Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 19, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

MORE WINGNUT FODDER....Dan Rather has filed a $70 million lawsuit against CBS over their treatment of him following his infamous 60 Minutes segment about George Bush and the National Guard:

The portrait of Mr. Rather that emerges from the 32-page filing bears little resemblance to the hard-charging, seemingly fearless anchor who for two decades shared the stage with Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings as the most watched and recognizable journalists in America.

By his own rendering, Mr. Rather was little more than a narrator of the disputed broadcast, which was shown on Sept. 8, 2004, on the midweek edition of "60 Minutes" and which purported to offer new evidence of preferential treatment given to Mr. Bush when he was a lieutenant in the Air National Guard.

....Under pressure, Mr. Rather says, he delivered a public apology on his newscast on Sept. 20, 2004 — written not by him but by a CBS corporate publicist — "despite his own personal feelings that no public apology from him was warranted."

Rather is getting some very, very bad advice here. What he should be hoping for is that this entire incident sinks slowly and quietly out of sight. Instead, he's decided to reignite public interest in it by filing a lawsuit arguing that he was just reading from a script and never did anything wrong. This is not going to do wonders for his reputation.

Kevin Drum 5:31 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (173)

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Not going to do wonders for his reputation? He's not asking for any help for his reputation--he's asking for $70,000,000!

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on September 19, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

I remember when I was humiliated and then got $70 million to make it all better. Sometimes I still cry, though, late at night when no one can hear me, drying my tears on $100 bills.

Posted by: Triskele on September 19, 2007 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

On the contrary it is good that the attention is being drawn to the true story badly told on the CBS.

Posted by: gregor on September 19, 2007 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK
Rather is getting some very, very bad advice here. What he should be hoping for is that this entire incident sinks slowly and quietly out of sight.

Uh, no, that's not going to happen in his lifetime, and no amount of wishing it would will make it happen. If the truth is on his side, its not coming out without compulsory process. If he was wronged (regardless of the image issues), that's not getting addressed without legal process.

The best he can hope for is a large damage award or settlement, or perhaps the forcing of facts that have previously not been known out into the open, not that magically the whole issue will be forgotten (in time for it to matter to him, at any rate) if he just stays quiet. He's clearly getting a lot better advice from someone that what you offer for free.

This is not going to do wonders for his reputation.

Neither, contrary to your implication, would just letting it lie, which would do exactly nothing for his reputation.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 19, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

[Handle Hijack Deleted]

Posted by: Al on September 19, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

While I sympathize with gregor's intent - the nickname awol long predates the whole Rather flap and the evidence looks pretty incontrovertable - I find his naievete touching. There is no way in heck this will lead to stories in the major media that point out that Rather was caught using fake evidence to buttress an already proven story.

Posted by: Warren Terra on September 19, 2007 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

"A Vietnam-era veteran".

Right.

Like Dan Quayle, except a lot less honorable - I never heard that Quayle went awol, and I don't think that Quayle was expensively trained to fly jets.

Posted by: Warren Terra on September 19, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

On the contrary it is good that the attention is being drawn to the true story badly told on the CBS.

Somehow I don't think it's going to be reported that way.

Posted by: shortstop on September 19, 2007 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

[Handle Hijack Deleted]

Posted by: Al on September 19, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

What is most interesting about the Rather Affair is that RATHER is the story.

Hardly anyone anymore disputes the accuracy of the subject matter asserted in his 9-8-2004 broadcast. It's well settled that Mr. Bush simply drifted away from the Alabama National Guard without fulfilling his commitment, after pulling strings to get himself transferred there from the Texas Air National Guard.

But somehow, the story here is NOT that Chickenhawk Bush couldn't be troubled to complete his own safe-as-daycare, home-by-dinner military commitment at a time when he was gung-ho for more and more Americans to be sent to the meatgrinder of Viet Nam.

INSTEAD, the enduring story is about Rather, and the alleged forgeries (of documents telling us things we know from other undisputed sources).

Gotta like that Rovian noise/message machine. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, folks! Nothing to see, here. Instead, let's all watch as you and him fight!!!

Posted by: shystr on September 19, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

I think what was worse than the original report was his indignant follow-up that he did a night or two later to respond to some of the allegations surrounding the documents. He went back to his document expert, who once again verified only the signatures, ignoring THE ENTIRE CASE AGAINST THE DOCUMENT.

At that point, narrator or not, Rather had decided to publicly and stupidly stand by the story, and from there he was pretty much screwed.

And to think, JMM's Niger document story got bumped for this.

Posted by: Royko on September 19, 2007 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Must agree with cmdicely - I have seen the trolls bring up Rather at this site, far more than the aforementioned walking off from drug testing on his last flight physical.

And don't let the Seventy Mill figure throw you - Most actions filed, say in Superior Court of LA County only ask for money awards in excess of the statutory requirements necessary to file in that system. Amounts will be determined later. Whenever, one sees specific amounts stated, it is usually for the eyes of the press to build the hoopla and bring it to the attention of the public. Seventy Mill grabs headlines - Small settlements may bee seen by few.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 19, 2007 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin your dead wrong on this.

Rather was treated badly and the more you look into the Bush story the more skeletons you find. In this climate a reopening of anything in Jr's past will be a disaster for the administration, and their water carriers at CBS.

Posted by: patience on September 19, 2007 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

I've always thought the interesting angle to the TANG story was why it took until 2004 to run it. By then, it probably wouldn't have made any difference even if the documents hadn't been forged.

Americans don't vote to reelect Presidents or not based on what they did before getting to the White House in the first place. In 1972 no one cared whether Nixon was right about Alger Hiss; in 1984 no one cared whether "Bedtime for Bonzo" was any good. In 2000, the TANG story would have been political dynamite. By 2004 it was just a media controversy, as it still is today.

Posted by: Zathras on September 19, 2007 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Dan Rather used forged documents to smear the service record of a Vietnam-era veteran. I agree it's rather shocking that he wants to draw attention to such behavior.

Not forgeries, but apparently re-creations of actual documents. I hope the legal case digs further into where these "forgeries" came from and why they track so closely with eyewitness accounts.

Posted by: Thumb on September 19, 2007 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Oh Come-on Al, "Cuban MIGS were a serious threat". Booga Booga Fear Fear. If Fidel at done antying aggressive to the US he would have been hit so Cuba would be a parking lot with beaches - it's called deterence - its worked for 55 years until numbnuts W hat the bright idea of Preemptive War.

Posted by: RobertSeattle on September 19, 2007 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

[Handle Hijack Deleted]

Posted by: Al on September 19, 2007 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Al, droning as usual:
"Dan Rather used forged documents to smear the service record of a Vietnam-era veteran."

Ha-ha-ha. Vietnam-era veteran. What a fatuous bootlicker you are. But smearing real war heroes, like Kerry or Clelland, is a-OK. Do much to defend the coast lately?

Anyway, let's scrape the dogshit off our shoes and get back to the issue at hand, Quaker had it right up top. CBS made Dan take the fall, and now he'd Rather get some compensation. Ain't that America, baby?

Posted by: Kenji on September 19, 2007 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Seems more likely that jets from McDill and Homesead would get to Cuba a hair faster than jets from Texas. Bush got a cushy shelter during the war, and couldn't even live up to that responsibility.

Posted by: dr2chase on September 19, 2007 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Check the kerning on those lawsuit papers!

Posted by: Bush Lover on September 19, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Just love http://en.wikipedia.org/Al_genius_authenticity_issues written by Al.

Wiki works soooo well with many grains of salt.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 19, 2007 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Dan Rather used forged documents to smear the service record of a Vietnam-era veteran. I agree it's rather shocking that he wants to draw attention to such behavior.

That has the whiff of the hawk to it. he was always partial to fellating the aWol mother fucker as a veteran, thereby tainting the label for all who served honorably. Having no stake in the term, he saw no reason to respect it. Fucking chickenhawk chickenshit.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 19, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

[Handle Hijack Deleted]

Posted by: Al on September 19, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Can hardly wait for the third in the trilogy by Robert Coram - John Boyd, Bud Dale and, now Shrub the afterhoursburner of JetDom. American Patriot II.

Kept the rattlers down with his low passes over Pecos. And the matrons amused in Birmingham with his slurry passes.

Posted by: stupid git on September 19, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

That is not Al! Al does not engage the thread. And don't you DARE deign to tell me that service means nothing to me, you feckless jackal.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 19, 2007 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I suspect Rather knows exactly what he's doing.

Cuz the money is big, CBS will defend itself by trying to defend the way they fact checked the story, cuz that's the only way to defend against Rather's claim he was the scapegoat for somebody else's errors.

Rather will happily pick holes in how they fact checked the story, the whole faking of real documents shtick. That will reveal one of two things: either there WERE real documents (so Rather was right to defend the story as reported, CBS was wrong to dump him), or we will learn where the fakes came from (more precisely, whose idea it was to produce fake versions of real documents).

Remember, the REAL forgeries here were done by folks trying to debunk the documents. The actual documents CBS was using, IIRC, were never exactly disproven: the thing ran away with itself.

CBS will argue that it doesn't matter -- Rather was responsible for the story, so it was legit to dump him cuz it blew up in their face. But that won't save 'em if it turns out that there WERE real documents (which have been lost, or which couldn't be produced on time, or weren't TV enough), or if Rather wanted a better checked but less TV story, perhaps taking more time, that some suit nixed for the ones they aired.

So that's gonna leave CBS in a bind. They've already dumped Rather; now they have to defend dumping him WITHOUT somehow doing a TNR-quality defense of their own integrity. "He was a great anchor so we fired him..." isn't much of a defense.

It looks to me like it sets Rather up to be the last of the old-fashioned 'tell the story with the facts you got' reporters -- on the stand, in fact. It is RATHER (not CBS) who stands to benefit from pointing out that they had Bush cold -- he pulled strings to get in the Guard, it cost a LOT of money to train him, then he walked away from his obligation.

If CBS concedes all that, they are a long step closer to handing Rather $70 million -- but I don't think he really wants the money. He wants the trial.

