Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Is the News Media Finally Doing Its Job?

I've felt that the Bush years have beenmuch like the Nixon years with one important difference. During the Nixon years we had the news media actively work to expose Nixon, until he was driven from office. During the Bush years, the media has been acting more like Pravda than a real news media.

Dan Rather is finally remembering how he did hiis job during the Nixon years. (For those too young to remember, Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw were the White House correspondents for CBS and NBC, with CBS being the major player in television news.)

Dan Rather and CBS are finally dong some investigations into Bush's background:

CBS showed how Bush did receive preferential treatment in getting into the National Guard:
"I would describe it as preferential treatment. There were hundreds of names on the list of people wanting to get into the Air National Guard or the Army National Guard," says Barnes. "I think that would have been a preference to anybody that didn't want to go to Vietnam or didn’t want to leave. We had a lot of young men that left and went to Canada in the '60s and fled this country. But those that could get in the Reserves, or those that could get in the National Guard - chances are they would not have to go to Vietnam."

This is the first time Barnes has told his story publicly, but for years, the president has been hounded by questions about how he got in the National Guard.

"Any allegation that my dad asked for special favors is simply not true," said Mr. Bush. "And the former president of the United States has said that he in no way, shape or form helped me get into the National Guard. I didn't ask anyone to help me get into the Guard either."

CBS also obtained documents written by Bush's squadron commander, Col. Jerry Killian, which provide further evidence of Bush avoiding his duties as a member of the National Guard:

But 60 Minutes has obtained a number of documents we are told were taken from Col. Killian's personal file. Among them, a never-before-seen memorandum from May 1972, where Killian writes that Lt. Bush called him to talk about "how he can get out of coming to drill from now through November."

Lt. Bush tells his commander "he is working on a campaign in Alabama…. and may not have time to take his physical." Killian adds that he thinks Lt. Bush has gone over his head, and is "talking to someone upstairs."
The memo's also provide some information on Bush's missed flight physical:

One of the Killian memos is an official order to George W. Bush to report for a physical. The president never carried out the order.

On Aug. 1, 1972, Lt. Bush was suspended from flying status, due to "failure to accomplish his annual medical examination." That document was released years ago. But another document has not been seen until now. It’s a memo that Col. Jerry Killian put in his own file that same day. It says "on this date, I ordered that 1st Lt. Bush be suspended not just for failing to take a physical….but for failing to perform to U.S. Air Force/Texas Air National Guard standards."

He goes on: "The officer [then-Lt. Bush] has made no attempt to meet his training certification or flight physical."

While I do not think that Bush's Vietnam record is what is going to decide this election, it is only fair that the media expose the truth about Bush's record after spending so much time on the now-discredited attacks on John Kerry's record. Hopefully they'll also start taking a closer look at an even worse scandle--George Bush's record over the last four years.


Blogger tbheil said...

Is any of this info, just sent to me by a GOP friend, true?

'60 Minutes' Documents on Bush Might Be Fake
By Robert B. Bluey Staff Writer
September 09, 2004

( - The 32-year-old documents produced Wednesday by the CBS
News program "60 Minutes," shedding a negative light on President Bush's
service in the Texas Air National Guard, may have been forged using a
current word processing program, according to typography experts.

Three independent typography experts told they were
suspicious of the documents from 1972 and 1973 because they were typed
using a proportional font, not common at that time, and they used a
superscript font feature found in today's Microsoft Word program.

The "60 Minutes" segment included an interview with former Texas
lieutenant governor Ben Barnes, who criticized Bush's service. The news
program also produced a series of memos that claim Bush refused to
follow an order to undertake a medical examination.

The documents came from the "personal office file" of Bush's former
squadron commander Jerry B. Killian, according to Kelli Edwards, a
spokeswoman for "60 Minutes," who was quoted in Thursday's Washington
Post. Edwards declined to tell the Post how the news program obtained
the documents.

But the experts interviewed by homed in on several aspects
of a May 4, 1972, memo, which was part of the "60 Minutes" segment and
was posted on the CBS News website Thursday.

"It was highly out of the ordinary for an organization, even the Air
Force, to have proportional-spaced fonts for someone to work with," said
Allan Haley, director of words and letters at Agfa Monotype in
Wilmington, Mass. "I'm suspect in that I did work for the U.S. Army as
late as the late 1980s and early 1990s and the Army was still using
[fixed-pitch typeface] Courier."

