Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Daily Rathergate Watch

Look. There is no way on earth I could keep myself on the leading edge of the Rathergate story, even if I quit my job, shipped the kids off to the orphanage, and never changed out of my pajamas. We all know this. So I won't insult your intelligence by pretending.

However, like most others I am keeping an eye on the story, so I can offer a different service. I can alert you to the juiciest, funniest, bestest thing on the topic I come across in a given day. To that extent I offer....

Day 4: Rather Keeping, Ignoring Job

First highlight:

Admittedly, [the IBM Selectric Composer] can't produce an especially good match of the documents in question (see here), compared to, say, any random copy of Microsoft Word and a laser printer, but it's possible, in the sense of "does not violate laws of physics", that a high-end device designed for camera-ready page layout might have found its way to a National Guard base in Texas, where a now-dead lieutenant-colonel who (according to his family) couldn't type might have used it to create terse, secret, yet professionally and laboriously desktop-published memos for secret files that remained secret long after he died until six weeks ago and whose source is still a secret. And rather than using hyphens to break words the way I was taught in typing class, he kept his words unbroken but happened to end every single one of his lines at exactly the same point as Microsoft Word's "word wrap" feature.

Then this:

My advice to anyone still defending these things is to stop jabbering about real kerning vs. TrueType font hinting and just run the hell away and get out of the blast radius. (In the area of professional politics, "run the hell away" would include not sending official campaign emails based on the fake memos.) I think the 2004 presidental race is overdetermined anyway, but I believe there's still time to stop the word "Memogate" from becoming a Democrat-wounding campaign issue in 2008, as opposed to merely the end of Dan Rather's career.

I'd feel like I was beating a very dead horse at this point, except that CBS is still dragging it behind a truck and calling it dressage. In the interest of brevity, I'm ignoring the growing list of other problems with the memos (the terminology, acronyms, references, timeline, tone, dates, formatting, headers, and signatures; the discorroborating testimony of family members, acquaintances, and multiple experts; and the fact that CBS's primary circumstantial witnesses are bailing).

As the Blogfather would say, read the whole thing (and follow the links - some are hillarious).


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