Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper

Thud, thud, thud

The press is busy distinguishing themselves this week:

1) First, the AP reported that Bush offered good wishes to President Clinton as he went into surgery, that the crowd booed, and that Bush didn't try to stop them. It apparently wasn't true, as the AP silently revised the story later. (I've heard an audio clip with applause that is supposedly from that event.) Of course, that didn't stop the false version of the story from being spread around. For lots of discussion of it, you could check out Power Line. Or if you're not willing to read a conservative weblog, try Editor and Publisher.

2) Then there was the AP's out-of-context quoting of Cheney's remarks in a question and answer session, the sloppy quoting implying that Cheney was saying that, if Kerry were elected, the U.S. would be hit with a new terrorist attack. Here's Patterico (who -- as you'll see if you click on the link -- has little use for the L.A. Times :) ) with a fairly comprehensive discussion of it, along with the complete quote (which I have seen on CNN's website as well, with an entirely misleading headline). Cheney didn't say we'd be hit again because Kerry was President (reading the full quote indicates that he said that terrorists will hit us in the future, regardless of who wins the election), but he did question whether Kerry would respond to an attack in an appropriate manner.

Note: the issue of what is and isn't appropriate is certainly debatable and you're more than welcome to disagree with Cheney on this. It's just that it would be good to disagree with what he actually said, not with what he's misquoted as saying.

3) Finally, there are the documents that CBS News uncovered and reported about on 60 Minutes II the other night. The problem is that there is substantial reason to believe that the documents might be forgeries of a relatively recent vintage, created using Microsoft Word, not a typewriter from the 1970s. While Dan Rather and CBS News are "standing by their story" and complaining that the people examining the documents via the PDFs available on the net are working with flawed, degraded copies, it doesn't actually appear that CBS has the original documents either. Certainly, they haven't been willing to post better scans for analysis.

The Boston Globe decides to weigh in on CBS's side of the dispute, but it appears that they misquoted the document expert that they interviewed who had earlier expressed skepticism about the documents in statements posted at various sites on the net.

Of course, one of the people mentioned in the memos as pressuring to sugar coat Bush's service had already retired by the time the memo was supposed to be written.

And apparently one of the people who CBS used to authenticate the memos was told they were handwritten, not typewritten, according to ABC News:

Retired Maj. General Hodges, Killian's supervisor at the Grd, tells ABC News that he feels CBS misled him about the documents they uncovered. According to Hodges, CBS told him the documents were "handwritten" and after CBS read him excerpts he said, "well if he wrote them that's what he felt."

Hodges also said he did not see the documents in the 70's and he cannot authenticate the documents or the contents. His personal belief is that the documents have been "computer generated" and are a "fraud".

CBS responds: ""We believed Col. Hodges the first time we spoke with him. We believe the documents to be genuine. We stand by our story and will continue to report on it."

Well, so much for honest reporting for this week...
Tags: media, musings, politics

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