Archive for Media

It’s official: “we have been misled”

The source was in fact Bill Burkett. (Accepting any evidence from him is probably a bigger knock on CBS than The Documents being forged.
CBS’s statement:

Bill Burkett, in a weekend interview with CBS News Anchor and Correspondent Dan Rather, has acknowledged that he provided the now-disputed documents used in the Sept. 8 “60 Minutes Wednesday” report on President Bush

It’s taken them long enough

After days of expressing confidence about the documents used in a “60 Minutes” report that raised new questions about President Bush’s National Guard service, CBS News officials have grave doubts about the authenticity of the material, network officials said last night.
The officials, who asked not to be identified, said CBS News would most likely make an announcement as early as today that it had been deceived about the documents’ origins. CBS News has already begun intensive reporting on where they came from, and people at the network said it was now possible that officials would open an internal inquiry into how it moved forward with the report. Officials say they are now beginning to believe the report was too flawed to have gone on the air.
But they cautioned that CBS News could still pull back from an announcement. Officials met last night with Dan Rather, the anchor who presented the report, to go over the information it had collected about the documents one last time before making a final decision. Mr. Rather was not available for comment late last night.
The New York Times

Rathergate cartoons

Ratherbiiased rounds up a whole bunch of Rathergate editorial cartoons.

Real & fake side by side

A real Texas National Guard Memo with Killian’s signature next to one of The Documents over at the Washington Post. Not at all close.

Editing the 60 minutes piece

Bill Hobbs has taken last week’s 60 Minutes piece and edited out everything related to The Documents. What’s left is simply the story of a partisan Democrat claiming he helped get George Bush into the National Guard. Without the memos there’s not one valid concern to be raised about his last 2 years in the Guard, it’s all about how he got in. And lets remember that Bush didn’t have to jump in front of hundreds of people to get his Guard slot as many would have you believe. Very few people were willing to put in the required training time to be a pilot. There were 156 openings in that Group and 26 for officers like Bush.
And yet Rather still wants us to ignore Th Documents and instead focus on the serious questions raised. Now if only there were some serious questions raised without the forgery of Th Documents.

Killian’s secretary

Some less-than-consistent stories from Marian Carr Knox, Col. Jerry Killian’s secretary (though she was apparently not just his secretary but rather the secretary for the whole office).
From the Sept. 14th Houston Chronicle:

Last week, Knox said she had no firsthand knowledge of Bush’s time with the Texas Air National Guard, although she did recall a culture of special treatment for the sons of prominent people, such as Bush and others.
Houston Chronicle

From last night’s 60 Minutes

Knox remembers Lt. Bush well, and saw him often as he showed up for weekend training in 1971 and 1972.
CBS News

I don’t know that I’d put much weight behind the story of an 86 year old Bush-hater whose story has changed drastically in just the past week.

Quote of the day

“If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I’d like to break that story,” Rather said in an interview last night. “Any time I’m wrong, I want to be right out front and say, ‘Folks, this is what went wrong and how it went wrong.’ ”
Washington Post

From this I gather that CBS News has a time machine tucked away somewhere and at some point in the future plans to send Dan Rather back to halfway through last Wednesday’s 60 Minutes so he can be the first to break the story.

Tracing the origins of The Documents

The Washington Post is reporting that The Documents contained a fax header indicating that they were faxed to CBS from a Kinko’s in Abilene, Texas.

Documents allegedly written by a deceased officer that raised questions about President Bush’s service with the Texas Air National Guard bore markings showing they had been faxed to CBS News from a Kinko’s copy shop in Abilene, Tex., according to another former Guard officer who was shown the records by the network.
The markings provide one piece of evidence suggesting a source for the documents, whose authenticity has been hotly disputed since CBS aired them in a “60 Minutes” broadcast Sept. 8. The network has declined to name the person who provided them, saying the source was confidential, or to explain how the documents came to light after more than three decades.
There is only one Kinko’s in Abilene, and it is 21 miles from the Baird, Tex., home of retired Texas National Guard officer Bill Burkett, who has been named by several news outlets as a possible source for the documents.
Robert Strong, who was one of three people interviewed by “60 minutes,” said he was shown copies of the documents by CBS anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes on Sept. 5, three days before the broadcast. He said at least one of the documents bore a faxed header indicating it had been sent from a Kinko’s in Abilene.
Washington Post

Blogs for Bush indicates that the Abilene Kinko’s is, in fact, the closest Kinko’s to Burkett’s home.
Kevin McCullough of has spoken with the Abilene Kinko’s. It was confirmed that Burkett has a standing account there and that he was there last week. It’s looking more and more like Burkett’s a/the source.
So, how long do you figure it’ll be before we get our first “Rove gave The Documents to Burkett” or “Rove sent someone to Abilene to frame Burkett” conspiracy theory?
NRO’s Kerry Spot points out that Killian’s secretary thinks the wording used in The Documents sounds more like Army wording and that Burkett spent 28 years in the Army National Guard.

Marion Carr Knox, the secretary to Col. Jerry Killian, President Bush’s National Guard commander, this evening, during her interview with Dan Rather:

“And there are words in there that belong in the Army, not to the Air Guard. We never used those terms.”

From the Veterans for Peace web site:

Lt. Col. Bill Burkett completed 28 years of decorated service and was medically retired from the US Army National Guard in 1998.

Ace of Spades HQ provides a good background on Bill Burkett.

The CBS statement

Everyone’s got the statement from CBS News President Andrew Heyward.

We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of coroborating [sic] evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that’s what we are doing.

That of course clears nothing up and tells us nothing other than that they’ve switched from saying The Documents are authentic to saying they’re “accurate”.
There is however an extended statement, a 3 page pdf on CBS’s site. It also clears nothing up.
It tells us that Killian’s secretary is on 60 Minutes tonight.
It has a section meant to address the procurement of The Documents which simply says that they got them from a source they’re not willing to identify and that you should trust that Mary Mapes vetted The Documents.
In a section about the authentication of The Documents they tell us they were examined by Marcel B. Matley, James J. Pierce, Emily Will and Linda James. The latter two came forward yesterday to say they do not vouch for their authenticity, Matley came forward earlier to say that he looked only at the signature on one document. Only Pierce seems to be standing by the authenticity of The Documents. They also list typewriter repairman Bill Glennon and “computer software expert” Richard Katz as believing The Documents to be authentic. If we consider Glennon and Katz to actually be document experts that would seem to bring the total number of document experts worldwide who believe The Documents to be authentic to be 3. That’s only half of the people CBS puts forward in this memo.
Then, totally ignoring many, many problems surrounding The Documents they simply point out that Bobby Hodges said The Documents “reflected issues he and Col. Killian had discussed” and that Gen. Buck Staudt was still powerful after he retired.
They then go on to point out that we shouldn’t really be concerned with The Documents which would seem to be fake so much as people should be answering the fake questions raised by the fake documents.
A thoroughly unconvincing defense/clarification/explanation.
Ernest Miller fisks The Statement.

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