So they are gonna have to find a place where they can say, yeah, it was ALMOST a great story... but we needed ONE MORE THING, and then, like magic, fake versions of real documents appeared and RATHER insisted on using 'em.

He's gonna dispute that, and I doubt they can prove Rather produced the fakes, or insisted on 'em.

And -- what if, during the months of discovery, somebody DOES find documentary evidence that backs up the original story? Hell, what if Rather has finally found himself some good old boy from his Texas days somewheres who can take the stand and give eyewitness testimony?

I dunno as Rather comes off well in this, exactly, (but I can see why he thinks he would), and I can't see how CBS wins in the court of public opinion -- but it damn sure looks like a miserable coda for Bush.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 19, 2007 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

And, oh yeah: anybody wanna offer me odds that Rather subpoenas BUSH?

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 19, 2007 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

In the days of our Civil War, one could pay to have someone else serve in his place.

How wonderful it must be in modern times for a father not only to be able to buy, either through cash or influence, one's son into a safe group and then to buy his discharge, to boot.

If only the Marx Brothers could have done a routine in Texas, "Get your red hots, your hotsy totsies, your honorables".

Yes, Al, service can mean soooo much to those with political clout and cash.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 19, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

I remember all those Cuban MIG attacks during the Vietnam era. The entire Southern coast was mobilized by the Civil Defnse authorities.

Oh, wait, it wasn't either.

Posted by: Daddy Love on September 19, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

If Al (or anyone else) wants to read the true story of that infamous broadcast, I would highly recommend Truth and Duty by Mary Mapes, who was the producer on that broadcast. Quite an eye-opener. And, as has been pointed out above, the essential facts of the broadcast have never been challenged. (i.e., political connections got Bush in the Texas Air Guard; he didn't complete his service; he skipped his required physical exams for no apparent reason).

When you recall that Kerry was being Swift-Boated to political death at the time, these undisputed FACTS were very important to balance the Kerry's smearing by Republican operatives. And yet the RNC, FoxNews and talk radio were able to make the story one about the hated Rather using false documents (although it was never proved that they were not authentic). Even if they were fake, there was no way for Rather to have known, and they didn't affect the central story of the broadcast in any event.

Yet the wing-nut smear-artists scored another victory. A really sad affair all around. I hope Rather clears his name, but I suspect he'll just get dragged deeper into the mud.

Posted by: Truth Supporter on September 19, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Al, you halfwit. I served in wartime. And I passed all my drug screenings and medical exams. Goober didn't take a medical because "his family physician wasn't available"? Bull! The military doesn't allow "family physicians" to do flight medicals. Or drug tests.
To be honest it doesn't even matter whether the twit was on drugs or not - he didn't even finish out his required service obligation. Failure to report for required training, consistently, is a sure fire way to get court-martialed. The present incumbent of the White House managed, by family connections I would presume, to escape any consequences for his failure to complete his training.
And when you call him a "Vietnam-era veteran", why don't you just spit on every one who actually served?

Posted by: Doug Stamate on September 19, 2007 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

It's probably a Freudian slip that Michelle Malkin filed her little reflexive smear piece on the Rather lawsuit under "Swift Boat Veterans."

If we can just ignite a dialogue over the fictional "facts" narrative that's creating two separate but unequal realities in political discourse, that's reason enough for the lawsuit. As regards all the crocodile tears over Dan Rather's reputation, etc. I was under the impression that the blogosmear had pretty well moved it into the "non-existant" category already.

Of course, I have very little doubt that there will be a settlement and a gag order, and we'll never really find out the truth.

Then again, truth was the first casualty in all of this, wasn't it?

Posted by: Hart Williams on September 19, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Doug Stamate on September 19, 2007 at 6:46 PM |

Amen, and a crisp salute to you! I go absolutely ballistic when that soulless fuck is called a veteran. (Obviously.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 19, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Anne Flaherty has written not one but two articles today for the AP about the filibuster of habeas corpus restoration and the filibuster of the Webb amendment.

Neither article uses the word filibuster. Not once.

The headline for the Webb amendment filibuster: "Senate Blocks Bill on Combat Tours." The lede again asserts that the "Senate blocked legislation" resulting in a "blow for Democrats."

Is it that hard to put the two words "Republican" and "filibuster" together? My god. Who is this Anne Flaherty?

Posted by: ppp on September 19, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

This incident WILL NEVER sink slowly and quietly away. I don't blame Dan Rather one bit.

Rather did spend two decades in the public news serives and yes, CBS dump him without regard to to any of that service.

I don't see why we can't revisit Bush's ugly history - everyone KNOWS this war is about oil and everyone knows that Bush served in the national guard to get out sevices in Vietnam, and rhat Bush got away with many things including going AWOL.

What Kevin Drum insist upon is exactly the same as when Joseph McCarthy tainted a lot of people - I suppose they should just shut up and let the incident sink slowly and quietly away. Never mind if the attack were grossly unfair.

CBS gave Rather nothing for his many years of service and YET Bush has never had to answer any question about his National Guard years.

Trashing Rather was NEVER the answer to many remaining question that have no answers about what Bush did in his National Guard years.

I'm sick and tired of the network news running away in fear of the Bush administation - they certainly never ran from Clinton or any other administration - but Bush and Cheney, the media courted them and allowed them to lied, lie us into this war, lie to US citzens about everything.

Bush didn't pay any attention to his August 6th briefing - and Frankly, I would like to know WHY. It nothing short of a matter of criminal negligence.

Bush tried to get Richard Clarke to lie about who was behind 9/11 - wanted Clarke to blame it on Saddam? Why didn't the media go after this story?

I mean, my gosh - Bush wanted Clarke to LIE about what happened on 9/11 - and than do what - leave Osama alone afterwords. This is a horrorable FACT in issue. The US media could not have cared less.

Bush and Cheney have outright, in full public view, LIED to Americans - so I want the media to do it damn job.

Posted by: Me_again on September 19, 2007 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

nice meme guys (the "fake documents but true stories" one).

too bad it's not true.

read the Thornburgh Report. Killian's secretary did not confirm the content of the memos. they weren't reconstructions. they never existed.

Burkett just created them. simple as that.

read the Report. the secretary confirmation was apparently another CBS lie.

Posted by: Nathan on September 19, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree, Kevin. How harsh of you. The FACTS of the story were never declared false or even challenged. His firing was the result of the right wing noise machine.
Dan Rather was swiftboated, and now you are contributing to it.

Note this site for purposes of increased insight--a well documented pdf.
http://www.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/opinion/lechliter.pdf


Posted by: consider wisely on September 19, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

If Dan Rather wants to further belittle his reputation in order to again bring attention to the rest of the nation its president was absent without leave from the Air Force during another time of foreign occupation, that is more than most Americans are doing to combat the lies and unlawfulness of this disgusting president.

Posted by: Brojo on September 19, 2007 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

I think anything Rather does that helps further illuminate Bush's departure from the service is a good thing. CBS' selling out completely to the GOP is a story of interest to me, and I could give a flying &*(! what the right wing pundits do. There was a lot more to the story--and frankly all CBS did was "we report, you decide." It is not like the documents were made at CBS. Indeed, the fact that Rove probably had the documents concocted to inoculate Bush is a compelling story. In any event, who believes these teleprompter readers were leading edge journalists anyway? CBS caved, Bush benefited, and we have an endless war. Sometimes Kevin, you have to fight back.

Posted by: Sparko on September 19, 2007 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Wonder if he has some new evidence to back up the story? If he did, wouldn't that be choice?

Posted by: POed Lib on September 19, 2007 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

And Nathan says: "read the Thornburgh Report. Killian's secretary did not confirm the content of the memos. they weren't reconstructions. they never existed." You mean the guy who served as Bush I's AG? Dan Rather is using that report as evidence for his case against CBS. It may be worth $70M, but as as "debunking?" Not so much.

Posted by: Sparko on September 19, 2007 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt Dan Rather needs the money. I think its about clearing his name and being vindicated by history. He clearly believes the National Guard story was correct and that he was made a scapegoat by CBS. He's not waiting for some stuffy historian 50 years from now to find the smoking gun that proves he was correct. He's wants to do it very much now while he's alive. Its a gutsy move on his part. Crazy to take on a sitting President - but gutsy.

Posted by: aline on September 19, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

No wonder I never remember to even look at this blog.

If Imus could sue and get all kinds of money from Viacom, why shouldn't Rather, who actually accomplished something in his life.

You, Kevin Drum, are just like the weakling spineless Congress.

Posted by: bamjaya on September 19, 2007 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

As usual, kevin, you're missing the point on anything related to TANG.
The minutiae are NOT the story. The story is that an obviously true narrative of Bush's life was buried through some subterfuge. Also, Dan Rather's career was unfairly cut short. Rather will clean their socks off, is my guess.

You know, if Rather wins $70 million, it's a safe bet that he will win back his reputation too.
Kerry should have sued the Swiftboaters after the 2004 election, btw.

Posted by: MarkL on September 19, 2007 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

What he should be hoping for is that this entire incident sinks slowly and quietly out of sight.
This time you have it totally wrong. CMdicely has it correct.

In addition, Dan is in his 70's. His career is over and his money is in the bank. But he is going to go after "AWOL" Bush once more, just a little bit, and he is really going to get his revenge on CBS.

This brings up Bush's earlier incompetence in Air National Guard at exactly the time he is already at his lowest ever. What's the old saying? He's drowning. Throw him an anchor. Sure it's just another piece of bad news for a man whose legacy already is known -- Worst.President.Ever -- and Bush himself is now known to be trying to do something about his legacy by manipulating those who write his biographies before anyone else can get at him. Dan is going to get at him, and Bush is going to feel this, no matter how much the Freepers defend him. Even that, having no one but Freepers to defend him, exposes the hollow President yet again. This hits Bush when he is lowest, and also shows how correct Dan's story was when he aired it.

