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Rather's Ruin and the Rise of the Pajamahadeen
ToSetTheRecordStraight.com ^ | December 12, 2007 | Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler

Posted on 12/12/2007 7:48:02 AM PST by Interesting Times

If any definitive evidence to the contrary of our story is found, we will report it. So far, there is none.

CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather

There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!

— Former Iraqi Minister of Information Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, better known as “Baghdad Bob”

A coordinated effort

Outflanked by the new media tactics of the anti-Kerry veterans groups, much of the establishment media now prepared to focus with laser-like intensity on the military service, not of John Kerry, but of George W. Bush. That decision would lead to the sharpest single confrontation between the old and new media during the 2004 campaign.

Despite the remarkable events of August 2004, CBS’ 60 Minutes had yet to devote any coverage to the Swift Boat veterans and POWs who were turning the campaign upside down. The venerable news magazine was far more interested in President Bush’s Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard—a topic CBS had been digging into intermittently for some five years. Now, 60 Minutes Wednesday prepared to broadcast a major story based on new documentary evidence that the future President had shirked his duties and failed to follow direct orders from his superiors while serving as a young Air Force officer.

Since the previous spring, Kerry campaign insiders had been working on ways to portray Bush’s National Guard service as one short step away from dodging the draft. Never mind that Bush had flown the tricky and dangerous F-102 fighter—of the 875 F-102’s manufactured, 259 had eventually crashed or were shot down, killing 70 Air Force and National Guard pilots in the process. Hoping to regain the momentum lost to the Swift Vets, the Kerry campaign and the DNC launched a major attack on Bush’s service synchronized with the 60 Minutes broadcast.

The Democratic National Committee, Kerry’s top campaign advisors, and a new group called “Texans for Truth” readied an announcement for September 9, the day after the 60 Minutes story was to air. It claimed that President Bush had used family connections to avoid combat and had lied about completing his obligations to the National Guard. “Texans for Truth,” led by a Democratic Party consultant and financed by MoveOn.org, was a transparent attempt to emulate the Swift Vets’ thunderous critique of John Kerry’s military service, as well as their successful tactic of using the Internet and cable news coverage to parlay small TV ad buys into national media exposure.

At the same time, “Operation Fortunate Son,” a DNC/Kerry national TV ad campaign attacking Bush’s service that had originally been planned for October, was moved up to follow the 60 Minutes segment. Eroding poll numbers had convinced Democratic decision makers not to wait— the day of the announcement, a new Washington Post /ABC News poll gave the President an unprecedented nine point lead over Kerry.

60 Minutes: For the Record

In his 60 Minutes retrospective, “Tick . . . Tick . . . Tick . . .,” journalist David Blum later wrote that longtime CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather had called 60 Minutes Wednesday executive producer Josh Howard on the evening of September 7, 2004 to complain that no promotional ads had been run for his segment the following night. Howard explained that neither CBS News president Andrew Heyward nor the corporate attorneys had vetted it, and nobody had yet contacted the White House for comment. Dan Rather responded by threatening to take the story away from CBS and give it to the New York Times.

The 60 Minutes Wednesday special “For the Record” aired at 8:00 P.M. Eastern on September 8. It wove a compelling story of a young George W. Bush using his privileged connections to avoid fulfilling his obligations to the National Guard during the Vietnam War. The first portion of the segment featured an interview with former Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes, who said he had recommended preferential treatment to help Lt. Bush obtain a position in the Texas Air National Guard in 1968. This implied that Bush had pulled strings to avoid more hazardous combat duty in Vietnam.

The second part of the segment focused on four memos ostensibly taken from the personal files of the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who had commanded the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron when Lt. Bush served there. These documents formed the core of 60 Minutes’ claim that the future president had used political connections to avoid combat duty in Vietnam and to avoid many of his obligations to the Guard. The overall effect was to paint the young pilot as scheming, irresponsible, cowardly and unpatriotic.

The four documents attributed to Lt. Col. Killian were:

1. A May 4, 1972 memo in which Killian ordered Lieutenant Bush to take his annual flying physical.

2. A May 19, 1972 file memo in which Killian related a conversation with Lt. Bush about transferring from Texas to Alabama to work on a political campaign. Killian expressed his disapproval of the request.

3. An August 1, 1972 memo in which Killian noted that he had suspended Lt. Bush from flight status for not meeting TANG standards and for failing to take his flight physical as ordered.

4. An August 18, 1973 file memo in which Killian reported that he was being pressured by a retired TANG General to “sugar coat” Lt. Bush’s officer evaluation.

60 Minutes emphasized the care taken to verify the memos, saying that the organization had consulted a “handwriting analyst and document expert” who believed them to be authentic. 60 Minutes also said that Robert Strong, a former friend and colleague of Lt. Col. Killian who had run the Texas Air National Guard administrative office during the Vietnam era, believed the documents were genuine.

