What Fresh Hell Is This?

September 27, 2007

The Dan Rather Story - It Ain't What You Might Think

If you have a free moment, pop on over to this story at Media Matters. It's on "Rathergate" and it's sure to cause one or more of our local conservative friends (and you know who you are) to blow a few gaskets.

Some choice excerpts. Eric Boehlert starts by asking rhetorically who's more upset by Dan Rather's recent statements about the suit he filed:

Was it executives at CBS News who now face the prospect of reliving one of the network's darkest chapters via endless depositions from a plaintiff who says he won't accept a cash settlement?

Or was it right-wing bloggers, some of whom likely punched their TV sets in frustration watching Rather go on national television and claim, correctly, that nobody has ever proven that the memos he used in his report were fake, and pointing out that the basic facts of the Texas Air National Guard story -- that Bush walked away from his military commitment during the Vietnam War for months at a time--are still not in dispute.

Two things that lotsa folks believe to be true, in fact aren't.
  1. The Killian Memos were proven to be forgeries - they weren't.
  2. The "Bush skipped out of his Air National Guard duty" story is bogus - it isn't.
Boehlert links to this mediamatters story that itself links to the report from the commission set up to investigate "Rathergate" and quotes the executive summary as saying that the panel:
"identified a number of issues that raise serious questions about the authenticity of the documents and their content," it "has not been able to conclude with absolute certainty whether the ... documents are authentic or forgeries."
So while there are serious questions about the authenticity of the documents, the commission (which included former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, by the way) wasn't able to prove they were forged.

Point 1.

Point 2 - Boehlert, after some needed criticising of the media's coverage of the story sets up his ending:
And, oh yeah, how do I know the story about Bush evading his military service is true even though bloggers and the mainstream media declared, in the wake of Memogate, that it was not? It's easy. Using Bush's own military records, I'll list 10 glaring discrepancies regarding his fraudulent military service, none of which is based on the disputed memos that were aired by CBS News in 2004. And yes, I'm pretty sure all 10 discrepancies will come as news flashes to the same journalists who mocked Rather last week for having the temerity to suggest his National Guard report was true. [emphasis in original]
Go read them - they're very enlightening.

While you're at it, check out this site and this site and definitely this site.

The story is true - Dan Rather botched it.


Anonymous said...

John K. says: Dan Rather sure did botch it. He tried to pin something on the President that is not true and was completely falsified. Anyone who understands anything about the National Guard shoots holes thru Rather's theory. And Rather, falsified his military records. Tells everyone he was a Marine Corporal. LOL He lasted 44 days and was discharged. But hey, don't believe me, let CBS take it to trial. I enjoy making lefties look like fools.

Rob Carr said...

Interesting -- Anonymous doesn't have the courage of his convictions.

The disputed memos had superscript ordinal numbering on them - a smaller font. There was no way to do that with a typewriter from that era.

Even I could have done a better job. The thing is, Rather isn't the one at fault over those memos -- contrary to what Anonymous seems to think. Heads should have rolled, but Rather was just a fall guy for a corporation that is afraid of losing access.

Bush should be ashamed of his "military service." Moreso Cheney, who "had better things to do" than serve his country.

All that said, so what? The real problem with Bush is that he has enabled the terrorists by botching the war in Iraq, getting us to a place where we can no longer win that war. This is worse than incompetence, and I hope he's remembered for centuries as the man responsible for losing Iraq.

A jail term for being a traitor wouldn't be too bad, either.

"fair and balanced" dave said...

The disputed memos had superscript ordinal numbering on them - a smaller font. There was no way to do that with a typewriter from that era.

The Thornburgh panel could not reach a conclusion as to whether the documents were "fake" or not. (You can read the entire panel report here)

The dubious authenticity of the memos provided a convenient dodge for the Bushites. As Eric Boehlert points out, there are discrepancies in Bush's TANG record that are undisputed:

1. Upon entering the Guard, Bush agreed that flying was his "lifetime pursuit" and that he would fly for the military for at least 60 months. After his training was complete, he owed 53 more months of flying.

Bush flew for only 22 of those 53 months.

2. In May 1972, Bush left the Houston Guard base for Alabama. According to Air Force regulations, Bush was supposed to obtain prior authorization before leaving Texas to join a new Guard unit in Alabama.

