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September 14, 2004

Lying Rather Blatantly

Step One in this process -- which is taking far longer than I had hoped or expected, even though it's only been six days now -- was getting the major media to admit, with little caveat, that the documents are forgeries.

Thanks to the suprisingly upfront Washington Post and ABC News, Step One has begun. Step One isn't quite completed yet, but with major liberal-leaning news organizations admitting the blatantly obvious, we're closer to the end now than the beginning.

At least for that step. Step Two is actually investigating the severe, partisan-driven journalistic lapses, both intentional and negligent, that caused Dan Rather to publish a libelous hoax in his newscast, and holding him to account.

And Stept Two also involves holding Dan Rather to account for his subsequent lies in defending his original actions. His original actions could charitably be called merely negligent -- but he has told at least proveable, deliberate deceptions during the cover-up.

First Deception:

DAN RATHER: Document and handwriting examiner Marcel Matley analyzed the documents for CBS News. He says he believes they are real, but he is concerned about exactly what is being examined by some of the people now questioning the documents.

Because deterioration occurs each time a document is reproduced and the documents being analyzed outside of CBS have been photocopied, faxed, scanned, and downloaded, and are far removed from the documents CBS started with, which were also photocopies.

Document and handwriting examiner Marcel Matley did this interview with us prior to the 60 Minutes broadcast. He looked at the documents and the signatures of Colonel Jerry Killian, comparing known documents with the colonel's signature on the newly discovered ones.


Matley finds the signatures to be some of the most compelling evidence.

There are actually multiple deceptions here. First, Matley isn't really a "document and handwriting expert;" he's a handwriting expert, period. This ties in with the main deception, which I'll get to in a moment.

Second, Rather dishonestly says "He says he believes they are real, but he is concerned about exactly what is being examined by some of the people now questioning the documents. Because deterioration occurs each time a document is reproduced and the documents being analyzed outside of CBS have been photocopied, faxed, scanned, and downloaded, and are far removed from the documents CBS started with, which were also photocopies."

This is a deliberate deception. Of all the dozens of problems with the forgeries, this is just about the one problem that no one was particularly concerned about. I don't know if this even was ever called a "problem."

Everyone understood these were degraded copies; no one claimed they were forgeries because they were degraded. If anything, their degraded nature helped slow down the judgment that they were forgeries. No one called them forgeries because they are degraded.

Dan Rather insinuated to his audience that the main criticism of the documents is that they're bad copies. No, Dan-- that's not the main problem, it's not even a secondary problem (except to the extent that your own witness has claimed that a signature can't be authenticated from a copy). You are misleading your audience into thinking this silly objection is the main evidence of forgery.

But the main deception here is Dan Rather's assertion that "Matley finds the signatures to be some of the most compelling evidence."

We now know, from Matley himself, that he only looked at the signatures. It is a deliberate deception to say that he found the signatures "some of the most compelling evidence," as that implies that he otherwise analyzed the documents and found other evidence of their genuineness -- of which the signatures were merely the "most" compelling.

In fact, he did no such thing. He only looked at the signatures, and for Dan Rather to claim that he did otherwise is a deliberate deception that must be admitted to and apologized for.

Second Deception:

RATHER: Richard Katz, a software designer, found other indications in the documents. He noticed the lower case "l" is used in documents instead of the actual numeral one. That would be difficult to reproduce on the computer today.

KATZ: If you were doing this a week ago or a month ago on a normal laser-jet printer, it wouldn't work. The font wouldn't be available to you.

RATHER: Katz noted the documents have the superscript 'th' and a regular-sized 'th.' That would be common on a typewriter, not a computer.

KATZ: There is one document from May of 1972 which contains a normal "th" at the top. To produce that in Microsoft Word, you would have to go out of your way to type the letters and then turn the "th" setting off or back over them and type them again.

There are thee serious lies here and one very bad error of negligence.

First, the "expert" says that a computer doesn't have both normal and superscripted th's. Duh, of course it does. A computer can write fucking Japanese or Sanscrit, asshole.

Second, the "expert" makes it sound as if typing normal-font rather than superscript is a difficult process. In his statement, he says you can either play with your AutoFormat options, or backspace and retype, intentionally making the latter sound like some advanced-user's trick.

It takes two seconds to backspace and retype, Mr. "Expert." I do it fifty times a day.

There's another way, too. Just type the "111" and then the rest of the sentence. Then go back in and just insert the "th" after the 111. AutoFormat only catches an ordinal when the number and "th" part are typed in succession, right after the other. Anything you do to screw up the order of this typing defeats the program's ability to spot likely ordinals.

Defeating this feature is not some bizarre process, requiring a trip to the AutoFormat options menu (although that will work too). It's something we all do six thousand times a day when our MS Word, in its often annoying efforts to "help" us, behaves badly.

This is an actual lie because everyone in the CBS News room knows this is as easy and intuitive as can be but allowed Dan Rather's "expert" to claim it was some elite-level computer-hack anyway. Dan's expert said we'd have to adjust the AutoFormat options -- a little advanced, I guess, if you're retarded -- or we'd just have to delete and retype.

Gee, tough.

The third clear deception is that this man is not an "expert" on MS Word at all, or else he is simply a hyperpartisan extremist willing to deceive people into thinking it's hard to avoid an AutoFormat correction. He's either incompent, or a liar.

Again, CBS News must have known this -- I cannot believe that 500 yuppies sitting around typing on MS Word all day think it takes an electronic genius to avoid an annoying AutoFormat kink -- and so they knew the expert was lying or not an expert at all.

Lastly, the grossly negligent error. Dan Rather has been deliberately avoiding actual document authenticators, because he knew what they'd say-- and he knew what they'd say, of course, because he'd already asked them, and they refused to authenticate the documents, and indeed warned him about using them.

If he had spoken to a genuine expert, he would know that those are probably not lower-case L's rather than 1's on the document. In fact, running a document through a fax turns 1's with angle-bladed tops into flat-topped things that look a bit like old-style L's.

Go here and then click on the link for Dead Parrot for visual proof of this-- Dead Parrot ran a some typeset text, featuring angle-bladed 1's, through the fax, and found that many of the ones ended up as flat-tops.

Dead Parrot told me this. Had Dan Rather consulted a genuine document authenticator, rather than deliberately avoiding them because he knew for a fact his documents were likely forgeries, Dan Rather would have known this, too.

Actually, this may not be groos negligence at all, but rather another deliberate deception. Dan Rather

deliberately avoided getting actual expert input, because he knew what that input would be. So I'm not sure that we can call his failure to know this mere "negligence." It was deliberate negligence, and therefore intentional dishonesty.

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posted by Ace at 10:37 PM

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