September 10, 2004

The protein wisdom interview:  Dan Rather’s Ego


**protein wisdom EXCLUSIVE. MUST CREDIT protein wisdom**

protein wisdom:  “To jump right in:  this forged document story has really taken on a life of its own.  Question:  will all this negative press damage the credibility of CBS News, and do you fear some in the public will come to believe CBS essentially manufactured an anti-Bush story?”

Rather’s ego:  “I don’t believe either of those things for a second, no.  I know that the story we presented is true. I believe that the witnesses and the documents are authentic. We wouldn’t have gone to air if they would not have been. There isn’t going to be—there’s no apology necessary.”

protein wisdom:  “No apology, no retraction, no internal investigation…?”

Rather’s ego:  “Not even discussed, nor should it be. I want to make clear to you, I want to make clear to you if I have not made clear to you, that this story is true, and that more important questions than how we got the story, which is where those who don’t like the story like to put the emphasis, the more important question is what are the answers to the questions raised in the story –”

protein wisdom:  “– sure, except Byron York already provided those answers in his Hill piece yesterday.  Getting back to my point, though—more than a half-dozen nationally recognized experts have concluded that the documents CBS presented are likely forgeries –”

Rather’s ego:  “So what?  Incidental.  Even Uncle Charlie sometimes cuts the firewood with a dull blade –”

protein wisdom:  “Which means what, exactly?”

Rather’s ego:  “– Which means bookish pedants pontificate, reporters report.  Bottom line is, the story we told is true.  And when a story is true, it’s true and true and true –”

protein wisdom: “– but a number of questions have been raised about the spacing, the kerning, the formatting, certain anachronistic language, Word overlays, a General’s retirement, forged signatures*

Rather’s ego:  “Oh kerning shmerning.  You can box that argument up and mail it off to Aunt Nelly for Christmas –”

protein wisdom:  “– beg your pardon –?”

Rather’s ego:  “– Lookit.  I’m Dan Rather.  Dan Flippin’ Rather.  A name that has become synonymous with hard-edged journalism –”

protein wisdom:  “– who is Aunt Nelly –?”

Rather’s ego:  “– Which means I was breaking huge stories back when you New Media types were still doing laps in your pappy’s scrotum.  And I will not have my competence questioned by a bunch of electronic sand fleas.

protein wisdom:  “Fair enough.  But it’s not just New Media doing the questioning.  For instance, ABC has raised questions about the authenticity of those documents.  As has the Washington Post, The Weekly Standard, the Chicago Sun-Times –”

Rather’s ego:  “Pap!  Effluveum!  You’re ticking off names of our competitors.  And competitors compete, boy– that’s what they do.  As for the Weekly Standard — well, you can tie that rag in a gingham ribbon and use it to dust Aunt Milly’s mini-blinds –”

protein wisdom: “– Aunt Nelly, I think it was–”

Rather’s ego:  “– No, Aunt Milly.  Aunt Nelly lives in a home –”

protein wisdom:  “– Okay, okay.  Let’s not fight.  Question: shouldn’t CBS at least bring in additional document experts?  Wouldn’t such a gesture go a long way toward showing your network’s good faith…?”

Rather’s ego:  “What is it with you people and your faith?  I’m Dan Rather.  Dan Rather.  That’s all the ‘faith’ you need.  I was investigating corruption when you internet punks were DNA travelers, tail-slapping your way along your mammy’s sugar walls –”

protein wisdom:  “– Yes, how colorful.  Let me put it this way, then:  yes or no—will CBS bring in additional document experts?  Or can you at least produce evidence that the Texas Air National Guard had access to a specialty typewriter– one equipped with an elevated superscript ball, a Times Roman typeface, and kerning capabilities—in 1972?”

Rather’s ego:  “– Ask George H.W. Bush who his daddy is –”

protein wisdom:  “Yes or no, Mr. Rather’s ego.”

Rather’s ego:  “– Because I slapped that bitch around like an adopted child.  And you tell Ted Koppel he can kiss my liberal ass, too.  Like he’s fooling anybody with that ridiculous rug of his.  A couple of muskrats getting their freak on is what it looks like.”

protein wisdom:  “Are you willing to bring in outside experts, sir–”

Rather’s ego:  “– You know what?—that’s it.  Interview’s over.  Dan Rather wants a cheese steak.  And for the record, I was eating cheese steaks while you digital nits were butting hats against your mommy’s ova.  A cheese steak with fried mushrooms.  Which, who do you think it was who came up with the idea of putting fried mushrooms on a cheese steak?  Here’s a hint:  it wasn’t Al Gore…”


update:  A question for mental health experts: is it true that a diminished grasp of the temporal is a tell-tale sign of mental illness?  And if so, are there any pills or ointments you can recommend for such a condition…?


update 2Boston Globe:  “Authenticity backed on Bush documents.”