Bush failed to get the authorization.

3. On his transfer request to Alabama Bush was asked to list his "permanent address."

He wrote down a post office box number for the campaign where he was working on a temporary basis.

4. According to Air Force regulations, "[a] member whose attendance record is poor must be closely monitored. When the unexcused absences reach one less than the maximum permitted [sic] he must be counseled and a record made of the counseling. If the member is unavailable he must be advised by personal letter."

There is no record that Bush ever received such counseling, despite the fact that he missed drills for months on end.

5. Bush's unit was obligated to report to the Personnel Center at Randolph Air Force Base whenever a monthly review of records showed unsatisfactory participation for an officer.

Bush's unit never reported his absenteeism to Randolph Air Force Base.

6. In July 1972, Bush failed to take a mandatory Guard physical exam, which is a serious offense for a Guard pilot. The move should have prompted the formation of a Flying Evaluation Board to investigate the circumstances surrounding Bush's failure.

No such Flying Evaluation Board was convened.

7. On Sept. 29, 1972, Bush was formally grounded for failing to take a flight physical. The letter, written by the chief of the National Guard Bureau, ordered Bush to acknowledge in writing that he had received word of his grounding.

No such written acknowledgment exists.

8. Each time Bush missed a monthly training session he was supposed to schedule a make-up session, or file substitute service requests. Bush's numerous substitute service requests should have formed a lengthy paper trail with the name of the officer who authorized the training in advance, the signature of the officer who supervised the training and Bush's own signature.

No such documents exist.

9. During his last year with the Texas Air National Guard, Bush missed a majority of his mandatory monthly training sessions and supposedly made them up with substitute service. Guard regulations allowed substitute service only in circumstances that were "beyond the control" of the Guard member.

Neither Bush nor the Texas Air National Guard ever explained what the uncontrollable circumstances were that forced him to miss so many of his assigned drills during his last year.

10. On June 29, 1973, the Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver instructed Bush's commanders to get additional information from his Alabama unit, where he had supposedly trained, in order to better evaluate Bush's duty.

Bush's commanders ignored the request.

Heir to the Throne said...

A post from the font of credibility hack Eric 'Hey, I'm not defending the AP on this, just attacking the AP's attackers!' Boehlert and I am to ignore that the Killian Memos look like that were created in Microsoft Word.

So while there are serious questions about the authenticity of the documents, the commission (which included former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, by the way) wasn't able to prove they were forged.

Who paid Dick Thornburgh paycheck for the commission?
Wow, Lawyers hired by CBS would not say that the document were forged and futher embarrass CBS.
Color me surprised.

The commission report was a whitewash for Rather's and CBS's actions.

BTW, CBS, Mapes and Rather haven't been able to prove they were authentic.

I love Biehlert CYA disclaimer:
Keep in mind, I'm not defending CBS' work here.

You should also check out this.
Rather v. CBS: Experts, "boardroom truth" versus "courtroom truth," and settlement values

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Hmmm, let's look at this Rather memo. On June 2, 1988, the aformentioned Rather ran a story about 6 servicemen from Vietnam. All said they had committed terrible crimes and all said they suffered disorders from those events. Well, none of those servicemen served in Vietnam. In fact, the only one who was in the military was a Navy fellow who was 16 when the US left Vietnam. And his service with the Navy was in radio repair, not as he claimed on Rather's show, a SEAL.
Now, lefties work with me, who provided all the info for Rather? Why none other than Burkett himself. Yes, you lefty loons, that Burkett. LOL LOL LOL LMAO You opened the door right into your thick skulls. LOL So Rather the fake Marine and you loons will believe anything he says.

Anonymous said...

You'll all notice that John K is avoiding talking about any of the facts of dubya's incomplete military record.

He'll talk about anything but the fact that his president went awol.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Anyone notice the lefties have no evidence yet continue to put out the lie about The President's military record?

Heir to the Throne said...

Notice how the President Bush released this military records with a executive order and John Kerry refuses to sign a form 180 to release his full service record to the public.

I know he signed a form 180, But Kerry only authorized the release of his records to friendly newspapers.

John K.,
Thanks for reminding me of The Wall Within for further proof of CBS's and Rather's sloppy reporting

Anonymous said...

Yep, they'll talk about ANYTHING but Bush's abysmal military record.