The New Report Supporting the Bush Guard Memos Falls Apart.--
[[Oct. 3 update: I added pictures from Paul's post at Wizbang
to this early Oct. 2 post.]] I have waited to post on this until things are mostly sorted out, but I expect much more to come out today, when Wizbang
(who broke this story) provides significant updates.
Several days ago, Associate Professor David Hailey of Utah State University posted a report on the internet
that purported to provide evidence for his opinion that the Bush Guard memos were typed. As you know, virtually every competent expert who had come forth concluded that the memos were almost certainly produced on a computer, probably using Times New Roman font in Microsoft Word.
CBS producer Mary Mapes was so impressed by Hailey's report that she sent it out
to support the story.
People were amazed that Hailey had come up with a typewriter that could come fairly close to producing text from the memos (but not as close in my opinion as Microsoft Word). Naturally, people were curious what sort of previously unknown typewriter it was that could produce a font that looked like computer output. Strangely, Hailey didn't say in his report.
But as Paul and Kevin at Wizbang (and later other bloggers) began to look at the report
, it began to collapse. Wizbang disclosed that the superscript "th" looked very different from the rest of the type. Indeed, it appeared as if it had been floated into place using a program such as PhotoShop. [[Click to enlarge.]]
Then Wizbang discovered what might be the smoking gun
: on Hailey's own website, they discovered what appears to be an earlier draft version of the same document that had most of the text that Hailey had produced using the font "Typewriter." But where the superscript was supposed to be, there was only a blank, as if he had not yet floated in the superscript from another font. There were also some numbers missing from the draft document in places where numbers from another font were later floated in.
[[10/3: Paul added red lines to Hailey's draft to show some of the missing text; click to enlarge.]]
Once caught, Hailey changed his report online
, without indicating that he had changed it. In the new version of the report, he disclosed that he had created his document, not on a typewriter as everyone had supposed, but instead using a computer font. He added this language, confessing for the first time that he had not typed the text supposedly matching the Killian memos:
I was able to recreate most of the defining characteristics using a font called "ITC American Typewriter Condensed." Once I had identified the font family, I recreated the memo using characters from that font family [he is here only hinting that he combined characters from different fonts]. Do not misunderstand figure 4. My addition is not typed. It is replicated based on the characters already in the memo using a font [not true, he used more than one font] from the typewriter family as my template. It does not prove that the memos were typed, or that I can type them. It only proves that I know what the font family is and can reasonably accurately reproduce the characters in the memo. The reproductions in the memo demonstrate that and nothing more.
Going back over the original memo, it appears that he never actually said that he generated his version of the memo on a typewriter, though anyone would certainly get that impression. It was not appropriate for him not to have originally disclosed that he created the memos using computer fonts, when the other experts had claimed that that is precisely how the forgeries were produced.
Further, how can one conclude that the memos were produced on a typewriter and not using a modern computer program such as Microsoft Word if the best that you can do is produce a rough copy using a modern computer program (did Hailey also use Microsoft Word to create his copies, just like the forger)?
Moreover, the font that Hailey disclosed that he used (ITC American Typewriter Condensed
) is a poor fit for the memos and (according to comments on Wizbang) was not in existence until 1974, after the memos were written. Indeed, it was such a poor fit that (apparently) Hailey had to get numbers and the superscript "th" from other fonts in the same family and insert them in the documents. Hailey has not been able to produce a typewriter that used ITC American Typewriter Condensed in 1972, because none ever existed.
To see why his font is not a good match, in the three relevant fonts (the Killian font, MS Word Times New Roman, and ITC American Typewriter Condensed
) in the headers to this Killian memo
compare the following characters: M, R, J, 9, 7, 2. It's pretty obvious that Times New Roman is a much closer match than ITC American Typewriter Condensed.
