The End is Near - Lead Source Can't Authenticate.
Dan Rather referred to handwriting expert Marcel Matley as one of the experts who contributed to the validation of Texas National Guard Memos that are highly critical of President Bush. The Washington Post reports he is now denying that he authenticated the documents [hat tip to Little Green Footballs]. In a New York Times article Matley is quoted as suggesting the signature could have been lifted from another document. On the otherhand, document experts were enlisted by the Post who find the Memos highly suspicious.
The Washington Post (9/14):
"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.
A detailed comparison by The Washington Post of memos obtained by CBS News with authenticated documents on Bush's National Guard service reveals dozens of inconsistencies, ranging from conflicting military terminology to different word-processing techniques.
The analysis shows that half a dozen Killian memos released earlier by the military were written with a standard typewriter using different formatting techniques from those characteristic of computer-generated documents. CBS's Killian memos bear numerous signs that are more consistent with modern-day word-processing programs, particularly Microsoft Word.
"I am personally 100 percent sure that they are fake," said Joseph M. Newcomer, author of several books on Windows programming, who worked on electronic typesetting techniques in the early 1970s. Newcomer said he had produced virtually exact replicas of the CBS documents using Microsoft Word formatting and the Times New Roman font.
While a prior article by CBS/AP News seems to indirectly undermine Dan Rather's continued assertions of authenticity. However, the Post article completely demolishes these Rather's arguments and appears to be the first direct and mainstream media challenge to what what bloggers have been reporting for days. You know that CBS is drowning when it relies on an "expert" with no credentials as a document analyst who refuses to authenticate the memos because he only saw them on line. Dobbs and Kurtz demonstrate proper journalistic technique by asking someone with professional background in the field to review the data ... [CaptainsQuartersBlog]
New York Times (9/14): The Times reports further about Matley and suggests that the burden of proof is on CBS.
One of the experts CBS News said initially helped convince it that the documents were genuine, a handwriting expert named Marcel B. Matley, said in an interview yesterday that he believed the signature in the documents to be that of Colonel Killian. Asked if the signature could have been lifted from an official document by Colonel Killian and pasted onto forgeries, Mr. Matley said: "Sure. But we can't draw a conclusion from a possibility."
Alex S. Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, said the burden was on CBS to prove its report was accurate beyond standard lines like "We stand by our story."
I think they should be able to provide credible information about how these memos came into their possession," Mr. Jones said. "And if they cannot provide the name of the source, then they need to make as much transparency as possible."
Matley, CBS' lone "document" expert, is essentially saying that the signature is Killian's but that it could have been lifted from any document and placed on CBS' Guard Memos. Consequently, he admits what many have been saying for days: his opinion related to authenticity is meaningless. In doing so he also reveals that CBS never validated their memos that were used in a primetime news program to impune the character of the President of the United States just weeks before a presidential election.
In addition to the remarkable admission by Matley, the mainstream media is now realizing that the burden of proof has always been on CBS and that CBS clearly failed to meet that burden. At the same time I wonder if other news organizations with Rather's same bias are breathing a sigh of relief knowing that had the memos been given to them they would now be seated in Rather's uncomfortable hot seat.
Update: I decided to pull the brief commentary above out into a separate post.
- CBS Against the World
- A Rush to Judgement on the President's Military Record.
- Political Strategy Backfires
- Pentagon: Documents are Fake
- List of Experts Mounts Against CBS Memos
- Another Source Turns Against CBS Memos
- A Likely Source for CBS Bush Guard Memos
- CBS Articles Undermines Prior Assertions
- Lead Expert Admits Forgery Possible
- 'Nobody likes filing for bankruptcy' - Oct 13, 2006
- So Long Peter Jennings - Aug 08, 2005
- Blogswarm Targets Air America - Jul 31, 2005
- Following the Herd off a Cliff - Jul 11, 2005
- Rehnquist to Retire - Jul 08, 2005
- Downing Street Memos were Destroyed - Jun 19, 2005
- Washington Post Confirms Felt Was 'Deep Throat' - May 31, 2005
- Ex-FBI Official, Felt, Claims to be Watergate's 'Deep Throat' - May 31, 2005
- Newsweek Retracts Koran Desecration Story - May 16, 2005
- Whitehouse Reacts to Newsweek Koran Blunder - May 16, 2005
"Mr. Matley said: 'Sure. But we can't draw a conclusion from a possibility."
If Matley acknowledges it's a possibility that the signature was faked, then it follows that the signature being real can no longer be a certainty, but must also be reduced to being a possibility.
Yet he's willing to draw conclusions from one possibility but not the other? Riiiight....
Posted by: CBD at September 14, 2004 12:35 AM