But more important, after the disaster that CBS has inflicted on its news bureau plus hiring Ms. Sweet-Cheeks to play at being an anchor, this will focus attention on how utterly bad CBS has become. If I were them I'd pay the $70 million quickly on condition that the agreement be sealed and no one ever heard about it again. Their alternative is to simply get out of the news business entirely, which might not be a bad move. CBS is trash, run by trash, and staffed by idiots like Couric. How much more exposure do they really need?

This is a good move for Dan.

Posted by: Rick B on September 19, 2007 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

If Hostage Tape Boy hadn't broadcast a report that he knew to be fraudulent he could still be embarrassing himself nightly on the news.]

Posted by: Brian on September 19, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

I am glad Rather is suing, because I have always wanted to know the truth behind that whole fiasco. Were the documents forged? If so, who forged them? Were there real documents? If so, what happened to them and how were the forgeries introduced? I hope all of this comes out.

Posted by: Emma Anne on September 19, 2007 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Since when did you start deleting "Fake Al's?" That's a new one.

This lawsuit will be spectacular. For Dan to win, he has to prove CBS is a skunk. For CBS to win, they have to prove Dan is a boob. Good times will be had by all.

Meanwhile, the media, which the Left keeps trying to convince us is in Bush's pocket, will remind us exactly how little it needs in the way of evidence as long as Democratic talking points are served.

Posted by: harry on September 19, 2007 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

People are not good historians--and the swiftboating of Dan Rather
was not all that long ago. I am disappointed and feel deflated.
Not so good.

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 19, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Apparent definition of "swiftboating:" Making inconvenient truths widely known.

Posted by: harry on September 19, 2007 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

The bottom line is that CBS should be broken, bankrupt, and closed down!

Posted by: Captain Dan on September 19, 2007 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

How about this?
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-09-09bushdocs.pdf

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 19, 2007 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

It was an already proven story... with no proof. Damn you, Rove!!!

Posted by: Jim Treacher on September 19, 2007 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

Just to join the choir I've gotta say, Kevin you are as off-base on Dan Rather's legal action as young George W. Bush was off-base when he abandoned the Air National Guard.

Posted by: Curt M on September 19, 2007 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

How about this?

What's your point on that?

Posted by: harry on September 19, 2007 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

clean their socks off?

A question for the baby lawyers (your cue, Dice): Can Rather subpoena Bush for this?

The questions of fact will be what CBS knew, and when they knew it. The questions of law will be (presumably) whether CBS broke its contract and damaged Rather.

If Rather subpoenas Bush on the first issue, the question won't be so much what CBS knew, but whether what RATHER knew, was true. That is, if Rather says 'the story I wanted to run was accurate and sourced', and CBS rebuts by saying it wasn't accurate ENOUGH, or sourced ENOUGH -- can Rather subpoena Bush?

And if he can -- can Bush refuse? On what grounds?

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 19, 2007 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

My point is to copy the link and read.


Posted by: consider wisely always on September 19, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Try this one.
Sorry for being terse.
http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/gwbush/bushang.html

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 19, 2007 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

More Wingnut Fodder

Wht would this story be fodder for fans of West Wing?

Posted by: majarosh on September 19, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin writes:

"Rather is getting some very, very bad advice here. What he should be hoping for is that this entire incident sinks slowly and quietly out of sight."


I respectfully disagree. He was sandbagged by the right and then dumped by the network, which should have supported him. There are questions that have yet to be answered, such as who did the forgeries, how did they get to CBS, and why were the wingnut bloggers all over the case before the program was even broadcast?

If what Rather alleges is true, I'm surprised that it took him this long to sue. And if what he alleges is true, he has nothing to apologize for.

Posted by: Slideguy on September 19, 2007 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

So CBS has to prove that this story was false and Dan Rather knew it? Or can they just stipulate the essential truth of the story and argue about the exact piece of paper in doubt?

Posted by: Neal on September 19, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

There seems to be a near-consensus here that this is not about his reputation, but about sticking it to a well-deserving CBS. Odd that KD sees it otherwise.

Furthermore, his reputation is trashed for all time as it currently stands. It seems quite reasonable to think this will only help it, especially if you really do believe he was a scapegoat.

Posted by: JD on September 19, 2007 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, fond memories! When the entire lefist blogosphere was running around in hysterics, googling up on typography and desperately trying to convince themselves and everyone else that THE DOCUMENTS ARE REAL!!!!!

'twas a tremendous performance from the reality-based community, it really was.

Posted by: am on September 19, 2007 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

It's a sign of the strange times we lived in just a few years ago that Rather was the only one to pay a price for the TANG story and its aftermath.

I think it'll be good to take another look at what happened. I've never been the biggest Dan Rather fan, but good for him.

Posted by: JJF on September 19, 2007 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

if you read the actual lawsuit... (always a good idea to try and find the documents in question, Kevin)

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/blogs/tvdecoder/posts/pdf/0919_rather_suit.pdf

you'll see that Rather has a pretty damned good case here.

*************
does this mean I get another 15 seconds of fame? ;)

Posted by: p.lukasiak on September 19, 2007 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, Kevin!

Is the Orange County air finally getting to you?

How the [obscenity] can you in good conscience suggest it preferable that we all forget there are some mighty odd inconsistencies in the president's "military service" (ah, hem) record? The same president who committed nothing less than a quasi-constitutional coup d'etat by manipulation of the Florida returns?

It is vital to remember the president and his party's multiple shenanigans, miscarriages of justice, high crimes, misdemeanors, and rotten lies that have, in effect, murdered a half million or more Iraqi's, some 2,800 U.S. military personnel, and quite literally, God alone knows how many more lives destroyed? Apparently -- demagoguery aside -- with no higher aim than vastly enriching a couple dozen equally corrupt cronies in the "defense industries," that convenient euphemism for merchants of death.

Why is it vital to remember all these unpleasant realities? Kevin! Wake up you dolt! It is vital if we wish to retain any hope of restoring this country to a constitutional democracy.

I, um, rather liked the Americanist's spin on the ramifications of CBS being forced to clarify exactly how it fact-checked the story, and to many folk, myself included, I still don't get the reputed forgeries of reputed authentic documents thingy, and incidentally, where the bloody hell are all the original records of Shrub's Air Guard service records?

Yes, indeed Mr. Drum, all of this is still entirely relevant because it pre-curses the pattern of egregious omissions that characterizes the White House's official actions to this day.
(What do you mean you lost all the Republican Party inter-office email you all were using to avoid the official archives? And on ad nauseam.)

Please think again, and have the grace to write that you'd not thought through the implications of Rather's suit, but were distracted by the superficialities of the celebrity quotient of the big bucks law suit.

It's o.k. Everybody miscalls one once in a while. We'll still respect you -- if you own up to it.

Posted by: teknozen on September 19, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

teknozen writes,
"...because it pre-curses the pattern..."

I'd rather not say this, but it suits you so well. "pre-curses" not a word, unless of course, you were referring to what occurs prior to cussing, you know, like stubbing your toe, skinning your shin on a concrete block, or reading this post.

Posted by: majarosh on September 19, 2007 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

does this mean I get another 15 seconds of fame? ;)

I hope so, Paul.

Posted by: pol on September 19, 2007 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

What ever happened to Frequency Kenneth?

Posted by: Kenji on September 19, 2007 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

It's good thing you're not my lawyer, Kevin.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 19, 2007 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that this was the first time Dan Rather ran with obviously bogus information is ludicrous. I have to wonder how many other bullshit stories he peddled over the years that he got away with.

Posted by: Notsnarkism on September 19, 2007 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

If the truth is on his side, its not coming out without compulsory process.

Agreed with cmd.

It is a smart move for Rather to fight back (and might I add, about f-ing time), even *if* the facts are not on his side, but especially so if they are.

Posted by: Disputo on September 19, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

For those who think the forgery is unproved, Charles Johnson a picture of the document with the same words printed in Microsoft Word using the default format. They're essentially identical, after considerations of several Xeroxings of the document. Johnson set up this picture to switch back and forth between the document and the printing of it in Microsoft Word. (You have to scroll down a bit.)

You can see that the two pictures are essentially identical. Since Microsoft Word wasn't available back then, the document is clearly a forgery, and a remarkably crude one. There are many other clues to the document's incorrectness, but this picture is a smoking gun. If the forger had made any serious effort to have a realistic forgery, he probably would have gotten away with it, and Kerry might have been President today.

This lawsuit can only be an embarrassment for both Rather and CBS.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 19, 2007 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, ex-lib, but noone is arguing that it is not a retyped copy, which is all you're arguing.

Nice try trying to conflate "copy" and "forgery", though.

Posted by: Disputo on September 19, 2007 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

I say that it is all worthwhile just by the sheer volume of bat-shit crazy right wingers that appeared here suddenly. Wow. Just what the Hell are they still defending? Karen Hughes-bots? Eck! They are the dogs barking in the night for the Rather defense team.

Blue Girl: you need to give these clowns some of your best verbal beat-downs. I laughed hard at some of those salty adjectives tonight.

Posted by: Sparko on September 19, 2007 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

TONIGHT'S TOP TEN LIST


The top 10 news-gathering and news-vetting failures identified by the Thornburgh panel:

1. The failure to obtain clear authentication of any of the Killian documents from any document examiner;

2. The false statement in the September 8 Segment that an expert had authenticated the Killian documents when all he had done was authenticate one signature from one document used in the Segment;

3. The failure of 60 Minutes Wednesday management to scrutinize the publicly available, and at times controversial, background of the source of the documents, retired Texas Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Bill Burkett;

4. The failure to find and interview the individual who was understood at the outset to be Lieutenant Colonel Burkett’s source of the Killian documents, and thus to establish the chain of custody;

5. The failure to establish a basis for the statement in the Segment that the documents “were taken from Colonel Killian’s personal files”;

6. The failure to develop adequate corroboration to support the statements in the Killian documents and to carefully compare the Killian documents to official TexANG records, which would have identified, at a minimum, notable inconsistencies in content and format;

7. The failure to interview a range of former National Guardsmen who served with Lieutenant Colonel Killian and who had different perspectives about the documents;

8. The misleading impression conveyed in the Segment that Lieutenant Strong had authenticated the content of the documents when he did not have the personal knowledge to do so;

9. The failure to have a vetting process capable of dealing effectively with the production speed, significance and sensitivity of the Segment; and

10. The telephone call prior to the Segment’s airing by the producer of the Segment to a senior campaign official of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry - a clear conflict of interest - that created the appearance of a political bias.