In light of all this, consider the beginning of Hailey's Report, the Abstract:
The following evidence from a forensic examination of the Bush memos indicates that they were typed on a typewriter:
1. The specific font used is from a typewriter family in common use since 1905 and a typewriter capable of producing the spacing has been available since 1944.
Since Hailey was not able to identify the "specific font," instead creating his copy by picking and choosing characters from different fonts (without disclosing that fact in his original report, and only hinting at it in the current report), it would be impossible for him to make this claim. Yet it is the first "fact" in his abstract.
In the report itself, he goes even further:
The font is a common typewriter typeface invented at the beginning of the 20th century and in continuous use until the computer replaced the typewriter. The font's name is "Typewriter." Although the typeface was somewhat modified for civilian communities in the 1960s, it remained commonplace in the military well into the 1970s. In short, the Bush memos were produced in a version of Typewriter commonly used in the military at the time.
This is quite stunning. Hailey has not identified the font used and he used more than one font to create his relatively poor copies, yet he confidently asserts the name of the font and when it was created. Then, without having located any machine that used the main font that he actually used to create his copies (ITC American Typewriter Condensed), he asserts flat out that "the Bush memos were produced in a version of Typewriter commonly used in the military at the time." How could he know this without having identified the font used or found any machine in 1972 that could have produced it? Obviously, he couldn't. Hailey has no substantial basis, scholarly or otherwise, for making these claims.
To say that his report is shoddy scholarship would be an understatement.
There is another reason that I have not posted until now, besides the one mentioned earlier—that is the tone of the criticisms. I do not endorse any claims that have been made that Professor Hailey committed fraud, nor do I think that he should lose his tenure as some have suggested. I believe that Hailey misled people by not disclosing that most of his documents using multiple "Typewriter" fonts were not produced on a typewriter, and that Hailey is still not being fully candid by not disclosing clearly enough that the font he favors was such a poor match that he had to import characters from at least one other font (perhaps from the same "family"). I do not, however, believe that he should be subject to more than the normal punishment for extremely shoddy scholarly work—the disapproval of his peers.
I will continue to give Hailey the benefit of the doubt and assume that in the next few days, he will begin making amends.
UPDATE: Instapundit comments
on my post (in which I corrected some of my typos):
COMING NEXT, AN EFFORT TO REHABILITATE PHLOGISTON CHEMISTRY: Jim Lindgren notes that an attempt at demonstrating that CBS's forged documents might have been done on a typewriter has fallen apart.
This is hardly a surprise, of course. But it wouldn't be much of a vindication for CBS even if, through some miracle, the documents turned out to be genuine. It's quite clear now that CBS acted without concern for the genuineness of the documents, and in fact in the teeth of opinions from its own experts that the documents were probably bogus. No amount of after-the-fact lawyering can change that evidence of journalistic bias and ineptitude, though CBS's namecalling of its critics, and general stonewalling, compounds the offense and moves it from negligence to the category of 'reckless disregard."
2D UPDATE: Definitely go read Paul's new description
of many of the things he discovered and revealed earlier. It provides the visual evidence that my account lacks, as well as being an account from the people who have owned this story--Wizbang.
Is the United Nations trying to take credit for US and Australian tsunami missions?--
Diplomad says so:
Well, we're heading into Day 7 of the Asian quake/tsunami crisis. And the UN relief effort? Nowhere to be seen except at some meetings and on CNN and BBC as talking heads. In this corner of the Far Abroad, it's Yanks and Aussies doing the hard, sweaty work of saving lives.
Check out this interview (on the UN's official website) with SecGen Annan and Under SecGen Egeland . . .:
Mr. Egeland: Our main problems now are in northern Sumatra and Aceh.
<...> In Aceh, today 50 trucks of relief supplies are arriving. <...> Tomorrow, we will have eight full airplanes arriving. I discussed today with Washington whether we can draw on some assets on their side, after consultations with the Indonesian Government, to set up what we call an "air-freight handling centre" in Aceh.
