Comments: EXPERT BILL

I can tell you without a doubt that the Model D can produce those documents.

But can he show us without a doubt? I still don't hear any typing out there.

Posted by: David [.net] at September 14, 2004 at 05:09 AM

I'm sure somebody somewhere has brought this up, but:

Let's assume that this guy is correct, that it is indeed possible to create documents that look just like this on a 1970s-era typewriter.

Shouldn't it be a trivial matter, then, to produce a crapload of authentic documents direct from the TANG's files that look just like these memos? Or are we supposed to believe that they used an ordinary monospace typewriter for the day to day stuff, and Killian only broke out the fancy expensive typewriter for his private notes?

Posted by: SpoogeDemon at September 14, 2004 at 05:20 AM

Tim's free association riff at the end of the post is eerily good. Maybe this kind of illogic attracts Dems because it's more fun than stuffy syllogism?

Posted by: c at September 14, 2004 at 05:31 AM

It is a long, long way from saying that these documents could have been produced in 1972 to proving that these documents were, in fact, produced in 1972 and signed by Col. Killian.

CBS can't even get past the easy part of authenticating these documents to get to the hard part - why we should accept nth level copies of documents with numerous style/form errors. Much less why we should care at all about nth level copies from an anonymous source.

Posted by: R C Dean at September 14, 2004 at 05:38 AM

The chatter about kerning and proportional fonts and such is just giving them wiggle room. All you have to do is show the "original" and the brand-new Word doc that somehow lines up with it. The eyes have it. Seems like a perfect demonstration for TV news, but then I'm not a producer.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at September 14, 2004 at 05:40 AM

Is that sarcasm? I can never tell.

Posted by: mojo at September 14, 2004 at 05:54 AM

What Jim said. I suppose I'll be flamed for saying so, but many of the righty bloggers, self included, brought this on ourselves. We gave them wiggle room. I can guarantee that my lefty relatives will read that Time story and conclude, "well, it's all a he-said/he-said thing, expert vs. expert; you can't prove CBS ran a story using a forged document" now.

We made this a parts story. This is not a parts story. This is a story about how freedom is the freedom to say 2 + 2 = 4; or, in this case, freedom is the freedom to say "The odds of a 30-year-old typewritten document aligning perfectly with a Word document created with default settngs 30 years later are effectively 0." And now a major news outlet has muzzled that message by emphasizing that maybe somewhere in an alternate universe, 2 + 2 could conceivably, with a little squinting and a lot of doublethink, equal 5.

Fantastic. It's the world I've always wanted to live in, and now I do.

Posted by: ilyka at September 14, 2004 at 05:59 AM

Per the email Hugh Hewitt posted (scroll to "Email number three"), I'd like to see how Super Typewriter Guy explains how IBM was violating an Apple patent years before it was issued.

Posted by: TomK at September 14, 2004 at 06:05 AM

"And now a major news outlet has muzzled that message by emphasizing that maybe somewhere in an alternate universe, 2 + 2 could conceivably, with a little squinting and a lot of doublethink, equal 5"

Reminds me of the remark "For very large values of one, one is approximately equal to two, for very small values of two."

Posted by: Bruce Lagasse at September 14, 2004 at 06:08 AM

Um, that isn't the killer in any case.

The killer is that MS Word with more or less default settings exactly produces the document in question. There are so many arbitrary and hidden parameters inside the program that the odds of its matching something that it did not produce by default are exactly zero.

It doesn't matter what was around in '73, as long as it wasn't MS Word.

This MS Word goes with this document.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at September 14, 2004 at 06:14 AM

To continue the backslapping, what Ilyka said. For all the talk about the blistering speed and richness of resources in the sphere 'o' blogs, which is true, there's also the whole "forest for the trees" problem.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at September 14, 2004 at 06:15 AM

This is an ongoing train wreck with too many denying they are in a train wreck. No one can rationally and factually defend those forgeries at this point.

Kevin, I worked in the IBM Office Products Division field service area fixing typewriters in NYC for over 13 years in the 70s.

Hasn't anyone else noticed there were only TEN years in the '70s?

Posted by: Fred Boness at September 14, 2004 at 06:38 AM

You could order any font that IBM produced, yes. But did IBM produce these fonts? If the memos have MS Times New Roman, then IBM had no font with the same letter spacing. (I have heard a claim that at least one memo may have had Palantino Linotype, also a common Windows font.)

Posted by: John Thacker at September 14, 2004 at 07:00 AM

In a way, he's right.

That is, there were machines that could do proportional spacing. Sure, they were in the Composer line, not the Selectric D, and tehy cost, in adjusted dollars, as much as a new car, but they existed.

Sure, there's no way in hell the Texas ANG ever had one, let alone for producing off-the-record memos using incorrect abbreviations and violating military style standards, and these machines were used for typesetting, not officework, but by god they existed.

Of course, the other experts on such machines (not the Selectic/Executives that Bill worked on) claim there's no plausible way to get a supersrcipt small-type "th", especially not in a FREAKIN' MEMO.

But if you ignore all those side points, Bill's sorta right. Kinda.

Posted by: Sigivald at September 14, 2004 at 07:42 AM

For the love of god would someone please find the originals! Then we can be rid of this curse once and for all! If you cant find them then case closed as far as I am concerned jeez!

Posted by: Rob at September 14, 2004 at 07:48 AM

Show me the originals

Show me more from Killians personal files

Show me a representative sample of TANG docs with Killian's signature or at least let's look at the generally accepted form of similar docs.

Sorry, there are no originals of these docs

Sorry, we don't know of anymore of Killians personal files. The family is unaware of the existance of any at all.

