Skip to comments.Slicing and Dicing Formatting Fraud with Occam's Razor
Posted on 09/11/2004 9:43:06 AM PDT by JCEccles
In my first Air Force assignment in the 1970s I served as administrative communications officer and assistant chief of central base administration for the 92d Combat Support Group at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. For two years I was directly responsible for ensuring that all units at Fairchild, including an attached Washington Air National Guard wing, complied with Air Force regulations and policies governing the preparation and filing of official correspondence including letters and memoranda. My review of the CBS Texas Air National Guard documents convinces me they are fraudulent for reasons that other critics have not yet discussed in any great detail.
Bowing to the virtue of brevity, I will resist the temptation to discuss all the failings of the memoranda and will instead concentrate on the unsigned memorandum dated 18 August 1973 (which I will call the Staudt memorandum), and in particular its page formatting.
As has been pointed out by many observers, twelve pitch Times Roman font in Microsoft Word automatically and precisely generates the superscript, line breaks, and letter spacing (including kerning) of the Staudt memorandum if the left and right page margins are set at one-inch on 8.5 x 11 paper (Words default settings). Thats a problem.
The Air Force and Guard did not adopt 8.5 x 11 paper until the early 1980s. The standard paper width in 1973 was only 8.0 inches. The half-inch difference is critical.
If page formatting is resized to one-inch margins on 8.0 inch paper, Microsoft Word breaks the sentences at entirely different points in the text, after trouble, from, wasnt, and I versus running, regarding, rating, is, and either in the CBS memo.
The line breaks themselves are powerful circumstantial evidence that Microsoft Word generated the Staudt memorandum using Words default settings of one-inch margins on 8.5 x 11 paper. There are two possible rebuttals to this common sense conclusion.
First, it might be argued that the Texas Air National Guardor at least Lt Col Killian, the purported preparer of the memoused nonstandard 8.5 x 11 paper in 1973. That is unlikely. Paper stocks at Air Force and Guard units in the 1970s were ordered and maintained by the office of central base administration, a headquarters-level staff office, to be distributed to individual units and squadrons as needed. Units and squadrons got their stocks of paper exclusively from central base administration for two very good reasons: first, official regulations required it, and second, the cost of paper came out of a headquarters budgetnot the individual unit or squadrons budget. It would make no sense at all for a squadron commander to use nonstandard paper for an official memorandum in 1973.
Second, it might be argued that Lt Col Killian used by intention or pure accident nonstandard three-quarter inch margins for the Staudt memorandum. Again, this is highly unlikely. The mechanical IBM typewriters used by the Air Force and Guard in 1973 were by regulation and routine set at one-inch margins for 8.0 inch paper. It defies common sense to believe that in 1973 Lt Col Killian used nonstandard three-quarter inch margins on 8.0 inch paper that by astounding coincidence would produce the exact line breaks generated by Microsoft Word 31 years later using Words default one-inch margins on 8.5 x 11 paper.
While CBS blithely continues to defend the Staudt memorandum, common sense and Occams razor (the simpler explanation is to be preferred over the more complex) are slicing and dicing CBSs credibility like an onion in a cuisinart.
If the Air Force used 8 inch paper at that time, then I'm not sure why we're even bothering to analyze fonts and such(?)
Thank you for this clearly stated information. Your credentials are impeccable.
One more nail in the coffin.
The point is, to make CBS's authenticity claims work you have to suspend common sense on not just one but dozens of matters.
By far the cleanest, clearest, and most sensible explanation is that the documents (or at least in this case, the Staudt memorandum) were prepared recently using Microsoft Word at its default settings. That is the ONLY explanation that doesn't have to be forced.
Excellent. Thank you.
This story is dying already. Fox is only giving it cursory notice and their story now sounds like they agree with See BS. Rupert has pulled the plug.
unbelievable how the prison story keeps going and the mainstream media (who are all culpable in the guard story) dies in days. i personally hope someone gets prosecuted on this one! i guess i don't see why this is different from the seriousness of watergate?
somedays i wonder if algore regrets inventing the internet?
Really. That's sad, maybe they're doing that becausew it's the third Anniversarry of 9-11. I suspect it will continue on Sunday and Monday.
Good post. Thanks.
Nope. It's obvious the fix is in.
Not to pick nits... but the standard default margins in Word are as follows:
Top = 1", Bottom = 1", Left = 1.25", Right = 1.25"
The default left / right margins are not 1". Has been this way in every version of Word that I've ever used.
Faxing or copying a document based on smaller than current sizes onto a lager size medium would leave a wider area of white space on the right than on the left. The centering would be thrown off.
The only way to avoid this is to carefully place the source on the scanner to recenter. Placing the source along the normal guide lines would align the document to the left.
No, this story won't die. Today is 911 and they're taking a break. Sunday morning shows will have to cover this and it won't all flatter dncDan. Dan and John are going to get cold feet and start pointing fingers each at the other very soon.