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A short trip in the way-back machine


Last Edited: November 7, 2008, 9:00 am

I mentioned documents proven forged in Rather-gate in TigerAngel's blog entry here.   

"Supreme Court to Obama: Prove It"

Have sifted through archives showing events and major players who exposed a smear campaign based on obvious forgeries and why they were forged.   

Proportional spacing is the first clue, spotted by Atlanta attorney Harry MacDougald whose screen name was "Buckhead."

Quotes are directly lifted, links provided for verification.

Some embedded links are no longer valid.


"Hurricane Dan: Get serious

September 12, 2004 Posted by Scott at 8:22 AM

Source Powerlineblog.com

"Los Angeles Times reporter Peter Wallsten meticulously reconstructs the events of this past Thursday following the CBS 60 Minutes broadcast Wednesday evening that have led to the exposure of the "new" documents featured in the Air National Guard story as forgeries: "No disputing it: Blogs are major players." Wallsten prominently credits our role in the development of the story:

Early Thursday morning, Minneapolis lawyer Scott Johnson was in his basement home office, preparing to link some morning news reports to the site he co-authors, when a reader sent an e-mail about Buckhead.

Intrigued, Johnson, whose online ID is "The Big Trunk," put a link on his site, PowerLine Blog.com, to Buckhead's post.

Then the floodgates opened.

"Thanks to all the readers who have written regarding this post," Johnson wrote in an early update. "Several have pointed out that the Executive line of IBM typewriters did have proportionally spaced fonts, although no reader has found the font used in the memos to be a familiar one or thought that the IBM Executive was likely to have been used by the National Guard in the early 1970s.

"Reader Monty Walls has also cited the IBM Selectric Composer," he continued. "However, reader Eric Courtney adds this wrinkle: The 'Memo To File' of August 18, 1973, also used specialized typesetting characters not used on typewriters. These include the superscript 'th' in 187th, and consistent ' (right single quote) all parentheses in original used instead of a typewriter's generic {minute} (apostrophe). These are the sorts of things that typesetters did manually until the advent of smart correction in things like Microsoft Word."

Soon Charles Johnson, a Los Angeles musician-turned-conservative-blogger who hosts the site LittleGreenFootballs.com, posted the results of his own investigation. He wrote that he had opened Microsoft Word, set the font to Times New Roman and used the program's default settings to retype a purported Killian memo from August 1973.

"My Microsoft Word version, typed in 2004, is an exact match for the documents trumpeted by CBS News as 'authentic,' " Johnson wrote, posting images of his creation and the CBS document. (The Times New Roman font itself predates computers; it was designed in 1932.)

Within 90 minutes of that post, the Power Line site was linked to perhaps the best-known conservative site of all ? the Drudge Report, made famous when Matt Drudge took a lead role in the first reports on the relationship between then-President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

"That was a quantum jump in awareness," said Scott Johnson. "It was wildly circulating in the blogosphere until Drudge linked us. Then it was instantly known to a million people, and it was all of a sudden a legitimate story."

Suddenly, the story line shifted from the question Democrats had been trying to ask ? whether Bush received special treatment in the Guard ? to whether a network long detested by conservatives had been duped in its quest to air a report critical of the president in the midst of the reelection campaign.

Wallsten's article does not raise any question that we might have erred in doubting the authenticity of the documents or offer any support for their authenticity. Rather, it gives voice to desperate Democratic operatives imputing right-wing lunacy or conspiratorial machinations to those raising the issues:

"It was amazing Thursday to watch the documents story go from FreeRepublic.com, a bastion of right-wing lunacy, to Drudge to the mainstream media in less than 12 hours," said Jim Jordan, a strategist for independent Democratic groups opposed to Bush. [Ed. note: C'mon Peter, he's Kerry's former campaign manager.]

"That's not to say the documents didn't deserve examination. But apparently the entire thing was cooked up by a couple of amateurs on Free Republic. The speed with which it moved was breathtaking."