Sorry, we can't find similar TANG documents

Bah, Humbug

Posted by: EddieP at September 14, 2004 at 07:53 AM

Isn't the burden of proof supposed to be on the party (CBS News) making the allegations? So far all CBS has been doing is relying on the infinite monkeys defense demanding that everyone else prove that infinite monkeys on infinite typewriters couldn't have produced these memos.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at September 14, 2004 at 07:54 AM

I think we need help from Marty McFly or Dr. Emmett Brown to straighten this whole thing out.

I'm not sure if their flux capacitor was used to get Mr. Killian to the 90's to utilize this new technology so his memos would be perfect, or if, in its primitive form, a flux capacitor could be used to make typewriters perform like computers...

This has reinforced my belief that 'Back to the Future' is a true story.

Posted by: Rich at September 14, 2004 at 08:05 AM

This has reinforced my belief that 'Back to the Future' is a true story.

You mean there are still those who doubt? Probably think the world is round, too. O they of little faith!

Posted by: ilyka at September 14, 2004 at 08:16 AM

Surely if the documents were original, there would be documents in other TANG files, both personal and general, that would have a similar makeup.

Also, why haven't CBS tracked down one of Killians secretaries to confirm some of the facts (eg. "Yes, he did type some documents himself" or "Yes, we did have a typewriter that did print in Times New Roman font.")I would assume there has been no investigation along this line because of what it would uncover.

Posted by: Lofty at September 14, 2004 at 08:17 AM

This is just one episode of the Democrat smear campaign run in conjunction with CBS.While we are arguing about authenticity and truth the Dems are looking how to spin this for all it's worth.Kerry got hammered by SBVFT and a Republican conference bounce,so before Clinton gets his ticker fixed up he tells Kerry how to fix up Bush.This will just roll into another accusation,Bill Glennon is a plant.How perfect in Dem think if he starts his attack on a blog then it's picked up as a defence by MSM.
I was waiting for heads to roll at CBS,now I believe that this stonewalling will continue and get worse till the election is over. After which it will all be forgotten.

Posted by: gubbaboy at September 14, 2004 at 08:30 AM

My current vote is for the PC version of the Times font as the one used, rather than Times New Roman.

timr65w.ttf Times Bold
timr66w.ttf Times Bold Italic
timr46w.ttf Times Italic
timr45w.ttf Times Roman (screen name: Times)

Pajamapundit remains doubtful about it, though he seems less doubtful than originally. His version of the Times font didn’t have the right vertical spacing, among other things, but mine does.

Times New Roman has going for it that it is the default font on a PC. But a person does sometimes switch to Arial or a decorative font. If Times turns up in the font window, they might be as likely to switch to that as to TNR, seeing no real difference. Anyway, my argument is based on the appearances of certain characters like “S” & “f” throughout the four memos.

Posted by: ForNow at September 14, 2004 at 08:48 AM

Tim, I understand that Kevin and the New York Times will next be quoting Greg Packer, the designated "man on the street," as a documents expert as well...

Posted by: Chrees at September 14, 2004 at 10:08 AM

Patrick Caddell, famous long-time Democrat pollster:

From News Hounds, We watch FOX so you don't have to, (lib Website) A "Leading Democrat" Lambasts DNC

Caddell said it was because of "arrogance;" that, as a Democrat, he felt that the party had been hijacked by some "politico crypto gangsters" who were taking over the heart and soul of the party and that they hold the power and the money....

Vester asked if the "so called liberal media" are part of the problem, to which Caddell responsed that they weren't just part of the problem but "a threat to our liberties right now." He said the 1st Amendment is there to protect the people but when the press decides "who should be president and who should be not, what truth you should know, what truth you should not," they destroy the very premise of the 1st Amendment, which threatens all of us, that there are some values more important than your party affiliation card, and people are dying for our country right now and we need to stand up for truth.

It’s really something when even Dems start calling the top Dems “political crypto-gangsters.”

Posted by: ForNow at September 14, 2004 at 10:30 AM

I took a typing course, which not only taught touch typing, but how to properly format documents for business use. I found the IBM Executive a beastly machine to use and gave up on it. It took special training and LOTS of practice to use properly. This sums up my experience succinctly.

Link

From Paragraph 3:

"The IBM Executive typewriter I found at a garage sale was magnificent, and (having been long since replaced by the Selectric), dirt cheap. Only somebody with a PhD in secretarial skills could operate it. It was a proportional spacing machine: an 'm' was five spaces wide, an 'i' was two. There were two separate space bars (two and three spaces respectively). To correct a mistake, you had to know the width of all the characters involved so that you could backspace the appropriate amount (backspace was the only single-space key on the machine). There was an arcane procedure for producing justified type which involved typing a page a first time (while using a special guide to measure where the lines ended), noting the extra spaces that needed to be added, marking the copy to show where two-width spaces would be replaced with three-width spaces (or, in the worst case, two two-width spaces), and typing the page a second time. Even loading the ribbon (it was one of the first carbon ribbon machines on the market) was a major challenge: its rimless reels would spill their contents at the slightest mishandling, and the thin (less than 1/2" wide) tape had to be threaded through bewildering series of slots, grooves, carriers, and guides. It was a machine only a fanatic could love, and I did. I made regular trips to Santa Barbara's IBM parts center, and spent hours with tweezers, probes, hooks, needle-nosed pliers and other fine tools, getting it working right."

Now think about how likely it would be for a non-typing (according to his widow) Air Guard Lieutenant Colonel to produce the memos we have seen, with a machine like this; assuming he had one available.

Posted by: CGeib at September 14, 2004 at 11:05 AM

I had a meeting with Caddell once, ForNow -- a couple of years ago, when LA mayor Richard Riordan was thinking of launching a new paper.

Nice guy. Consultant to the TV show West Wing, I think.

Posted by: tim at September 14, 2004 at 11:08 AM

I am sure IBM maintains a collection or "museum" of its products. Perhaps Mr. Glennon would agree to sit his expertise down in front of a Model D (E or F) and recreate these documents. My bet is all the typewriter ribbon in NYC wouldn't be enough for him to duplicate even one of these documents.

