[Politech] Thomas Lipscomb on the (political) coming of age of the Internet

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Fri Sep 10 2004 - 03:21:36 PDT

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Declan..... one of the most amazing stories of the coming of 
age of the Internets below.... and I appended my story in CST tomorrow
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2004 01:54:26 -0400
From: Thomas Lipscomb <tomlipscomb@private>
To: 'Declan McCullagh' <declan@private>

Newspaper history was just made before our eyes.

The long-awaited CBS 60 Minutes II story on Bush Guardgate finally came out
Wed night. by Thursday morning able bloggers at Powerlineblog and
INDCJournal had made a laughing stock out of CBS's "Killian Papers" by
pointing out indications of forgery a mouthbreathing 12 year old could have
recognized. By Thursday night CBS had announced an internal investigationto
Matt Drudge and promised an on air explanation by Dan Rather if the papers
proved fraudulent.

And ALL in 24 hours before the next day's papers had even come out.

And did the NYT writers credit this astonishing internet feat.? Of course
not. and neither did the AP or the Washington Post. though it credited FOUR
writers who did the Page One rehash they ran.

And yet THAT... not the forgery itself... was the important story.

Thomas Lipscomb
Chicago Sun-Times.
My story below.... FYI



By Thomas Lipscomb

There has been a new development in a presidential campaign in which charges
continue to fly about the authenticity of President Bush's National Guard
service or Senator John Kerry's website listing of medals and Naval service.

On 60 Minutes II on Wednesday night, CBS's Dan Rather introduced four
documents that he claimed were written by LT COL Jerry Killian, 1/LT George
W. Bush's superior, establishing that George W. Bush failed meet the
standards required by the Texas Air National Guard during his reserve
service in the early 1970s. These appeared to support charges by Democratic
National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Senator Kerry that Bush had
been "AWOL" and had failed to meet his National Guard commitments.

The documents were presented by CBS as coming from COL Killian's secret
personal files. In them Killian appears to complain that he was being
pressured by his superior officers to "sugar coat" Bush's substandard
performance in his official records and described how Bush had asked him
"how he could get out of coming to drill," among other things.

The morning after the 60 Minutes II airing the internet blogosphere was
buzzing with claims that the documents were forged. Powerlineblog first
aired speculation that there was persuasive evidence from the typefaces and
spacing that the documents supposedly prepared in the age of typewriters in
the early 1970s showed the unmistakeable characteristics of computer
printing. Another blogger, Bill Ardolino at INDC Journal, who had read
Powerline said "I decided to find a top typeface expert and ran his analysis
on my website."

Ardolino's expert, Philip D. Bouffard, is a nationally recognized forensic
authority on typewriter and electronic typefaces. Bouffard has the largest
collection of full letter impact typewriter specimens in a private
collection today. There are over 3,000 of them which have now been
formulated in electronic form and are commonly used in forensic work to
analyze and establish fraudulent documents. Having worked at NCR and a
regional forensic laboratory for over 30 years, Bouffard still works with
organizations such as the State of Ohio Attorney General's office in
establishing the grounds for Medicare fraud cases.

According to Bouffard the CBS documents appear to have been copied about 10
times in the state he saw them. Nevertheless, Bouffard states "All the
documents have been created on the same printer. And the proportional
spacing and the common characteristics of numbers like 4 and 7 and letters
like lower case c and upper case G are beyond the capabilities of any of the
typewriter impact specimens I have in my collection. The centering of
headings is also beyond the capabilities of any typewriter I know of.

His conclusion: "It is remotely possible that there is some typewriter that
has the capability to do all this that I have never seen, but it is more
likely that these documents were generated in the common Times New Roman
font and printed out on a computer printer that did not exist at the time
they were supposedly created. Philip Bouffard is a registered Democrat and
says he is planning to vote for John Kerry for President.

In a related story, the AP's Bobby Ross has reported that the son of COL
Killian, Gary Killian, has questioned the authenticity of the documents as
well and said that they didn't come from his family.

According to the Drudge Report  late Thursday "CBS NEWS executives have
launched an internal investigation into whether its premiere news program 60
MINUTES aired fabricated documents"

"The reputation and integrity of the entire news division is at stake, if we
are in error, it will be corrected," a top CBS source explained..


Thomas H. Lipscomb

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