Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Boy, this Corey Pein fellow from the Columbia Journalism Review is being absolutely beat senseless on the blogs I travel. The best, most eloquent snicker is probably from Hindrocket at PowerLine. This dude actually emailed PowerLine pointing to his story, obviously with some pride and the belief he had parried their thrust (ahem). Wonder how he feels today?

I am reproducing the graf below, not to pile on Mr. Pein, but because it's a devastating summary of CBS' actions on the Memo Story. Behold:
I could go on, but there is little point in doing so. CBS ostensibly "worked" on the National Guard story for years. They took fake documents from a notoriously unstable source who had no first-hand knowledge of President Bush's National Guard career, and who could not account for where he got them. On their face, the documents looked nothing like authentic National Guard memos of the 1970s that were in CBS's possession, but CBS asked no questions. CBS carried out no investigation to determine whether the memos were genuine, and made a point of not talking to people who were ostensibly quoted in the memos to determine whether the documents were accurate. They put the documents before the American public in the heat of an election campaign, and closely coordinated their story with a Democratic National Committee advertising campaign which dovetailed perfectly with the fake documents, and which began the morning after their broadcast. When questioned about the documents' apparent fraudulence, they stonewalled, and Dan Rather guaranteed the American people that the documents were authentic, because they came from an unimpeachable source.

The bloggers, on the other hand, began questioning the documents within hours after they appeared; raised many logical questions about their authenticity, the vast majority of which turned out to be valid; pointed out anachronisms within the documents that proved that their contents were false; and were ultimately proved correct in their suspicion that the documents were fakes. Nearly all of which occurred, not over a period of years, which CBS had to pursue its "story," but over the space of twelve hours.

Ooof. Power Line is not one of my favorite American blogs (sometimes I get the feeling that supporting the Republican Party is more important to them than being right), but I sure appreciate why they're so popular. Hindrocket, Trunk, and Deacon can state their cases like few others.


At 9:29 a.m., Blogger Timmy the G said...

Unfortunately, everything Powerline states in their case is bullshit.

True, CBS got rapped on the memos, and deservedly so, since they practiced bad journalism. But everything the right wing blogs pointed out about the memos was crap. As Pein points out, the typography was fine the in memos. The terminology was also fine.

The instant assault on the nature of the memos lead by Bush supporters leads me to strongly suspect that the whole thing was a set up by Karl Rove, who knew that Bush's lack of National Guard service was an issue that even Republican drones couldn't ignore indefinitely. It was a brilliant way to defuse the story.

Pein's story is solid journalism. Hindrocket's response is the joke, filled with innuendo about the DNC coordinating with CBS, already debunked bullshit about the typography, adn personal smears against Burkett, whose role is still not fully understood.

The ultimate result of this scandal is that Bush's service is now accepted as honourable, a conclusion deifnitely not supported by any actual facts. Worked out well for Bush, though, didn't it?

At 1:30 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I may summarize Timmy's argument: "I know how to type!"


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