Thursday, September 09, 2004

Media Bias - CBS Caught in Hoax?

Multiple sources are reporting that the Killian documents behind the Bush National Guard story that appeared on CBS' 60 Minutes II last night (and which was repeated in many papers this morning) are forgeries.

Powerline has been all over this with (as of this 8:40 pm) twelve updates of its original post. The forgery charges are primarily based on the fact that the documents in question appear to have been created using Microsoft Word; based on the font use, the use of proportional spacing, the use of superscripts, etc., that were either unavailable (the superscripts) or rare (the proportional spacing) on typewriters in the 1970's. Powerline also reports that one of the superiors cited as pressuring Killian in August of 1973 had retired in 1972.

Powerline also links to a few other sources:

The Heroes from the Past blog which has dug up an unrelated government memo from the same time period. The difference from the Killian documents is striking.

Little Green footballs recreates one of the Killian documents exactly in Microsoft Word - and they didn't even have to change any of the defaults.

INDC Journal ran the documents by an expert forensic document examiner who noted that the documents appear to be in a font (Times New Roman, the Microsoft default) that wasn't available on typewriters.

Outside of Powerline, Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard also ran the documents by some experts. Their conclusions: "I'm a Kerry supporter myself, but I won't let that cloud my objective judgment: I'm 99% sure that these documents were not produced in the early 1970s."

If these documents are proved to be forgeries, then CBS, and the mainstream media as a whole, takes a huge hit to what's left of their credibility. Think about this: CBS rushed to get an anti-Bush story on the air, a story on an issue peripheral at best to Bush's campaign, and one based on documents supposedly from a dead man - documents that were picked apart within minutes of their release. Contrast this with the coverage of the Swiftvets story, wherein over 200 individuals came forward with sworn affidavits on an issue that was central to the Kerry campaign.

Whatever it takes.