Posted by: Pajamaboy at September 14, 2004 at 11:22 AM

Would Bob Dole be president right now if blogs were so big back in the mid 90s?

Posted by: aaron at September 14, 2004 at 11:23 AM

It’s good to know that Caddell is a nice guy.

Dems like him get re-profiled as malcontents or nuts or whatever when they say things like that. Sometimes, not always, that’s just what an outspoken “rebel” is, a nut. If the GOP ever falls under the sway of political crypto-gangsters like the Dems have ever since the Clintons settled in, I hope I’ll be as clear-visioned as Pat Caddell, & I hope I won’t need to be as brave. It must be really hard to be an old-fashioned American Democrat. So few options for them.

Posted by: ForNow at September 14, 2004 at 11:27 AM

It gets worse--Gunga Dan interviewed him. He did not mention that he was a typewriter repairman.

Posted by: John Bono at September 14, 2004 at 11:38 AM

Yeah-- we've just got to step back a moment and look at this from the thirty-thousand foot view.

Look at the freakin' documents, people!

Here we are talking about fonts and kerning and particular lines of high-end pro typewriters and typesetting composers... when really, for any rational, reasonable observer new to the debate, all we should have to do is put the docs in front of them and just say, Look at them! I mean come ON!

Early on, we were wondering how some forger could have been so moronic as to have done the forgeries this ineptly, without trying to cover his tracks at all except by running the printouts through the copier a few times. Think of how little effort it would have taken, for example, just to choose a different font than the default one that's used in 98% of all Word docs. Who, working in a newsroom in 2004, where they undoubtedly juggle dozens of Word documents every single day, could possibly fail to see what these memos were? ...Could we have even imagined that a week later, we'd be listening to dueling "experts" on CBS trying to demonstrate that some IBM machine only used by professional typesetters in 1972 could have produced documents looking similar enough to CBS's memos as to render the argument moot in the eyes of the public? It's enough to make me want to gouge my eyes out.

Just look at the freakin' memos, damn you! I want to scream at the CBS execs and Kos and Atrios and so on. But they know the argument's on different grounds now... maybe even safe ground.

That gives me a distinct case of the willies.

Posted by: Brian Tiemann at September 14, 2004 at 11:39 AM

What I don't get is why anyone thinks the memo's are damaging in the first place.

Of course George Bush was a drunken arrogant jerk who gamed the system. He was a 20 something year old fighter pilot. What the !@#$%@#$% do people think 20 something fighter pilots behave like?
Tailhook anyone?

Not to mention the fact it was 1972/73. Vietnamization was underway, the US military was about to be gutted, the Air Force was getting ready to toss out career officers with combat flying experience. Junior TANG pilots trained in obsolete aircraft were not a valuable commodity.

Of course they let Bush go to Alabama and drop off flight status. Flight hours were about to get very rare.One less pilot to fit into a drastically cut back schedule.

Jack

Posted by: Jack Q at September 14, 2004 at 11:54 AM

The Oz meedja still hasn't touched this one. The Courier Mail ran the story about Bush being a bad-boy in last Saturday's edition but have completely ignored the follow up.

This is in spite of the fact that I emailed Steele Tallon, the Chief of Staff of the Sunday Mail (sister paper of the C-M), with the story last Friday. Nothing was done.

We're talking about one of the most disgraceful, brazen and clear cut attempts at electoral fraud and nobody (and I mean nobody) will touch it - not even Murdoch's boys.

Posted by: murph at September 14, 2004 at 12:07 PM

Tim’s latest update link is really something.
No hyphenation in any of the memos, not even the longer ones!

I’d forgotten how we used to hyphenate all the time in the old days. There was a rule, no more than three lines in a row, or was it two?, should end with a hypenated word. I mean, it was always happening.

The early word processors, especially the monospace & variable-pitch ones, made a big deal about hyphenation because everybody was still used to it & still did it, & everybody was into the new magic of being able to justify the text.

All that focus is gone now, though of course all the hyphenation capacities remain in current programs, some folks still hyphenate. I wonder whether hyphenation was common in Air National guard memos in the early 1970s. Oh, I forgot, Killian didn’t type. But he was very lucky with his line breaks! Or maybe “one of the girls” did it. A non-hyphenating girl!

The truth will out. We pressed into this issue hard because we knew that we had to go as fast as we could. We did the right thing with all that technical & other analysis. We have thrown them off balance. The point is to keep ahead of the curve, keep from underestimating their audacity, & it is awareness of said point, that has driven us. There are any number of rationalizations which they might have offered & which might have lasted for a few weeks, if those paths had not been blocked by the blogosphere.

Posted by: ForNow at September 14, 2004 at 12:08 PM

Tim, pisser rave. You should copyright "bendy".

Posted by: slatts at September 14, 2004 at 12:08 PM

I mean come on, the crazy bastard was volenteering to fly missions in nam.

Posted by: aaron at September 14, 2004 at 12:14 PM

ok so we all know they are forgeries, when are we going to get the first generation forgeries with ted kennedy, mcauliffs, teresas not to mention kerrys fingerprints and snot all over them???

CBS seems to be very successfully avoiding saying who at DNC headquarters handed them over.

Isn't it a crime to forge materials to make a President look bad?

CBS is doing what we have seen the Bush haters doing all year. Lying throught their back teeth.


How could CBS have NOT known? if the DNC handed them over wouldn't anyone with half a brain have twigged that something was a little amiss?

They are NOT saying where they got the documents, surely that points to CBS hiding up the fraudulent nature of the said documents?

IF they got them from the DNC wouldnt it have been normal for CBS to have asked where the DNC got them?

Seems not.. because CBS did not care if they were real.

