September 16, 2004


When things get mysterious, turn to a mystery writer. Here’s Roger L. Simon:

The question at the top of my list right now, given this latest report from ABC that the producers at CBS were not very interested in the warnings of their own experts, is the obvious ... Was CBS working alone?

Nathan Moore might be able to help with that, via his alert Tennessee radio-monitoring friend Bob Krumm:

Veteran Nashville broadcaster, Teddy Bart on his daily radio show, “Teddy Bart’s Roundtable” may have given us a clue about who knew about the documents nearly a month ago. It appears that Bob Tuke, who was a guest on the show on August 11th knew that something was about to happen with regard to President Bush’s alleged failure to show up for a physical examination.

Teddy referenced the episode yesterday (September 9th) when 42:13 seconds into the show he said, “Listeners to the Roundtable will note that something was going to come because Bob Tuke, who is a Nashville attorney and significant in the Kerry campaign in Tennessee, told us about three weeks ago that um there was going to be some document, or implied that there will be a document about Bush’s missing time in the Alabama National Guard, in the National Guard, and that somebody was going to come forward with a document. So it did happen, and uh 60 Minutes had it.”

Nathan, who has an audio link to the Teddy Bart episode in question, writes:

What was obvious to Teddy Bart even a month ago was that Bob Tuke was aware of a pending document that would shed a damaging light on President Bush’s time in the National Guard. But how would Bob Tuke know? Sure, he’s well-known in Tennessee Democrat circles, but he’s not that high up in the Kerry organization. If I were a budding journalist wanting to make a name for myself, I’d sure like to ask Bob Tuke, what did you know and when did you know it?

And then there’s this, from John Ellis:

If you traveled in certain circles on the East Coast this past summer, the one story you heard over and over again was that Ben Barnes had the goods on George W. Bush's National Guard record and that CBS News was going to break the story on "60 Minutes." I must have heard this story four or five times, including once from an investment banker who claimed to have heard it from Barnes himself.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports:

An opposition research staffer for the Democratic National Committee is said to have received the documents from a retired military officer six weeks ago. Senior DNC and Kerry staff members are said to have reviewed them, the latter supposedly passing them on to "60 Minutes."

Should these memos prove to be the forgeries some think they are, John Kerry will have dug his political grave. So, too, the Democratic Party.

The "retired military officer" mention ties neatly with Bill Burkett, whose connection to the memos was overnight firmed up by the New York Times:

One person at CBS, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed a report in Newsweek that Bill Burkett, a retired National Guard officer who has charged that senior aides to then-Gov. Bush had ordered Guard officials to remove damaging information from Mr. Bush's military personnel files, had been a source of the report. This person did not know the exact role he played.

Nothing confirmed at present, but this is all creeping closer and closer to the DNC. Or, if you believe Dan Rather -- and nobody will, ever again, about anything -- it’s the devious work of those amazing Bush geniuses:

According to a CBS News producer operating out of the network's 57th Street facilities, Rather and his supporters now believe the controversy surrounding the four discredited Texas National Guard memos has been engineered by the Bush campaign.

"In the end, it probably doesn't matter," says the CBS News producer. "We're sunk. Our reputations have been impugned, and if we didn't look like we were shilling for Kerry a week ago, we look like we're trying to at least protect a source who gave us these documents who might be supportive of Kerry or at least the Democratic Party."

Posted by Tim Blair at September 16, 2004 02:44 AM

What makes this so funny is that even if the memos were cooked up by the White House to hoodwink CBS (which I don't believe for a second), it still wouldn't even begin to excuse CBS for doing such a lousy, amateurish job of verifying them. That's the real scandal here, and, like I said, no excuse exists.

Posted by: Andrew at September 16, 2004 at 03:33 AM

"and if we didn't look like we were shilling for Kerry a week ago, we look like we're trying to at least protect a source who gave us these documents who might be supportive of Kerry or at least the Democratic Party"

The answer to CBS is: Yes, you do look like shills for the democrats. You don't look protective of a single source, you look like democrat party operatives. That would be because you ARE shills for the dems, who used forged documents in a attempt to steer a national election.

CBS (60 Minutes/Dan Rather) is so cooked.

Posted by: bkayel at September 16, 2004 at 03:50 AM

They already looked like DNC flunkies, this just gave us the proof we needed, from their own hands.

Posted by: Crusader at September 16, 2004 at 03:58 AM

Funny? I just searched the ABC news site (sorry that is the Australian ABC, the national broadcaster, the one we all pay for, the,...whatever) and no mention of this story. Maybe I need more practice operating my computational machine. (Apologies to Monty Burns.)

Posted by: Dean McAskil at September 16, 2004 at 04:14 AM

I agree, Dean. Weird that it didn't rate a mention on Media Watch, either ..