Tomorrow, we will have to set up a camp for relief workers - 90 of them - which is fully self-contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything, because they have nowhere to stay and we don't want them to be an additional burden on the people there.
I provided this to some USAID colleagues working in Indonesia and their heads nearly exploded. The first paragraph is quite simply a lie. The UN is taking credit for things that hard-working, street savvy USAID folks have done. It was USAID working with their amazing network of local contacts who scrounged up trucks, drivers, and fuel; organized the convoy and sent it off to deliver critical supplies. A UN "air-freight handling centre" in Aceh? Bull! It's the Aussies and the Yanks who are running the air ops into Aceh. We have people working and sleeping on the tarmac in Aceh, surrounded by bugs, mud, stench and death, who every day bring in the US and Aussie C-130s and the US choppers; unload, load, send them off. We have no fancy aid workers' retreat -- notice the priorities of the UN? People are dying and what's the first thing the UN wants to do? Set up "a camp for relief workers" one that would be "fully self-contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything."
The UN is a sham.
Diplomad with More UN Posing.--
Diplomad continues its string of reports on UN tsunami efforts in Asia. It seems that the UN is trying to take credit for US and Australian efforts:
A colleague came back from a meeting held by the local UN representative yesterday and reported that the UN rep had said that while it was a good thing that the Australians and Americans were running the air ops into tsunami-wrecked Aceh, for cultural and political reasons, those Australians and Americans really "should go blue." In other words, they should switch into UN uniforms and give up their national ones.
Now you all know that The Diplomad is not a cynical or suspicious being, but there is something funny going on here . . . what could it be? Could it be a genuine concern for local "cultural and political sensitivities" that would be offended by the presence of Aussies and Yanks in their own military uniforms saving thousands of lives? Maybe . . . or, might it not be an odd coincidence that just after the infamous Mr. Anan (see prior posts) says the UN will be setting up air traffic control in Aceh, the UN wants to show that it has an ATC system operating? What better way than to continue in the UN tradition of taking credit for others' work? And this just before Mr. Anan arrives in Indonesia on January 6.
Day 9 of the tsunami crisis. . . .
In this part of the tsunami-wrecked Far Abroad, the UN is still nowhere to be seen where it counts, i.e., feeding and helping victims. The relief effort continues to be a US-Australia effort, with Singapore now in and coordinating closely with the US and Australia. Other countries are also signing up to be part of the US-Australia effort. Nobody wants to be "coordinated" by the UN. The local UN reps are getting desperate. They're calling for yet another meeting this afternoon; they've flown in more UN big shots to lecture us all on "coordination" and the need to work together, i.e., let the UN take credit. With Kofi about to arrive for a big conference, the UNocrats are scrambling to show something, anything as a UN accomplishment. Don't be surprised if they claim that the USS Abraham Lincoln is under UN control and that President Lincoln was a strong supporter of the UN. . . .
More on "The UNcredibles": WFP (World Food Program) has "arrived" in the capital with an "assessment and coordination team." The following is no joke; no Diplomad attempt to be funny or clever: The [UN] team has spent the day and will likely spend a few more setting up their "coordination and opcenter" at a local five-star hotel. And their number one concern, even before phones, fax and copy machines? Arranging for the hotel to provide 24hr catering service. USAID folks already are cracking jokes about "The UN Sheraton." Meanwhile, our military and civilians, working with the super Aussies, continue to keep the C-130 air bridge of supplies flowing and the choppers flying, and keep on saving lives — and without 24hr catering services from any five-star hotel . . . . The contrast grows more stark every minute.
Imagine if lives really depended on what the UN does. Oh, they do.
Columbia Journalism Review on CBS and the forged documents.
The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) has a story by Corey Pein on Rathergate that seems to leave out quite a lot that might seem relevant to his argument.
CJR came under early criticism for sticking its head in the sand when the story was breaking, thus missing one of the biggest stories of the year about the media and its coverage--what would seem to be CJR's beat. Now CJR is dismissing those who got the story essentially right.
