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January 26, 2005
CBS Documents Expert Outraged At "Defamation"

Expect to see this potential explosion of embarrassment settled out of court. Marcel Matley, the documents examiner that CBS dragged in front of them as a human shield in the days following the Memogate report, claims that the Thornburgh-Boccardi panel report defames him and has caused him professional damage:

Marcel Matley, one of four document experts consulted by CBS News while reporting its Sept. 8, 2004, report on Bush, is demanding a slew of corrections in the report, which was issued earlier this month. In an interview with E&P, he referred to the report's treatment of him as "defamation." ...

In an e-mail to Thornburgh's office on Jan. 13, obtained by E&P, Matley criticized the report as containing "certain incorrect statements affecting me and which are derogatory and/or damaging to me professionally." He also asks that the panel issue corrections for each of the errors he contends are in the report and distribute the corrections.

"It is professional defamation," Matley, a 20-year document expert, told E&P, from his home in San Francisco. "When you are in a court of law, it can make the difference between being considered credible or not."

He said the report has already hurt his professional reputation, claiming it was mentioned last week during his appearance in a Modesto, Calif., courtroom on a probate case. "Someone brought it up that I was the one who made the mistake in the '60 Minutes' case," he said. "I've already had this thrown at me."

Matley's rhetoric sounds carefully couched in legal terms, aimed at building a case for a lawsuit against CBS and the Memogate panel. Matley, who appeared on the CBS Evening News to help Dan Rather declare the documents genuine, now says that the report and its less-than-complimentary conclusions absolve him of all confidentiality agreements -- a warning shot across Les Moonves' bow.

Matley has only two specific and objective complaints:

* The report says that Matley is not a typography specialist (see footnotes on page 75). However, it does include Matley's assertion that courts have accepted his expertise while also describing Matley's training in the field as a "self-study" program, some private training, and completely lacking in government instruction.

* Matley says he never used the phrase "consistent inconsistencies". The panel report footnotes its description of Matley's testimony with this exhibit, but the phrase doesn't appear in Matley's handwritten notes.

The rest of Matley's gripes come from the subjective conclusions of the panel report. He doesn't like the recommendation that CBS keep a list of expert document examiners, claiming that the recommendation infers that he doesn't qualify -- but the panel never said that Matley should be excluded, although it notes that none of the four retained by Mapes and CBS had "extensive" typographical expertise (page 77). He objects to the characterization of himself as "timid", although that is just a quote from Gil Schwarz' testimony to the panel (page 163); likewise, he doesn't like being called "hostile", but that word never appears in the report.

Matley, it seems, just doesn't like the idea that he has become associated with one of the more notorious frauds of letters since the Howard Hughes autobiography hoax by Clifford Irving. Unfortunately for Matley, he played a critical role in obfuscating for CBS when they needed a human shield against the blogosphere, and he shouldn't act surprised to come away from the battle with a few dings.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 26, 2005 6:31 AM

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One of the reasons, I think, that Emily Will and Linda James spoke out against CBS during the Memogate Aftermath, was to protect, if not rescue, their professional reputations. Remember, WaPo reported "that a '60 Minutes' executive had asked [Matley]... [Read More]

Tracked on January 26, 2005 2:12 PM

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