Posted by: majarosh on September 19, 2007 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

The top reason the segment was aired: Bush was given an advanced copy of the segment and its allegations and has never issued a rebuttal or denial. . . .

Chirp. Chirp.


You see, there is no point defending a man who refused to defend himself--or his country. And yet he sends others into the breech indefinitely. Congress sentenced another 500-600 to death by inaction just this week in all probability.

Let's do talk kerning, you useless sacks of spit.
Traitors to reason, traitors to the troops, and traitors to the country. I hope your Scaife checks bounce.

Posted by: Sparko on September 19, 2007 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

That's the dumbest 'proof', ex-lib. The 'proof' isn't in Microsoft Word - which is designed to exactly duplicate the older results of document creation... But that the specific kerning did not match the typewriter and typesetting that the ANG should have been using.

...But that's kinda neither here nor there, since no one on this thread cares or said that the faked documents weren't faked.

Where are the originals? What would they have said that was different?

The answers are: 'They were destroyed' and 'They're the same in content.'

Posted by: Crissa on September 19, 2007 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Sparko, what is a "Scaife check?"
If you respond, please refrain from name calling.

Thanks

Posted by: majarosh on September 19, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

I am saddened to find out that Dan Rather's reputation is worth just a bit more than a lost pair of pants.

Posted by: jerry on September 19, 2007 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

He shouldn't have ever resigned, I mean, look at the antics by the FOX group of fibbers, they sued for the right to lie.

In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States.

Posted by: Ya Know... on September 19, 2007 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Why that would be blood money. The kind that the GOP has traded for its integrity, patriotism and good name.

Posted by: Sparko on September 19, 2007 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

Consider Wisely points me to two copies of documents that are, as described up front on one of the links, considered to be unreliable. Still not sure what the point is.

That's neither here nor there, but listening to people raving again furiously about this issue, after all this time and a decisive Bush victory in 2004, is pathetic at best. At what point does this just get to be nuts?

Bush is not running in 2008. He is not going to be impeached.

Add to that that the next President will either be another conservative Republican, or Hillary, who is about as "progressive" as her husband was.

You're screwed. Deal with it.

Posted by: harry on September 20, 2007 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum's posts are sometimes dishonest thread seedings crafted to self-amuse.

Tell us what you really think man.

Posted by: The Lucky Sea Men on September 20, 2007 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

Well, harry, the first step towards recovery is recognizing you are the problem, along with your insufferably insipid wife Louise. It is the duty of progressives to push you out of the way, and mend the damage you have done--that's called a righteous cause. Many of us are willing to serve such cause with our very lives.

Posted by: Sparko on September 20, 2007 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

I am saddened to find out that Dan Rather's reputation is worth just a bit more than a lost pair of pants

LOL.

Americans don't vote to reelect Presidents or not based on what they did before getting to the White House in the first place...In 2000, the TANG story would have been political dynamite. By 2004 it was just a media controversy, as it still is today.

It might be "just a media controversy"...if Bush weren't prolonging this war to the express frustration of 77 percent of the electorate. People are going to show some interest when reminded once again that W Stands for War Without End couldn't even be arsed to show up for the national guard service he pulled strings to get into. Especially since Iraq is reminding folks of Vietnam quite a bit more than it did in 2004.

Posted by: shortstop on September 20, 2007 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum's posts are sometimes dishonest thread seedings crafted to self-amuse.

Tell us what you really think man.

Ha, yeah right. Sounds like you've realized how silly you all look writing so much about this.

Posted by: Swan on September 20, 2007 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

It's quite amusing that all the idiot thirty percenters are congregated on this board.

Posted by: gregor on September 20, 2007 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Sparko, what is a "Scaife check?"

Richard Mellon Scaife, a member in good standing of the lucky sperm club; noted financier of right-wing causes, including the Swift Boat Veterans; publisher.

Posted by: TJM on September 20, 2007 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

History will assume that any missing documents (the originals) were not favorable to the individual they concerned.

Simple & nothing can be done about that.

Suffer your crimes Bush Handlers, Inc. and camp followers for eternity.

"Liars are usually easily discredited; it's the truth-tellers who need to be destroyed." - Joshua Marshall

Posted by: daCasacadian on September 20, 2007 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the truth that Bush is a cocaine-using deserter with multiple arrests on his record will finally be made public - although that should have happened in 1999 when he decided to run for president.

You don't understand the art of political war very well, do you, Kevin? You never stop attacking your opponent, EVER! Bush shouldn't even have been let into the Texas Air National Guard - scoring 25 out of 100 on the entrance test, which is a little south of retarded. Bush should become the personification of all that is rotten about the GOP - stupid, hypocritical, corrupt and morally bankrupt.

I pray that Rather wins his lawsuit and Bush's extremely checkered past finally sees the light of day.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 20, 2007 at 5:56 AM | PERMALINK

Is it true though, Kevin?

Posted by: Jimm on September 20, 2007 at 5:56 AM | PERMALINK

I say, go for it, Dan, and thank you! It's about time that frothing rightwing hysteria got challenged.

Maybe, if the media starts getting more legal suits for millions and millions of dollars, they won't cave so easily when the wingnuts attack.

Posted by: PTate in FR on September 20, 2007 at 6:09 AM | PERMALINK

I imagine that Dan Rather, at age 75, feels that he has only this one life to live, and he doesn't want to leave it without clearing his name. I don't blame him. Perhaps he wants retribution for being made a scapegoat or he wants to make one more lasting impact on the world by bringing the Bush garbage out so the public can smell it, but I'll bet it all really boils down to not wanting to leave this world without putting the truth out there.

He has an interesting fight ahead.

Posted by: pol on September 20, 2007 at 6:43 AM | PERMALINK

Rather has been driven mad by this episode. He should have moved on from that shitty network.

Posted by: bob h on September 20, 2007 at 7:16 AM | PERMALINK

(stubbornly) I still wanna know what happens when Rather subpoenas Bush.

As I understand it, a judge can refuse it, on the grounds the evidence isn't necessary. But I think Rather would have a case, that Bush should certainly know the circumstances in which the crucial evidence was created (everybody accepts that there WERE documents)and thus can be required to testify.

Then (I think) Bush can attempt to refuse, but there is ample precedent that as a former President summoned to testify about matters before his Presidency which he is uniquely qualified to clarify, I doubt his refusal will stick.

So it looks to me like Dan might just get his man -- on the stand, and under oath: Bush is not gonna look good doing the "I can't recall" dance, and I've never seen any evidence he is sufficiently nimble with his articulation to avoid letting something stunning slip -- especially without his handlers.

And there is always the chance he will get a mean judge, perhaps with a daughter in Iraq.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 20, 2007 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

Majarosh writes, 19 Sept, 10:56 PM,

""pre-curses" not a word, unless of course, you were referring to what occurs prior to cussing,"

Precurse; to forerun, precede, foretell,anticipate

Posted by: Bob Maurus on September 20, 2007 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

"Rather has been driven mad by this episode. He should have moved on from that shitty network."

He did. He does a reports show for HDNet. Full hours on one topic.

Posted by: howie on September 20, 2007 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

Oh Dear !!
Oh Dear !!

Kevin thinks Dan is making a Boo Boo ! !

Oh Dear !!

Posted by: garyb50 on September 20, 2007 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

wow you people really are frothing at the mouth morons.

its obvious that none of you have read the Thornburgh report. it's conclusive.

Burkett forged the docs. its that simple.

and, no, Bush won't be testifying (what for?)

lunatics.

Posted by: Nathan on September 20, 2007 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, yes, Whiplash Nathan, taking a moment from retaining slip and falls - sipping his coffee, while typing with one hand, and tossing bananna peels with the other.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 20, 2007 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

truth supporter: Yet the wing-nut smear-artists scored another victory.


wing-nuts dont do irony...

on one hand...

gwb had no documents to support the end result of an honorable discharge...given the lack of proof that he reported for duty and took required physicals.

meanwhile,

kerry had extensive documentation of medal citations and other reports...but apparently none of that was proof for wing-nuts to verify the end result..

how's that logic working out for wing-nuts?

gwb job approval: 29% - Reuters/Zogby 9/17/07

Posted by: mr. irony on September 20, 2007 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

tjm: Richard Mellon Scaife, a member in good standing of the lucky sperm club; noted financier of right-wing causes, including the Swift Boat Veterans; publisher.


fyi...now he's dumping his wife...

gop: vows are for suckers..

Posted by: mr. irony on September 20, 2007 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

This is not going to do wonders for his reputation.

—Kevin Drum

I agree with the posters above that Rather doing nothing will of course do nothing for his reputation. I think he should do whatever he believes is the right thing to do.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 20, 2007 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Nathan makes a silly claim, then asks: "no, Bush won't be testifying (what for?)"

The Thornburgh report can be credibly challenged as a whitewash -- that is, it won't work to argue by its authority. Even if somebody tried it wouldn't be accepted by both sides, which is the only way its conclusions could be unchallenged in court. In fact I suspect that NEITHER CBS nor Rather will refer to it.

So much for that distraction in this case.

The core argument over Burkett and the documents is whether these documents existed, if they said what Burkett claims they said, and only then, when and how they were reproduced by retyping.

In reverse order: we know the documents were reproduced in Word, but that proves nothing cuz that's what Word is FOR. If you have the right font package, you can reproduce the Declaration of Independence and all the signatures in Word; it doesn't mean the original never existed.

So that dawg don't hunt in a dead pig's pockets, as Dan might say.

But it IS a potentially significant factor in Rather's case against CBS, cuz (for example) Rather might prove that CBS had the documents retyped, which is how the story finally blew up, and then they blamed Rather over this stoopid 'faking of real documents'.

