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Sunday, September 19, 2004

WaPo Devastates See-BS
I'm worried the word "devastate" is going to lose meaning after this scandal due to constant use. Anway, they have a good story on the "rush job" that See-BS did and they present real and fake documents for everyone to see. The graphic is a must-see. Finally, there is no need for the average reader to trust the reporter's interpretation. Everyone can see just how horrible these forgeries are. BTW, I don't know how anyone even validated the signatures, much less the memos. They don't match at all.

Just a couple comments before the excerpts. 1) They could have done more to acknowledge the role of bloggers. 2) Although this story is good, note that it comes after Corante and the Weekly Standard stories from yesterday. 3) They still have not had an editorial on this.

At that point [when the Whitehouse did not deny the authenticity], said "60 Minutes" executive Josh Howard, "we completely abandoned the process of authenticating the documents. Obviously, looking back on it, that was a mistake. We stopped questioning ourselves. I suppose you could say we let our guard down."
[...]
Later, Bartlett would explain why he did not challenge the documents with a question: "How am I supposed to verify something that came from a dead man in three hours?"
[...]
None of the analysts, including the fourth, James J. Pierce of California, provided the network with a written report before the broadcast. Howard said Mapes told him the analysts' concerns had been addressed.
[...]
Asked at the time whether there was at least a slight chance that the documents were bogus, Heyward said: "I see no percentage of possibility."
[...]
It quickly became clear that the people CBS hired to authenticate the documents had -- and claimed -- only limited expertise in the sometimes arcane science of computer typesetting technology and fonts. Independent experts contacted by The Post were surprised that CBS hired analysts who were not certified by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners, considered the gold standard in the field.



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