CBS Documents Forged

Power Line has been raising questions about the Bush military records found by CBS, noting that the font spacing and formatting is highly suspect. The original documents can be seen here.

While it is possible than proportionally-spaced fonts were used in some memos, the formatting just so happens to be identical to a document produced in Microsoft Word right down to the line spacing and kerning. The chances of a document from the early 1970s matching a copy made in Word so exactly is exceptionally small. Especially the use of the superscript ‘th’ character which would have required a level of formatting that would not be present in a memo of this type.

Furthermore, the AP is once again running an inaccurate story claiming that the White House distributed two of the memos when in fact, as Kevin Drum fairly notes, the White House was merely using the same copies as CBS.

At this point the preponderance of evidence indicates that these memos are forgeries – and crude ones at that.

UPDATE: Bill at INDC Journal gets the opinion of a professional document analyst who indicates that the documents are quite likely to be forgeries. Given that several different people have been able to reproduce identical documents using Word, the forgery option now seems like the most likely scenario. The burden of proof now falls upon CBS to show evidence that could confirm their authenticity.

UPDATE: Sorry, I couldn’t resist this one:

Clippy helps with document forgery...

24 thoughts on “CBS Documents Forged

  1. So because it doesn’t look anything like other TANG documents of the period (but – totally coincidentally – it resembles to six decimal places something you can cook up in Word with default settings in a matter of seconds), it wasn’t a sophisticated forgery and therefore couldn’t be a forgery at all? Nice.

    As far as examining the originals, I’m all for it, and you do have a good point by saying that magnification will reveal a lot. You’ll just have to excuse me if I don’t hold my breath waiting for CBS to let anybody other than their pet experts look at it.

  2. Truthado, read the INDC post that Jay links to. All is explained about the proportional font thing.

    Reader’s Digest version: Hardware may have existed in 1972 that could produce a document looking exactly like that. It’s damn near impossible that A) an Air National Guard office of that era could reasonably be expected to have it, and B) even if by some miracle it did, no CO with half a brain would have used such a complicated machine to type a simple memo about a subordinate when a regular typewriter was available (and, apparently, used to type every other document about said subordinate).

  3. In either case, CBS would be best served by PRODUCING THEIR EXPERT(S).

    1. If it is not a forgery, the experts can easily clear up why they decided as much.

    2. If it is a forgery, the ‘expert’ becomes the scapegoat and CBS is off the hook. “We’re not the experts, this guy is. Don’t blame us!”

    In either case, CBS would be in good shape by producing their experts. So, why aren’t they?! Is it, just maybe, because THEY NEVER REALLY consulted any experts?


  4. Hilarious graphic!
    Mere proportional spacing is not the clincher for forgery, nor curved quotes, nor the superscript “th”. Variable kerning is conclusive, though. There are *different* spaces between the same characters on different lines–something computers do automatically, but no proportional typewriter ever did. Couple this with the multi-faceted anachronisms spelled out at Power Line, family testimony, etc., the firm conclusion is that CBS never had an expert look at the documents.

  5. BTW, nor is this an innocent hoax. The memo distributed is of poor quality, having been copied many times to degrade its clarity. Why multiple photocopies (and scribbled initials) on an “innocent” modern reproduction? Why forged signature on “innocent” reproduction? CBS set these forth as originals/original copies, not interpretations or transcriptions. I doubt CBS produced these docs in-house. Rather, Rather and his ilk are blinded by their rabid bias, and are eager to pass on their bias to America.

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  8. Chet (Ch3t?), I was joking about the “it didn’t look like a good forgery therefore it absolutely must be genuine” point, but it looks like you seriously believe it.

    And the Rightblogosphere isn’t questioning the authenticity of all the documents that show President Bush in a bad light, just the ones that look like they could have been done in Word in two minutes (or less)…

  9. Oh, and another thing – I was joking when I characterized your position as “it wasn’t a good forgery, therefore it couldn’t have been a forgery.”

    Your followup comments indicate to me that you really do believe that.

  10. I fixed IBM typewriters for 9 years in the 1980’s. I have worked on everything from a Model 04 (the first electric typewriter made by IBM) to the Selectric, the Electronic typewriters, and finally, the Wheelwriters and IBM PCs.

    Maybe the IBM Executive Model B was introduced in 1941, but no product made by IBM up to the advent of the Office System/6, which came out in 1978 or 1979 with the first ink jet technology (“spray and pray”, as we called it).It was as big as two large lateral file cabinets.

    On a typewriter, one would move the platen 1/2 line to simulate a superscript, but the type size would not change. Here, it does. It looks to me as though the writer tried to correct the mistake in several places by putting a space between “111” and “th”, but in others, he did not, and the superscript is in a smaller point size.

    No manual, electric, or electronic typewriter produced before the 1980’s was ever capable of producing superscripts or subscripts of the type seen on these documents. Period.

    Rather is deluding himself. CBS=Can’t Be Sincere

  11. 9/10/04

    CBS said that the four documents they have had obviously been photocopied and faxed, maybe many times. If that is so, then the question would have to be, when? The old Xerox machines I used in the late 60’s and early 70’s caused a distortion that enlarged the copy slightly. Each copy of a copy got slightly larger and a little more fuzzy. Eventually copies could get quite large. This was because of the copier process used and was unavoidable. Copiers that did not use the Xerox process produced grainly muddy copies. Modern copiers do not enlarge the copies accidentally and they do not tend to produce grainy copies. The CBS documents do not apear to have enlarged, and gotten fuzzier and they do not appear to have become grainy and lower in contrast in the same way as they would have with the copiers I used back then. The copying must have been on more modern photo copiers. But, that begs the question, why copy a copy, of a copy, of a fax, of a copy, in the first place?

    Lonnie Kendall

  12. Don’t forget that a computer can print on a Dot Matrix Printer (and therefore have some of the characteristics of a Typewriter).

  13. The Democrats problem is that they are not smart enough to forge documents. Their only hope for survival is to hope for an idiot public who will beleive their BS. It is obvious that most CBS news reporters majored in journalism only because there were no math or science classes required. Its getting too funny and I am quite amused.


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