At that point, it is a matter of fact where Burkett (or CBS) got the words that were re-typed. It would help Rather if CBS relied on Burkett's word (the 'I retyped them from memory' or 'the originals were hard to read, so I retyped 'em and lost the originals').

But CBS can defend itself against Rather in at least two ways. First, they can claim that Rather himself insisted on using the retyped documents. (On this, I care nothing: I don't get any of that $70 million.) BUT it is at least as likely that CBS will stand on their own shaky integrity, and insist that the documents WERE real and the words are accurate, so (if Rather tries to pin the retyping on them) it was a legit thing to do, OR (if Rather goes deeper into Burkett's veracity) that the story was simply credible and properly sourced in the first place.

When THAT becomes a factual dispute determining whether Rather gets his $70 million or not (which in turn could depend on whether it was CBS or their anchor who told a true story badly), yeah: Bush looks like a prime target for a subpoena.

It's all about HIM, right?

The thing is, I don't believe that a former President of the United States can refuse a subpoena like this. Certainly no ordinary citizen could. Sure, he's not a party to the case, but since the case turns on the veracity of claims made about Bush's military service, I don't see how he can be excluded from possible testimony.

See -- NOBODY disputes that Bush was discharged from the Guard. That isn't done by word of mouth, there were documents. Where are they? Since THAT is an essential piece of both Rather's case against CBS, and the CBS defense against Rather, in the absence of the documents, other testimony is not only indicated but possibly dispositive.

That points directly at Bush.

I don't believe Bush has a legitimate claim to refuse to testify on the grounds it would embarrass him, so the only legal question (cue the baby lawyers) is whether Rather OR perhaps CBS might want to make Bush central to their case.

I expect Rather does -- and I suspect he has something up his sleeve; he's had some time to work on it.

(wicked smile) What if he has Burkett's old negative from the original Xerox, easily dated to the early 1970s, but extremely hard to see as a television graphic, being not only black and white but reversed, light to dark? And, oh, what the hell, what if Rather is more interested in getting Bush on the stand and having his lawyer make him angry, letting him go WAAAY out on the limb about his service in the Guard..... before producing genuine and authenticated, contemporary proof?

Dan may go out as The Man: stranger things have happened. (and in fact, they've happened to HIM.)

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 20, 2007 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

To Bob Maurus:

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary - Cite This Source

Precurse

\Pre*curse"\, n. [L. praecursus.] A forerunning. [Obs.] --Shak.

Where'd you find your definition?

I know the other use of precurse as in: This f***ing invasion will not ... or in golf: F**k, this shot will never come off.

Posted by: TJM on September 20, 2007 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Look, if you ask anyone who lived in Texas during the late 1990s, as I did, you get a very clear and concise picture of what happened--

--long before Bush decided to run for President, they stripped his National Guard records of virtually everything that could damage him politically.

They took out the AWOL shit, the arrest for cocaine in 1972, which coincided with the decision by the Pentagon to start random drug testing, and they covered it all up. Why do you think he went AWOL in the first place? To avoid the drug test which would have shown that he was using the drug. The man's service to his country as a "fighter pilot" is a joke. A "fighter pilot" is someone who actually trains to fight an adversary in the air or goes overseas and fights an adversary in the air. Bush failed to complete his basic service obligation and, in a glaring example of how incompetently the scrubbed his Guard records, they failed to remove the paperwork that he signed indicating that he did not consent to being deployed overseas.

Bush senior, who flew off aircraft carriers and was the youngest fighter pilot of the war, had more guts and bravery than probably any other President in this nations history. You have to put the old man up there with Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson in terms of sheer personal courage.

The son? Please. His records were scrubbed. And Burkett was a crank. Everyone in Texas knew he was a crank long before the 2004 election. He had likely seen what was in the original file but he couldn't back up his claims. So he "recreated" documents he claimed to have seen. This is the tragedy of the whole affair--recreating documents that were taken from the file may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but all it did was make legitimate the argument that no one could criticize Bush's Texas Air National Guard service because Burkett poisoned the well. You can't pass off forgeries as the real thing--it plays into the hand of the accused.

You don't get to call yourself a "veteran" if you engaged in conduct which should have gotten you a dishonorable discharge. Being AWOL and losing your flight status because you refused to take a flight physical because you knew you were going to again test positive for cocaine means you should probably quit going in front of veterans groups for love and attention. Poor Bush Senior--in the early 1970s, he probably believed that he just had to bail out his son a few times.

What kind of world would this be right now if Bush Senior had treated Bush Junior like a man and had forced him to face up to his misconduct and his addictions? What kind of world would this be if Bush Senior had shown a little tough love? We'll never know.

Oh, and Bush? Cocaine use? He refuses to deny that he used it before 1974. It is only because we have a mind-numbingly blind and foolish media in this country that this fact has not been made crystal clear to every American. Any sane person would have to conclude that he spent a large chunk of his adult life addicted to alcohol and hard drugs. I mean, it's not like he wasn't caught and it's not like he didn't admit it.

Posted by: Pale Rider on September 20, 2007 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

As a woman who worked extensively on IBM Selectric and Executive typewriters during the era in which those documents were supposedly produced, I know that assertions about their capabilities, put forward by mostly younger, mostly male, right wing bloggers with no experience with that older technology at all, were mostly incorrect and in large part laughable. Still, the fact that the pajamas crew -- and a cowed mainstream media generation that shared their ignorance -- were wrong in many of the facts and suppositions they used to create a furor and insist on the documents' fakery, doesn't prove they weren't fakes. It just indicates to someone like me -- who knows better -- that most of the so-called "proof" of their fakery was no proof at all.

I'm perfectly aware, of course, that the expertise and testimony of people like me -- late middle aged female former clerical workers -- is not likely to ever be sought or credited, either in the blogosphere or the media. A fact that has made it easy for the pajamas guys to get away with their nonsense.

As for Rather's lawsuit, what does he have to lose? His reputation has already been thoroughly trashed and his career destroyed.

And, for the poster who referred to Bush as a Viet-nam era "veteran" I have this to say: My brother was a Navy medic serving with the Marines in that war, my husband was Special Forces and saw combat during his years in the military not only in Southeast Asia, but also in the Congo and Central America. Your reference to a man who used a strategy that at the time was commonly understood as a sure way to avoid combat -- and pulled strings to jump ahead in line to do so -- is an outrageous insult to their service. You should be ashamed, and ashamed for Bush. Bush's only reasons for serving in the Guard at all were self-serving -- it was the one way he could stay safe and yet, as a member of a prominent political family, still stay politically viable, and, of course, not embarass Dad.

Posted by: esmense on September 20, 2007 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

pre-curses" not a word, unless of course, you were referring to what occurs prior to cussing,"

Precurse; to forerun, precede, foretell,anticipate

Posted by: Bob Maurus on September 20, 2007 at 8:19 AM

Bob,
Thanks for trying to correct me. I'm pretty certain "precurse" is a noun, not a verb, defined as; A foretelling, not "to foretell," hence, my previous post.

Respectfully

Posted by: majarosh on September 20, 2007 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Your advice to Mr. Rather is quite sound. As the plaintiff, Mr. Rather will have the burden of proving his case. If his case is that the documents at issue were real and not forgeries, well, good luck proving that. From the evidence currently in the public record, that question would never even make it to a jury: the court would decide that no reasonable juror could find, on the basis of the adduced evidence, that those documents were genuine.

Now maybe Mr. Rather has some hitherto unknown witness who can testify to the genuiness of the documents, but aside from that improbability, I'd say his goose is cooked.

Posted by: DBL on September 20, 2007 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

In reverse order: we know the documents were reproduced in Word, but that proves nothing cuz that's what Word is FOR. If you have the right font package, you can reproduce the Declaration of Independence and all the signatures in Word; it doesn't mean the original never existed.

No, what Burkett did was inexcuseable. He reproduced memorandums from the early 1970s in a format used by the military in the modern era of word processing software. This is how those wingnuts caught it, and this is why this sad affair plays into their hands. Burkett could have been 100% accurate, but because he chose to reproduce military documents in the updated format, he fucked everything up.

Original memorandums of the early 1970s were done on typewriters, and they have a certain format and look. They use the courier font and they have a distinct appearance, because of the spacing between the letters. Memorandums done in the late 1980s and 1990s on computers are formatted more precisely and use the Times New Roman font. Side by side, you can look at these documents and spot the differences. No kudos to the wingnuts for being able to spot the differences.

So there's no debate there--Burkett fucked up and removed any chance for Bush being held accountable for his National Guard service. I think the consensus is that Burkett was accurate in what he put in the documents, but his decision to make the documents look out of their time by using a word processor will remain the glaringly bad and forehead slappingly stupid decision of all time.

Posted by: Pale Rider on September 20, 2007 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with esmense and not Pale on this one: I don't think Burkett ends the story, which is why I wonder that Bush might not be compelled to testify.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 20, 2007 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

The core argument over Burkett and the documents is whether these documents existed, if they said what Burkett claims they said, and only then, when and how they were reproduced by retyping.

No, if you want to prove that someone did something wrong, and if you try to use forged documentation to do that, you're going to lose.

No one can say if the documents are actually "accurate" because they don't exist anymore. So Burkett tried to recreate them. Nice try. All it does is get all of the evidence impeached for being a forgery.

This was not a great victory for wingnuts--whether it's their incredible knowledge of typewriters or digital cameras, the bottom line is more basic and fundamental--

You can't prove your case with forgeries.

Posted by: Pale Rider on September 20, 2007 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Bush and TANG are at best peripherally involved in Rather's complaint.
Don't expect to see any testimony about either. It's in the past, Bush will never run for another elected office, and it's just not significant. Some information about Bush/TANG may come to light (discovery is, after all, a bitch), but it will be tangential to the case, and coincidental to Rather's purposes in filing it.

The suit is about CBS caving to conservative pressure, or if you like, exposing CBS and Viacom as having been in the tank for Bush/Cheney all along. It also speaks to bad faith in a news organ.

