September 16, 2004


Oops! Looks like the entire blogosphere was wrong about those memos:

On last night's "CBS Evening News," Rather said "60 Minutes" had done a "content analysis" of the memos and found, for example, that the date that Bush was suspended from flying -- Aug. 1, 1972 -- matched information in the documents.

Stand by for the next cache of killer memos -- in which the exact year (1977! Look it up!) of A.J. Foyt's fourth Indianapolis 500 victory matches information in the documents! Therefore proving that everything is real!

Posted by Tim Blair at September 16, 2004 06:49 AM

That is too lame even to be pathetic. Is there a level below pathetic? Obviously, since D. Rather has found it.

Posted by: Rebecca at September 16, 2004 at 07:23 AM

Bunker Dan is now claiming, "powerful and extremely well-financed forces are concentrating on questions about the documents because they can’t deny the fundamental truth of the story."

Yeah, people couldn't be questioning "the fundamental truth of the story" because it's based on forged documents. It has to be because of mysterious "well-financed forces."

You know, like bloggers.

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at September 16, 2004 at 07:28 AM

This would be damn funny if it weren't so depressing and scary.

Posted by: Bill from INDC Journal at September 16, 2004 at 07:46 AM

I know, I shudder to think of how many times people like Rather have gotten away with this in the past because the people watching their televisions had no way to call bullshit.

Posted by: Sortelli at September 16, 2004 at 07:52 AM

for example, that the date that Bush was suspended from flying -- Aug. 1, 1972 -- matched information in the documents.

Straw, see that hand grasping for you? That's the famous newsman, Dan Rather.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at September 16, 2004 at 07:53 AM

60 minutes should look on the bright side. This weekend their cover story could be on the forged documents scandal. I mean it is a lay down misere for them - they have the sources, the sequence of events, the inside story - the whole shooting match! They can get rid of Rather and restore their credibility at the same time. Not much chance of that I suppose but I cant see any other way out for them.

Posted by: Rob at September 16, 2004 at 07:58 AM

Tonight on the CBS Evening News:

Spelling of Bush's Name in Memos Consistent with Known Facts

Posted by: Jim Treacher at September 16, 2004 at 08:02 AM

There's no way CBS can get rid of Dan Rather. He's the only one on the staff who can connect with the under-80 demographic.

Posted by: Robert Crawford at September 16, 2004 at 08:25 AM

I haven't noticed any troll hijacking on these threads for a while.Dan must be very alone on this.
Has anything like this happened in pyjamaland before? Is this a watershed in the way we appraise information coming from networks?

Posted by: gubbaboy at September 16, 2004 at 08:30 AM

Supposedly there are 27% of Americans out there who believe the documents are real. Given that about 34% of Americans are hardcore Democrats who would vote for a toad if it had a "D" after it, at least we now know how many of them would vote for a severe beating for themselves it it was portrayed as "Severe Beating For You (D)".

Posted by: Brent at September 16, 2004 at 08:41 AM

The entire blogosphere minus 1. I didn't even think there was a story in it to start with - not even enough to blog about.

Posted by: saint at September 16, 2004 at 08:51 AM

I only have a couple of bucks and my PJs have holes in them. Is Delirious Dan talking about me? Powerful and well financed, hey, I feel just like Roger Miller's King of the Road!

Posted by: EddieP at September 16, 2004 at 08:52 AM

This is not about President Bush; this is about being able to trust the media.

As much as I despised President Clinton, had the Monica story been based solely on memos such as the ones presented by CBS, I would have rejected it.

No one should should have to answer libel.

Posted by: goddessoftheclassroom at September 16, 2004 at 10:16 AM

Dear Mr. Blair,

I've been trying to get someone--anyone--to look at this story in the Globe for the past week:

It's by Walter Robinson, and it's dated May 23, 2000. Doesn't it seem from the following quote that Robinson had these fake documents and relied on them for his story? And is it the Globe (and the NYT that owns the Globe) that is perhaps working to protect the DNC (wouldn't that be a surprise?), which would explain why Rather is so smug about the documents' authenticity being verifiable?

