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September 14, 2004

Piling On?

Handwriting Analysis is a deeply soft science, a ludicrous one on which to base ones' defense of Dan Rather's "National Guard" documents...

...but just in case you were, Dn Rather's "handwriting expert" has jumped ship on Rather anyway:

The lead expert retained by CBS News to examine disputed memos from President Bush's former squadron commander in the National Guard said yesterday that he examined only the late officer's signature and made no attempt to authenticate the documents themselves.

"There's no way that I, as a document expert, can authenticate them," Marcel Matley said in a telephone interview from San Francisco. The main reason, he said, is that they are "copies" that are "far removed" from the originals.

This echoes both the distinction between handwriting analysis (a very inexact science) and typography analysis (a more empirical field) that the blogosphere's been beating on, and the continuing defection of the mainstream media from Rather's side.

Wretchard from Belmont Club notesIt continues unmercifully by citing the evidence of electronic typesetting expert Joseph M. Newcomer who declares "I am personally 100 percent sure that they are fake". The Washington Post goes on to detail numerous factual and formatting errors in the CBS documents, mentioning among other things, word processing characteristics, wrong addresses, styles, inconsistencies in dates before introducing the additional repudiation of key 60 Minutes source Bobby Hodges. Deserted by its original document expert, CBS is then reported to rely on a new consultant called Bill Glennon who says 'IBM electric typewriters in use in 1972 could produce superscripts and proportional spacing similar to those used in the disputed documents' before admitting that he was 'not a document expert, could not vouch for the memos' authenticity and only examined them online because CBS did not give him copies when asked to visit the network's offices...It is an unmerciful public flogging; the kind one would not wish upon a donkey...it is hard to see how CBS can maintain their story a single day longer."

My question - how does Dan Rather back away from this? '

Lileks' theory - they fire Andy Rooney - sounds more and more plausible...

Posted by Mitch at September 14, 2004 03:12 AM | TrackBack
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