Where Eric Alterman's book What Liberal Media was akin to a mortar barrage, this suit could very well be Dresden, or Hiroshima, insofar as annihilating the "liberal media" tripe.

That is what makes it a good move on Rather's part, and I suspect is what he's actually after.

Posted by: kenga on September 20, 2007 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Disputo: Sorry, ex-lib, but noone is arguing that it is not a retyped copy, which is all you're arguing.

Disputo, I guess when you write "no one", you mean "no one on this thread." However, CBS presented their document as a Xeroxed copy of an original, rather than a re-typed copy. Whether an actual original existed or not, the CBS version was a forgery. Incidentally, there was a signature on the CBS document. If it was a re-typed version, then the signature would have been forged.

Crissa: That's the dumbest 'proof', ex-lib. The 'proof' isn't in Microsoft Word - which is designed to exactly duplicate the older results of document creation...

I don't believe it's the case that the Word format was designed to exactly duplicate older results. If Word exactly matched older results, then there would be other old documents that exactly match Word, but there are none. As I recall, someone offered a substantial reward for any such document, but none was ever produced.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 20, 2007 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

No one can say if the documents are actually "accurate" because they don't exist anymore. So Burkett tried to recreate them.

there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that Burkett forged any documents, or had reason to believe they were forged -- heck, there isn't any compelling evidence that the documents themselves are forgeries.

Burkett seriously screwed up by initially lying to CBS about the source of the documents. Because Burkett had been a credible source on a the "ghost soldiers" story a few years previous, there was insufficient professional skepticism of his story.

But screwing up by lying to protect a source is still screwing up in a BIG way....

Posted by: p_lukasiak on September 20, 2007 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

So there's no debate there--Burkett fucked up and removed any chance for Bush being held accountable for his National Guard service.

At the time, I was reminded of racist LA cop Mark Fuhrman attempting to bolster his case against OJ by planting evidence.

Crap like that plays right into the hands of the opposition and negates one's case...however solid that case might have been before one decided to "help" it along.

Posted by: shortstop on September 20, 2007 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know why people still fixate on whether the documents were or were not forged--YES, they were forged. Accurate or inaccurate is not the point.

Cocaine. That's what is at the heart of the matter. Did the President of the United States use cocaine while serving as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard?

That's the goddamned issue. That's what the media can't get straight. That's why this whole thing is not about Dan Rather or CBS news. If Rather pursues the case, the one thing that needs to be answered is, did Bush use cocaine while on duty?

Not that it would change anything. I still think there are enough fools in this country to elect him for a third term.

Posted by: Pale Rider on September 20, 2007 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, Your advice to Mr. Rather is quite sound. ... If his case is that the documents at issue were real and not forgeries, well, good luck proving that.

Posted by: DBL

I don't think Rather's case will have anything to do with whether the documents were real or forgeries.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 20, 2007 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

"American Patriot", by Robert Coram, has hit the book stores - The life of Colonel George E. "Bud" Day, the most decorated military person in modern times, is presented. Funny how, Col Day, attacked those who criticized Shrub's TANG follies, while defending the Swift Boaters. Perhaps, he was so pissed with the Democrats for the Clinton Administration asking veterans to pay for certain medications, that he supported and campaigned for Bush - And how was he repaid, well, the Bush Administration sided with the Appelate Court's decision to uphold the Clinton plan, and the Bush Stacked Supremes refused to reconsider.

No, "American Patriot II, the Warrior over Pecos", Mr Coram?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 20, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Why does everyone say that Bush went AWOL?

AWOL is absent without leave -- meaning you overextended your leave and were late returning. That's punishable and how your superiors handle the offense depends on the circumstances of your being absent. If your superiors like you and regard you as a capable member of the unit, they might overlook the whole thing. Then again, in other circumstances, you might court-martialed and serve time. (I would imagine that in some cases, a firing squad is a possibility.)

Deserters, on the other hand, leave their units and never return. Desertion is a serious offense and when they catch you, you will be court-martialed. They just might shoot you for deserting.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Bush is a deserter. He got transfered from the TANG to the Alabama ANG but never reported for duty. Or never reported after he learned the flight physical required to certify him as a combat-ready pilot in the Alabama ANG included a drug test.

Either way, he left and never returned. That makes him a deserter.

Calling the commander-in-chief a deserter is so much better than saying he was AWOL.

Posted by: Auto on September 20, 2007 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

The Deserter in Chief. Has a nasty ring to it, dunnit? I shall adopt it immediately.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 20, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

"The Deserter in Chief. Has a nasty ring to it, dunnit? I shall adopt it immediately."

An interesting admission. If it sounds nasty, use it, even if it's false.

Posted by: majarosh on September 20, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider --

I don't know whether or not the documents were fake. I just know that many of the assertions made by their original critics about the capabilities of that era's typewriters -- in terms of kerning, justification, sub-scripts, etc. -- were incorrect. As an employee of a large direct mail company during that era I produced a wide variety of documents -- not simply letters for office use but a variety of relatively sophisticated brochures, flyers, mailers, etc. designed for reproduction and mass distribution -- using nothing more than a couple of IBM Executive typewriters (with different fonts and specialized symbols), and an IBM Selectric for which we had a wide assortment of inter-changable fonts.

This does nothing to prove the documents weren't fakes. But it also does nothing to give me, personally, any confidence in the reliability of the document's critics.

Posted by: esmense on September 20, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

esmensemakessense.

Posted by: shortstop on September 20, 2007 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Pretty amusing that some people still believe the documents weren't even fakes, and you guys call yourself the reality based community?

On the issue of the suit:

If Rather thinks CBS used him unjustly as a scapegoat, then he should sue. Rather will have to show, I think, that he was not responsible for using his position, at his own insistence, to defend the authenticity of the documents after it was greater than 99.9% certain they were, at the very least, remakings of older documents. It might help to show that people in management were not fired who were responsible for allowing the story to go forward with such extremely poor authentication.

It would be fun to watch to two parties eviscerate each other trying to demonstrate who was the biggest fool for being associated with Mapes' work in this case. However, I don't think we will be this lucky. I expect some quiet monetary settlement to put the issue to rest. Neither side wants a public reairing of this affair.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on September 20, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

An interesting admission. If it sounds nasty, use it, even if it's false.

When either Bush or the Guard can produce a single document showing that he finished the service he used his connections to get, we'll give him a big apology. Until then, STFU. Or "respectfully, STFU," if you prefer.

Posted by: shortstop on September 20, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Neither side wants a public reairing of this affair.

On the contrary, that appears to be exactly what Rather wants, given the timing of this suit, the size of the damages sought and a couple other factors.

As you say, it will be interesting to watch this unfold.

Posted by: shortstop on September 20, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: When either Bush or the Guard can produce a single document showing that he finished the service he used his connections to get, we'll give him a big apology.

There is such a document, shortstop. It's called an "Honorable Discharge."

OTOH there is no document to support your allegation that he used connections to get into the TANG. He wouldn't have needed to. TANG had openings at the time.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 20, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop,

I think Rather wants money. I think CBS will give him money- not $70 million, but, maybe, 1-2.

If Rather really does want a reairing, then we may get answers to the questions of who in the CBS news management escaped with their skin in this affair. For me, this was the only real mystery left after the Thornburg report was published.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on September 20, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

There is such a document, shortstop. It's called an "Honorable Discharge."

An HD unsupported by any record whatsoever of required attendance or any person's memory of having seen him on duty during the latter part of his service. Wow, it's almost like you believe that everyone in the military is immune to pressure from the influential. So precious of you, but then, you've never served, have you?

OTOH there is no document to support your allegation that he used connections to get into the TANG.

Yes, it's a funny thing. People gaming the system often don't produce official documents for the file. Huh. On the other hand, we do have the word of one of the fellows who helped him game said system. Bummer for the chief deserter.

Posted by: shortstop on September 20, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

So, shortstop, when you said you'd apologize if there were "a single document", I guess you meant "two documents.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 20, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

If Rather really does want a reairing, then we may get answers to the questions of who in the CBS news management escaped with their skin in this affair.

CBS' role in this matter is a point we'd all like cleared up.

For me, this was the only real mystery left after the Thornburg report was published.

Your immutable "Libertarian" faith in every facet of Bush-led government always touches us, Yance. You never let us down.

Posted by: shortstop on September 20, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

If you look at this document, it is how a memorandum from the early 1970's would look.

If you look at this document, you'll see that it was done on what appears to be a word processor.

I'm not an expert and I'm not going to get into the meticulous details. All I can say is that I think the first document looks authentic for the times and that the second document looks like a fraudulent forgery of what an actual memo from that time frame would look like. That's all.

Mary Mapes has an entire website devoted to this, and people can make up their own mind. I don't buy the argument that the Killian memos weren't forged. It appears to me that they were forgeries. Whether what was actually in them was true or not is beside the point--the documents appear to be faked. Hence, we lose the chance to really look at the big issues here.

http://www.truthandduty.com/truthandduty.htm

Posted by: Pale Rider on September 20, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

The BBC historically and realistically has called its news readers exactly that, "news readers." Their job is to read the script off the teleprompter. The US networks, however, had competition and so were driven by the need for ratings and the BBC formula was not adopted. So US readers are histrionically called "anchors." Why that is considered an important function is a mystery. Increasingly, beautiful women are chosen for the anchor jobs. By the way what ever happened to Paula Zahn?

Posted by: mhr on September 20, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Holy witch hunt, Batman! McCarthyism is alive and well, infecting the irrational on both sides of the political spectrum.

Posted by: majarosh on September 20, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop,

What does my faith in the Bush-led government have to do with the matter? The Thornburg report was commissioned by CBS itself.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on September 20, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

McCarthyism is alive and well, infecting the irrational on both sides of the political spectrum.

No, dumbass. It isn't.

But you're free to quote Coltergeist, and her admiration of Senator McCarthy if you wish. There is no corresponding admiration for McCarthy on the left.

Posted by: Pale Rider on September 20, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

By the way what ever happened to Paula Zahn?