However, what Dan Rather and 60 Minutes had left out of “For the Record” was at least as interesting as what went on the air. Former Lt. Governor Ben Barnes, a co-chairman of Kerry’s campaign and a major contributor to the Democratic Party, had sworn under oath in 1999 that neither George Bush nor any member of his family had asked for Barnes’s help placing Lt. Bush with the Texas Air National Guard. Robert Strong had not worked in the same location as Lt. Col. Killian, had left the Guard prior to the dates on the memos, and had been instructed to assume the memos were authentic. Nor did 60 Minutes disclose how the memos had been obtained.

Their source was later revealed to be one Lt. Col. Bill Burkett, a former Texas Army National Guard officer with a history of mental problems who had previously made a variety of false and dubious claims about George Bush’s military service. CBS producer Mary Mapes ignored evidence that Lt. Bush had volunteered for Vietnam but was turned down in favor of more experienced pilots. Finally, 60 Minutes failed to mention that Mapes had been in contact with top Kerry advisor Joe Lockhart as she developed the segment, or that Mapes had also put Bill Burkett, the unnamed source of the documents, in touch with the Kerry campaign.

Despite 60 Minutes’ assurances, not a single document expert had verified the authenticity of the memos. In fact, certified document examiner Emily Will had warned Mary Mapes of serious problems with the memos’ signatures, superscripting and proportional spacing. Will even told Mapes that if she used the documents, “every document expert in the country will be after you with hundreds of questions.”

On the evening of September 8, ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC all broadcast major news stories based on 60 Minutes’ purported Killian memos. ABC’s World News, which had ignored the Swift Vets’ television ads, found time to air part of a “Texans for Truth” commercial. Major newspapers around the country, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe, readied headline stories for the morning editions. Morning news shows, including ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today, also focused on “new questions” the memos raised about President Bush’s military service.

America’s most powerful and influential opinion-forming institutions had spoken with a single voice, presenting the 60 Minutes accusations as important, credible, and damaging. The contrast with their coverage of the Swift Vets’ charges could hardly have been greater. However, these news organizations, staffed with thousands of journalists, editors and fact checkers and theoretically committed to high standards of professional accuracy, had completely missed what more observant private citizens saw at a glance: that the “Killian memos” were actually crude forgeries created on a word processor.

Bolts from the blue

The carefully orchestrated efforts of CBS News, the Kerry campaign and the DNC began to unravel while “For the Record” was still on the air. At 7:39 P.M. Eastern, twenty minutes before 60 Minutes Wednesday began, FreeRepublic.com poster “Howlin” started a “live thread” to track the program as it aired. On that thread, presciently titled, “Ben Barnes and CBS Attempt Another Bush Smear (60 Minutes),” the Freepers posted sardonic commentary (“I just sent another donation to the Swiftees” and “CBS should have to register as a Democrat 527”) as the segment unfolded. Minutes into the segment, close-ups of the documents were briefly shown. At 8:19 P.M., Paul Boley, an active duty Air Force officer in Alabama, posted as “TankerKC”:

WE NEED TO SEE THOSE MEMOS AGAIN!

They are not in the style that we used when I came in to [sic] the USAF. They looked like the style and format we started using about 12 years ago (1992). Our signature blocks were left justified, now they are right of center . . . like the ones they just showed.

Can we get a copy of those memos?

60 Minutes ended its report and went off the air, but on FreeRepublic.com the discussion and analysis carried on far into the night. At 9:44 P.M., “jhouston” posted:

I was in the AF Reserve in [19]72 stationed at Ellington AFB (same as Bush). I was a personal clerk and was responsible for cutting numerous orders (mostly TDA, short term activations and reassignments).

I cannot speak for procedures at the TANG, but I assume they followed the same procedures that we did.

All of the memos showed a centered TYPED heading instead of being typed on letterhead (yes we used letterhead or standardized forms back then).

ALL order [sic] were typed on a standardized form. . . .

One minute later, “BamaDi” replied to “TankerKC’s earlier post”:

i didn’t watch 60 minutes but you’re exactly right about the signature blocks . . . goodness, i should know, i was a secretary for the DAF from 1969 to 1991 when i left the pentagon to work for the navy and the signature block was ALWAYS on the left hand margin. . . .

At 11:11 P.M., “Pikamax” started a second discussion thread for the New York Times’ front-page article for Thursday’s paper: “Documents Suggest Special Treatment for Bush in Guard.” At 11:18, Howlin linked to the newly posted memos at CBSNews.com. Now, those tracking the thread could assess the documents for themselves.

Then, at 11:59:53, Harry MacDougald, a conservative 46-year-old Atlanta attorney posting at FreeRepublic.com as “Buckhead,” fired the shot heard ’round the Web:

Howlin, every single one of these memos to file is in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman. In 1972 people used typewriters for this sort of thing, and typewriters used monospaced fonts.

The use of proportionally spaced fonts did not come into common use for office memos until the introduction of laser printers, word processing software, and personal computers. They were not widespread until the mid to late 90’s. Before then, you needed typesetting equipment, and that wasn’t used for personal memos to file.

Even the Wang systems that were dominant in the mid 80’s used monospaced fonts.

I am saying these documents are forgeries, run through a copier for 15 generations to make them look old.

This should be pursued aggressively.