Posted by: tim at September 16, 2004 at 04:22 AM

Dan Rather & the people around him look for conspiracies because they are a conspiracy, the bastards.

If only I’d been paid to be following this story & trying things out on my computer & commenting on it here & at other places. Paid or unpaid, jeez, I don’t even know anybody connected with a Republican political organization. Ten or fifteen years ago I knew the local GOP district leader, a little bit. That’s it. Nice guy. I produced one newsletter for him on the boycott of Nabisco because of their use of Jane Fonda as spokesperson. I added the title “UNFONDA NABISCO,” thinking of a phrase “fonda Honda” from a novel Mulligan Stew. As regards the rest of the earlier or later history of the pun, I sure as heck don’t know.

So, though thus discredited by my past activities, still I rant as follows:

CBS News reporters, journalists, editors & producers, the whole news staff, have been so up to their necks in this that theyshould consider that the things which they do & say now in quiet hallways may be subject to acidic review by the entire nation later. And maybe in Congressional hearings & courts of law, too. Better start showing some remorse now, big, loud, & quick, while the showing can still do them a little good.

What do they think this is, a joke? A really bad week at the office? Don’t they understand that later on they may end up in court testifying about things they say & do even today & tomorrow in those snug places? Enmeshed in the political/information system, they have tried to twist it against the traditional & supposed standards of journalism in order by means of vicious clownish forgeries to manipulate & turn a Presidential election.

They’re in a whole different arena now & this is no time for tunnelvision. They walk through the same familiar offices & talk to the same people yet in fact & reality they’re in a whole different place, a vast American arena over which they tried to exert power without accepting responsibility.

Now they’re no longer emceeing the “games” but instead are down on the sand of the arena & had better wake up & realize it fast. These media-savvy people think they know but they haven’t taken to heart what’s going to be hitting them from all sides. The atmosphere in CBS News’s offices is reportedly “madness” “toxic” but obviously not madness & toxic enough for them there to see sense. Show big, loud, swift remorse NOW.

Posted by: ForNow at September 16, 2004 at 07:03 AM

Okay, maybe it was more than one newletter, two or three, I forget.

Okay, I bought his house & married his daughter (just kidding).

Posted by: ForNow at September 16, 2004 at 07:15 AM

This whole thing has become verrry interesting. If protecting a source that has committed fraud (at best) is responsible journalism, then move over Izvestia! I think they are really covering up their own and/or the DNC/Kerry campaign's role in a "vast left-wing conspiracy"!

Posted by: markm at September 16, 2004 at 07:46 AM

I remember hearing about Moore bragging that there was going to be a big bombshell on the AWOL story before this happened too.

It really frightens me to think that so many people know about these memos and no one said "Um, it looks fake"

Posted by: Sortelli at September 16, 2004 at 08:12 AM

Isn't part of the problem that that interview with Barnes (google his background) was the first shot or (switching metaphors) the defining meme that the Texans for Truth, the new DNC ads, and Kitty Kelly's book were to follow and destroy with withering fire or (2nd metaphor) fulfill and substantiate? Giving up that interview and those documents invalidates or makes a laughing stock out of what must have been a pretty expensive campaign. (And whoever thinks that anyone much cares about the core of that campaign should be fired. Surely freshmen advertising classes should teach that that wasn't likely to fly.)

Posted by: Ginny at September 16, 2004 at 08:17 AM

No Law?

Children or Adults?

So do we keep attacking the law breakers or go after the laws that set this game up?

Are we smart or stupid? So far stupidity is winning on all sides.

Posted by: M. Simon at September 16, 2004 at 08:25 AM

Equally fun is that, even if Rather Inc. convinces the voters that Bush was behind it all, what are those same voters then gonna think?

"Kerry, what a dupe! No way I'm letting him protect me from terrorists."

Heads we win; tails you lose, Dan. Please don't stop.

Posted by: ras at September 16, 2004 at 08:26 AM

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit is lamenting that he was scooped on this "who knew what when" thread by an Australian (you).

Just proves that you are up, out of bed, and in your "work pajamas" while he's still snoring away in his : )

By the way, this will make an awesomely riveting "All The President's Men"-type film someday if Hollywood has the self-introspection to make it....nah.

Posted by: JDB at September 16, 2004 at 08:27 AM

Ginny, good point. Moore, Barnes, CBS, MoveOn, Kitty Kelley... sure sounds orchestrated to me. Maybe what the congressional investigation we need isn't just to look at CBS, but at a widespread conspiracy to violate McCain / Feingold?

Posted by: corrie at September 16, 2004 at 08:28 AM

Yeah, it's pretty obvious that the CBS story was intended to roll out a series of stories from the DNC and elsewehere that would impunge Bush personally. By relying on forged documents they've cleverly blown up the entire campaign, and now they're standing around in no man's land getting machinegunned.

