Monday, September 13, 2004

RatherGate Update

It's hard to keep up with this story. The latest mainstream journalist/op-ed writer to jump on Dan Rather is William Safire of the New York Times. He says:

It may be that CBS is the victim of a whopping journalistic hoax,
besmearing a president to bring him down. What should a responsible news
organization do?

To shut up sources and impugn the motives of serious critics - from
opinionated bloggers to straight journalists - demeans the Murrow tradition. Nor
is any angry demand that others prove them wrong acceptable, especially when no
original documents are available to prove anything. . .

Hey, Dan: On this, recognize the preponderance of doubt. Call for a
panel of old CBS hands and independent editors to re-examine sources and papers.

(The "courage" comment is kind of an inside joke. A few years back, when Ted Turner was openly discussing his plans to purchase CBS, Rather ended every newscast with the word "courage,"presumably to rally the CBS troops against the Philistines gathering outside the city walls. Rather has become sort of a sad self-parody, hasn't he?)

And, thanks to Power Line, there's this, from computer expert Joseph Newcomer:

There has been a lot of activity on the Internet recently concerning the forged
CBS documents. I do not even dignify this statement with the traditional
weasel-word “alleged”, because it takes approximately 30 seconds for anyone who
is knowledgeable in the history of electronic document production to recognize
this whole collection is certainly a forgery, and approximately five minutes to
prove to anyone technically competent that the documents are a forgery. I was
able to replicate two of the documents within a few minutes. . . CBS is
stonewalling. They were hoaxed, pure and simple. CBS failed to exercise
anything even approximately like due diligence.

Dr. Newcomer's analysis of the CS documents is exhaustive, compelling, and quite interesting. (Warning: It's also quite long.)

We haven't heard the last of this by a long shot. I wonder if anyone at CBS will lose his/her job over this?


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