At 12:10 A.M., MacDougald added:

This is going to be hilarious, because every major news organization is running with this bogus story like it’s a new toy on Christmas morning.

To which “NYCVirago” replied at 12:15 A.M.:

Exactly. It seems like that if CBS were concerned about journalistic integrity, instead of smearing Bush, they would have checked out the authenticity of these documents, something you figured out in a quick perusal of them.

MacDougald’s assessment was on the money: the memos were printed in Times New Roman, Microsoft Word’s default font. An explosion of research and analysis followed.

At 7:51 A.M., Scott Johnson featured MacDougald’s revelations at Power Line in an article titled, “The Sixty-First Minute.” More information poured in as the blog’s readers contrasted the characteristics of the memos with the capabilities of 1970’s-vintage typewriters. Perhaps the most damning observations came from Jon-Erik Prichard:

1. The type in the [August 18, 1973] document is KERNED. Kerning is the typ[e]setter’s art of spacing various letters in such a manner that they are ‘grouped’ for better readability. Word processors do this automatically. NO TYPEWRITER CAN PHYSICALLY DO THIS.

To explain: the letter “O” is curved on the outside. A letter such as “T” has indented space under its cross bar. On a typewriter if one types an “O” next to a “T” then both letters remain separated by their physical space. When you type the same letters on a computer next to each other the[y] are automatically “kerned” or “grouped” so that their individual spaces actually overlap. e. g., TO. As one can readily see the curvature of the “O” nestles neatly under the cross bar of the “T”. . . . A typewriter doesn’t “know” what particular letter is next to another and can’t make those types of aesthetic adjustments.

2. The kerning and proportional spacing in each of the lines of type track EXACTLY with 12 point Times Roman font on a six inch margin (left justified). . . .

3. The sentences have a wide variance in their AMOUNT of kerning and proportional spacing. . . . Even the characters themselves are squished in the first line (as a computer does automatically) and more spread out on the last line where there is more room.

There’s no way a typewriter could ‘set’ the type in this memo. . . .

Another Power Line reader noted that none of Killian’s previously released 1970s memos had used superscripting—the raised printing of suffixes in unit numbers such as “111th” and “147th”—but the 60 Minutes memos did. Superscripting, assuming it could be found at all on a 1970s-era typewriter, was an expensive, specialized feature, one unlikely to be found on the office machine of a Texas Air National Guard commander.

Power Line’s analysis concluded with eloquent simplicity: “60 Minutes is toast.”

During a Swift Vets phone conference on Thursday morning, the group’s chairman, Admiral Roy Hoffmann, asked the group whether the 60 Minutes story was likely to affect the group’s own efforts. The consensus was that it would. A CRC representative pointed out that all the major papers and networks were featuring the story and suggested it would likely overshadow the Swift Vets’ message for some time. Scott Swett had tracked the story overnight as the memos were systematically exposed by FreeRepublic.com and the blogs. Now, feeling like a man reporting back from a day or two in the future, Swett told the Swift Vet leaders that the documents were forgeries, the story was doomed, and the Kerry campaign’s counterattack was dead on arrival. CRC quickly contacted Cybercast News Service (CNS), which had three typographical experts examine the documents and started working on a story.

By Thursday afternoon, West coast bloggers were adding compelling new evidence to the case against CBS. Little Green Footballs host Charles Johnson provided a visual coup de grace at 10:24 A.M. Pacific [1:24 P.M. Eastern]:

9/9/2004: Bush Guard Documents: Forged

I opened Microsoft Word, set the font to Microsoft’s Times New Roman, tabbed over to the default tab stop to enter the date “18 August 1973,” then typed the rest of the document purportedly from the personal records of the late Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian. And my Microsoft Word version, typed in 2004, is an exact match for the documents trumpeted by CBS News as “authentic.”

A screenshot of the “original” document as found at CBS:

 

A screenshot of my Microsoft Word document:

 

The spacing is not just similar—it is identical in every respect. Notice that the date lines up perfectly, all the line breaks are in the same places, all letters line up with the same letters above and below, and the kerning is exactly the same. And I did not change a single thing from Word’s defaults; margins, type size, tab stops, etc. are all using the default settings. The one difference (the “th” in “187th” is slightly lower) is probably due to a slight difference between the Mac and PC versions of the Times New Roman font, or it could be an artifact of whatever process was used to artificially “age” the document. (Update: I printed the document and the “th” matches perfectly in the printed version. It’s a difference between screen and printer fonts.)

There is absolutely no way that this document was typed on any machine that was available in 1973.

About an hour later, Johnson followed up with an animated display that alternated images of the “Killian” memo with a copy he created using Microsoft Word’s default settings. The match between the two images was unmistakable.

Little Green Footballs poster “lcps” soon added more details:

The letter spacing is identical to that of Times New Roman as currently distributed by Microsoft (among others). In this font, the relative widths of—for instance—lower case “l” and “m” are 569:1593. This is a finer gradation than any Monotype machine ever had. (Monotype owns the Times New Roman design.) Therefore, the memos were not typeset in 1973.

