Saturday, September 11, 2004


This post is to add whatever little weight I may to the general condemnation of the Old Media for assuming the public to be such pathetic dunderheads that we will just take their word that they're just providing us with objective facts.

What a pack of sorry rascals they've become.

Considering the alleged Memos Mr. Rather brought forth to set against Bush, I have more than three decades of professional experience with print design. Even though I'm primarily an animation producer, I've had to design and deliver print projects using technology that has spanned the transition from typewriters and rub-on letters to desktop publishing. This gives me (along with the millions of other such folk) some basis for evaluating their authenticity, and the legitimacy of arguments for and against.

It's important to have a sense of where technology was in the very early 1970's, because so many people trying to judge this have grown up innocently unaware that there was a time when this country did not have tape cassettes, compact disk, laptop computers, cell phones, personal digital assistants, push-buttons on telephones, more than four channels on the television, home microwave ovens, and an ex-President who needs an agent to field offers from porn video producers.

So I'll start back a ways...

Working first with the old technology of letter press and offset lithographic printing, and later as desktop publishing emerged, word processing and DTP software, I've created delivered hundreds of print jobs ranging from business cards to newsletters to 20-page 4-color brochures. I started designing for print as a freshman in high school. I've continued intermittently for the last four decades.

In cobbling together a degree program in animation at Yale, I took several computer courses. (Hey! I was a public school graduate, on a generous scholarship.) In the first seminar, our instructor challenged us to learn enough Fortran to write a really crude tic-tac-toe program. This was NOT a computer science course, just a sort of informal introduction for architecture students to the wonderful world of computers...

There were a number of IBM Selectric typewriters around--- they were sufficiently expensive and exotic that one of their primary uses was as REMOTE TERMINALS around the campus, connected to the IBM 360 mainframe computer. I remember writing my FORTRAN programs first in pencil on a printed form, then taking that to a room full of clattering card-punch machines. Sitting at the table-size card machines, you pecked at a keyboard which sent an electrical (not DIGITAL) impulse to the mechanism to punch a hole in a "Hollerith" card. That's the old "do-not-fold-spindle-or-mutilate" cards that were developed around 1900 for tallying census statistics. Each line of FORTRAN code ended up on one of those cards, which had to be kept in order or the program was screwed.

You then hand-carried your little stack of punched cards to an entirely different building housing the main University Computing Center, and handed them through a sliding glass window to a technical priest in a white lab coat. Usually by the very next day, you could sit down at one of the remote terminal IBM Selectric typewriters and log into your account, and run your program to see if it worked.

Okay, you're asking yourself, SO WHAT? Why is this guy going on about his college days thirty years ago? The answer is that Dan Rather's memos were alleged to have been created some 30 years ago using the sort of office machines commonly in use. The fact is that the IBM Selectric was by NO MEANS a commonplace in those days, and the specialized IBM Selectric Composer was much more exotic, expensive, and rare.

When I see various websites showing that, well yes, there was the IBM Selectric Composer available for the same cost as a luxury automobile in 1972, but to print the superscript "th" as shown in the alleged memos, you would have had to stop typing, change the type ball, adjust the carriage, type the single character, then replace the original type ball and reposition the carriage to continue, THEN REPEAT ALL THOSE STEPS THE NEXT TIME THE SUPERSCRIPT HAD TO BE INSERTED, it is way too much of a stretch.

There are many additional items that confirm the alleged memos as forgeries amateurishly produced with current word-processing software. Millions of people who use Microsoft Word every single day, and certainly tens of thousands of professional graphic designers, print designers, artists, print-shop staff, and educators have the experience over DECADES of professional work to spot the obviously anachronistic typography of the alleged memos Mr. Rather presented. There are thousands and thousands of military personnel with the experience to recognize the shallow research that resulted in the memos' failure to conform to correct formats and standards for terminology, references, acronyms, and signature id. There are certainly thousands of experts in document forensics that could have spotted the amateurish errors. CBS must have SOMEWHERE on its payroll minimally competent researchers to cross reference dates and timelines for the events to see if there are any pesky internal contradictions.

Unfortunately, someone has made the decision to persist in claiming the emperor is fully clothed.

At the least, this means the whole business needs to be submitted to the scrutiny of universally acknowledged objectively scientific forensic experts. For Dan Rather to insist that he and his fellow demagogues at CBS will be the final arbiters of truth is bullshit.

I wouldn't trust those dung-eaters to guard a compost heap.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, of course you wouldn't trust the dung-eaters to guard the compost heap--- they'd eat it all up! Then where'd we be?

Cajun Man

1:07 PM  
Blogger krakatoa said...

"...are bigoted, biased, lying sons of bitches, that don't anymore give a SHIT about anything but promoting their own sweaty little Leftist agendas..."

C'mon Dave... stop beating around the bush and tell us what you REALLY think about these guys!

One of the interesting facets of the whole issue for me is the question of what Dan's motivation was.

That he is a supporter of Democrat candidates and ideology is unquestionable. So the concept that he did this to prop up Kerry is compelling.

It is also unquestionable that he is very near retirement, and I find that all the more compelling, because every liberal in any sort of limelight always seems to be concerned with their LEGACY.

What better way for Dano to cement his, than by breaking the news that brings down a president?

I think in the end, this will have been his biggest motivator. Like so many liberals, he believes that a legacy must be consciously built, instead of understanding that one's real legacy is defined much more broadly by how one lived.

1:30 PM  

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