The protein wisdom interview: Dan Rather’s Ego
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 2: Boston 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?
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.
JOHN S. SUPERTROOP, Rank, USAF
Three line signature blocks are reserved for flag officers (Generals) and Colonels sitting in a General’s billet. But they look like
JOHN S. SUPERTROOP
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