At about 3:00 P.M., eighteen hours after the end of the 60 Minutes segment, Internet legend Matt Drudge alerted the ten million or so daily readers of DrudgeReport.com to the possible forgery discovery. Drudge linked to a new CNSNews.com article featuring quotes from three typography experts and to Power Line’s “The Sixty-First Minute”:

“60 Minutes” Documents on Bush Might Be Fake

32-year-old documents produced Wednesday by CBSNEWS 60 MINS on Bush’s guard service may have been forged using a current word processing program typed using a proportional font, not common at that time, and they used a superscript font feature found in today’s Microsoft Word program, Internet reports claim . . .

Developing . . .

Other blogs, including InDCJournal.com, also brought in document experts who concurred that the Killian memos were in all probability fakes. Leftist blogs such as DailyKos fervently defended the memos, claiming that an unspecified typewriter could have contained all those word processing features. As their attempts to support CBS submerged under an avalanche of contravening evidence, leftist activists turned their attention to attacking the motivations of the memos’ critics and proposing conspiracy theories, most of which seemed to involve senior Bush advisor Karl Rove.

By Thursday night, the debunking of 60 Minutes’ fraudulent hit piece was the hottest topic on the Internet. CBS News had worked for years to build an attack on President Bush’s National Guard service. The timing of “For the Record,” coordinated with the top leadership of the Democratic Party and the Kerry campaign, had been intended as the perfect riposte to the Swift Vets’ devastating critique of John Kerry. Democratic Party leaders had spent millions of dollars on TV ads based on 60 Minutes’ revelations. Now they could only watch in horror as ordinary citizens with computers tore the story apart.

By Saturday, an anti-Kerry blog called DefeatJohnJohn.com was willing to offer $10,000 to “anyone who can find for me a typewriter from 1972 that could have reasonably made those documents.” Nobody ever collected the reward.

Twisting in the wind

One might expect that when confronted with compelling evidence that it had broadcast a story containing major errors of fact, a professional news organization would seek to resolve the issue by honestly addressing that evidence. Dan Rather and CBS chose a very different line of response: prevaricating, stonewalling, and smearing their critics.

On Thursday afternoon, WorldNetDaily.com reported that CBS News spokesperson Kelli Edwards had claimed via email that the network had authenticated the documents by talking to close associates of Lt. Col. Killian who had seen them at the time they were written. On Friday morning, the Washington Post reported that Edwards had refused to respond to questions from experts provided by the Post or to name the experts CBS News had consulted for the segment. On Friday night, CBS News insisted on its website that the documents had been “provided by unimpeachable sources.”

The Washington Post later observed that the source for the documents “turns out to be a former Guard officer with a history of self-described mental problems who has denounced Bush as a liar with ‘demonic personality shortcomings.’” Also on Friday night, Dan Rather dismissed the online document sleuths as “partisan political operatives” while complaining that his critics “concentrated not on the key questions of the overall story, but on the documents that were part of the support of the story.” In fact, without the documents, there was no story. Rather continued trying to change the focus of the discussion from the authenticity of the documents to Bush’s military service, insisting that the President was the one who should be answering “tough questions.”

The same day, former CBS News executive Jonathan Klein took a memorable slap at the pesky bloggers in a FOX News interview, saying, “You couldn’t have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of check and balances [at 60 Minutes] and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.” If Klein expected this to daunt the Internet critics, he was mistaken—on the contrary, they adopted it as a badge of honor. The term “Pajamahadeen” emerged from nowhere, honoring the online guerrillas who were gutting the old media’s credibility. Popular online graphic artist Linda Eddy captured the moment with cartoon images of two exquisitely cool bloggers, male and female, wearing sunglasses, jammies and bunny slippers as they grinned cheerfully into an imaginary camera. The caption read, “Pajama People: Protecting America from media scum.”

For twelve long days after “For the Record” aired, CBS News continued to issue statements insisting that the Killian documents were real and the network was standing by the story. Reporting for 60 Minutes on the 15th, Dan Rather tried a new angle: there were some problems with the documents, he admitted, but it didn’t matter because the essence of the story was still true. “Fake but accurate” instantly entered the lexicon of the Internet as a synonym for old media propaganda. Finally, on September 20, the besieged network admitted what everyone else already knew: “Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic.”

The collapse of the 60 Minutes segment left the Democratic National Committee and the Kerry campaign holding the bag for millions of dollars worth of airtime purchased for television ads that were suddenly obsolete—ads pounding away on a theme that only the party’s hard-core base still believed. The Democrats ran them anyway, but it didn’t dent the President’s lead in the polls. Large numbers of people had apparently decided that any claims about the National Guard service of George W. Bush made by the Democratic Party and its media affiliates could be safely ignored.

A star implodes

On November 23, CBS News announced that Dan Rather’s long tenure as the network’s anchor would end in March 2005. No mention was made of the 60 Minutes documents scandal, now widely known as “MemoGate” or “RatherGate.” Even as the aging media icon was eased into involuntary retirement, he continued to tell anyone willing to listen that he still believed in the story, documents or no documents. By then, however, Dan Rather’s opinions no longer made much of a difference.

