CBS keeps digging

In “The Daily Kos strikes out” we observed one of the signs of the fraudulence of the 60 Minutes memos:

[T]he anachronism in the August 18, 1973 memo, where Killian allegedly writes: “Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush.” Brigadier General “Buck” Staudt retired in 1972.

At the time we made this point we were unaware that it has actually been brought to the attention of CBS and that CBS has responded to it.
Reader Ryan McGrath has kindly forwarded us this story from today’s Dallas Morning News: “Man named in Bush memo left Guard before document was written.” The News obtained Staudt’s 1972 discharge paper among a packet of documents from official sources during 1999 research into President Bush’s Guard service. The News reports:

In the disputed memo, Killian supposedly wrote “(another officer) gave me a message today from group regarding Bush’s (evaluation) and Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it.”
It continues: “Austin is not happy either.”
The CBS staffer said that the memo appears to recognize that Staudt has retired, since it differentiates between his displeasure and that of Austin, where he served his final Guard stint.
But another Texas Air National Guard official who served in that period said the memo appears to wrongly associate Staudt with his group command in Houston, and – based on that mistake – the memo distinguishes his views from that of the Austin Guard headquarters.
Retired Col. Earl Lively, who was director of Air National Guard operations for the state headquarters during 1972 and 1973 said Staudt “wasn’t on the scene” after retirement, and that CBS’ remote-bullying thesis makes no sense.
“He couldn’t bully them. He wasn’t in the Guard,” Lively said. “He couldn’t affect their promotions. Once you’re gone from the Guard, you don’t have any authority.”

In response to the inconvenient fact of Staudt’s retirement, CBS displays no concern over the possible fraudulence of its story. Recall that Dan Rather established his reputation during the Watergate crisis as a dogged adversary of Richard Nixon. Now observe how Rather and his spokesmen themselves sound like Nixon’s mouthpieces, with their stonewalling, their non-denial denials and their sheer indifference to the truth.
How long will it be before Rather declares his defense of the memos’ authenticity inoperative?
HINDROCKET adds: On his radio show tonight, Hugh Hewitt asked me what I thought was the single clearest indicator of the documents’ fraudulence. I responded that it is the anachronistic suggestion, ostensibly in 1973, that General Staudt was pressuring Killian and others to revise Bush’s evaluations, when Staudt had already retired in 1972. For 60 Minutes to suggest that, somehow, General Staudt was coming out of retirement to pressure Killian on a Lieutenant’s evaluation is beyond absurdity. The debates about fonts, superscripts and word processing are interesting and, in the end, persuasive; but they are completely unnecessary to understanding that the memos are silly, low-grade forgeries that can’t survive any skeptical analysis.


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