Posted by: Ernst Blofeld at September 16, 2004 at 08:29 AM

I don't see a whole lot of difference between Dan Rather and Michael Moore.

Posted by: john yuma at September 16, 2004 at 08:38 AM

The funniest thing about all of this is that the underlying story about Bush and the National Guard just doesn't matter!!! In an effort to give a dead story new legs, Dan Rather just blew up his own news organization!

If there's any proof in the tea leaves that this is connected to the Kerry campaign, it is this: When the Swift Boat Veterans came out with their attacks on Kerry, his response could have been along the lines of "I got shot at enough in Vietnam. Would you that I had gotten shot at more?" and then let the Kerry(TM) Vietnam mythology alone. Instead, the Kerry(TM) myth was much more important to Kerry than his own campaign, and he fought the Swift Boat Vets, and invited down upon himself even more scrutiny and more attacks by the vets. The Bush-TANG issue is the flip side of that same coin: it is the John Kerry strategy to invite comparisons between the Kerry(TM) Vietnam myth and Bush's contemporaneous TANG service. ("Our guy served in Vietnam and your guy didn't." WHO CARES ALREADY!?!?!?) And just like the Kerry(TM) mytholgy, they can't let the Bush-TANG issue go.

So why would Dan Rather push forged documents about Bush's TANG service into the limelight in a lame attempt to give an old dead story new legs? Because THAT particular story IS the Kerry campaign strategy, and THAT makes it look to me like Dan Rather had his marching orders.

I am more and more confident every day that this campaign will go down in history as the WORST presidential campaign in history. Not only was the Bush TANG story a dead one FOUR YEARS AGO, but the complimentary Kerry(TM) Vietnam myth was shown to be a loser six weeks ago when the Swift Boat Veterans began their attacks. And with Dan Rather still claiming that it is the substance of the Bush TANG story that matters, I mean where else does he get that from?

Is there even polling data somewhere that shows that people care about the Bush-TANG issue? AAAAARAARRRARRGHHH!

Posted by: pdq332 at September 16, 2004 at 08:40 AM

Get over it, Ernst. There isn’t going to be a blowup, nobody is going to resign, and Dan Rather will be there with the “taken a crap during hemmorhoids flareup” face for another year.

The fact is, if the left repeats a truly blatant lie often enough, over and over again, it becomes for all practical purposes, the truth. Witness the odious NY Observer story from Hagan on this. In spite of the fact that the only “expert witness” willing to help Rather out is a typewriter repairman, Hagan states “the experts are evenly divided.”

Well, I guess that’s true insofar as it goes.

If the entire world says that gravity is what makes rocks drop from your hand when you let them go, and a wildly deranged mental patient says that it is an invisible bungee cord, opinion is evenly divided, inasmuch as there are two opinions on the matter, and one of two is an even portion.

There you go – the left at work. Get used to it. We aren’t going to win on this.

Posted by: Al Maviva at September 16, 2004 at 08:44 AM

I'll believe the Pittsburgh Tribune-Gazette has insider access to the Kerry campaign when I start believing that The Nation and Mother Jones have moles in the White House.

So, we have the implication of the DNC by some guy talking about a rumor that was circulating.

Posted by: Geek, Esq. at September 16, 2004 at 08:44 AM

Note to the DNC: When you're in a hole, stop digging.

Posted by: Mark Poling at September 16, 2004 at 08:59 AM

Someone needs to get Robert Hegyes to be the poster boy for this fiasco...
See BS Knews used as source material the equivalent of a note from Epstein's Mother.

Posted by: The Monster at September 16, 2004 at 09:02 AM

So let's summise the CBS position:

The documents are real and if they are not then the Republicans planted them.

You gotta love it.

Posted by: murph at September 16, 2004 at 09:02 AM

PDQ, there is polling data. When Rasmussen asked about memogate, he asked about whether National Guard was a big issue:

13% of unafilliated voters considered it very important.


Posted by: Rich at September 16, 2004 at 09:15 AM

You can fool some of the people all of the time(CBS viewers), and all of the people some of the time, but you can't trust a blogger. - Dan Rather

Posted by: Geo at September 16, 2004 at 09:19 AM

Al Mavivia has this right - it's been a lot of fun, but bringing down CBS, Rather, or Kerry with it? C'mon - not gonna happen. Leftist Rule #1: Never apologize or admit wrongdoing. Keep spouting the party line even when your pants are around your ankles.

Posted by: Jim at September 16, 2004 at 09:24 AM

The DNC and the Kerry campaign must be involved. 60 Minutes II was on Wednesday night. The very next morning several Kerry surrogates come out to criticise Bush on skipping his physical. Then within a week, the Kerry campaign releases a 2.5 minute "Operation Fortunate Son" video. It is too well co-ordinated to be a coincidence.

