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September 15, 2004
CBS Lays An Egg

Fox News reported that CBS would be making a statement today at noon ET regarding the forgery fiasco that Dan Rather brought upon the Tiffany Network. If this is their response to the demands for accountability coming from new media and old, then CBS has more problems than just Dan Rather. CBS continues to insist that the memos are genuine, laughably both relying on and disputing the same statement by the octogenarian former secretary of Jerry Killian to authenticate the documents:

CBS News continued to defend the legitimacy of its recent story about President Bush's Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard, even as two experts it hired to examine records CBS used told ABC they could not vouch for their veracity.

Meanwhile, a former secretary in the guard said Tuesday she believed the documents in question were fake, although they accurately reflected the thoughts of one of Mr. Bush's commanders.

The updated CBS report covers most of the new evidence and testimony unearthed in the past few days, including a fairly in-depth analysis of what its experts told ABC News. In disputing Emily Will and Linda James, CBS now says that they only had a peripheral role, echoing a statement given to ABC News yesterday. It also notes that Marcel Matley, the handwriting analyst that they claim authenticated all four memos, has backed away from his earlier statements and now acknowledges he only saw one document.

In fact, the only new piece to the CBS update is their inclusion of Marian Carr Knox, Killian's former secretary, who has said that she believes the documents CBS used are forgeries, but that their content matches her 30-year-old recollection of Killian's state of mind:

Killian's former secretary, 86-year-old Marian Carr Knox, also questioned the documents in an interview with The Dallas Morning News.

"These are not real," Knox said in a story posted Tuesday on the newspaper's Web site. "They're not what I typed, and I would have typed them for him."

Knox told the newspaper she did not recall typing the memos, but that they echoed Killian's views on Mr. Bush. She said he retained memos for a personal "cover his back" file he kept in a locked drawer of his desk, but she was not sure what happened to them when he died in 1984.

CBS added this statement today in response to Knox's appearance:

CBS News spokeswoman Sandra Genelius said CBS did not believe Knox was a documents expert and that the network believes the documents are genuine.

"It is notable that she confirms the content of the documents, which was the primary focus of our story in the first place," Genelius said.

So in one statement, CBS embraces Knox -- who professes to hate George Bush and called him "unfit for office" in an earlier interview, which CBS neglects to mention -- for confirming the content of the memos at the same time it rejects her testimony about the memos themselves because she is not a "documents expert." Is CBS claiming, then, that she's lying about not typing the memos herself? She said in her earlier interview that she did the necessary typing for Jerry Killian, which makes sense given the Killian family's insistence that Killian didn't type out notes. If she's lying about that, then why should we believe her testimony regarding Killian's state of mind?

Now, according to the CBS report itself, the entire story rests on authentication from Ben Barnes and Marian Knox, since all of their other named experts have bailed. Barnes is a major contributor to the Democratic Party, one of the top moneymen for Kerry's campaign, a fact that CBS still fails to include in its reports. The equally partisan Knox has flat-out called the documents fraudulent and only offers hearsay recollections about the thoughts of a man from thirty years ago, long dead now and whose family insists felt exactly the opposite about George Bush.

And CBS still has no explanation for all of the content issues, such as incorrect dates for the due date on Bush's exam or how a general who had long since retired could possibly pressure anyone to upgrade the evaluation of a reserve lieutenant, or why he would care.

These people need help.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 15, 2004 12:00 PM

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» CBS edges out Atrios for H-Bomb's Kerry Hack-of-the-week Award from The H-Bomb
Normally, Atrios would own this award, but it looks like even he is abandoning ship on the CBS memos. He says he "actually agree[s] with Glenn Reynolds," when Reynolds says: HERE'S SOME HELPFUL ADVICE FOR CBS: "A source lies to [Read More]

Tracked on September 15, 2004 1:41 PM

» Waiting for CBS from Time is a Factor
Is this what CBS will be reduced to? It's not even a defense! CBS did not speak to Killian's secretary before they aired the report so they could not have relied on her testimony. Furthermore, two of the people they did speak to, Killian's widow and ... [Read More]

Tracked on September 15, 2004 3:24 PM

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