Paul at Wizbang offers this summary of Dan Rather’s defense — the memos must be authentic because they say that Bush sucked, and everyone knew that Bush sucked. I don’t think this distillation is wide of the mark. Indeed, CBS News relies heavily on Robert Strong, who finds that the documents are “compatible,” not necessarily with anything he heard Jerry Killian say, but “with the man I remember Jerry Killian being. I don’t see anything in the documents that’s discordant with what were the times, the situation or the people involved.” In other words, Bush sucked and Killian didn’t, so Killian must have written that Bush sucked.
It’s as if Fox News had vouched for a particular Swiftvet allegation that Kerry inflated his service on the theory that everyone knew Kerry was an opportunist. In this case, though, the best evidence — statements by his wife and son — is that Killian didn’t think Bush sucked (and, if he had, wouldn’t have typed a secret memo saying so). Moreover, the son says he told CBS this. Yet CBS did not see fit to air the views of the son or the widow. So it looks to me like CBS concluded that the documents are genuine not because everyone knew Bush sucked, but because Dan Rather knows Bush sucks.
HINDROCKET adds: Rather’s reliance on Robert Strong seems pathetic. Strong is a professor of politics at Washington and Lee University. His academic efforts include trying to resuscitate the reputation of Jimmy Carter as a foreign policy whiz. What on God’s green earth does Robert Strong know about the authenticity of the 60 Minutes documents? Absolutely nothing. A reader sent us Strong’s telephone number today. I called him and left a message explaining who I am and why I want to talk to him. Do you think he called me back? Of course not. But I’ll keep trying. I’d love to question Mr. Strong about what knowledge, exactly, he brings to this debate.
CORRECTION!!!: Wrong Robert Strong. He’s posted a notice on his web site saying he isn’t the man. Apparently I wasn’t the one trying to contact him. The right Robert Strong was located and interviewed by the New York Times; however, he didn’t help CBS. See our post above.
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