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June 3, 2005
Still Rather Clueless

Dan Rather appeared on Larry King Live last night to discuss the outing of Mark Felt as Deep Throat. King couldn't resist the urge to compare the Watergate story to that of the disgraced 60 Minutes II report on George Bush's TexANG service, and Rather couldn't resist the urge to once again claim that no one had proven the Killian memos as fraudulent:

KING: Well, I don't know another word. You might still believe the story, by the way.

RATHER: Well, without getting into that because the panel, this panel that was chosen by CBS to look into it, they issued their report. CBS adopted the report. I said at the time and I say now, I read the report. I absorbed it. I carried forward in my work. Anybody wants to know the panel's version of what happened should read the report.

The situation that we had and still have is the last line of this has not been written. I will be very interested to see the last line of this story (INAUDIBLE) written. But, you know, I've acknowledged that we didn't do it perfectly. I wish we had. Others may say, well, you didn't do it well. They're entitled to that judgment. ...

Now, the documents were a support for those and an important support, and when questions were raised, well, how do we know that documents are true? We had some problems. However, I do want to point out, and I -- listen, anybody who wants to castigate this or fuss with this, have at it. I will point out that the panel, which was headed by a President Nixon, Reagan, Bush family supporter and a journalist who said that George Bush one was one of the greatest people he ever met -- this panel came forward and what they concluded, among the things they concluded after months of investigation and spending millions of dollars, they could not determine that the documents were fraudulent. Important point, that we don't know whether the documents were fraudulent or not.

KING: Are you saying the story might be correct?

RATHER: Well, I'm saying a prudent person might take that view.

A prudent person might take that view? A prudent journalist would have taken into account the recommendations of the document examiners who looked at these memos before publication. Every one of them warned CBS of serious questions about their authenticity, except for the one that only looked at the signatures on the memos.

Furthermore, Rather flat-out lied about the findings of the Thornburgh-Boccardi report. Peter Tytell, the man hired by the panel, reported unequivocally to Thornburgh and Boccardi that the Killian memos had been created by a computer. This excerpt comes from Page 1 of Appendix 4 of their final report:

Tytell concluded, for the reasons described below, that (i) the relevant portion of the Superscript Exemplar was produced on an Olympia manual typewriter, (ii) the Killian documents were not produced on an Olympia manual typewriter, and (iii) the Killian documents were produced on a computer in Times New Roman typestyle . Tytell acknowledged that deterioration in the Killian documents from the copying and downloading process made the comparison of typestyles "to some extent a subjective call." However, he believed the differences were sufficiently significant to conclude that the Killian documents were not produced on a typewriter in the early 1970s and therefore were not authentic.

The report lists in detail all of the discrepancies found by Tytell between known examplars of true TexANG documents and the Killian memos produced by CBS and their rabidly partisan source, Bill Burkett. That information has been in the public record for over four months. To go on national TV and claim that the CBS report does not render a judgment on the authenticity of the Killian memos is false -- and given Rather's proximity and interest in the issue, one must presume that the falsehood is deliberate.

Does anyone at CBS have an issue with one of their featured journalists appearing on national television and lying to the American public? So far, the answer appears to be no.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! Ian at the Political Teen has the video in question. And Brainster cuts to the heart of the entire issue with this observation:

You see the problem? When he says nobody's proven the documents false or not, he's demanding extraordinary proof of their falsity. But of course, a real newsman should be in the business of demanding extraordinary proof of their validity. That's supposed to be the difference between CBS News and the National Enquirer.
Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 3, 2005 7:43 AM

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