September 20, 2004

 

Memogate: Our Lazy Media

Can anyone tell me why this story has barely been reported?
It was the first public allegation that CBS News used forged memos in its report questioning President Bush's National Guard service — a highly technical explanation posted within hours of airtime citing proportional spacing and font styles.

But it did not come from an expert in typography or typewriter history as some first thought. Instead, it was the work of Harry W. MacDougald, an Atlanta lawyer with strong ties to conservative Republican causes who helped draft the petition urging the Arkansas Supreme Court to disbar President Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Times has found.
(snip)
MacDougald helped draft the foundation's petition in 1998 that led to the five-year suspension of Clinton's Arkansas law license for giving misleading testimony in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

And MacDougald assisted in the group's legal challenge to the campaign finance law sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.). The challenge, ultimately presented to the U.S. Supreme Court, was funded largely by the Southeastern Legal Foundation in conjunction with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the law's chief critic, and handled by former Clinton investigator Kenneth W. Starr.

The Supreme Court upheld the law, which banned unlimited contributions from corporations to federal candidates and political parties.

The foundation was joined in its challenge by a cadre of groups that spanned the ideological spectrum, including the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union.

MacDougald is also a Republican appointee to the Fulton County Board of Registration and Election.

Last week, MacDougald once again plunged into a politically charged controversy — but this time his participation was anonymous.

Operating as "Buckhead," which is also the name of an upscale Atlanta neighborhood, MacDougald wrote that the memos that CBS' "60 Minutes" presented on Sept. 8 as being written in the early 1970s by the late Lt. Col Jerry B. Killian were "in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman."

"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," MacDougald wrote on the freerepublic website. "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."

The Sept. 8 late-night posting — written less than four hours after the CBS report was aired — resulted in a flurry of sympathetic testimonials from fellow bloggers, spreading within hours to other sites. The next day, major newspapers such as The Times and the Washington Post began consulting forensic experts and reporting stories that raised similar questions.


I'm not sayin' the documents aren't fakes...I'm just sayin' that something sure is fishy about how they came to be tagged as fakes.

And then there's this thought from The Rude Pundit:
Bottom line on this sideshow: Would those who say that Dan Rather should not be trusted, now that he seems to have used forged memos in a portion of a single report, ever say the same thing about George Bush when he led us to war based on "misleading" information about WMDs, including, well, forged documents? Howzabout a trade? We won't trust Rather anymore if you don't trust Bush. Deal? No? Then go f*ck yourself with your memos.


P.S. Where was George in the Spring of '72 anyway?

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