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Saturday, September 18, 2004

Incompetence, Bias, or a Mixture of Both.

A website I frequent,, is credited with being the first to break the story that the "Killian Memos" Dan Rather waved around were fakes.

One of the "Freepers" (as they call themselves) wrote a letter to the Public Editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution illustrating perfectly the ways in which most of the MSM bias their "reporting."

I'll let the letter writer speak for himself, errors and all. For a link to the post click HERE.

Mr. King:
I’ll let you decide if the AJC practices bias or if it is simply incompetent. For example, when the Swift Boat stuff was raging, the AJC published a column by William Rood which basically agreed with Kerry’s version of one of the events brought up by the SBVTs. On the other hand, the AJC published an article including accusations by Ben Barnes accusing President Bush of getting special treatment to get into the National Guard.

Two high-ranking former Texas Air National Guardsman have spoken up in the last week answering questions about if Bush received special treatment. The first is Col. Earl Lively (Ret), the former Director of Operations of the Texas Air National Guard. Col. Lively, in an interview from this week, was asked if Bush jumped in front of several applicants to get a pilot’s slot with the Guard.

Col. Lively answered: “…I was the head of Operations. I was Director of Operations and I oversaw and inspected all of the units in Texas. Flew with them. And the, there was no waiting list for this. See, this is often confused with another thing. Which was a waiting list to simply enlist in the Guard and do your service there rather than in the regular military. And there were lots of people on those waiting lists. But those people weren't qualified to go to pilot training school.”

The second was one of the people quoted in the fake 60 minutes memo, Col. Walter Staudt, interviewed yesterday by ABC News. In the interview, “Staudt said he never tried to influence Killian or other Guardsmen, and added that he never came under any pressure himself to accept Bush. "No one called me about taking George Bush into the Air National Guard," he said. "It was my decision. I swore him in. I never heard anything from anybody."

One naturally wonders why the AJC does publish rebuttal stories when they favor John Kerry, but does not publish rebuttal stories when they favor President Bush.

More Memo Questions The first “media blogger on the Internet” who questioned the authenticity of the documents was someone called “Buckhead” who posted on the Internet site The real name of the person is Harry MacDougald, and he is an Atlanta attorney. One would assume, based on his user name, that “Buckhead” either lives or works in –wait for it- Buckhead. Does the AJC ever plan on trying the interview the person who started the firestorm over the memos? Since he is an Atlanta, one would think the AJC might have some interest in the story.

Next, an one of the experts quoted on other places on the Internet is Farrell C. Shiver, with Shiver & Nelson Document Investigation Laboratory based in Woodstock, GA. Mr. Shiver is certified by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners and is a member of American Society of Questioned Document Examiners; American Academy of Forensic Sciences Questioned Document Section; and the Southeastern Association of Forensic Document Examiners. I realize that having a reporter drive all the way up to Woodstock to check out the accuracy of one of your stories is quite the chore. However, Mr. Shiver also has a phone. The number is 770-xxx-xxxx.

Finally, the smoking gun to many is the fact that one can type up the same words into Microsoft Word using the default settings, print the document, and then compare the new document to the CBS memos. For real bit of ol’ timey investigative journalism, go to Office Depot and buy some transparencies, and then print the new document on the transparency. Put the transparency over the matching memo and presto – an exact match. I know the AJC has at least one PC and a copy of MS Word lying around somewhere, so this would be a very easy, and cheap, bit of investigative journalism. I am sure some of the IT folks at the AJC would have been more than happy to have helped if you guy could not have figured out the joke of a CBS “computer expert” called the “th setting”.

But the AJC did not do any of these things. So I ask you – incompetence or bias?

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