world.

    The Bushie’s LET the bloggers and 527’s do them as much good as they could, while distancing the candidate…Kerry’s idiots got the DNC and the candidate “on message” with the attack dogs- STUPID!!! (Now ANYTHING that some of the crazies might do- like forging memos- MUST at least appear co-ordinated…great way to expose yourselves, dummies!)

    Bush all but apologised for his lack-luster service three decades ago…which defanged the issue, and made him seem disarmingly modest: further belaboring the issue merely appears mean-spirited.

    Kerry- a legend in his own mind- can’t repudiate anything from his own past, because he would rather be admired than respected. At the thought of enduring 4-8 years of this guy’s endless, pompous self-congratulation you would prefer some of those swabbies had fragged him back in Nam!

    It is reassuring to note that most of this (probably obvious) insight is wasted on the Democrats, who remain resolutely out of step with the People they love so much.

  24. “Bush all but apologised for his lack-luster service three decades ago…”

    WTF? This guy hasn’t apologized for anything in his life.

  25. Gadfly, I take it you are voting ABB. I doubt the other candidate has ever apologized for anything either, despite the thousands of Veterans that are begging Kerry to make amends for actions that may have caused numerous POWs to suffer. Now you tell me, which one should apologize, the one who missed a physical exam, or the one who made North Vietnam’s day with his public testimony.

  26. Sandy-

    BRILLIANT!

  27. Well, Andrew wrote the post I wanted to write. And in the same typeface and kerning, too!

    I hate it when that happens.

  28. You’re all wrong about who gave them to CBS. It was Hillary!!!

  29. Andrew,

    Kerry under-reacted to the Swift Boaters; indeed, he took quite a bit of time to even mention the issue.

    At the thought of enduring 4-8 years of this guy’s endless, pompous self-congratulation you would prefer some of those swabbies had fragged him back in Nam!

    Which is worse? Bush’s pompous self-congratulation about his FUBAR in Iraq, or Kerry’s pompous self-congratulation about his actions in Viet Nam?

    Hank Reardon,

    I doubt the other candidate has ever apologized for anything either, despite the thousands of Veterans that are begging Kerry to make amends for actions that may have caused numerous POWs to suffer. Now you tell me, which one should apologize, the one who missed a physical exam, or the one who made North Vietnam’s day with his public testimony.

    If his testimony was truthful, or thought to be so, then one has to say, so be it.

    BTW, the military does tend to treat folks who “rat out” their compatriots like shit; look at how badly they’ve treated Hugh Thompson over the years. Hugh Thompson was a helicopter pilot who reported the My Lai massacre; indeed, he saved a few lives that day as well; and he has been treated largely as a traitor ever since (though the US military appears to be finally treating this man with some decency). Now, I’m certain that Thompson’s efforts also “aided” the North Vietnamese; but then again, so did US soldiers when they lined up a hundred people or more in a ditch and murdered them in cold blood.

    What’s really fucked up is that Thompson claims that the U.S. military stopped providing adequate cover for him on his missions once he reported the massacre to his superiors; apparently they tried to off the man for his heroic efforts.

    The point of this of course is that merely because someone reveals some dastardly act by the military, and this “hurts” some people in the process, and indeed may even aid the propaganda machine of the enemy, doesn’t mean that the revelation shouldn’t have been made.

  30. I don’t know where I’m supposed to have claimed that Dan Rather gave a point by point rebuttal to the charges. Every wants me to have argued strenuously for the documents’ authenticity, but I didn’t. Look at the old threads – the strongest statement I made was that the charges of forgery weren’t entirely convincing, and I was reserving judgement.

    Nor did I base my statement that it probably wasn’t someone affiliated with the Kerry campaign on some belief that lefties are above such things, TODD, but on a consideration of the risks and rewards. Does anyone have any thoughts on that, or is it too much fun to knock down statements I didn’t make?

    But on to what I actually DID say, that Republicans could have planted demonstrably fake documents to undermine the credibility of the AWOL charge – I think the criticisms like Jesse’s – “That would require the “operative” to forge something good enough to fool CBS but bad enough to be definitively exposed afterwards.” – miss something – the eagerness of CBS to 1) plink George Bush and 2) get a big scoop ahead of the other networks would tend to make them eager to believe that the documents were genuine – hence the Mr. Pink reference. (Mr. Pink talks about when he was a young dealer, and a guy offered to sell him an excellent, rare grade of pot, and he knew it was too good to be true, but believed it against his better judgement because he REALLY wanted it to be true.)