Bush hating has gone to such an extent truth is irrelevant. blatent lies in the media

fortunately we have the web and are not restricted to their views.

Kerry was very upset at his drop in the polls and the bush bounce. funny how these forgeries suddenly appeared from the DNC just after the republican convention. I saw a few minutes of kerrys reply to GW Bushs speech and kerry had seriously LOst THE PLOT.

Dont tell me hes not implicated.

The democrats are working hard to ignore the forgeries and the 250 vets and focus on attacking GWBushs service.

At some point surely they will have to answer for their continued lies?


dlw


Posted by: dawn at September 14, 2004 at 12:16 PM

This guy's travels are hilarious. It's like William Gump or Bill's Excellent Adventure.

Talk about your fifteen minutes.

Posted by: Tom Vaughan at September 14, 2004 at 12:18 PM

"It's enough to make me want to gouge my eyes out."

Bloody hell BT don't blow a gasket! If you want to gouge anyone's eyes out, do it to the media professionals. Apparently they're not required by that lot.

Posted by: Lofty at September 14, 2004 at 12:24 PM

The question to ask is who's dumb enough to use word processor to forge predated documents and who's dumb enough to use them. Why haven't we seen Kerry's acedemic records?

Posted by: aaron at September 14, 2004 at 12:27 PM

Did someone mention the Hitler diaries?

Posted by: Margo's First XVIII at September 14, 2004 at 12:32 PM

I'm beginning to think that showing the "old"/new memo comparison to some people is like showing a dinosaur fossil to a Creationist. The eyes see, but the mind will not receive.

(If there are any Creationists reading this, I didn't mean you. Please don't blow up the abortion clinic I run.)

Posted by: Jim Treacher at September 14, 2004 at 12:36 PM

The only thing that would have made that Dan Rather CYA piece more surreal is if he asked that guy, "So Bill, are you a forensic document expert?" No Dan, But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

If Dan Rather isn't "retired" by CBS execs within the week, their credibility is gone forever.

Posted by: JLogan at September 14, 2004 at 01:13 PM

Retire Dan, JLogan?? After this debacle, CBS should retire 60 Minutes and rehire Dan for a new show called "Everybody Doesn't Love Rather". I see supporting roles for Rooney, Carville and Estrich.

Posted by: charlotte at September 14, 2004 at 01:20 PM

I am not sure if this has been linked already - but this is solid gold! (and a more convincing forgery)

http://www.imao.us/img/bush_awol_memo.jpg

Posted by: attila at September 14, 2004 at 01:26 PM

I can't think of any more damning proof that CBS never really checked these things out in advance than the fact that they are now trolling lefty blog comments sections looking for pseudo-experts to defend them. You can bet if they'd been able to line up a real expert willing to put his or her reputation on the line to pull Gunga Dan's ass out of the fire they'd be getting all kinds of CBS face time right now.

I don't know who's dumber: the forger who thought he could replicate 1973 documents using MS Word defaults or Dan Rather and his fact checking monkeys at CBS who swallowed the bait.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at September 14, 2004 at 01:56 PM

Bill's description of himself: "I don't claim to be a typewriter expert ..."

CBS description of Bill: "Document expert".

Posted by: tim at September 14, 2004 at 02:00 PM

See, he's a document expert, just not a typewriter expert. His expertise doesn't kick in until the paper leaves the platen. Not that hard to figure out, is it? You wingnuts, I swear!

Posted by: Jim Treacher at September 14, 2004 at 02:10 PM

"After this debacle, CBS should retire 60 Minutes and rehire Dan for a new show called Everybody Doesn't Love Rather."

Or CSI: Credulous Septuagenarian Implodes.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at September 14, 2004 at 02:12 PM

In mid-to-late 1973 I happend to have a desk fairly close the the office of the secretary of the president of a large corporation that you've all heard of. And because of my proximity to her office, I was able to observe some of the things that occurred therein.

Because of her status, IBM gave her one of those new proportional-spacing typewriters. I think I remember seeing TWO space bars on it. She hated it! It was too complicated for her. I think the happiest day in her life was when they took it away, about a month later.

You can make you own conclusions regarding how welcome one of these machines would be in the office of someone who didn't even know how to type.

Posted by: Another Voice Heardfrom at September 14, 2004 at 02:13 PM

Here is a useful page with links to feedback forms for the sponsors of 60 Minutes.

Via SlattsNews.

Posted by: EvilPundit at September 14, 2004 at 02:47 PM

Wow, by their lights I'm a linguistics expert - since - get this - I speak English and Russian. Two whole languages! Who better to pronounce on deciphering Linear A or the gradual loss of declensions in the evolution of the English language? Hmmm...anyone know how well CBS pays? I could be looking at a break here :).

Posted by: Sonetka at September 14, 2004 at 02:52 PM

"The Oz meedja still hasn't touched this one"

Actually, The Australian has.

Posted by: TribeHasSpoken at September 14, 2004 at 02:53 PM

Aaron — We haven't seen Kerry;s academic records because they aren't finished yet. These things don't just type themselves, you know...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at September 14, 2004 at 03:00 PM

I can't watch any more CBS News. I feel such pity for Mr. Rather now. I hope he comes out of this ok, mentally. God help the poor man.

Posted by: Doug at September 14, 2004 at 03:07 PM

After the regular army and Vietnam, in the late 70's, I was an officer in the Texas National Guard. We were lucky to have an electric typewriter, much less a Super El Producto Select-o-Matic IBM proportional font machine. And the good LTC Killian didn't type. I can just see him asking a 20 y.o clerk typist to type up a memo: Subject, Cover My Ass.

My wife was G.W. Bush's secretary in the oil business in Midland Texas in the early 80's. Here's a document we've recently "discovered"....

Genuine Memo...Really!