On January 5, 2005, an independent review panel headed by former Pennsylvania governor and U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburg and former Associated Press CEO Louis Boccardi published its analysis of the fiasco. It said,

The Panel has identified many deficiencies in the reporting, production and vetting of the September 8 Segment. The Panel also concludes, as set forth below, that portions of the Segment were neither fair nor accurate given the facts that were known or should have been known to Mapes, her team, and/or others at 60 Minutes Wednesday at the time the Segment was aired. . . . Efforts at authentication failed miserably. Hired document examiners whose views went against the rush to air were cast aside. The four original document examiners became two and ultimately one, who opined only on one signature in one document. Nevertheless, the Segment contained an unsupported declaration of authenticity.

The panel also noted a “troubling aspect” of the affair—Mapes’ communications with Kerry senior staffer Joe Lockhart while producing the segment—and reported that before turning over the “Killian documents” to Mapes, Lt. Col. Burkett had insisted on being put in touch with the Kerry campaign “so he could provide the campaign with strategic advice on how to rebut the attacks by the ‘Swift Boat Veterans for Truth’ group.”

The panel’s report did offer some comfort to the disgraced news organization by finding no proof that 60 Minutes had been motivated by political considerations. Dan Rather insisted that such claims were “absolutely, unequivocally untrue”—a claim the panel appears to have accepted at face value. Noting also that many of Mapes’s colleagues at CBS “did not believe that political ideology became a part of her stories,” the panel ascribed 60 Minutes’ failure to properly validate the segment to “competitive zeal.” Mary Mapes’ estranged father had a different view. Don Mapes told an interviewer, “I’m really ashamed of my daughter, what she’s become. She went into journalism with an ax to grind, that is, to promote feminism—and radical feminism, I might say—and liberalism.”

Fallout

On January 10, 2005, CBS News fired Mary Mapes and asked three other employees associated with “For the Record” to resign: Senior Vice President Betsy West, 60 Minutes Wednesday Executive Producer Josh Howard, and Howard’s deputy, Senior Broadcast Producer Mary Murphy. CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves issued a statement that the network deeply regretted “the disservice this flawed 60 Minutes Wednesday report did to the American public.” On March 9, Dan Rather stepped down as anchor of CBS Evening News, 24 years to the day after replacing Walter Cronkite.

Months later, Dan Rather was still defending the segment and hinting at unspecified conspiracies:

There are some strange, and to me, still mysterious things, certainly unexplained things that happened about how [the story] got attacked and why, even before the program was over. I think it was true of a lot of news organizations, unaware of not knowing enough of how quickly bloggers could strike. The facts of the story were correct. One supporting pillar . . . was brought into question. To this day, no one has proven whether it was what it purported to be or not.

In November 2005, Mary Mapes published a book called “Truth and Duty” that advanced the improbable theory that the “Killian documents” were indeed authentic but that “faxing destroyed the subtle arcs and lines in the letters.” Mapes claimed further that “analyzing a memo that had been faxed . . . was virtually impossible.” Mapes didn’t explain how faxing typewritten memos could generate modern word processing attributes such as superscripts, kerning, proportional spacing and mathematically centered titles.

In early 2006, former 60 Minutes Executive Producer Don Hewitt described Rather’s role in MemoGate as politically motivated, said that he should have been fired for his actions, and denounced reporters who “allow their own bias to encroach on their journalism.”

In the escalating battle between the old and new media, this was a watershed event. CBS News had tried to smear a wartime President during a closely fought campaign with a story based on phony documents. Just a few years earlier, the attack would have succeeded, but in 2004, an ad hoc collection of private citizens was able to use the new communication technologies of the Internet to expose the fraud and stop the story cold.

The new media had no system of honors and awards comparable to that of the older mainstream institutions. No Pulitzer Prizes or lucrative book contracts awaited the Freepers and bloggers who had so definitively busted 60 Minutes. Their work passed into cyberspace legend, inspiring other truthslingers eager to collect a few scalps of their own. It also served as a warning to reporters and producers facing the unhappy realization that sharp eyes were watching everything they wrote and broadcast. After all, if the much-despised Pajama People could take down Dan Rather, nobody was safe.

In January 2005 at its Inaugural Ball in Washington, FreeRepublic.com named Harry MacDougald—“Buckhead”—as the website’s “Poster of the Year.” MacDougald accepted with modesty, saying that others would surely have spotted the forgeries if he had not. He walked away with a plaque that featured a gold-colored investigator’s badge.

On the badge were engraved the words “Pajama Patrol.”


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Free Republic; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: buckhead; cbs; danrather; fakebutaccurate; finesthour; kerry; newmedia; pajamahadeen; rather; rathergate; settherecordstraight; superscriptdan
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This is Chapter 13 of the new book To Set the Record Straight: How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs and the New Media Defeated John Kerry, written by yours truly and The Shrew. It tells the story of how Freepers exposed Dan Rather's fraudulent National Guard documents story during the 2004 presidential campaign. The book-formatted version, with footnotes, can be found at the link.
1 posted on 12/12/2007 7:48:06 AM PST by Interesting Times
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To: Howlin; eddie willers; cajungirl; wirestripper; Southflanknorthpawsis; Peach; prairiebreeze; ...