    As far as “fooling CBS’s experts, but no one else,” CBS’s expert WASN’T fooled, and came out yesterday saying he’d been misquoted. A journalist with the stature of Dan Rather can get a source to say, or seem to say, whatever he wants. Basically, the documents would only have to be good enough to fool a Dan Rather who wanted to believe them. Describing it in needlessly complicated terms, Paul, does’t actually make the process any more complicated.

    Though the point that Democrats not working with the campaign or DNC (like Moveon – THAT’S an interesting rumor) could have tried to pull a dirty trick is, on reflection, as likely a possibility as the other two I listed. The risk/reward factors I listed would be different for a free agent than a campaign/party guy, because the blowback wouldn’t necessarily stick to Kerry, and because an amateur might overestimate his chances of getting away with it.

    I still say the most likely source is someone with mercenary, not political, motivations.

  31. We never decided what to call this scandal.
    I liked the suggestion: th-gate, but others wanted to find a fresh “gate.”
    To that I suggested (later redacted), in honor of Li’l Abner’s,
    “Joe Btfsplk: World’s most loving friend and worst jinx who always travels with a dark cloud over his head.”
    that “Btfsplk” be the new “gate.”
    So, I’m in favor of calling it “thbtfsplk.”

    Nick, you can use that at your wingding tonite in DC. Just don’t be getting in anyone’s face when you enunciate it… spittle factor.

  32. “Now you tell me, which one should apologize, the one who missed a physical exam, or the one who made North Vietnam’s day with his public testimony.”

    i’m not particularly enamored with either guy, but i am amused that both anti-war folk will hold up a veteran for president and people who no doubt were frothing “draft dodger” at clinton have no problem with bush’s even more transparent evasion.

    bootlicking funtcucks one and all.

  33. joe,

    I believe people are referring to a comment you made yesterday regarding Rather’s stonewalling: “a dry recitation of verifiable facts”. It’s a statment that can be taken two ways.

    As to the source of the memo, my money is on the unstable Guard vet that has come to light. If that’s the case, CBS has mud all over its dress. Rather and Co. ran with documents from a borderline nutcase over the objections of experts that they solicited. “Check and balances”, indeed.

  34. Clinton wasn’t just your average draft dodger. He was an actively engaged anti-militarist at the time. It made it kind of hard for him to garner any respect as Commander in Chief. Anyway, draft dodging wasn’t allowed to be an issue in ’92, when the networks still controlled the news.

  35. I meant “verifiable” as a synonymn for “falsifiable.” The statements can be proven, conclusively, to be true, or to be false. As distinguished from a “he said-she said” argument, or statement that only tells you what someone’s feelings are.

    Though I can understand people reading it the other way, the context doesn’t support that reading. One of the H&R righties made a statement about Rather’s defense showing him to be ustable, and I pointed out that his defense involved reading off a list of verifiable facts.

    I guess I should have said “easily checked.”

  36. dhex,

    I believe we are in agreement.

    Clinton wasn’t just your average draft dodger. He was an actively engaged anti-militarist at the time.

    In other words, his ideology was actually in sync with his actions? As opposed to say Cheney? 🙂

    It made it kind of hard for him to garner any respect as Commander in Chief. Anyway, draft dodging wasn’t allowed to be an issue in ’92, when the networks still controlled the news.

    Do you even remember the 1992 election? Much was made in about Clinton ducking the draft (hell, I can still remember Mary Matalin’s shrill statements about it on Meet the Press).

  37. There was a big Time Magazine story about it, a cover story I believe, and an insert about the letter Clinton wrote expressing his loathing of the military.

  38. Time Magazine and Meet the Press? is that all you’ve got for me? The general public was not likely to have heard of the loathing letter if those are the only sources of the story you can name. Did Dan Rather ever do a report on the letter?

  39. Basically, the documents would only have to be good enough to fool a Dan Rather who wanted to believe them. Describing it in needlessly complicated terms, Paul, does’t actually make the process any more complicated.

    And that’s PRECISELY where you’d be wrong. If you think for a New York minute that Mr. Rather is being handed these documents and he’s the sole link in the chain in getting these documents on the air, you’d be extremely mistaken. CBS news has a whole battery of journalists working with the top anchors who are (supposedly) trained to be investigative and skeptical of source information. If you think that Dan Rather is standing in an alley with a trenchcoat, receiving memos from his ‘unimpeachable’ source, then rushing to CBS news and throwing these things on the air without any process at all, you’re crazy.

    No sir, by the time Dan Rather sees these memos, they should have already been through some level of scrutiny at several layers below Mr. Rather.

    And for the record, I don’t think that this necessarily makes Kerry look bad. As far as I’m concerned, this is a CBS snafu, and someone very high up should be answering for it.

    I don’t think any less of Kerry simply because Dan Rather (whose shelf life is waaaay longer than any president) is defending the indefensible. It makes Rather and his organisation look bad.

