Thursday, September 09, 2004


Is the media finally having its own Watergate moment?

CBS, on its flagship "60 Minutes" "news" show, was touting newly found "memos" purportedly from the posthumous papers of a commander of Bush's in the National Guard in 1973, indicating pressure from above to ease him through the system or something.

Well it seems the fact-checking abilities of the blogosphere were gravely underestimated. All indications so far are that the documents are obvious forgeries! Updates are here.

Some of the documents have all the hallmarks of being made by MS Word, rather than on a typewriter as would have existed in 1973...

Some VERY suspicious items:
*proportional Times New Roman font (instead of a monotype font)
*kerning of letters (adjusting the spacing for various combinations)
*curly "smart quotes" instead of straight ones
*line breaks that mimic MS-Word auto-wordwrap algorithms exactly
*an auto-superscript of a tiny "th"-symbol (as in "187th")
*many other items too, such as odd diction, but the above are definite relics of the computer age: some have been able to exactly overlay an MS-Word generated document using default settings in 12-point Times New Roman with the CBS documents -- no way those came from 1973!

Imagine that, caught by the annoying "Autoformat" feature!

I knew my moral support of Microsoft was not in vain! :-)

The media has become arrogant ever since Watergate, seeing themselves almost as another branch of government. There has been too much outright fabrication, such as the cases of Jayson Blair and others. And now CBS was so partisan, wanting these documents to be true, that they didn't do the simplest checking of their sources.

Their function as impartial judges of information has been squandered.

The internet is rendering their control of information obsolete.

How will 60 Minutes and Dan Rather respond?

Even if the documents are true, it's a tempest in a teapot. Bush, unlike Kerry, was never running on his military service record, nor built his political career on it. And the irresponsibility of a young Bush is already part of his "story" that we all know, so such revelations would even come as no surprise and have no meaning.


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