FR’s finest hour ping...


2 posted on 12/12/2007 7:49:57 AM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: Interesting Times

“If any definitive evidence to the contrary of our story is found, we will report it. So far, there is none.

— CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather”

You know you’ve won when one of MSM’s exalted resorts to having the public prove a negative.


3 posted on 12/12/2007 7:51:14 AM PST by Slapshot68
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To: Interesting Times
What happened with this scandal was truly the penultimate triumph of the de-massification of the media Alvin Toffler talked about way back in 1979 in the book The Third Wave. Is it small wonder why Americans are so skeptical of the MSM since then?
4 posted on 12/12/2007 8:02:06 AM PST by RayChuang88
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To: Interesting Times

Thanks for the ping.... I am still of the belief this book needs to be recorded into the Congressional Record ... “Special Orders” anyone????


5 posted on 12/12/2007 8:04:28 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: Interesting Times
I can't wait to read you and Tim's book. You guys are real American heroes!

In January 2005 at its Inaugural Ball in Washington, FreeRepublic.com named Harry MacDougald—“Buckhead”—as the website’s “Poster of the Year.” MacDougald accepted with modesty, saying that others would surely have spotted the forgeries if he had not. He walked away with a plaque that featured a gold-colored investigator’s badge.

On the badge were engraved the words “Pajama Patrol.”

Pajama Patrol Badges, Pins & Iron on Patches

6 posted on 12/12/2007 8:12:33 AM PST by Seeking the truth (Queen Hillary faux postage stamps - 0cents.com)
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To: Interesting Times

I was lurking on that thread almost all night, it was remarkable and the quality of the research was astounding. I was mad as a hornet at C-BS and LOL at the same time.

I finally went to bed in the wee hours of the morning with a smile on my face and malice in my heart. It is disgusting what CBS tried to do that night and something I will never forget.


7 posted on 12/12/2007 8:13:26 AM PST by federal
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To: Seeking the truth

Yep, that would be the badge. Thanks for posting the image.


8 posted on 12/12/2007 8:14:51 AM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: Slapshot68

Rather thought he could top Walter Cronkite. It blew up in his face. Har!


9 posted on 12/12/2007 8:18:16 AM PST by oyez (Justa' another high minded lowlife.)
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To: Interesting Times
>>>FR’s finest hour ping...<<<

Hopefully, there will be opportunities in 2008 for Freepers to exceed even this brilliant example of taking the MSM down and out in August 2004.

10 posted on 12/12/2007 8:18:55 AM PST by HardStarboard (Take No Prisoners - We're Out Of Qurans)
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To: Interesting Times
HA!! HA!! The downfall of dan rather and CBS
11 posted on 12/12/2007 8:19:46 AM PST by Arrowhead1952 (I've been too busy for FR this weekend, because I did the things I refuse to let the invaders do.)
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To: Interesting Times

Whoever your fulfillment company is, they are fast! I received my order of 5 books on Saturday. I’m half way through the book and it is really good.


12 posted on 12/12/2007 8:20:29 AM PST by abner (I have no tagline, therefore no identity.)
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To: Interesting Times

How many of those posters are still here?


13 posted on 12/12/2007 8:22:36 AM PST by Old Sarge (This tagline in memory of FReeper 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub)
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To: abner

Glad to hear it. The manufacturing / fulfillment company is Malloy, up in Michigan. They try to get orders out the same day, and Priority Mail is pretty quick, even during the pre-Christmas mail-strom.


14 posted on 12/12/2007 8:23:19 AM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: Buckhead
Please pick up the white courtesy phone.

L

15 posted on 12/12/2007 8:23:21 AM PST by Lurker ( Comparing moderate islam to extremist islam is like comparing smallpox to ebola.)
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To: Old Sarge
How many of those posters are still here?

Hard to say. Howlin's gone, for one.

16 posted on 12/12/2007 8:24:09 AM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: Interesting Times

BTTT


17 posted on 12/12/2007 8:24:37 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: Interesting Times

“Don Mapes told an interviewer, “I’m really ashamed of my daughter, what she’s become. She went into journalism with an ax to grind, that is, to promote feminism—and radical feminism, I might say—and liberalism.”

and one might say she was one of the Hillesbians.

Radical liberal feminists working with Hillary’s core crew of ‘sisters’.

Hillary wanted Kerry to win, because then the DNC controlled the White House and could ‘erase’ any damaging info. Kerry would have one term, then Hillary planned to be President.

So now she is spending a lot of time putting out little fires, most of which she creates.

The SBV’s, the Pajamahadeen, POW’s and New Media became heros, role models, for the rest of us.

The MSM looks for dirt to sell laundry soap.

We use the soap to wash off the dirt, and reveal the truth.

It is wonderful to have a book containing the truth about the scandalous behavior of the DNC and MSM.

Were it not for the internet, though, I doubt I would ever have heard of the book. And Hillary would probably be President right now.