Oh?  You don’t say

More from Allah, who points out that the Selectric and the Selectric magnetic tape Composer referenced in the Air Force document are two entirely different animals.

The wagons, they are a-circlin’…


update 3:  This could be nothing—keep in mind that I heard it in passing yesterday—but I figured I’d bring it up and let those of you who might know about such things weigh in.

In the CBS memo dated 18 August 1973, “Killian” refers to “Bush’s OETR”—which news sources are reporting stands for “Officer Efficiency Training Report.” But a former Air National Guardsman appearing on FOXNews yesterday noted that OETR wasn’t the acronym that would have been used at the time, that the in-use acronym for the Officer Efficiency Report was OER—and that OETR came into use later (standing for Officer Education Transcript; see, for instance, here).

The Fox guest mentioned something about having checked the terminology in an Air Force handbook, but I didn’t catch the details, except that he (might have) said something about OETR not being in official parlance until the early 80s.

Can anyone confirm or deny this?


update 4: …and then there’s the whole issue of Air Force letterhead.  From a comment on INDC:

I’m sure a lot of folks are having fun arguing over whether or not the alleged correspondence was written on an electric typewriter in 1972.

I’m a retired AF Reserve officer. Let’s not forget that official Air Force correspondence uses letterheads where all characters are capitalized and the first line reads “DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE”. See [here].

Do the people who believe the Killian “documents” are genuine think that he would have omitted the normal first line in his letterhead? Does anyone have original official AF correspondence that doesn’t have “DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE” in its letterhead?


update 5 Gerard Van der Leun sends along this link to the Air Force Manual 33-336, not in use until 1996.  He then points to this comment on Free Republic:

Old AF Admin Wheenie with 20 years in service here. One thing I haven’t heard a lot about, only a little, is the format of some of the

documents. They’re just wrong. The headers are wrong. The signature blocks are wrong. They’re just WRONG.

There’s no such thing as a Memo for file. There’s a Memorandum for Record, but no Memo for file. NO SUCH THING.

Addressing an official document with


didn’t occur until the 1990s. The AF didn’t move their signature blocks over to the right of the documents until the same time, before then they were anchored four clear lines down the left margin.

An official signature block looks like this.


Duty Title

Three line signature blocks are reserved for flag officers (Generals) and Colonels sitting in a General’s billet. But they look like


General, USAF

Duty Title

Now civilians may scoff and say so what? Who cares about admin details like that? Ummmmm, the military does … quite a bit too much actually.  I’ve seen inspection teams tear entire careers apart over the admin details being mucked up.

There isn’t an admin guy in any branch of the service who wouldn’t have taken one look at these documents and waved the bullshit flag. You could show those documents to any airman coming fresh out of school down at Keesler and they’d have a blast tearing them apart.

Those documents aren’t just fakes…they’re really really bad fakes.  And all it would have taken was someone with some sense of how these things are done. The more I look at them…the more I get the feeling that someone sort of scanned through

Posted by Jeff G. @ 8:40pm

Comments (46)

  1. Jeff, did you hear Kerry today speaking about the brady bill? He said he never went hunting with an assault weapon or a “ewwshee” (umm..uzi) THATS exactly how he pronounced it. You gotta hear the audio, its hilarious.

  2. Whoa.  Best. Post. Ever.

  3. Glad somebody liked it.

  4. “…who do you think it was who came up with the idea of putting fried mushrooms on a cheese steak?  Here’s a hint.  It wasn’t Al Gore…”

    Was it John Kerry?  Oh, wait…no, that was Swiss cheese.

  5. Sometimes the post just says it all, Jeff. 

    I got nothin’, except he must have an office the size of a frickin’ blimp hanger to hold all his hot air.

    See, nothin’.  I just proved it.  Shit.  When in doubt, lay out…

  6. It just came to me that I know who forged these documents.  When I was teaching at a community college there was the student I had in one of my classes who brought me a note that read:

    “Please excuse Mary for her absence yesterday.  She was sick.  Signed, My Mother.”

  7. Could this document have been typed with the same typewriter in 1972?

    It is Bush’s request for a transfer.

    it has proportional type. Looks like it is in Times Roman (New? I don’t know) and the letters are kerned.

    Also it has the same closed 4.

    Why couldn’t Killian have used this typewriter to make those docs?

  8. Can’t say for certain, but on first glance, note that the “th” after 187 is not superscripted (raised) as it was on the CBS documents.

  9. This isn’t legit, is it?

    The letters aren’t kerned (look at the “Ki”), and it isn’t proportional type (look at the i’s and the t)’s. It’s also clearly a typewriter typeface, rather than a word-processer one (look at the r’s).