Posted by: Wallace-Midland, Texas at September 14, 2004 at 03:17 PM

"I hope he comes out of this ok, mentally."

Why would he be any better coming out of it than he was going into it?

Posted by: Angus Jung at September 14, 2004 at 03:24 PM


I agree with Jack Q and would go further. Suppose that one side or the other in the Swift Boat/Air National Guard controversy was proved right beyond all shadow of a doubt, what conceivable difference would it make?

On any possible reading of the evidence, Kerry's Vietnam-era service was more meritorious than Bush's, but what reasonable person would vote for him on that basis, or even give it substantial weight? Even if you were going to decide your vote on Vietnam (which would be silly) Kerry's public opposition and Bush's public support would be more important than who served where.

All that the current round of scandals has proved is that both sides have unscrupulous supporters.

Posted by: John Q at September 14, 2004 at 03:44 PM

I don't which is funnier--the IBM repairman's explanation or Tim's riff on it.

In my first job I worked in a publishing company that used an IBM Composer. We had one, and one person operated it. And we'd do anything to avoid centering heads. We were a freaking publishing company and we wouldn't center. But a National Guard officer typing a memo would. Um-hmm.

Posted by: AK at September 14, 2004 at 03:50 PM

Rather doesn't deserve pity, he deserves a kick in the butt! He can rot in Hell. He and is little band of buddies have been doing just as much to undermine deomcratic foundations as some of the Islamofascists. If it hurts Bush it leads, if it hurts Kerry, it's buried! That is about as kind as I can be regarding that bozo.

Posted by: YoJimbo at September 14, 2004 at 04:03 PM

The New Zealand Herald had an article covering this story, but I had to do several double-takes when I read the angle they were coming from!

A CBS news report last week featured previously unpublished memos purporting to be from Bush's commander of the day, suggesting the well-connected future president received special treatment in gaining a slot in the guard in 1968 to avoid being sent to Vietnam, and benefited from political pressure to have his assessments presented favourably.

But within 24 hours the documents were being challenged - raising suspicions that CBS had fallen victim to a hoax by Bush supporters to discredit critics of the President's military record.

Posted by: El-Diablo at September 14, 2004 at 04:09 PM

Washington Post 9/14:

"Thomas Phinney, program manager for fonts for the Adobe company in Seattle, which helped to develop the modern Times New Roman font, disputed Glennon's statement to CBS. He said "fairly extensive testing" had convinced him that the fonts and formatting used in the CBS documents could not have been produced by the most sophisticated IBM typewriters in use in 1972, including the Selectric and the Executive. He said the two systems used fonts of different widths."

And if you want to read something depressing, try Stanley Kurtz at National Review Online:

"...given its audience, CBS News is no longer concerned about preserving it reputation for fairness. On the contrary, CBS now wants and needs to preserve its reputation for liberalism."

Posted by: TomC at September 14, 2004 at 04:24 PM

REAL-LIFE FUNNIES
Conversation Guaranteed Verbatim

RATHER: Richard Katz, a software designer found other indications in the documents. He noticed the lower case l is used in documents instead of the actual numeral one. That would be difficult to reproduce on the computer today.

RICHARD KATZ (Software Designer): If you were doing this a week ago or a month ago on a normal laser jet printer, it wouldn't work. The font wouldn't be available to you.

RATHER: Katz noted the documents have the superscript th and a regular sized th. That would be common on a typewriter, not a computer.

KATZ: There is one document from may of 1972 which contains a normal "l" th at the top. To produce that in microsoft word, you would have to go out of your way to type the letters and then turn the th setting off or back over them and type them again.

AMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS & COMPUTER PEOPLE ACROSS AMERICA ARE LAUGHING AT RATHER.

Even I could make better arguments against the font’s being Times New Roman than those CLOWNS. Heck, I’ve already said I think it’s not TNR but PC (as opposed to MacIntosh) Times. Not that the difference would do them any GOOD!

EVEN SCRIVENERS IN THEIR FORGOTTEN GRAVES ARE LAUGHING AT RATHER.

WHEN SUDDENLY——

The Washington Post in “ Expert Cited by CBS Says He Didn't Authenticate Papers,” Sept. 14, 2004, is saying essentially that the memos are forgeries. The expert backing off is Marcel Matley.

A detailed examination of the CBS documents beside authenticated Killian memos and other documents generated by Bush's 147th Fighter Interceptor Group suggests at least three areas of difference that are difficult to reconcile:

Then it goes for paragraph after paragraph.

Dan, tomorrow night is the night that you say good night & goodbye, if you have an ounce of grace.

Presstitutes choke on own puke. That system must collapse in rings outward from its toppled core like around a dictator who’s gotten himself fed a steady diet of lies.

This is a collapse of a wing of the Dem/media complex.

When I learned that Rather was going ahead with his 60 Minutes show including a crucial interview with the disgraced politician & long-time fundraiser Ben Barnes, I knew it spelt corruption & fraud (as a Texan had recently clued me in on Barnes). I said: Is Rather really out to destroy his career this way? And it’s true. Had the memos been solid, had they been able to back them up better, even reveal source, they would not have felt the need to grasp at the straw of a Ben Barnes. To be willing, in such a circumstance, to settle for a Ben Barnes!!! Fraud & corruption.

Dem pollster Pat Caddell: If the documents turn out to be forged, the Presidential race “is over” because the Dems have gotten themselves way too involved in it. And today on Fox Caddell said that “political crypto-gangsters” are taking over “taking over the heart & soul of the party.” He said that the liberal media are not just part of the problem but “a threat to our liberties right now.”

Just one little thing before you go, Dan—where did you get the forgeries? Sources of falsehood do not deserve protection under jourrnalistic norms. Hmm, maybe Rather should hang around a while. That way the other media outlets will have investigate the memos all the harder.