Among the more amazing passages is its attempt to resurrect David Hailey and his discredited report. Kevin Aylward of Wizbang, who first exposed David Hailey's report, has comments on the new CJR story, calling it "spectacularly inept." You can follow some of Wizbang's other stories on Hailey's study by doing a search on their site here.
CJR tells us that the key to Rathergate is Haileygate:
In order to understand "Memogate," you need to understand "Haileygate." David Hailey, a Ph.D. who teaches tech writing at Utah State University — not a professional document examiner, but a former Army illustrator — studied the CBS memos. His typographic analysis found that, contrary to widespread assumptions, the document may have been typed. (He points out, meanwhile, that because the documents are typed does not necessarily mean they are genuine.) Someone found a draft of his work on a publicly accessible university Web site, and it wound up on a conservative blog, Wizbang. The blog, citing "evidence" that it had misinterpreted, called Hailey a "liar, fraud, and charlatan." [Aylward says that Wizbang retracted the three quoted words-JL]
Soon Hailey's e-mail box was flooded. Anonymous callers demanded his dismissal.
Hailey is more restrained in his comments than other document examiners more widely quoted in the press. Of course, cautious voices tend to be quieter than confident ones.
On Saturday morning, Oct. 2, I also criticized the tone of many of the criticisms of Hailey, a concern that seemed to contribute to an almost immediate change in tone in the debate. Indeed, Hailey said that his hostile emails "ended abruptly on Saturday afternoon," Oct. 2.
Unfortunately, Hailey himself ended up engaging in intemperate attacks on Wizbang's site. Here is part of Hailey's apology to Wizbang:
Instead, I produced an incoherent diatribe. I apologize to you and your community for defacing your site with my postings.
Worse, I woke still drunk and wrote you a letter hoping to deceive you. Actually, at that point I should have simply apologized. And so now I apologize to you for attempting to deceive you.
My behavior was inexcusable. My only excuse is I had (am still having) a complete emotional breakdown. I am still not in control of my emotions. [Hailey authorized public posting of his apology-JL]
While Hailey's earlier report was certainly appropriately temperate, it was not (as CJR characterizes it) cautious. I agree with CJR that Haileygate is indeed helpful for understanding Rathergate. Understanding Haileygate is also important for understanding just how deficient CJR's reporting is. My earlier analysis of the Hailey memo is here. Hailey asserts that he is confident that the memos were typed, but he has not been able to locate any typewriter that could have done it, nor has he been able to identify a computer font that could have done it. None of the computer font candidates he suggests, including particularly his favored font, ITC American Typewriter Condensed, comes even close to matching the forged memos. Times New Roman in MS Word does.
UPDATE: Meryl Yourish has an excellent post on typesetting and the CJR story (tip to Instapundit). As she nicely points out, it is virtually impossible that a typed document could be matched by a computer font on the first try. As I've said, it's partly a generational thing; those too young to have used typewriters much do not realize that the forged Killian memos looked nothing like typed documents, including other documents in the Bush TANG files.
2D UPDATE: Charles Johnson points out just how cavalier or willfully obtuse Pein is in this passage from the CJR article. Pein is discussing part of Joseph Newcomer's expert report:
The accompanying analysis was long and technical, discouraging close examination. Still, his method was simple to replicate, and the results were easy to understand:
Based on the fact that I was able, in less than five minutes . . . to type in the text of the 01-August-1972 memo into Microsoft Word and get a document so close that you can hold my document in front of the `authentic' document and see virtually no errors, I can assert without any doubt (as have many others) that this document is a modern forgery. Any other position is indefensible.
Red flags wave here, or should have. Newcomer begins with the presumption that the documents are forgeries, and as evidence submits that he can create a very similar document on his computer. This proves nothing — you could make a replica of almost any document using Word. Yet Newcomer's aggressive conclusion is based on this logical error.
