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September 13, 2004
Washington Post: CBS Is Toast

Michael Dobbs and Howard Kurtz continue the Washington Post's tough look at the Killian forgeries promoted by CBS and Dan Rather as "authentic", even as late as today, as both their typography and their content clearly show them to be fraudulent. Now their expert witness has recanted his support, leaving Rather twisting in the wind:

The lead expert retained by CBS News to examine disputed memos from President Bush's former squadron commander in the National Guard said yesterday that he examined only the late officer's signature and made no attempt to authenticate the documents themselves.

"There's no way that I, as a document expert, can authenticate them," Marcel Matley said in a telephone interview from San Francisco. The main reason, he said, is that they are "copies" that are "far removed" from the originals.

That makes two "experts" cited by CBS and Rather who have backpedaled furiously in the face of the meltdown. Retired General Bobby Hodges didn't just backpedal, he said that CBS misled him about the memos in the first place. Matley, who has no love for George Bush, originally defended the documents, and then backed up to the position that he had only authenticated the signature on one memo. Now he's backing all the way to Square One, admitting that authentication would be impossible without the originals.

Nor do Dobbs and Kurtz stop with the CBS "experts", willing and unwilling, jumping off the ship. The Post devastates another recent addition to CBS' "expert" staff:

In its broadcast last night, CBS News produced a new expert, Bill Glennon, an information technology consultant. He said that IBM electric typewriters in use in 1972 could produce superscripts and proportional spacing similar to those used in the disputed documents. Any argument to the contrary is "an out-and-out lie," Glennon said in a telephone interview. But Glennon said he is not a document expert, could not vouch for the memos' authenticity and only examined them online because CBS did not give him copies when asked to visit the network's offices.

Thomas Phinney, program manager for fonts for the Adobe company in Seattle, which helped to develop the modern Times New Roman font, disputed Glennon's statement to CBS. He said "fairly extensive testing" had convinced him that the fonts and formatting used in the CBS documents could not have been produced by the most sophisticated IBM typewriters in use in 1972, including the Selectric and the Executive. He said the two systems used fonts of different widths.

You know that CBS is drowning when it relies on an "expert" with no credentials as a document analyst who refuses to authenticate the memos because he only saw them on line. Dobbs and Kurtz demonstrate proper journalistic technique by asking someone with professional background in the field to review the data, and they get a much different answer:

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.

All of which led CBS to do some backpedaling of its own:

CBS executives have pointed to Matley as their lead expert on whether the memos are genuine, and included him in a "CBS Evening News" defense of the story Friday. Matley said he spent five to eight hours examining the memos. "I knew I could not prove them authentic just from my expertise," he said. "I can't say either way from my expertise, the narrow, narrow little field of my expertise."

In looking at the photocopies, he said, "I really felt we could not definitively say which font this is." But, he said, "I didn't see anything that would definitively tell me these are not authentic."

Asked about Matley's comments, CBS spokeswoman Sandy Genelius said: "In the end, the gist is that it's inconclusive. People are coming down on both sides, which is to be expected when you're dealing with copies of documents."

They have moved from issuing absolute affirmations of the documents to declaring the evidence "inconclusive" within the past 48 hours. The walls are crumbling at the siege of CBS, and within two or three days, we may see a white flag and the public offering of Dan Rather's behind as a peace offering. After all the intellectually dishonest posturing, nothing less will do.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 13, 2004 10:52 PM

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» The End is Near - Lead Source Can't Authenticate. from bLogicus
Following CBS' publication of an article listing, unanswered, serious questions about Dan Rather's representation of the Bush-Guard Memos, the Washing Post and New York Times have published highly critical, credible and persuasive reports that the memo... [Read More]

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Tracked on September 14, 2004 10:54 AM

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