Rather will tell us that he LOST his “original photocopies.” They’ll somehow have disappeared! An internal investigation will be launched into how it happened! “But I guarantee you this,” Rather will say, trying to stare the camera down, “and obviously I’m staking my career & reputation on this: Those memos WERE REAL & they ARE REAL wherever they are IF they still exist.”

As if he still had a career or a reputation to stake.

Posted by: ForNow at September 14, 2004 at 04:43 PM

Gee, I hope I made myself clear. The Washington Post article says unthunderously that the memos are forgeries. That article SPELLS RATHER’S END.

Posted by: ForNow at September 14, 2004 at 04:53 PM

Point taken about Gunga Dan's mental state. Just having a brief empathy overload.
I would like to note that the blog entry referenced in UPDATE II above (101-280.com) is an absolute comic masterpiece.

Posted by: Doug at September 14, 2004 at 05:01 PM

An MSNBC article (via Google News) is calling Glennon, the typwriter repairman, an "information technology consultant"

Eat your heart out, Sir Humphrey.

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at September 14, 2004 at 05:02 PM

Whoa. Whoa. WHOA.

Look: I love you guys. I love you guys with all my heart. However, there is one thing, one little tiny thing, that all y'all have neglected to do:

Talk to a former secretary.

Talk to a former "clerk-typist."

Talk to your women.

In 1973, women still made up the majority of the typing pool. And back then, an office did have to have a typing pool; typing was "women's work" that guys with any professional training didn't bother with.

Ask a former typist if she'd have bothered to change out a typing element--the only way one could have changed font sizes on an IBM typewriter, whether Selectric or Composer or Executive--to type a "memo to file" (or, if you prefer, "memorandum for record.").

I was a very anal-retentive, detail-oriented typist. I was the secretary the boss would hover over saying, through gritted teeth, "I don't need it to be PERFECT, but I do need it BY THIS AFTERNOON."

And even I would never have switched out an element merely to achieve a smaller-font, subscript "th" in a memo; particularly not for a memo to file.

Just wouldn't have bothered.

You're all looking to guys who worked on the machines themselves, or guys who spent time in typography, or guys with experience in desktop publishing, or guys who yada yada--look, don't do that.

We have it on authority from his widow that Killian didn't type. We don't need to listen to the guys who built or serviced the machines that Killian hypothetically could have typed on.

Ask someone who used to do it for a living. Ask that person what the odds are that they would have bothered (1) centering a proportional-type header or (2) changing out the element to insert a smaller-font, subscript "th," merely to type a memo to file.

I'll bet $50 USD you can't find me one former typist who says, "Yeah, I'd have done that."

I'd have done it for something that was going to be published--even something that was only going to be intra-departmentally published. But for a document that was destined to languish in a file cabinet?

No. Way.

Ask the people who used to do this job. Because by all accounts I've read this last week, this wasn't a job Killian himself did.

Posted by: ilyka at September 14, 2004 at 05:04 PM

If anyone's interested, email me as to just what uses I put a rubber stopper to...

And yes, they're quite disgusting...

Posted by: geezer at September 14, 2004 at 05:24 PM

Next week's TV Guide:

CBS 6:30 pm CBS Evening News--(Test Pattern) Length: 30 min.

CBS 7:00 pm Wheel of Fortune
Length: 30 min.

Posted by: JDB at September 14, 2004 at 05:33 PM

Say goodnight, Dan.

Posted by: TomC at September 14, 2004 at 06:39 PM

JCB, you forgot about next Sunday's edition of "60 Minutes".

Segment 1: Leslie Stahl reports on how evil "right-wing Blogs" are. (They'll have a couple of screen-shots from a vile white supremasist blog, the kind that gets 10 or 12 hits a day.)

Segment 2: Ed Bradley reports on how bloggers are nothing more than white guys sitting around in their living room, in their pajamas, posting right-wing propaganda. (They'll show secretly shot film of white guys in their own homes, dressed in bathrobes or pajamas, tapping away at a computer.)

Segment 3: Mike Wallace reports on how "right-wing bloggers" are a weird secret cult that believes that "puppy shakes" are the secret to a long life, a vigorous sex life, and an intelligence enhancer. (They'll show screen shots from the blogger that made a joke about Instapundit grinding up puppies for shakes. They will then interview Kos and Atrios, and one of them will breathlessly tell Wallace that right-wing bloggers have a saying: "the smaller the puppy, the smoother the shake".)

Andy Rooney Segment: Andy will go on for five minutes and no one, and I mean no one, will understand what point the guy is trying to make. (But hey, the guy is more senile than Grandpa Simpson, so what can you say.)

Posted by: David Crawford at September 14, 2004 at 06:59 PM

So now the latest scam is there is no number 1 key on typewriters? Well, I have a 50's-era Smith-Corona Super-Silent portable manual typewriter that has a 1/! key, and a Smith-Corona Classic 12 that has one, and an Underwood 112 (a version of the Olivetti 10, produced in the seventies or eighties -- it is the only manual model I've come across that uses a cartridge-type ribbon instead of spools) with one. True, not all typewriters had it -- it wasn't particularly necessary, as the lower-case l thing shows -- also, you would make an exclamation point by typing a period and backspacing and typing an apostrophe -- but they were not uncommon. And I believe the IBM Selectric had the numeral 1 key. (I will check the model at the office just to make sure.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 14, 2004 at 08:43 PM

I forgot to add: but none of my machines has a superscript "th" key, and I have never encountered any commonly used typewriter that had such. It wasn't considered necessary. Super- and subscripting was achieved by typesetting, not ordinary typing, as were a number of other things we take for granted in our word-processing software these days (em-dashes, curly quotes, and so on). The ability to produce your own professional-looking typeset documents was one of the selling points of word-processing software.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 14, 2004 at 08:46 PM

Oh and hey! You can get yourself your very own IBM Selectric Composer and play Primitive Typesetter. Forge away!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 14, 2004 at 09:24 PM

I'd feel like I was beating a very dead horse at this point, except that CBS is still dragging it behind a truck and calling it dressage.