The typography experts couldn't pinpoint the exact font used in the
documents. They also couldn't definitively conclude that the documents
were either forged using a current computer program or were the work of
a high-end typewriter or word processor in the early 1970s.

But the use of the superscript "th" in one document - "111th F.I.S" -
gave each expert pause. They said that is an automatic feature found in
current versions of Microsoft Word, and it's not something that was even
possible more than 30 years ago.

"That would not be possible on a typewriter or even a word processor at
that time," said John Collins, vice president and chief technology
officer at Bitstream Inc., the parent of

"It is a very surprising thing to see a letter with that date [May 4,
1972] on it," and featuring such typography, Collins added. "There's no
question that that is surprising. Does that force you to conclude that
it's a fake? No. But it certainly raises the eyebrows."

Fred Showker, who teaches typography and introduction to digital
graphics at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., questioned
the documents' letterhead.

"Let's assume for a minute that it's authentic," Showker said. "But
would they not have used some form of letterhead? Or has this letterhead
been intentionally cut off? Notice how close to the top of the page it is."

He also pointed to the signature of Killian, the purported author of the
May 4, 1972, memo ordering Bush, who was at the time a first lieutenant
in the Texas Air National Guard, to obtain a physical exam.

"Do you think he would have stopped that 'K' nice and cleanly, right
there before it ran into the typewriter 'Jerry," Showker asked. "You
can't stop a ballpoint pen with a nice square ending like that ... The
end of that 'K' should be round ... it looks like you took a pair of
snips and cut it off so you could see the 'Jerry.'"

The experts also raised questions about the military's typewriter
technology three decades ago. Collins said word processors that could
produce proportional-sized fonts cost upwards of $20,000 at the time.

"I'm not real sure that you would have that kind of sophistication in
the office of a flight inspector in the United States government,"
Showker said.

"The only thing it could be, possibly, is an IBM golf ball typewriter,
which came out around the early to middle 1970s," Haley said. "Those did
have proportional fonts on them. But they weren't widely used."

But Haley added that the use of the superscript "th" cast doubt on the
use of any typewriter.

"There weren't any typewriters that did that," Haley said. "That looks
like it might be a function of something like Microsoft Word, which does
that automatically."

According to an article on the CBS News website, the news program
"consulted a handwriting analyst and document expert who believes the
material is authentic."

6:44 PM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

Evidence so far fails to back the accusations of a fake.

Some models of typewriters commonly used by the government at the time have been found which can print in this manner. In addition, there have been others who worked with Killian who have verified that he expressed such views.

None of this proves it isn't a fake, but the burden of proof currently lies with those claiming the papers are a fake, and so far they have provided no valid evidence.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems I remember some very old typewriters that had one or two superscripts on them (usually "th"), so I'm not willing to discount the memos on that basis alone. However, the Republican websites are going crazy and pointing out that there are many discrepencies in the CBS report that they feel Dan Rather should address. One of the biggest would be that the (I believe) wife and son of Col. Killian are claiming that the memos are forged. If that is true, then this suggests that the memos were not in Col. Killian's private files, so where did CBS get them from?

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the Bush Administration claims they can keep us safer from terrorism, how many chances do they get? It already happened Sept 11, and the 911 commission said it could have been prevented. And why was the president sitting in a school room. When was that planned?

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George Bush declares his love for Laura whenever he thinks it will make people like him more, but you can almost count the times he has taken her arm to escort her off the helicopter or plane. He always rushes ahead, because after all, he is the important one. Later , he looks back to see where she is.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George Bush claims he loves Laura, but have you watched him forge ahead of her , getting off helicopters and planes, without taking her arm and getting her safely down the steps. Sometimes he looks back after he is on the ground to see where she is.

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The media/CBS is really doing there job...destroying kerry's campaign. At least if they are going use fake documents, they should use good ones. Maybe they can just create some more documents that would blame the original fakes on bush, that would be dynamite.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard that Halliburton gave CBS those memos, with carl rove pulling the strings, while bush lied and betrayed the american people. This is typical GOP stuff.

Everybody knows that bush is a pathalogical liar and I have some memos to prove it. I think I will send them to CBS. I am sure they will broadcast them and maybe I can get a free trip to New York.

Just remember the old wise saying "just let them go naked" and you may realize what is the problem.

3:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't want to overstate the extent of my glee over the Dan Rather imbroglio now known as "Memogate." But, it may well be the Greatest Story ... Ever If this story were a street urchin, I would take into my home, give it my name, and raise it as if it were my flesh and blood. If Monty Hall gave me the choice of picking this story or the coolest thing ever to reside behind Door No. 2, I would pick this story without a moment's hesitation. Cancel Christmas, suspend Hanukkah, blot out the sun with copies of the forged memos, and I will be perfectly happy.
Okay, I'm exaggerating ... a little. But this story is truly God's Own Pinata, you can bash it from any angle and nothing but sweet, sweet goodness flows out. To a great deal of fanfare, Dan Rather -- Dashboard Saint of Liberal Journalists Who Won't Admit They Are Liberal -- joined in what appeared to be a coordinated barrage against George W. Bush. Coinciding, deliberately or not, with a new ad campaign targeting Bush's service in the National Guard, Kitty Kelley's new book, and the Boston Globe's latest expose, Rather's "60 Minutes II" ran a story that claimed to reveal new, damning facts about Bush's allegedly lackadaisical service toward the end of his stint in the Air National Guard. (Another note: I think the evidence supports the notion that Bush was lackadaisical toward the end of his Guard service but, I just don't think it's the big story Rather and so many others want it to be.)
Dan Rather, anchoring the segment, relied on the testimony of a hyperpartisan Democrat and former Texas politician, Ben Barnes, whose story about getting Bush into the Guard has changed numerous times. Because Barnes is a co-chairman of the Kerry campaign, Rather needed something better than Barnes' word. He thought he found it in four documents, which Rather claimed substantiated the report.
The only problem: The documents are almost certainly forgeries -- if by "almost certainly" you mean "absolutely, positively." First on various internet sites and then in the mainstream media (particularly ABC News and the Washington Post), the memos have become a "What's Wrong With This Picture?" game for anybody and everybody who knows anything about the National Guard, 1970s typewriters, or the proper means of verifying a story.
Indeed, every day since the story broke, the much-vaunted experts and witnesses CBS relied upon to authenticate the memos have made it clear that CBS wasn't particularly eager to get the truth. Their chief expert, the Washington Post revealed, now says he never even tried to authenticate the documents themselves, merely the signature which had been photocopied and faxed somewhere between 12 and a zillion times. Indeed, CBS has been asking its professional experts not to speak to the media -- a sure sign that they know they didn't nail down the story in the first place.
Meanwhile, Dan Rather has dug in for dear life, ridiculing his critics and dismissing pretty much anyone who has eyes to see the truth as a "partisan," while the CBS front office continues to break off bits of it credibility like a man who feeds an alligator one body part at a time. A CBS spokeswoman told the Post: "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." Translation: We can't prove the source is true, but you can't prove it's not.
Well, since this is the new standard, I would like to break the following: Dan Rather has eaten fifteen German Shepherds in the last year alone and he considers himself the Warrior King of the planet Blarnack. I have just printed out documents that back up my story. It is for CBS to prove me wrong.
I could go on all day and into the night. But the point is this: Dan Rather is toast. Or, more broadly, "Dan Ratherism" is over. The man who used to sign off his broadcasts with "Courage" may be able to ride out this scandal, insofar as he won't be unceremoniously fired. But the age of the Nightly News Anchor as trusted uncle is now officially dead. It was dying already, but this scandal is its death rattle. Even if Rather admitted that he put the BS in CBS, it's too late to save his reputation with millions. Besides, once he admits that the documents are fake, he has to reveal his source, because there is no journalistic obligation to protect con artists who humiliate you. And my guess is that the source is even more embarrassing than the fraud.
I can't prove that. But who says I have to?

6:24 AM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

At present it is still not known if the memos were real or fake, but there is a lot that we do know.

Regardless of the validity of these particular papers, we do know that the content was an accurate representation of what Killian was saying at the time. This would not excuse the forgery of documents, but also leaves the same questions about George Bush.

We have two different issues here. One is whether CBS was conned, and it is undeniable that if they were this would be an interesting story. Even so, it would represent one particular incident, and not a total reflection upon CBS. Even if their story is wrong, this is trivial compared to the falsehoods spread by outlets such as Fox News on a nightly basis.

The more important story remains that of George Bush's character. The story was present before the Killian memos and does not depend upon them. Other journalists have come to similar conclusions using entirely different sources. Bush has still not produced any evidence to the contrary.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George Bush says you can run but you cannot hide from your record. He is right. His record is bad no matter which topic you bring up. When he is on the stump, he thinks it is more important to make his audience laugh than talk about what he is doing. He even made fun of looking for WMDs on a tv spot, looking around the room and behind chairs. This is the kind of person in control of our country. We need him gone.

1:21 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home