Here are some of the disturbing quotes:

"After the election, Bush returned to Houston. But seven months later, in May 1973, his two superior officers at Ellington Air Force Base could not perform his annual evaluation covering the year from May 1, 1972, to April 30, 1973, because, they wrote, 'Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of this report.' Bush, they mistakenly concluded, had been training with the Alabama unit for the previous 12 months. Both men have since died. But Ellington's top personnel officer at the time, retired Colonel Rufus G. Martin, said he had believed that First Lieutenant Bush completed his final year of service in Alabama."

And then there's this:

"Assessing Bush's military service three decades later is no easy task: Some of his superiors are no longer alive. Others declined to comment, or, understandably, cannot recall details about Bush's comings and goings. And as Bush has risen in public life over the last several years, Texas military officials have put many of his records off-limits and heavily redacted many other pages, ostensibly because of privacy rules.

But 160 pages of his records, assembled by the Globe from a variety of sources and supplemented by interviews with former Guard officials, paint a picture of an Air Guardsman who enjoyed favored treatment on several occasions."

And this (which I think contradicts some of Barnes's daughter's statments that Barne's only recently decided to make all this up--looks like he's been planning to make these charges for two or three years at least):

"The ease of Bush's entry into the Air Guard was widely reported last year. At a time when such billets were coveted and his father was a Houston congressman, Bush vaulted to the top of a waiting list of 500. Bush and his father have denied that he received any preferential treatment. But last year, Ben Barnes, who was speaker of the Texas House in 1968, said in a sworn deposition in a civil lawsuit that he called Guard officials seeking a Guard slot for Bush after a friend of Bush's father asked him to do so. "

And where has Lloyd gone throughtout all of this recent upheaval:

"When the Globe first raised questions about this period earlier this month, Bartlett, Bush's spokesman, referred a reporter to Albert Lloyd Jr., a retired colonel who was the Texas Air Guard's personnel director from 1969 to 1995.

Lloyd, who a year ago helped the Bush campaign make sense of the governor's military records, said Bush's aides were concerned about the gap in his records back then."

And wouldn't you like to know more about this:

"In an effort last year to solve the puzzle, Lloyd said he scoured Guard records, where he found two "special orders" commanding Bush to appear for active duty on nine days in May 1973. That is the same month that Lieutenant Colonel William D. Harris Jr. and Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian effectively declared Bush missing from duty.

In Bush's annual efficiency report, dated May 2, 1973, the two supervising pilots did not rate Bush for the prior year, writing, "Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of report. A civilian occupation made it necessary for him to move to Montgomery, Alabama. He cleared this base on 15 May 1972 and has been performing equivalent training in a non-flying status with the 187 Tac Recon Gp, Dannelly ANG Base, Alabama."

And then this:

"But retired colonel Martin, the unit's former administrative officer, said he too thought Bush had been in Alabama for that entire year. Harris and Killian, he said, would have known if Bush returned to duty at Ellington. And Bush, in his autobiography, identifies the late colonel Killian as a friend, making it even more likely that Killian knew where Bush was."

And it occurred to me when I read this that Lloyd was viewing some of the fake documents shown by Rather. Lloyd expresses puzzlement over the statements made by Bush's two superior officers, but the article doesn't say where Lloyd is reading those statements from. Could it be these fake documents in Rather's hands? So where o where did these documents come from? And why is Rather so confident about even in the face of so much evidence against their veracity?

"During his search, Lloyd said, the only other paperwork he discovered was a single torn page bearing Bush's social security number and numbers awarding some points for Guard duty. But the partial page is undated. If it represents the year in question, it leaves unexplained why Bush's two superior officers would have declared him absent for the full year."

I'm not a lawyer, but I do work in my pajamas (I'm a freelance editor), but it seems to me that something is terribly amiss here and the root may be at the Globe.

Posted by: marci at September 16, 2004 at 10:35 AM

Dear Mr. Blair, I'm sorry--I think messed up your blog with my link to the Boston Globe. I don't understand your directions for posting a link.


Posted by: marci at September 16, 2004 at 10:39 AM

Probably as good a recap of Bush's Guard service you're going to get is by Byron York, and can be found

You had to have a minimum of 50 service points a year for satisfactory service. Here's Bush's:

* May 1968 to May 1969 253 points
* May 1969 to May 1970 340 points
* May 1970 to May 1971 137 points
* May 1971 to May 1972 112 points
* May 1972 to May 1973 56 points
* May 1973 to May 1974 56 points

THAT's why he received an Honorable Discharge.