Posted by: Igor at September 16, 2004 at 09:58 AM

It looks like the new motto for CBS is "Deny, deny, until you die!" I can barely express my glee at the exposure of CBS as a Democratic propaganda organ and Rather's as a determined, but bad, liar. It's like watching a suicide skyjacker take over the Kerry campaign jet.

I'm hard pressed to see how this can become more enjoyable. Maybe if they can find Kerry's fingerprints on the original, that would make it even better for me. Or find the original draft in Michael Moore's handwriting.

Meanwhile, I'm going to sit back and watch Dan Rather sizzle on the spit because there's nothing I love better than a good barbecue.


Posted by: Tantor at September 16, 2004 at 10:05 AM

Corrie almost got it.

It is MCain/Feingold that is the problem. Of course they were trying to get around McCain Feingold. You were planning on regulating "Free Speech" how? Tell me. I need a good laugh.

No Law?

Where are the adults?

Posted by: M. Simon at September 16, 2004 at 10:33 AM


13% of unafilliated voters considered it very important.

Oh my god! It is empirical evidence that the 2004 Kerry campaign is the WORST campaign in history. It is a single issue campaign, and the issue is "Kerry (TM) Vietnam Superhero versus Bush Texas Prodigal Son." As if either angle will magically turn a windsurfing, skeet shooting, expert skier who doesn't fall down into a MAN OF THE PEOPLE.

Posted by: pdq332 at September 16, 2004 at 10:48 AM

Kerry involved? Obvious by 9/11/04.

Now we know why">And a wrap up of my estimates of the situation to date. Which has been all along. DNC/Kerry&Rather.

The cause is:

Posted by: M. Simon at September 16, 2004 at 10:56 AM

It is the ridiculous nature of the infamous "Vast Right Wing conspiracy", that makes it so hillarious. That Evil Genius that Can't tie his own shoes.

I have a theory that the Real Evil Genius is the one that followed Dan Rather around NY, Calling him Kenneth, asking him what the frequency is, beating his brains in (Mike Wallace was eating meat loaf across town), and now we know why. The frequency was the means by which this evil genius would activate his minions, the pod people of the blogosphere. They are all after you now, Kenneth. Jump the Shark and mount the white Bronco.

The Evil Genius traveled back in time to force O.J. to wear Bruno Magli shoes in that Buffalo Bills Promotional Photo. The Right wing Evil Genius is the one that Hired Monica Lewinsky knowing that no president could withstand her charms and allure.

If the Right wing evil genius cranked up MS Word and created this document a while back, then like every con man, He played off the inherent greed, selfishness, hate (take your pick) of the Mark. OK, Maybe CBS is the Mark in a giant Con or as some reports are saying that the DNC and Kerry are saying they were duped as well. Then as a Mark, they still have to take responsibility for their part. If the DNC, CBS, or the Kerry Campaign, are so gullible and so unprincipled to pass along such a lame farce, then, WHY in God's name do they expect us to put them in a position of authority?

We saw how the North Koreans duped Madeline Albright into giving them the material to build better Nukes and she is lecturing Bush on Kerry's behalf. Why in god's name would anybody but an Evil Genius let Madame Secretary or John "Forging" Kerry get close to the UN or any other negotiating table on earth.

If this guy is my designated hitter, I'm leaving the stadium before a chair cracks my nose open.

Posted by: T.J. at September 16, 2004 at 10:58 AM

Didn't Josh Marshall also promise a "blockbuster" story regarding the whole AWOL thing a few months ago also?

Posted by: bennett at September 16, 2004 at 11:07 AM

Isn’t Ben Barnes writing a book and who would the publisher be. Is this another of those book deals that slam Bush and get the backing of CBS ?

Posted by: Michael Tackitt at September 16, 2004 at 11:34 AM

"I don't see a whole lot of difference between Dan Rather and Michael Moore."

Well, on the outside, Michael weighs about 300 pounds more than Dan, and Dan lacks a beard.

On the inside, they are equally empty of reason, compassion, and a sense of duty to others. Not to mention any emotion remotely incompatible with narcissim.

On the whole.....I agree, there's not a lot of difference.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at September 16, 2004 at 11:50 AM

I reckon ol' Danny and Mikey are composed of the same stuff. Mah, not carbon atoms. Fecal matter.

Posted by: Bubba at September 16, 2004 at 12:23 PM

I have doubts that Burkett is the source. He was a LT Col in TANG, with over 20 years of service. There are several problems with the documents (yes I know that is an understatement) with regards to formating, military terminology, and abbreviations. And they appear to be such obvious errors that anyone who had worked for TANG for as long as Burkett did, would not have made such stupid mistakes.

Posted by: Ben at September 16, 2004 at 06:37 PM

Do you think it is too late for CBS to file for 527 status?

I heard that last night on O'Reilly, and thought I would pass it on.

Posted by: Rob at September 17, 2004 at 05:19 AM