Providing new orifices for old media
When Powerline bloggers Big Trunk, The Rocket and their readers are done with CBS and The Boston Globe, you'll be able to drive a swiftboat through it.
Today's big Boston Globe story on President Bush's Air National Guard service is based on memos to file from the personal records of the late Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian: "Bid cited to boost Bush in Guard."
The Globe story is itself based on last night's 60 Minutes report: "New questions on Bush Guard duty." The online version of the 60 Minutes story has links to the memos. Killian died in 1984; CBS states that it "consulted a handwriting analyst and document expert who believes the material is authentic."
The top google-ranked related news item by the Chicago Sun-Times credits powerline and other blogs for most of the data:
Powerlineblog first aired speculation that there was persuasive evidence from the typefaces and spacing that the documents supposedly prepared in the age of typewriters in the early 1970s showed the unmistakable characteristics of computer printing.
Another blogger, Bill Ardolino at INDC Journal, who had read Powerline, said, "I decided to find a top typeface expert and ran his analysis on my Web site."
Ardolino's expert, Philip D. Bouffard, is a nationally recognized forensic authority in typewriter and electronic typefaces.
Bouffard has the largest collection of full letter impact typewriter specimens in a private collection today. More than 3,000 of them are commonly used in forensic work. Having worked at NCR and a forensic laboratory for more than 30 years, Bouffard still works with entities such as the state of Ohio on Medicare fraud cases.
Bouffard said the CBS documents appear to have been copied about 10 times in the state he saw them. Nevertheless, he states, "All the documents have been created on the same printer. And the proportional spacing and the common characteristics of numbers like 4 and 7 and letters like lower case c and upper case G are beyond the capabilities of any of the typewriter impact specimens I have in my collection. The centering of headings is also beyond the capabilities of any typewriter I know of."
His conclusion: "It is remotely possible that there is some typewriter that has the capability to do all this that I have never seen, but it is more likely that these documents were commonly generated in the common Times Roman font and printed out on a computer printer that did not exist at the time they were supposedly created."
Meanwhile, our own belga newsfeed appears to have replicated part of this story in our very own respected media: GVA , Le Vif / L'Express, Kanaal Z / Canal Z, "Het Laatste Nieuws" and my "very own" Skynet. No doubt we can expect corrections or retractions any minute now!
"La Libre" appears to have a broken link to this story, but that could be just linkrot instead of them having actually pulled it.
IMAGE (click to enlarge): part of one of the suspected forged documents: notice the proportional font and kerning (fl in flight). Full images here (top of the article in pdf).
UPDATE: 14:40 link to "GVA" also broken.