Bill notes the address where you can write to the Globe's ombudsperson; I would add that you might also want to try writing to Santa and requesting a pony.

Hahahahaha! Pure gold.

Posted by: The Mongrel at September 14, 2004 at 09:45 PM

Just checked the IBM Selectric II at work: it has a numeral "1"/exclamation point key. It also has a number of superscripts and special characters that are available by using some sort of key combo that I've forgotten (the machine in broken and in any case I haven't used one in years) -- such as that little circle "degree" symbol, a +/- symbol, and so on. But no superscript "th" combo. Unlike other superscripts and special characters, a tiny "th" isn't really necessary since everyone knows what things like "5th" mean. [/THE HORSE IS NOW DEAD]

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 15, 2004 at 01:17 AM

ilyka:

I was the only hypomelaninistic, vaginally challenged person in the 20-typist pool where I worked in the 1970s. (For you DU types, that means I'm a white guy.) We worked with IBM machines - MagCard Is and IIs, all of which were monospaced. The Composer was available, but it was reserved for preparing camera-ready copy for training manuals and other publications (and required special training to use). So, would I have bothered with centering heading on memoranda to file? Hell, no! We had to get the work finished, period.

Further, if I had seen a memorandum with the title "Cover Your Ass", I'm sure I would have made a copy or two to pass around at break time, just for laughs. Anything that made management look bad immediately made the secretarial circuit.

Andrea, the Selectric did have a 1/! key, on the row of number keys. It may be that IBM manufactured Selectric balls with the superscript TH character, but I never saw one.

Posted by: Brown Line at September 15, 2004 at 01:23 AM

Right, that's what I just said.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 15, 2004 at 01:32 AM

One in eight hundred billion.

Posted by: Doug Landrum at September 15, 2004 at 02:23 AM

Again, it doesn't matter which typewriter had which features back then. The argument-closer is that somehow a Word doc typed with the default settings lines up PERFECTLY with a 30-year-old typewritten memo. I'm starting to think that if these things had been written in crayon, bloggers would be trying to dig up evidence that those colors would indeed have existed back in '72. Not really the point, folks.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at September 15, 2004 at 02:32 AM

"Not really the point, folks."

Right. The point is that really do have Two Americas, just like Edwards says: the thinkers and the partisans. Thinkers can be partisan when they use rational thought; but the partisans can't be thinkers because their mental processes are emotive at root.

How about a new CBS "Survivor" series with a marooned Dan Rather and Richard Hatch digging for for grubs and competing for attention from sea terns? I could watch that.

Posted by: charlotte at September 15, 2004 at 02:53 AM

Gee. Please change that to "The point is that WE really do have Two Americas." Guess I'm not a thinker, or least a previewer.

Posted by: charlotte at September 15, 2004 at 02:56 AM

Well, Bill, first you order the IBM model D with special bendy font keys handcrafted by blind Bavarian elves and then you put a rubber stopper in front of every third letter making sure to hold the typewriter at a precise 47º angle so as to enable engagement of the front index scale tabulator. Making a note of Chastity Bono's birth date, move the sheet of paper three inches to the right and sell your house. Put the carriage on the middle mark of the front index scale, sacrifice your first-born, and walk around your desk three times backwards. Retype the entire document in Gaelic. Wait for reporters to call.

Hey I've been wondering how to use italics. I followed your advice and as you can see above, it worked like a charm. Thanks Tim.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at September 15, 2004 at 02:59 AM

Every time I read an article referencing Typewriter Repairman Bill Glennon, I can't help thinking of this.

Posted by: The Proprietor at September 15, 2004 at 04:32 AM

Man I just keep getting a mental picture of Dan Rather hammering away at a typewriter, ripping it out of the carriage and then saying "This just in!".

Have read a couple of other Blogs naming Robin Rather as the source and therefore the reason he is making an ass of himself! She is big in Austin, and knows Ben Barnes. Just speculation at this point...

Posted by: John at September 15, 2004 at 05:49 AM

sorry, can't resist.

In the wake of Rathergate--

Edwards calls for blog reform.

Posted by: rocky at September 15, 2004 at 06:26 AM

John -- If it's Robin Rather, then *she* now is leaving her *dad* twisting in the wind. That's why I don't think she's involved (directly, anyway).

Posted by: old maltese at September 15, 2004 at 07:00 AM

...another VERY PLAUSIBLE method (and the one I'd favor) is to start with an oversized sheet of paper in the typewrier carriage. Afterwards, just trim it down so the message is "perfectly centered".

Posted by: adele at September 15, 2004 at 07:11 AM

As long as CBS is so busy not checking the typewriting angle of this story, what about the factual end?

My favorite is the part about Bush (W) having to get out of guard duty to help Sr's election effort. At the time he was an ambassador. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that an appointment?

Did nothing in this story get checked?

Posted by: brent at September 15, 2004 at 07:19 AM

"over 13 years in the 70s." Bad way to start. At MOST there are ten years in a decade.

Posted by: Henchman at September 15, 2004 at 07:36 AM

Just a thought, has anyone you heard of done the investigation to see just what typewriters the TANG had back in the early 70s? That would seem to be to be the first thing to check...

Posted by: billhedrick at September 15, 2004 at 07:59 AM

14 September 2004


Memo to File

SUBJECT: CYA

1. Fox has obviously pressured the BIG media about BUSH. I'm having trouble
covering up the forgery. Viacom gave me a message today from corporate regarding
BUSH's Forgery and corporate is pushing to sugar coat the crow I will have to eat.
This is the second bush to get the better of me. I think I will walk off the set
tonight that always makes me feel better. Kerry is not happy today either with this
I will have to pucker up to make him better.