THANK GOD FOR AL GORE!!! (irony is wonderful)


18 posted on 12/12/2007 8:25:19 AM PST by UCANSEE2 (-Not Afraid of the truth, and the whole truth - Are you?)
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To: Interesting Times

Makes me proud just to hang around and sweep the place out.


19 posted on 12/12/2007 8:25:48 AM PST by RobinOfKingston (Man, that's stupid...even by congressional standards.)
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To: Interesting Times

“Howlin’s gone, for one.”

No she’s not.


20 posted on 12/12/2007 8:27:15 AM PST by UCANSEE2 (-Not Afraid of the truth, and the whole truth - Are you?)
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To: Interesting Times

I ordered this book for my brother’s birthday (today he is 62 and is a Vietnam vet).

It hasn’t arrived yet but if it doesn’t so be it. I printed the website page and I’ll just put that in his card. Not until this afternoon though, I still have hope it will be here in time.


21 posted on 12/12/2007 8:27:55 AM PST by Not gonna take it anymore
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To: Interesting Times

I know that you are trying to be concise, but be aware - if you are not - that FReepers also linked Burnett to the Kinkos, and that there were quite a number of content-based errors identified as well. Within 72 hours we had something on the order of 60 lines of evidence that the documents were false.


22 posted on 12/12/2007 8:27:59 AM PST by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: Just mythoughts; Interesting Times
>>>I am still of the belief this book needs to be recorded into the Congressional Record <<<

Stunningly good idea. Should be timed to impact during the height of the 2008 campaign.

Only problem is Special Orders usually don't get much publicity - lets try to come up with a way to make an even bigger splash with this story.....a mini-series on FOX???

There's gotta be some way to get America to sit up and take notice again!

23 posted on 12/12/2007 8:28:33 AM PST by HardStarboard (Take No Prisoners - We're Out Of Qurans)
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To: Interesting Times
Howlin's gone, for one.

I for one would be willing to let my Christian boot off of her neck after the primaries, if she wants to come back.

24 posted on 12/12/2007 8:28:52 AM PST by MrEdd (Heck is the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aren't going.)
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To: lepton
I know that you are trying to be concise, but be aware - if you are not - that FReepers also linked Burnett to the Kinkos, and that there were quite a number of content-based errors identified as well. Within 72 hours we had something on the order of 60 lines of evidence that the documents were false.

Yep, we knew about that. As you suggest, we were trying to pack a great deal of information into limited space.

25 posted on 12/12/2007 8:31:37 AM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: Not gonna take it anymore
I ordered this book for my brother’s birthday (today he is 62 and is a Vietnam vet).

Please give him our thanks and best regards.

26 posted on 12/12/2007 8:33:39 AM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: HardStarboard
nly problem is Special Orders usually don't get much publicity - lets try to come up with a way to make an even bigger splash with this story.....a mini-series on FOX???

I know it does not get much attention except to the CSPAM junkies. However, it really is the only avenue wherein 'truth' is allowed to be entered into the Congressional Record without having some jack-in-the-box liberal squealing about remarks being NOT allowed on the floor.

JFKerry got his words recorded into the Congressional Record via a pretend investigative subcommittee. My thinking is more about a hundred years out for history purpose to have recorded the reality of his fraud.

27 posted on 12/12/2007 8:34:30 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: Interesting Times; Jim Robinson; Mo1; abb; Milhous; nutmeg; neverdem; Ernest_at_the_Beach; ...

Thanks for posting what was a great moment for Free Republic.

The bad news is the lack of financial support to Free Republic by so many users of Free Republic.

Inspite of this great victory, every quarter, Jim and his Freepathon friends have to spend weeks begging for money to keep Free Republic on line.

That would never happen if all of the users of Free Republic were real conservatives instead of acting like illegal alien Freeploaders.

Using Free Republic and not making a monthly pledge or regular donation is like being an illegal alien on the site, using precious our resources without any pay back.

If every regular user of Free Republic pledged $5/month and honored that pledge, Jim could spend his time making life more miserable for the rats who want to destroy our America.

If you are a monthly donor/pledger, thanks for your support.

If you aren’t, it is time to become one:

https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/

If you have a ping list, please send this to your ping list, Thanks!

https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/


28 posted on 12/12/2007 8:36:10 AM PST by Grampa Dave ("Ron Paul and his flaming antiwar spam monkeys can Kiss my Ass!!"- Jim Robinson, Sept, 30, 2007)
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To: Interesting Times
I saved one of the all-time greatest posts in the history of DU, that appeared the morning after the report, when FR was basically shredding it:

It so clearly illustrates the bile, misplaced superiority, and utter reliance on what the mainstream media shoves down their throats that liberals exhibit. Funny, but sad too.

29 posted on 12/12/2007 8:38:18 AM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: UCANSEE2
“Howlin’s gone, for one.” No she’s not.

I thought she went during the Giuliani freak-out earlier this year. She's no longer banned, but she hasn't posted since then.