Getting her hair done and a bikini wax in preparation for accompanying me to a small awards ceremony tonight. I receive so many of these accolades I don't usually like to boast about them, but I'm rather proud of this one. I'm being honored by the Friends of Joseph Lieberman for my modest work in galvanizing Connecticut "independents" in the last election. Sweet of them to recognize it.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 20, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Bush is clearly a deserter and it is astonishing that this fact is just now becoming widely known, seven years after Bush took office in a silent coup. This is a tribute to Karl Rove's diversionary and obfuscatory propaganda techniques. Now that Turdblossom is history, I guess the kimono is opened...

Bush's TANG records were cleansed by Karen Hughes in 1999, according to Greg Palast writing in Armed Madhouse. There is no real support for Bush ever having spent a day in Alabama, as he asserts, despite some barely legibile pay records. There was a reward offered of $10,000 for anyone having first-hand knowledge of Bush serving even one hour with the Alabama Guard. The money has never been claimed...

As someone noted upthread, the TANG instituted mandatory drug testing for pilots in 1972 and Bush deserted shortly thereafter, because he was peeing white flakes at that point in his pathetic life. The book, Fortunate Son also alleges that Bush was popped for possession of cocaine in Houston in 1972, which would fit chronologicaly, but that arrest has also been conveniently expunged from Bush's record. Funny how that always seems to happen for the Unelected One, isn't it???

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 20, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK


McCarthyism is alive and well, infecting the irrational on both sides of the political spectrum.

"No, dumbass. It isn't.

But you're free to quote Coltergeist, and her admiration of Senator McCarthy if you wish. There is no corresponding admiration for McCarthy on the left."
Posted by: Pale Rider

McCarthyism-The practice of making public and sensational accusations of disloyalty or corruption, usually with little or no proof or with doubtful evidence.

Yes, I am free to quote anyone or anything I want, but I did no such thing.
The definition of McCarthyism has absolutely NOTHING to do with admiration for McCarthy.

Name calling and condescending remarks are the weapons of last resort for those shooting blanks.
And no, I will not shut up!

Posted by: majarosh on September 20, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Name calling and condescending remarks are the weapons of last resort for those shooting blanks.

There are no blanks here. You're a dumbass. You bring nothing to the discussion and you bring nothing to the table. McCarthyism is better explained as intimidating your political opponents by claiming to have evidence that does not exist. McCarthy's defenders amount to just about one individual--Ann Coulter. Ann Coulter is a sterling example of someone who blows hot air and brings nothing to the table. If we roll you, her and Tailgunner Joe up into a carpet and dump you at sea, I don't think a rational discussion of the topic at hand would suffer at all.

And no, I will not shut up!

If you had any decency, you would.

Posted by: Pale Rider on September 20, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

The Conservative Deflator: ...that arrest has also been conveniently expunged from Bush's record. Funny how that always seems to happen for the Unelected One, isn't it???

What's funny is that according to TCD, a lack of evidence doesn't acquit Bush against the charges. Rather, it convicts him of the additional crime of having secretly destroyed the evidence.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 20, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

a lack of evidence doesn't acquit Bush against the charges

Isn't that the truth with these liberals? I remember when I had our community law enforcement take care of removing a couple of indecent exposure "raps" from my record. The fact is, I had been "partying hearty," as the young crowd used to like to say, on the nights in question, but the local Barney Fifes inexplicably didn't find that a mitigating factor. Anyway, after a gratuity changed hands and a date with Manuel's sister was arranged, the good fellows saw my point.

But do you know, a number of impertinent locals, including my former pool man's harpy wife, continued to publicly question the advisability of my being around minors. "Show me the evidence!" I declared. "Do you see anything in the nature of a sexual crime on my record?" But the local product stubbornly kept referring to me as a "perv" and drawing their teenaged daughters aside when we met on the street.

Liberals. You cannot reason with them.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 20, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

The portrait of Mr. Rather that emerges from the 32-page filing bears little resemblance to the hard-charging, seemingly fearless anchor who for two decades shared the stage with Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings as the most watched and recognizable journalists in America.

By his own rendering, Mr. Rather was little more than a narrator of the disputed broadcast, which was shown on Sept. 8, 2004, on the midweek edition of "60 Minutes" and which purported to offer new evidence of preferential treatment given to Mr. Bush when he was a lieutenant in the Air National Guard.

What a sad commentary on a sad, pathetic man who regularly practiced the vile art of deception and the black art of character assassination. Rather went after MY father in the early 1980s, driving the poor man to a heart attack and his ultimate demise.

Rather used a trick to convince people that my father, N Withrop Rogers, was a war profiteer and a heartless incinerator of human beings. It is true that my family benefited from the arms industry. My father was uncanny at taking bits of technology and fusing them together to serve another purpose. He invented the process of making stone washed jeans decades before they became popular. He used an industrial strength washing machine and pumice stones to artificially age and degrade the clothes worn by prisoners of war in order to keep them servile and downcast. Had he known it would lead to having teenagers shell out big bucks for fancy pants, I'm sure I'd be a few million richer today.

Rather did a story that purported to expose how my father combined the product most people know as napalm with a high pressure hose mounted on an armored vehicle that would normally have a firehose on top of it. Instead of using water to suppress a nasty riot, my father surmised--what if the rioters have guns and pitchforks? What then? Well, one would bring forward the NWR-0068 and use it to disperse the crowd gathered illegally before it.

Pinochet bought twenty five of them and I am told they worked like gangbusters, especially after I insisted on the installation of the backblast shield made of asbestos and the combination of heavy fireman's gloves with a helmet that had a heatshield on it that could be lowered when firing the weapon. Rather went on the air and breathlessly admitted that he had never met my father before the airing of the story. Had he bothered to ask my father whether he had stolen the napalm without first asking for permission to use it, he would have told the truth. Any idiot can make napalm; my father simply wanted to do a good deed and use something effective.

Good luck with your lawsuit, Dan-O. I shall be wondering whether you get up and walk out of the courtroom in a huff if the US Open goes long.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 20, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider --

There's nothing, from surface appearance alone, especially as seen on a monitor, that proves the second document was done on a word processor rather than a sophisticated typewriter of that era. The silly controversy about super-script is just that, silly. Super-script and sub-script were commonly used in that era for academic documents (that required footnotes) as well as certain financial document applications.

Now there may be plenty of other reasons to assume it is fake. But, personally, as someone who has done both print production and clerical work on that era's typewriters, including in government offices, with a lot of people of varying ability and concientiousness, I wouldn't count the presence of super-script, a variation in type of typewriter used, or a variance from format as proof of much of anything.

Again, I'm not arguing that the documents are legitimate. Burkett's stories about how they came into his possession make them, in fact, highly suspicious.

I'm just saying ignorant assertions about technology with which they are totally unfamiliar, and highly partisan motivations, give me reason to be skeptical of players on all sides of this controversy.

Posted by: esmense on September 20, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider,
I blow you and your methods of discussion out of the water, without changing the subject, without name calling, without making any judgement of your decency, without thinking I have a better defintion of a word than a dictionary with pages of members of a Supervisory Board, Editorial Staff, Advisory Board, and Contributing Specialists, and you say that I am the one who brings nothing to the discussion and is irrational.

There is no better example of the practice of McCarthyism than your own words.

Posted by: majarosh on September 20, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

There's nothing, from surface appearance alone, especially as seen on a monitor, that proves the second document was done on a word processor rather than a sophisticated typewriter of that era.

I still don't buy it. The memos of the time don't look anything at all like the Killian memos. The Killian memos fit the format used by the military for memos in the modern era of word processing software. It's an appearance thing that can't be proven or disproven.

I also highly doubt whether sophisticated and precise word processing typewriters were used at a Texas Air National Guard facility. The document of that era that I cited comes from a Federal agency in Washington DC of that era.

There is an authenticity problem that can't be explained away. that's my point. And it's a shame we're debating this, because it's semantics.

Did Bush use cocaine in the early 1970s? Was he arrested? Did he fail to report for his flight physical because he knew he would be tested for drugs?

That's the only thing I give a shit about.

Rather did a story that purported to expose how my father combined the product most people know as napalm with a high pressure hose mounted on an armored vehicle that would normally have a firehose on top of it.

I've searched high and low and I can't find evidence that he did such a story. Are you lying again, Norman? You are a dumbass! You're as bad as that idiot "majawhatthefuckadouche." Are you making shit up again? I can't even find proof that such vehicles were used in Chile during the terror reign of Augusto Pinochet. Have you been watching too much TV?

Posted by: Pale Rider on September 20, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

There is no better example of the practice of McCarthyism than your own words.

Sir, you have NAILED Pale Rider to his pathetic cross. Did you use the rusty nails from the pouch at the hip of the Centurion?

Bwah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah!

I like you, majarosh. You argue with a clarity that I have not seen in these parts in many a moon.

But please note, there's no point in bringing up "McCarthyism" because it is largely outdated and irrelevant. There is a more accurate example of simple Bush Derangement Syndrome in what these foul and potty-mouthed liberals are doing, so your analogy is wrong. Your intent? Fine. But to talk about McCarthy is to remind people that the Republican Party has Senator Joseph McCarthy around its neck as a kind of embarrassing albatross. So don't bring it up again.

And, yes, Pale Rider. My dear father did exist. He was a giant among men. He appears in the first chapter of my book, American Lion: The Biography of Norman Rogers as an angel of mercy, plucking me out of the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Cod when I slipped off the family sailboat and nearly drowned, nearly fifty years ago today.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 20, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

God, you losers are pathetic. The docs were forged by Burkett. Only self-deluding wingnuts think otherwise.

esmense, just stop. You're embarrassing yourself.

Posted by: Brian on September 20, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Normie,

There is no listing for "American Lion" at Amazon.com. That's a bummer, dude. Because I want to read your book, you magnificient bastard.

Posted by: Pale Rider on September 20, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

I just checked the difference between being AWOL and deserting.

AWOL is a misdemeanor. It is lightly punished, if at all, depending on the particular circumstances.