2. It will be a long four more years of bush. I will have to make up a lot more stories


Dan Rather
the greatest news-man ever

Posted by: dan rather at September 15, 2004 at 08:28 AM

As I noted:

http://livefromdc.typepad.com/live_from_dc/2004/09/bush_tang_memo_.html

The Memo may not be the work of Microsoft Word or a PDF conversion. It could indeed be the product of a typewriter. The question we should really be asking: was it written in 1973 by Killian, or later...by someone else?

The fact that these showed up mysteriously--that not even the White House, not even Killian's family- was aware of their existence--should raise serious doubts about their authenticity.

But who would have put these out there and what was their objective? Kerry supporters avenging the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads?

Or Bush supporters attempting to discredit CBS and the DNC?

As one DNC pollster noted, if these memos are forgeries, the Presidential race is "over".

Posted by: Adam at September 15, 2004 at 08:31 AM

I'm pretty well satisfied that the CBS docs have been proven to be fake, but I have a couple of questions concerning matters outside my bailiwick.

1. CBS claims that the superscript 'th' is visible in another document from Bush's record, unrelated to the Killian memos. Apart from the fact that this 'th' is not raised, can it be precluded that the apparently different 'th' might have been Photoshopped in at some point? All I have is the PDF, and I assume that the PDF itself could have been doctored. If the PDF has been edited, would there be any traces left of the editing process?

2. Along the same lines, the PDFs of the Killian memos might contain information which is not visible on the screen or page, e.g. header information which might specify or suggest the origin of the files. I don't have a PDF filedump utility, and I wouldn't know what to look for if I did, but maybe someone else with the tools and knowledge could check this out. Presumably, the PDFs were at some point created from scanned images, and most of the document-creation programs I know of will add information to the files indicating when/where/how the files were created.

Posted by: bill at September 15, 2004 at 08:37 AM

Why is the font in the four See-BS memo's different from the Known ANG memo's?

Second point - In the memo ordering the taking of the physical, the grammer and style of writting is internally inconsistent in the memo. The style switches back and forth between military jargon and plain english.

third point - A CYA letter is generally written to the author of the CYA letter to assist the author in recalling facts at a later date. This CYA letter is written to tell some unknown third party of the facts.

Posted by: joe at September 15, 2004 at 08:48 AM

A friend who wanted me to enjoy a treat sent me the URL to this site, and a great treat it is. It confirms what I have long known, that all the brains in the country have migrated to the right side of the political spectrum over the years.

My typewriter is justified on the left, and my political views are justified--abundantly so--on the right.

Posted by: Toby at September 15, 2004 at 09:28 AM

We're upgrading to InDesign at my office. So I have been looking for tutorials and such. Decided to check out Adobe's User Forum. And there, on the forum, is a post from someone looking for a typewriter expert to prove that they could have done proportional spacing in the 70s. I repeat, they went to a forum about typesetting SOFTWARE, looking for a typewriter expert.

Pretty obvious why these forgeries were so can be picked apart so easily.

Posted by: Teri Pittman at September 15, 2004 at 01:04 PM

I think the documents are totall legitimate.
No, I'm not really a document expert, but I did stay at a holiday inn express last night!

Posted by: ron at September 15, 2004 at 04:17 PM

My, my what an elitist. Sneering at the man because he's a "mechanic."

But, the poster himself is so ignorant of office procedures of the time that he believes that Killian would have typed his own memos. Of course he wouldn't. They would have been typed by his personal secretary or secretaries and clerk typists from the base's typing pool.

Think about this: Why would a manufacturer produce sophisticated typewriters that DIDN'T ALLOW ONE TO CENTER TYPE ON THE PAGE? For goodness sakes, typewriters of the time could produce proportional type, could allow easy changes in type font and size, could be customized with specialized characters, could even JUSTIFY! And yes, they did allow you to quite easily center type on the page. Not, of course, as easily as you can now center in a word processing program. But it was, nonetheless, something that typists did routinely.

I am amazed at the pride in their own ignorance, and the lack of common sense, people have displayed in discussing this issue.

Posted by: esmense at September 16, 2004 at 04:48 AM

Old maltese - I agree that it seems unlikely to be Robin, on the other hand it is the best explaination for Rather's odd behavior - at this point he has the right to defend himself and burn the source, but he could not do that if it was Robin.

Posted by: John at September 16, 2004 at 06:36 AM

Esmense? Kindly go type a letter on the typewriter I am sure you own -- since you seem to know all about these things -- and then try to reproduce an exact copy with Microsoft Word by typing it. And by "exact" I mean just that -- each character and space between the characters and the lines in the computer copy had better be the exact same size and distance from each other as on the original typed copy. So that if one was printed out on a transparency and laid across the other, they would merge and look like one copy. Do that, and then come back here and sneer. Otherwise, nothing you have said here means shit.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 16, 2004 at 12:24 PM

The Silence is deafening at both ABC News(Australia) and BBC News(London) - at a time when one of the biggest news events of the year, CBS Memogate, is dramatically unfolding. Suppression of information - it's a beautiful thing. Increase the Beeb Licence fee! More funding for the ABC!
Ken kautsky

Posted by: ken kautsky at September 16, 2004 at 05:46 PM

Tim, the Well, Bill paragraph had me crying. I saw him on CBS supporting Dan and you really stuck it to him. Nice work. Thanks for making my day.

Posted by: Todd at September 17, 2004 at 04:07 PM

most of the document-creation programs I know of will add information to the files indicating when/where/how the files were created.

9/08/2004 on the one I looked at...Acrobat reader will tell you if poke thru the menus enough to find where to look.

Posted by: Jim Forbes at September 18, 2004 at 05:40 AM