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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Hate politics: Blaming the messenger

Let me here discuss something I should have dealt with a while back. This is a recent piece which discusses the bulge, and how blogs helped bring the story to the public's attention. Not a bad article, until we get to this zinger:

Bloggers also served as a truth squad when CBS News was duped with phony documents about Bush's National Guard service. Bloggers quickly spotted the computer-age typography in documents that were purported to be from a Vietnam- era typewriter.
"Truth squad" my ass.

Those documents were never proven false, although I suspect that they are. (And let me say for the five zillionth time that Rather should not have gone on the air with documents of questionable provenance.) However, as I have pointed out many times, they were not created with a computer -- at least not with Microsoft Word, and not in the fashion claimed by right-wing bloggers.

You can prove it yourself. Fire up Word, type in a few words including the "th" superscript, and note its position in relation to the rest of the line. Now compare that result to what you see on the CBS docs. Look closely.

David Hailey, an expert in questioned documents, made this very point -- and many similar points -- in his detailed analysis, which you can read here.

I've pointed you to the pdf version of his piece. His work used to exist as an HTML page, but guess what? On the old URL for that page, you now find this message:

Hackers have consistently invaded this site, modifying and/or removing images. I have elected to close it down, but have a map (above) to the PDF version of this report.
Rightists became so pissed off at Hailey's exemplary work that they resorted to threats, name-calling, utterly deceptive counter-arguments -- and now, it seems, to computer hacking.

Looks like our conservative friends just cannot tolerate a fair and open debate when it goes against their interests. Once again, our "Christian" opposition has proven its willingness to fight filthy.

And that's how some of their most beloved lies -- e.g., the computer origin of the Rather docs, or the "Russkies-did-it" explanation of the Al QaQaa disaster -- become part of this country's agreed-upon mythology.
I'm guilty of quoting that article.

I had no idea there was still a debate over those docs!

I was convinced they were proven fakes, after Nov 2 I'm going to check that out.
I'm a filmmaker in Cairo, Egypt - and I've been reading a bit about this whole debate-earpiece bulge thing. A month ago, we were shooting a dance instructor and she had a small unit, much like the one seen bulging in the Bush photos I've seen. We had it on her back first, and it showed, so - I had her strap it on her leg, behind her calf. Over there, it was practically invisible. It's a much better place to hide something. It's well covered by the pants you're wearing and it takes advantage of the space left in the pant legs above the heel and right below the calf. As I said, it was practically invisible, much UNLIKE the 'thing' obviously bulging on Bush's back.

So - what's the deal? I find it VERY plausible that Bush needs debate help, that's a painfully obvious assertion - however - even I could have done a better job hiding it - and that was for an instructional dance dvd, hardly something as perilous as an election debate. It just doesn't make sene that they'd be THAT inefficient.

Anyway - I blog. If you have the time, I'd be interested in comments on what I've written, and some of it could certainly use a larger audience.
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