30 posted on 12/12/2007 8:39:19 AM PST by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: Interesting Times

Historical ping


31 posted on 12/12/2007 8:40:27 AM PST by Para-Ord.45
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To: Just mythoughts
Well, books don't usually get read into the CR. I appreciate the intent, which is to counter the VVAW's 1971 "Winter Soldier" charges. Personally, I'd like to see the testimony given in Boston during August 2004 at the Myths of the Vietnam War conference read into the Record.
32 posted on 12/12/2007 8:41:42 AM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: dead

I don’t think that I have previously seen that. Thanks!


33 posted on 12/12/2007 8:42:08 AM PST by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: Seeking the truth
I made those plaques handed out at the Ball in my garage a week before the event...almost diodn't get them there in time...heheh! Thanks for donating the badges, they MADE them unique and special!

Nice to see ya around...

34 posted on 12/12/2007 8:46:08 AM PST by Bob J
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To: Interesting Times

What a fantastic summary. You know — and I mean this with all sincerity — this is as big to conservatives and the new media as Watergate was to liberals and the biased media dominance.

Wonder who will star in the movie?


35 posted on 12/12/2007 8:46:56 AM PST by Lee'sGhost (Crom! Non-Sequitur = Pee Wee Herman.)
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To: dead
I think it’s called hubris. Imho, that’s a good thing as it makes it easier to annihilate your enemy.:)
36 posted on 12/12/2007 8:49:44 AM PST by khnyny (Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed. Winston Churchill)
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To: dead
Nice. I hadn't seen that.

The Rather fiasco is Exhibit A in why all the MSM bleating about professionalism and fact-checking is a crock. It wasn't just CBS -- every major old media outlet missed it.

37 posted on 12/12/2007 8:52:19 AM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: Lee'sGhost
Wonder who will star in the movie?

Probably not Robert Redford...

38 posted on 12/12/2007 8:54:04 AM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: Interesting Times

That was, without a doubt, the best story of our time. Makes me proud to be in such good ompany here at FR. And it should be required reading for political science and history classes, or for anyone considering turning on a telelvision or other ‘old media’ for information. People, real people, keep this country great. Thank God they were there in this country’s hour of need. I shudder to think of the outcome if this story never got to the light of day. Excellent work!


39 posted on 12/12/2007 8:57:21 AM PST by SueRae
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To: UCANSEE2
Hmm, I distinctly recall her and radioastronomer leaving.
40 posted on 12/12/2007 8:59:40 AM PST by LeGrande
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To: Interesting Times
...the establishment media now prepared to focus with laser-like intensity on the military service, not of John Kerry, but of George W. Bush. That decision would lead to the sharpest single confrontation between the old and new media during the 2004 campaign.

Great start - I'm hooked into reading...

41 posted on 12/12/2007 9:02:31 AM PST by GOPJ (Dems! Would you trust a pilot's wife to land a plane just because she's a frequent flyer??)
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To: Interesting Times

Bump!


42 posted on 12/12/2007 9:05:04 AM PST by Jaxter ("Vivit Post Funera Virtus")
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To: TankerKC; Howlin; Buckhead

ping


43 posted on 12/12/2007 9:07:21 AM PST by GOPJ (Dems! Would you trust a pilot's wife to land a plane just because she's a frequent flyer??)
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To: Interesting Times

Put a plug for the book up at Rightalk.com.


44 posted on 12/12/2007 9:07:32 AM PST by Bob J
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To: dead

Talk about a massive case of denial!


45 posted on 12/12/2007 9:13:18 AM PST by Redleg Duke ("All gave some, and some gave all!")
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To: dead

Talk about a massive case of denial!


46 posted on 12/12/2007 9:13:18 AM PST by Redleg Duke ("All gave some, and some gave all!")
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To: oyez
If we, in the time of Cronkite, as we were settling for hearing, "...and that's the way it is...! could have had similarly in-depth, factual information about the politically-biased contrivances of the media and Uncle Wally, what a comparatively wonderful world we might be enjoying today!

"You couldn’t have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of check and balances [at 60 Minutes] and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.”

Right. Yes, the contrast would be in units of hubris and undeserved, self-congratulatory, 6- and 7-figure salaries.

HF

47 posted on 12/12/2007 9:13:44 AM PST by holden
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To: Interesting Times


48 posted on 12/12/2007 9:14:39 AM PST by XR7
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To: Interesting Times
Well, books don't usually get read into the CR. I appreciate the intent, which is to counter the VVAW's 1971 "Winter Soldier" charges. Personally, I'd like to see the testimony given in Boston during August 2004 at the Myths of the Vietnam War conference read into the Record.

Yes, I agree about 'books' not getting read. However, this book is not just any book, and your first post describing the purpose and what the book contains would be sufficient to future historians being placed into the CR. And I do not disagree with you about the Boston conference.

49 posted on 12/12/2007 9:16:14 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: Interesting Times
This finest hour was brought about by forum skills, attitudes and site culture brought about by the criminality of the the Clinton era. The Impeachment of Clinton was not just fine, it was Glorious.
50 posted on 12/12/2007 9:16:50 AM PST by KC Burke (Men of intemperate minds can never be free...their passions forge their fetters.)
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