  10. All this after you said you had nothing to add?

    Fuckin’ brilliant, man. Fuckin’ brilliant.

    I’ll keep coming.

  11. I’m not a mental health professional, but I can reccomend a mixture of black coffee, a double martini, pain killers, and muscle relaxants.

    Oh wait, that’s not the temporal I’m grasping. Never mind. Now if only this damn keyboard would stop moving…

  12. Jeff,

    One of your very best.  You have talent.  Thanks for the laughs.

    By the way, “quasi” in the comments is a troll who is posting the same moronic comments on multiple sites.  He posted the same thing at Patterico.  Anyway, thanks again.

  13. Wow, you were actually in the presence of Dan Rather’s ego!  Does it emit a heavenly aura?  Do nine choirs of angels sing praises to it eternally?  Is being in its presence like experiencing nirvana, or satori, or perhaps parcheesi?  Oh, to have been there!  Perhaps now you too can grasp truth directly the way Dan does, and not have to bother with evidence.

  14. “A couple of muskrats getting their freak on is what it looks like.”

    You know, I laughed for 60 minutes at that line. You’re a beautiful human being, Jeff.

  15. As a psychiatrist, I can assure you that a grasp of the temporal is extremely important in evaluating the mental status of an individual. It is called “Orientation” and it reflects an assessment of whether the person: 1) knows who he is; 2) knows where he is; and 3) knows the date/time (e.g., PERSON, PLACE, and TIME). When the disorientation is “acute” (relatively recent onset) the diagnosis is DELERIUM; When the condition is chronic (lasting for a long time) it is called DEMENTIA.  In evaluating Dan Rather:

    PERSON – he thinks he is God and doesn’t have to answer to anyone (it is possible this is just delusional, but delusional people aren’t necessarily oriented either)

    PLACE – we can’t be sure what planet he is actually from, and he doesn’t appear certain either.

    TIME/DATE – as you pointed out, he is unable to tell the difference between Pacific Time and Central Time.

    Since his condition has been chronic and seem to have been going on for years, the most likely diagnosis is DEMENTIA. Possibly more tests will be needed.

  16. In addition to all the funny satire on Rather’s ego, I do like some of the telling points about the authenticity of the Killian memos or not.  The stuff about spacing, raised superscripts, etc., I leave to the experts, but Byron York in The National Review has a very compelling case about the time-line and how the so-called Killian memos do not add up.  The comments made at the time in records that are legitimate , have Killian saying just the opposite to what the questionable memos having him say about Bush in his efficiency ratings of the young officer.  If, as his wife and his son maintain, he never kept personal memos (it would have been highly unlikely in any case of any officer of the time) and the official ones are filled with praise for the Bush National Guard flying efficiency while in Texas, doesn’t that alone, throw a lot of doubt on Rather’s journalism???

  17. Ok, Jeff, below is my post posted at 11:44am yesterday. Your interview with Rather’s ego..1:30pm. I am used to being the inspiration for genius. But hey, a little credit here! smile

    Dan Rather went on CNN today saying the document were authentic and thats it. WELL, thats enough for me, I mean Dan wouldn’t lie, sooo….lets just trust him….

    OMG!!!!!!!!!! What an ego this guy must have!!!!!!!!!! I’m thinking Dan underestimates the power of blogdom in keeping this story alive until the truth comes out. 

    Posted by Kathleen | permalink

    on 09/10 at 11:44 AM

  18. Kathleen — No, what Kerry said was he never went hunting with _Uschi_ Digard, the famously-cleavaged soft-core erotica star of the 70’s…

  19. The concept of temporal relevance when applied to Dan Rather…………….. never mind.

  20. Marlowe Anderson:

    That line of reasoning cuts both ways. If you believe the SBVT, officer evaluation comments may or may not reflect genuine perceptions. Remember, John Kerry had outstanding comments included in his evaluations as well.

    OTOH, if you’re one to scoff at the SBVT, on the grounds that various officers had wonderful things to say about the man, then you cannot take the second set of Killian comments (assuming they’re genuine) as trumping what was officially in Dubya’s record.

  21. OK “quasi” – I have read in several places that you spam posted this doubt question – with link. After seeing it now verbatim 4 times (look at the 4, it’s closed at the top!) I’m convinced… you are Dan Rather. Your post has been answered/refuted/destroyed. Stop attempting to interject tinfoil talking points into another classic (up there with the Rall dialogue) PW post. Thanks Jeff – Out.

  22. I bet that Algore is sorry that he invented the internet

  23. Absolutely one of the best things I read in a week. I agree with Patrick

    “A couple of muskrats getting their freak on is what it looks like.”

    Hall of fame line…

    Thanks for some truly adult humor!

  24. whats the kern, frequency?