Wallsten then notes that "Rather opened his evening news broadcast Friday with a defense of his report, producing an analyst who vouched for the memos." Wallsten omits to mention that the analyst was a purported handwriting expert who could not authenticate the documents. Wallsten quotes a professor articulating the dark fears of the MSM:

Media experts said the role of the bloggers illustrated a significant development in the relationship between mainstream news and the still-nascent phenomenon of blogging.

This was the first time, some said, that the Web logs were engaging in their own form of investigative journalism ? and readers, they warned, should be cautious.

"The mainstream press is having to follow them," said Jeffrey Seglin, a professor at Emerson College in Boston. [Ed. note: C'mon, Peter, Seglin is a columnist for the New York Times Syndiicate, whose owner is the same company that owns the Boston Globe -- which has avidly promoted the 60 Minutes story. (Thanks to Hobbs Online.)] "The fear I have is: How do you know who's doing the Web logs?

"And what happens when this stuff gets into the mainstream, and it eventually turns out that the '60 Minutes' documents were perfectly legitimate, but because there's been so much reporting about what's being reported, it has already taken on a life of its own?"

Put to one side the fact that we have been doing our own brand of investigative journalism since we started this site over Memorial Day weekend in 2002 (and for the previous ten years in newspapers and magazines). In our case, Professor Seglin might "know who's doing the Web logs" by clicking on the "About Us" logos over on our left margin, or giving us a call, as Peter Wallsten did. The same applies to Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs.

Seglin appears not to be familiar with the Internet or the development of the evidence throughout the blogosphere relating to the 60 Minutes documents. We acted as a clearinghouse for information, freely quoting correspondents and linking to sources. We named names and identified sources. We included evidence that might tell against the points we raised; when a correspondent wrote to point out that the White House had itself released copies of the 60 Minutes documents, we posted that. It turned out that the documents released by the White House had been provided to it by 60 Minutes.

We awaited some word from CBS that would allow us to verify the authenticity of the documents. When Dan Rather offered his pathetic apologia Friday night, we noted his report and discussed its almost unbelievable weakness in the face of the issues raised.

Contrast the behavior of the blogosphere with that of CBS. While we have disclosed sources and responded to all inquiries from reporters like Wallsten, CBS has taken its plays from the old Watergate playbook. Stonewalling and misdirection are the order of the day. To the extent that CBS has cited sources, they have not supported the authenticity of the documents. All in all, CBS has behaved like a criminal caught redhanded in a fraud of monumental proportions.

Wallsten concludes the story by quoting a Free Republic commenter who facetiously asks, in the spirit of the Democratic operatives, "How do we know Buckhead is not really Karl Rove?" But the story Wallsten tells raises a serious question that belies Wallsten's conclusion and that Wallsten declines to entertain.

It is time to draw the obvious inferences from CBS's behavior and from the circumstances of the case. The 60 Minutes documents purportedly derive from the "personal file" of a long-deceased superior officer of President Bush. The family of the deceased officer denies that they are the source of the documents or that the officer would have written them.

CBS refuses to identify the source of the documents or otherwise to disclose how they came into its possession. The reporter who vouches for the authenticity of the documents is himself no expert, but a long-time antagonist of conservatives in general and the Bushes in particular, with close ties to Texas Democrats. The documents discredit President Bush consistent with a key Democratic theme in the midst of a presidential campaign.

Substantial evidence of the fraudulent nature of the documents is produced. The reporter demands that we take his word for the authenticity of the documents. CBS fails to identify a single document analyst who supports the authenticity of the documents. CBS fails to produce a single authentic document with an appearance like the documents in issue.

CBS refuses to disclose the copies of the documents for independent examination by a neutral third party. Evidence of the fraudulent nature of the documents continues to mount. See, for example, this morning's Washington Times story, "Bush Guard papers 'forged,'" and this morning's New York Times story, "An ex-officer now believes Guard memo isn't genuine."

Drawing the reasonable inferences implicit in these circumstances, the serious question that must be asked at this point is what happens when a media monolith acts as a front for Democratic operatives peddling forgeries calculated to smear a Republican president and presidential candidate?

UPDATE: Click here for a brilliant recap (and more) by Hugh Hewitt.

