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Friday, September 21, 2007
Adjusting Mary Mapes' meds
We reported that since these documents were copies, not originals, they could not be fully authenticated, at least not in the legal sense. They could not be subjected to tests to determine the age of the paper or the ink. We did get corroboration on the content and support from a couple of longtime document analysts saying they saw nothing indicating that the memos were not real.
Instantly, the far right blogosphere bully boys pronounced themselves experts on document analysis, and began attacking the form and font in the memos. They screamed objections that ultimately proved to have no basis in fact. But they captured the argument. They dominated the discussion by churning out gigabytes of mind-numbing internet dissertations about the typeface in the memos, focusing on the curl at the end of the "a," the dip on the top of the "t," the spacing, the superscript, which typewriters were used in the military in 1972.
It was a deceptive approach, and it worked.
It's possible that some of the readers of the Huffpo who are nodding and saying, "Yeah, that's right!" as they read Mapes' op-ed are so ill-informed about the facts that they might be excused for being misled by her. But the only explanation for how Mary Mapes could write that last sentence is that she is a genuinely pathological liar. And having herself been the producer for the broadcast, only someone genuinely, clinically psychotic could deny that CBS' own experts alerted them to massive indicators that the documents were forged before the broadcast. An ordinary liar, one who still has a grasp on objective reality in the world, would surely come up with a better argument than that.
(Some of you reading that will say, "Wow, that's so snarky as to cross the border into meanness. Beldar's usually not that harsh." If so, you misunderstand me. I really am saying that I literally believe she is psychotic, and that her particular mental illness involves a compulsion to tell and re-tell lies. It's obviously a lay opinion, for I don't have any medical training. But I'm not engaging in any hyperbole.)
UPDATE (Fri Sep 21 @ 8:00pm): This is a very measured but detailed reaction to Mapes' op-ed from someone who self-identifies as being "a member of the 'reality-based community'" who aptly concludes: "Mary Mapes' attempt to rehabilitate those forged documents is not based in any kind of reality that I understand." (H/t Eugene Volokh.)
Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Adjusting Mary Mapes' meds and sent a trackback ping are listed here:
Tracked on Sep 22, 2007 2:11:39 AM
Is that really a more parsimonious explanation than that she's just a garden-variety fraud and liar?
(2) Linus made the following comment | Sep 21, 2007 4:50:42 PM | Permalink
They dominated the discussion by churning out gigabytes of mind-numbing internet dissertations about
the typeface in the memos, focusing on the curl at the end of the "a," the dip on the top of the "t," the spacing, the superscript, which typewriters were used in the military in 1972actual facts.
Ah, much better.
But wouldn't you love to have her on a jury if you were defending a total loser of a case? You could base your case that no pubic hair of the defendant was found at the scene of the burglary and have a fair chance that she would buy it. ^_^
I think what truly galls them (and keeps them from admitting the truth) is that they lost control of the story to "a bunch of amateurs". Of course, anyone who has read The Cathedral and the Bazaar knows better, but those who have are a small percentage of the population.
(If you don't know what that is, Google it or go to my blog and click on the link - my apologies for the self-promotion, my friend.)
Antimedia, your comments here, including such links as you choose to provide back to your own blog or anywhere else, are always welcome here.
(6) DRJ made the following comment | Sep 21, 2007 11:45:08 PM | Permalink
I'm about as depressed as I can get by this - although fortunately I don't ever get very depressed. People can believe or not believe that George W. Bush's family pulled strings to get him assigned to the Texas National Guard. They can disparage or applaud his military service. But I can't understand how anyone could believe the Rathergate documents were authentic. Yet I know there are apparently many people who do: Not just that the documents are true in spirit but that they actually existed.
The divide between what I believe and what a growing part of our population believes amazes me.
(7) Looking Glass made the following comment | Sep 22, 2007 1:54:52 AM | Permalink
Rather REALLY thinks that it was all a conspiracy by the right wing attack blogs orchestrated by the Bush campaign to win the election.
The election is long over. The heat has died down. Most importantly, Bush is way down in the polls. No resources to spare to assign to taking down Rather again.
Best of all, the criminal master mind Karl Rove has left the Bush campaign. Rather thinks he's flying under the BushRovian mind-control rays, so it's time to re-habilitate himself.
He's not worth the effort on the part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
It's the only explanation that makes sense.
Looking Glass, Rather's complaint bases its claim (at paragraph 61 at page 18 of the .pdf file) that Thornburgh was biased against Rather and in favor of covering up for BushCo. on grounds that Rove was once an adviser to one of Thornburgh's unsuccessful senate campaigns, and that's true.
I had forgotten until tonight, though, when I was re-reading some posts from back in 2004, that Rove and Thornburgh are such very tight buddies from their prior relationship that Rove's consulting firm had to sue Thornburgh in his personal capacity for $170k in unpaid fees (before expenses, interest, or attorneys' fees). Karl Rove & Co. v. Thornburgh, 39 F.3d 1273 (5th Cir. 1994).
(9) Hank Essay made the following comment | Sep 22, 2007 1:01:00 PM | Permalink
Since you didn't post this part of the link, I thought I should include it, since your readers may have missed it:
"...As a result, I'm reasonably convinced that George W. Bush used family connections to "jump the line" into the Texas National Guard in order to avoid service in Vietnam; and the evidence that I've seen indicates that he did as little actual National Guard service as the law allowed, and maybe less..."
Just in case there were any questions about the empty suit of a man you are do desperate to prop up...
the empty suit of a man
Each of those claims is as fraudulent as the memos.
There was no waiting list for qualified pilot trainees. The Texas Air National Guard flew missions in defense of the continental US, it was not simply training and reserves. In that sense it is perhaps more comparable to the Coast Guard.
During the transition to a different aircraft some pilots with only a short tme remaining were released early rather than waste the expense of retraining. An term of duty is not a prison sentence, there is no law that mandates make work or desk time under those conditions.
Folks, as I've said on another thread, let's keep reasonably close to on-topic. Rather's lawsuit can't help but re-raise the issue of the Killian Memos' authenticity or lack thereof, but let's try not to replay the entire Bush/TANG story or the rest of the 2004 election. Thanks.
(12) Milhouse made the following comment | Oct 2, 2007 3:19:57 PM | Permalink
Beldar, when you describe an article as 'a measured but detailed reaction [...] from someone who self-identifies as being "a member of the 'reality-based community'"', a casual reader might erroneously conclude that you more or less endorse most of its contents. In fact, one commenter was so misled. It's therefore relevant to point out that the article is in fact not quite so reality-based as all that. Since its author states his belief that a) Bush's family had pull with the TANG, and b) that he needed and used that non-existent pull to get in, it's relevant to remind people that neither claim was true.
Fair points, Milhouse. I think you know, but perhaps others don't know, that during the run-up to the 2004 election I very vigorously defended Dubya on the merits of the charges that he had benefited from family strings to get his pilot spot in the TANG. It still stuns me how many people make the jump from (notorious con-man) Ben Barnes (sometimes, inconsistently) claiming to have exercised pull on Dubya's behalf to pull actually having been exercised, despite contrary contemporaneous evidence from people who actually would have had to be in the loop if that had happened (and Barnes wasn't one such).
My attempt here, though, was to try to sketch a cutting-off point for purposes of this post, limiting it to Rather's case and, one level removed from that, the genuineness or lack thereof of the Killian Memos.
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