Military personnel who are AWOL for longer than 30 days are reclassified as deserters.

Desertion is always punished, never more severely than when it is committed in the face of the enemy.

According to military definitions then, Bush deserted.

Posted by: Auto on September 20, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

The real story here is not Rather's reputation, but the cover-up of Bush's crime of going AWOL from the National Guard many years ago. Anybody who has followed this story knows that there is a lot of evidence that Bush went AWOL and Bush himself has never categorically refuted it. When Rather offered some questionable evidence against Bush 3 years ago, the right-wing used the weakness of that particular evidence to kill the whole story, and in fact change the subject to Dan Rather. The rest of the mainstream media helped in this subject changing and CBS knuckled under as well. Bush who is very probably guilty benefited enormously because the story was once again ignored and buried, even though it is probably true.

I say way to go Dan. Maybe now the real story will come out. The whole idea that since Bush is leaving soon we should just look ahead and ignore all evidence of his prior crimes is wrong in my view. This man and his Veep need to be shown to be the criminals that they have always been but have been able to hide from the public, with the help of a flaccid (or controlled) mainstream media. Only then will the public get the chance to learn the collosal mistake they made electing this team of criminals to office.

Posted by: Bob C on September 20, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Keep hope alive, Bob!

Posted by: Brian on September 20, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Keep denial strong, Brian! Believe in Bush! He's a righteous warrior who will keep America free and strong!

Posted by: Curt M on September 20, 2007 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe now the real story will come out.

Nothing more will come out about Bush's past. Through two elections, Bush's political enemies have searched everywhere they could for evidence of scandals. They found a DUI conviction, but they never found evidence of cocaine use or AWOL or philandering. Either Bush is innocent of these accusations, or the evidence doesn't exist.

Anyhow, Bush isn't the issue. The next Presidential candidate will be the one to attack, as soon as he's selected. In a few months, we will hear that Thompson (or Guiliani or Romney) is ten times the blackguard that Bush ever was.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 20, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers and FAUX-Lib,

You, two, must swap some war stories for us - Norman, could tell us about his career, in a former life, procuring ladies for General Hooker's stable - FAUX could tell us about the chills and spasms he felt, everytime he passed outside the gates of Ft Ord. Yeah, FAUX, Ft Ord had, just a few, openings of their own around that time and all they needed were a few Real men.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 20, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

In a few months, we will hear that Thompson (or Guiliani or Romney) is ten times the blackguard that Bush ever was.

You go to hell, sir! You go straight to hell and you burn there!

Rudy Giuliani is going to pick old Fred as his running mate and then we will see the Democrats run away in fear. America's Mayor and America's finest living actor will join hands and march to the sound of the guns! Democrats will shudder and cry, and we will have Eight More Years of peace and prosperity, under God.

There is no listing for "American Lion" at Amazon.com.

I have not lined up publication for my works, as of yet. I had a deal with Hyperion, but it fell through. I may have to publish it myself. I will definitely begin blogging in a few months in order to create some of what those of us in the business refer to as "buzz." I shall blog under my own name but talk about things that are precious to me, like sailing, boating, riding All Terrain Vehicles, speedboats and Republican Party politics. I may share a few recipes for veal and for bear meat. I am talking at length with some alumni from Princeton to put it out under a university press, and then I will spend a good chunk of late 2008 promoting it myself. I suspect it will be at least forty appearances at Borders or Barnes & Noble, which I could arrange through a publicist.

But why am I telling all of this to you, Pale Rider? A douche like you can't read decent literature without foaming at the mouth.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 20, 2007 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Norm, can't really understand why Regency is not beating down the plywood hanging in the privy. No two holer for business sessions? No Charmin to spare?

Posted by: stupid git on September 20, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

What's funny is that according to TCD,a lack of evidence doesn't acquit Bush against the charges. Rather, it convicts him of the additional crime of having secretly destroyed the evidence.

Absence of evidence doesn't prove evidence of absence you know...NeoCon 101.
Or to put it another way, if there's even a 1% chance that Bush was a deserter...(Cheney 101)

Posted by: ckelly on September 20, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

ckelly, Josef K would understand. Evidence proves you're guilty and lack of evidence also proves you're guilty.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 20, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, it's almost like you believe that everyone in the military is immune to pressure from the influential.

Hey, stay on topic! This thread isn't about Petraeus.

Posted by: ckelly on September 20, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

If you believe that the smoking gun on this casae doesn't exist somewhere you are crazy. Bill Clinton thought he'd trashed that letter he wrote to the ROTC commander about loathing the military but it resurfaced in the 92 campaign. Both sides know everything they could possibly know about each other. They are a nest of vipers who eat each other for lunch.

Posted by: aline on September 20, 2007 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

following on paul lukasiac"s comment (9:50p.m.).

go to "the next hurrah"

and read "CBS Collaborates in Torture" by emptywheel.

rather's lawsuit gives details of how cbs executives suppressed the abu graib torture story for several weeks.

rather isn't playing around with his suit and his target isn't compensation. it's cbs corporate executives.

good for dan, i say.

the story here is not whether rather did or did not report accurately on bush's service record, though he did in fact report accurately,

the real story is
and the owners, corporate leaders, managing editors, producers, etc have to be held accountable

how, for six years, our media corporations worked to suppress news that was bad for the bush admin

and produce "news" that was bush administration propaganda.

Posted by: orionATL on September 20, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

"The real story here is not Rather's reputation, but the cover-up of Bush's crime of going AWOL from the National Guard many years ago."-posted by Bob C (ample similiar examples available)

Kevin posts a story with the headline "MORE WINGNUT FODDER," and like farm animals to the trough, nuts from both wings arrive, devour the fodder, regurgitate, and devour again, while trying to shove each other out of the way.

Posted by: majarosh on September 20, 2007 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

George W Bush stood up and lied about his Economics 101 grade today, saying he "got a B."
Olbermann notes that according to transcripts, Bush actually got a C minus.

Lies for the sake of lying

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 20, 2007 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

As a few others have pointed out, Rather's current jihad is directed against CBS, not against Bush. Although there could be a settlement that pays his lawyers, I agree with Kevin that this is likely to sink Rather's reputation further.

As for the TANG story -- any chance of getting anything useful out of that has been lost -- thanks, in great part, to Burkett and Rather. In this suit, Rather (or his lawyers) are making the case that authenticating the Burkett memos was not his responsibility. So it's unlikely he will try to argue that the memos were genuine (although the suit implies that their authenticity is still an open question).

It should also be said that many liberal journalists (and bloggers, including Kevin and Josh Marshall) showed better judgment at the time than Rather did. Rather may have been the last famous liberal TV personality -- but unfortunately he was not terribly bright.

Posted by: JS on September 20, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you Dan Rather!

I have only read about halfway through the comments so far, but that was enough to fill me with glee. There is nothing like the TANG document controversy for bringing the lib/Demo kook factor shrieking into view.


Posted by: Brad on September 21, 2007 at 5:42 AM | PERMALINK

The truth about Bush's past will come to light - probably after he leaves office. The Bush family has been extraordinarily good at keeping their illegal and immoral activities out of the public limelight. Like Bush's dad's 10 year extramarital affair with a woman by the name of Jennifer Fitzgerald, which you can read about here. The American taxpayer basically got stuck paying for Bush's mistress for a decade.

People like Norman Rogers, who have an extremely checkered past themselves and think they are entitled to special favors or are somehow better than everyone else, relate to the verminous Bush clan. The 95% of the population that are normal, decent people find them reprehensible.

Don't worry - the truth will out. George W. Bush was, and is, a cowardly deserter.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 21, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Again - Bush, TANG, covering up desertion, forgeries, Burkett and most of the topics brought up in this thread are tangential, at most, to what Rather is doing with this lawsuit.

You folks need to step back from the story Rather and Mapes broadcast, that caused the whole "kerning" kerfuffle and led to Rather's removal from 60 Minutes.

Follow me on this, and then look at Rather's suit and the particulars of the filing again, as well as media coverage of it.

To use a metaphor:
You're standing on a balcony, looking at an accident on the street below, arguing about whether the driver of the van that hit the pedestrian is at fault, or the limo that cut the van off at the light.
Get some altitude - get up to 10 stories - and you see that there are potholes in the street and the lights are malfunctioning - giving green lights to perpendicular traffic and the pedestrian signals on the whole block are also mis-signaling people relying on them for safe navigation. And it becomes obvious that the drivers are victtims of circumstance - yes, greater attention and slower speeds could have prevented the accident, but, an accident was highly probable regardless.
Go higher - up to 10,000 feet. You see that the entire transportation infrastructure of the city is a shambles - broken-down buses, unsafe bridges, damaged road surfaces, incompetent traffic enforcement, and poor design. It's easy to see how one intersection could be so dangerous, given the condition of the city at large.
And you know, you're certain, that proper planning is possible, repairs can be performed, sensible rules can be enforced - it's Just. Not. Happening.
It's OBVIOUS, looking at it, that any reasonable observer could figure it out. Yet, nothing has been done, and it's not a subject of discussion or outrage in the news, or in the hallowed halls of government.
And you can't escape the conclusion that someone(many someones, actually,) is either asleep at the switch, or complicit in the decay and the silence that surrounds it.
Get up to low orbit and you can see that it's the same throughout the country. And it's suddenly clear how a city could have such problems.

Consider Rather's suit, changing your perspective in like fashion.
Rather/60 Minutes & Bush/TANG > CBS > cable and broadcast television> mainstream media corporations

This suit is magnitudes greater than just the issues of Bush's veracity and fitness as a leader.
Don't lose sight of that and don't get bogged down in the minutia specific to the 60 Minutes story about Bush and TANG. Don't forget it, but you have to focus on what it means in the larger scheme, and WHY THAT MATTERS.
This could be the turning point for our democracy - the point at which the slide into authoritarianism either accelerates or we begin to claw our way back up toward the peak.

I think Dan Rather is to be commended for forcing this into the public arena - whatever his motivations. I suspect he is more motivated by patriotism than profit, and I think history will remember him as such.

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