Posted by: CGeib at September 16, 2004 at 11:43 AM

With fact-checking standards like that, Dan Rather would never make it as a blogger. He'd "prove" the claim that Bush was AWOL in 1972 was accurate, by linking to the Wikipedia entry for 1972

Posted by: Jon Henke at September 16, 2004 at 12:04 PM

"The entire blogosphere minus 1. I didn't even think there was a story in it to start with - not even enough to blog about."

Good instincts!

Posted by: Angus Jung at September 16, 2004 at 12:08 PM

8:20 PM Eastern Daylight Time 9/15/2004

Dan Rather finishes humiliating 86 year old woman and self.

This is just too screwed-up.

Posted by: G Hamid at September 16, 2004 at 12:16 PM

This whole mess is assuming. I read a CBS article where someone used the words "fundamentally true" to describe the documents, and of course, the charges. The last time I heard that was when the Washington Post was defending Michael Moore's lying sham. That should tell everyone how "authentic" those "documents" are. Excuse me, I have to use the potty and wipe with a document.

Posted by: JohnFNWayne at September 16, 2004 at 12:27 PM

Guys, I just had a wierd thought: what if this isn't about Bush or Kerry at all? What if this is an attempt by Rupert Murdock to discredit CBS so thoroughly that he can buy it at a discount?

Murdock has the documents made up, slips them through a third party to Rather, and allows events to take their course. It's so simple!

Whoa, the whole room is spinning. I think I need my medication ....


Posted by: Jay at September 16, 2004 at 12:34 PM

Content analysis??

The “content” included a Col. Who had been retired for 18 months putting pressure to suger coat Bush record. The “content” included an “order” in the nonstandard form of a memo for Bush to immediately take a flight physical that was not due for 3 months. Some content analysis.

Posted by: Pajamajihad at September 16, 2004 at 12:37 PM

Actually, it turned out not to be a bad play by CBS. They ressurected a dead, played-out story without presenting a case or evidence.

Posted by: aaron at September 16, 2004 at 12:52 PM

I was once called in on a software project where the requirements document was described as "philisophically correct." We laughed at that guy, but I see now how wrong that was. We should applaud Gunga Dan for having the courage to present obvious forgeries in order to enlighten us as to the "fundamentally correct" truth.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to smoke the rest of this crack.

Posted by: DarthVAda at September 16, 2004 at 01:06 PM

I expect the next excuse CBS will utter is: a terrible mistake: the `documents' are actually part of a script for a new drama series, Twisted Wing, but the office boy placed them in the wrong in-tray.Sorry, folks, Mr. President.

Posted by: d at September 16, 2004 at 01:20 PM

"Air Force Reserve records show Bush was credited with enough points to meet his requirements for that year -- barely."

Thanks for the link aaron.

Maybe another statement the bloodysucking mental pigmies should make is: "All documentation provided to the media that discredits the President of the USA is verified -- barely."

Posted by: Lofty at September 16, 2004 at 01:25 PM

In its latest detailed statement, CBS names a new expert, J. Pierce, to shore up its case. The co-author of my blog, Deus Ex Macrame, has found a juicy morsel on Pierce.

Posted by: Andrew at September 16, 2004 at 02:20 PM

Pajamajihad beat me to my comment, so I'll just comment on the fact that I find the name pajamajihad totally hilarious.

Posted by: Crispytoast at September 16, 2004 at 02:31 PM

Actually, it turned out not to be a bad play by CBS. They ressurected a dead, played-out story without presenting a case or evidence.

Well, not really. Hardly anybody who isn't a partisan tool is saying this casts any negative light at all on Bush's National Guard service. In fact, when this is all said and done most people will instinctively discount any criticism of his service. What CBS did was exhume this story from a shallow grave, plant it six feet under, and erect a giant marker on top that says "RIP CBS".

Kudos, though, for linking "dead" and "played out" to CBS, though.

Posted by: R C Dean at September 16, 2004 at 10:44 PM