  25. The roll that the blogosphere and that individual bloggers have played in examining the veracity of 60 minutes’ documents is amazing!  We are truly in a new era of news reporting, where interest groups and political agendas no longer wholly control the information we have access to. 

    I personally was disgusted with Mr. Rather’s responce on Friday, September 10, 2004.  So, apparently was my brother, Andrew Schouten of Redux (  He sent out the following email to CBS, 60 Minutes, Clear Channel, and Viacom.

    Contact Hendrik for full text of email [Edited for technical reasons]

    Inspired by Andrew’s letter, I will be writing my own briefly and sending it to the same address listed in the mail.

    If you too are disgusted by this unacceptable attitude and the increasingly partisan actions of the MSM, why not join us?

  26. I want the American people to hear this:  I did not have Selectrics with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky

  27. What happened to all the comments???

  28. The original entry got corrupted, so I had to make a new entry. Later, I’ll add the comments back in by hand, but I have to eat.

  29. Hi Jeff – Thanks for telling me about the change. I made the correction on my blog. Are your trackbacks working? I tried to ping you.

  30. Time to get serious: should Rather resign, or be impeached?

  31. Sorry, Quasi, but it’s not proportional spacing.  I just put a typist’s layout ruler on an 816×1056 zoom of your gif, and the “m” in “months” and the “i” in “consideration,” are both 1 Pica wide.  It’s deceptive to the naked eye, because the vertical stroke of the “i” is offset to the left, but the foot is exactly as wide as the foot of the “m.” In the IBM Executive of the time, an “m” took five(5) spaces, and an “i” took two(2).  I am a reasonably competent touch typist, and I found the Executive a bitch to use, and gave up on it.  I don’t think that a non-typist like Killian (according to his widow), would have produced anything that looked reasonable with it.  The only other candidate, the IBM Composer, was even harder.  I, also, don’t think even the Fairy God Mother section of the Air Force supply system would have coughed up a Composer for a bottom of the food chain Air Guard unit; an Executive, barely possible.  The Executive also had two space bars, producing two spaces and three spaces respectively.  It took special training and considerable practice to use it properly, because using the appropriate space bar depended upon both what letter you had just typed, as well as the next letter you were going to type.  It was a beastly machine to use, which is why I gave up on it.

  32. Jeff sez:

    Glad somebody liked it.

    Heck, even Bill from INDC must have been brought to tears.  Much of your stuff, sir, is too good for comment, because unless the comments simply excerpt the content, they just sound like homage.

    Rather like this comment, now that I consider it.

  33. Aw, aren’t you kind.

    I’m blushing.  Really.

  34. CBS News: the “C” stands for “Complete”!

  35. OER – Officer Effectiveness Report – was what your annual performance rating was called back in the 60s and 70s.  That “OETR” stopped me too.  Couldn’t figure out what it could possible be. 

    Was at a pre Vietnam Veterans for Truth rally tonight and we agreed that these memos, whatever their typographical features are could not have been done by a person familiar with the military.  This means, of course, that they had to have been forged by a Democrat.

    If you are in the DC area come to the rally – 2PM .

  36. Jeff—excellent post, and indeed, superlative body of work!

    My very considerate brother (Hendrik, above) commented about a letter that I recently wrote to my local CBS affiliate expressing my frustration at the Mr. Rather and his “sexed-up” documents.  I have since posted the letter here.

    Please forgive the shameless plug.

  37. Richard, thats just so scary that you know that.

  38. Does his ego glow like whatever was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction?

    If it didn’t, it should’ve.

    Great stuff.

  39. He sounded a lot like Rick James.

  40.     No, quasi, it isn’t kerned.  The “Ki” doesn’t overlap the way kerned text would.  The “fo” in “for” on the request for transfer doesn’t kern either, but the 04 May memo has a “for,” and you can see kerning there—the top of the “f” hangs slightly over the “o.”

        Sorry, but you’re just wrong.

  41. If Bush is Commander-in-Chief, can’t he just order all of them shot?

    There MUST be something with which to charge these asses.

    Hmmm, has a sitting president ever sued someone for liable? Can we sue them for fraud?

  42. OETR is a place – not a document. In the current Air Force, OETR stands for Officer Education Transcript Repository. It is a function within the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

  43. Somebody beat me. OETR is a place. Page through the document you posted with the question and there is a page which defines all the acronyms.

    Jim Hudson is absolutely right.

  44. Timmer’s Ego:  “For What it’s Worth” was written by your’s truly in a comment over at Wizbangblog last week.  How did it get to FreeRepublic?  I don’t even read that blog…yet.

    And by the way…OER didn’t come into the picture until the late 80s or 90s either, before then it was OPR, Officer Performance Report.

  45. Protein wisdom is a new term I’ve came across. smile