    Paul

  40. Why is Dan Rather important anyway? He’s only listened to by folks in the same demographic as himself. Do people on this blog really get their news form CBS?

    Now, if this all happened to Jon Stewart, THAT would be something

  41. “CBS news has a whole battery of journalists working with the top anchors who are (supposedly) trained to be investigative and skeptical of source information.”

    I believe it was Daniel Goldberg, in his book “Bias,” who wrote, “If CBSNews was prison, everyone would be Dan Rather’s bitches.”

    I don’t buy 99% of conservative whining/ref-working about the “liberal media,” but it’s pretty tough to argue that Dan Rather 1) isn’t biased and 2) doesn’t get his way.

  42. Why is Dan Rather important anyway? He’s only listened to by folks in the same demographic as himself. Do people on this blog really get their news form CBS?

    Long subject, no short answer. But CBS News, like all other ‘straight news’ organisations pride themselves in being something beyond ‘blog’ journalism and other editorial based media. They are the SOURCE of news (or are supposed to be) whereas other media, such as this blog and many other magazines and web services chatter about the news, but they don’t generate it. Ie, it’s like provisional knowledge vs. received knowledge. While Reason is a fine publication and its journalists are (I’m sure)of impeccable character- they’re not a great source of original news.

    Reason doesn’t have bureaus all over the world in places like Baghdad, Taipei, Hong Kong etc., with journalists on the ground, digging through files, contacting sources. CBS News, the NYTimes all do.

    Therefore it behooves these primary news organizations to produce news and base it on facts that are, as Dan Rather claims “unimpeachable”. If they fail in the endeavor, and fail in a highly public way, they lose a LOT of credibility.

    I’m the first to yell (Bias!) when discussing these organizations. But that doesn’t mean they’re LYING. And these news organizations are invaluable in that it requires a physical body to be on the ground, making phonecalls, showing up on people’s door steps, flying around the country, talking to sources, gaining confidence of sources that make the news. Without it, many publications such as Reason would have much less to talk about. That’s why Rather (and more importantly, his organization) is important. Rather’s replacable, but CBS lives on.

    Paul

  43. but it’s pretty tough to argue that Dan Rather 1) isn’t biased and 2) doesn’t get his way.

    Make no mistake, I’m not suggesting that Dan Rather doesn’t have a tremendous (even dictatorial) influence at CBS. But that’s just the point. Dan Rather is in the ‘very high up’ category which I previously referenced. Ultimately, Rather’s not in charge, the Board of Directors are in charge, and Rather can be replaced. If the ‘highest ups’ determine that enough damage has been done to CBS’ credibility, and they determine that Rather is the focal point of that, they can fire his narrow butt.

    Paul

  44. But Paul, the BOD doesn’t review news material, or carry out background checks on sources. They delegate that to Dan and his underlings.

  45. But Paul, the BOD doesn’t review news material, or carry out background checks on sources. They delegate that to Dan and his underlings

    I know that. Maybe I wasn’t clear on my point. Dan Rather is a higher up in the newsroom. The BOD hire and fire the top newsroom people. The BOD care about ratings and what follows ratings: the bottom line. If CBS becomes a laughing stock which ultimately results in a loss of viewership, and it’s attributable to a certain tracable set of news scandals, they start lopping heads in the newsroom.

  46. One of the H&R righties made a statement about Rather’s defense showing him to be ustable, and I pointed out that his defense involved reading off a list of verifiable facts.

    Actually, you said it in response to my description of Rather’s statement as “the saddest excuse for a cover-up attempt I’ve ever seen”.

    Now, when you said “verifiable”, you either meant “falsifiable” or “true”. If you meant “true”, then your statement makes sense — it is simply wrong. If you meant “falsifiable”, then your response was a non-sequiteur; describing Rather’s statement as “a list of falsifiable facts” says nothing as to whether or not that statement was also a sad excuse for a cover-up.

    Furthermore, “verifiable facts” is not a synonym for “falsifiable statements”. Facts are, by definition, not falsifiable. The phrase “these are verifiable facts” means “what I am saying is true, and I can prove it”. It does not mean, despite your claims to the contrary, “what I am saying can theoretically be proven false”. So your claim that you were just trying to say that Rather was making falsifiable statements doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

    Especially since, in the same thread, you went on to claim that an IBM Selectric could have easily produced the documents, and to suggest that the forgery scandal as a “right-wing railroad job”.

  47. The documents are fake, and even in some alternate reality where they are true, I doubt they would measurably hurt Bush. The entire “Fortunate Son” endeavor on the part of CBS and the Kerry campaign is futile at best, and self-destructive at worst.

    A lame and purely emotional attempt to get revenge over the Swift Vets issue.

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