UPDATE 2: Just One Minute and Ace of Spades offer further thoughts on the possible source of the documents (not a Democratic operative). See also Ace's screaming update. (Courtesy of Instapundit.)



"Meet Buckhead

September 17, 2004 Posted by Scott at 6:25 PM

Source Powerlineblog.com 

"Peter Wallsten follows up his September 12 reconstruction of the genesis of Hurricane Dan with an article on his discovery of Buckhead's identity, Atlanta attorney Harry MacDougald: "Blogger who faulted CBS documents is conservative activist." Liz MacDougald wrote us Thursday morning to make sure we knew that the email we had been sent by a reader whom we named actually reflected points Buckhead had raised in Free Republic post no. 47 and we revised our initial post consistent with the information provided by Mrs. (I assume) MacDougald.

Courtesy of Hugh Hewitt. And please check out Ernest Miller's "Incompetent or Unethical? The story of CBS News' response to Killian memos" over at Corante -- with thanks for redirecting traffic from my originally mistaken link.

UPDATE: Don't miss Charles Johnson's expert commentary: "LA Times slimes Buckhead, bloggers."  "



Assume all posts below enclosed in quotes taken directly from archives.

"Documents Suggest Special Treatment for Bush in Guard [post 47]


"Howlin, every single one of these memos to file is in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman.

In 1972 people used typewriters for this sort of thing, and typewriters used monospaced fonts.

The use of proportionally spaced fonts did not come into common use for office memos until the introduction of laser printers, word processing software, and personal computers. They were not widespread until the mid to late 90's. Before then, you needed typesetting equipment, and that wasn't used for personal memos to file. Even the Wang systems that were dominant in the mid 80's used monospaced fonts.

I am saying these documents are forgeries, run through a copier for 15 generations to make them look old.

This should be pursued aggressively."

47 posted on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 11:59:43 PM by Buckhead


"I think you are mistaken. There is ample research on this point at the thread referenced just above. The Selectric used monospaced fonts, but could vary between 10 and 12 cpi, which was referred to as "pitch." To get proportionally spaced fonts you had to get an IBM Selectric Composer, and it was a very expensive machine for typesetting to get documents camera ready. You had to type each line twice and fiddle with knobs and so forth. One mistake and your were <snip> and had to start over. There is no frigging way the TANG used a Selectric Composer for personal memos to file. Plus, these memos have superscript, which was not available in that form at that time, and the signatures don't match. It goes on and on. "
64 posted on Thursday, September 09, 2004 12:02:49 PM by Buckhead
"Well, thanks, but it's premature. It's not 100% conclusive because the IBM Executive and IBM Selectric Composer would do proportional fonts. The Composer was almost certainly not used in this case - it was for typesetting for camera ready and was a monumental pain in the rear to use. The Executive is possible, but still not very likely, but that doesn't resolve the other circumstances indicating forgery. As this gets sifted through the day we will eventually come to find out the truth. There's thousands of people working on it now. It's pretty cool how its unfolded. "

70 posted on Thursday, September 09, 2004 2:29:20 PM by Buckhead 

"The guy interviewed by ndcjournal.com and the effect of overlaying a brand new MS Word version with the CBS version kind of ice it IMHO.

They are <snip>.

As for my part, this tsunami would, without any doubt whatsoever, have happened w/o me, so it ain't no big thang.

I will have a cold one tonight, though. "

76 posted on Thursday, September 09, 2004 5:10:36 PM by Buckhead

To: Buckhead

Little Green Footballs has picked up on your theory and has taken it further. Take a look.

(note valid link at time of posting) 


133 posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 8:51:03 AM by Barney Gumble (http://purveyors-of-truth.blogspot.com/)
To: Buckhead

"....Well, the story seems to have legs, big time.
Your original post was cited at Powerlinblog.com, and it was there in the context of an early (if not the first) Internet discovery of the possible forgery of Rather's documents. I think I can renew my congratulations for your fast eye and keyboard...
and my thanks as well.

140 posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 10:01:21 AM by TheGeezer

Entry #968


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