As Yourish and Johnson make clear, Pein doesn't understand just how devastating this is to the authenticity of the forged memos. Pein makes fun of the fact that it took Newcomer (and everyone else) only 5 minutes in MS Word to duplicate the spacing and typeface of the forged memos. Pein says, "This proves nothing — you could make a replica of almost any document using Word." And with this Pein claims to have found a "logical error."
Johnson says to Pein: Prove it. Take a real Bush TANG memo and duplicate it in a few minutes using MS Word. Johnson tried for about an hour and he didn't get very close. With a full day, one might get sort of close, but in a few minutes, I don't think that Pein could do it. (Note that Pein doesn't actually say that it can be done in 5 minutes, but he implies that it can be done easily; otherwise, even Pein would have recognized that it would be relevant that it took Newcomer only 5 minutes.) Further, Johnson previously posted his own attempt to duplicate a real memo in MS Word:
[Click to enlarge]
The above picture is from Little Green Footballs.
Go to LGF for the original, as well as this failed attempt to do what Mr. Pein seems to think anyone could do. With the original memo on LGF, it should be easy for Pein to back up his claim and quickly do what he says can be done.
Interesting Font Analysis in Appendix to CBS Report.--
There are some interesting comments by Peter Tytell in Appendix 4 to the CBS Report. He concludes that Times New Roman was the font used, and does a careful analysis that tends to exclude the IBM Composer.
Other Appendices are here.
Better Copies of Forged Documents Now Available.--
The Appendices to the CBS Report release much better copies of the forged Killian memos than CBS previously released. It is strange that in September CBS would have put up such poor copies when it had better copies available.
The new copies are Appendices 2A-2F here. For example compare the earlier CBS version of the May 4, 1972 memo with the current CBS version in the report.
Looking at the better copies, the evidence for Times New Roman as the font becomes even stronger.
Comparing Blogger Political Agendas With CBS's Lack of an Agenda.--
The CBS Panel "does not believe that political motivations drove the September 8 Segment." Further, after mentioning political agendas and bias, the Report says: "the Panel will not level allegations for which it cannot offer adequate proof."
Given those sentiments, the Panel is pretty quick to charge those who exposed CBS's fraudulent documents as having a political agenda. The motivation to seek and expose the truth is a pretty powerful one by itself, and motivations are complex. As I have said many times before, first you determine if the facts that someone is asserting are true or not. Only if they are false do you begin to ask why they would be putting forward false information, whether pushing false information might be the result of political bias.
I can understand ignoring the probable political bias of people who are making substantive, rational arguments (even if mistaken), or I can understand attributing political motives to people who act recklessly, repeatedly making statements that they know to be false (such as that CBS's experts authenticated the documents or that they came from "an unimpeachable source"). What I can't understand is that the Report appears to use a double standard on whether someone has a political agenda.
Here are some of the Report's discussion of political bias:
At the same time, some people on the Internet, at first primarily supporters of President Bush with their own conservative political agenda, started to question the authenticity of the documents. By the next afternoon, however, it became clear that the criticisms were no longer simply partisan. Mainstream media, including ABC News, The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post, were investigating whether 60 Minutes Wednesday had used fake documents in the September 8 Segment. Thereafter, and continuing well after September 20, 2004, when CBS News issued its apology and stated that it could not vouch for the Killian documents' authenticity, CBS News and 60 Minutes Wednesday were under continuous attack by the media, political personalities and others. Indeed, CBS News advised the Panel that between September 8 and October 13, it received nearly 109,000 e-mails related to the September 8 Segment, most of them negative.
The attacks on the September 8 Segment began virtually immediately. One of the first came on freerepublic.com, a website:
[E]very single one of these memos to file is in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman. In 1972 people used typewriters for this sort of thing, and typewriters used monospaced fonts. The use of proportionally spaced fonts did not come into common use for office memos until the introduction of laser printers, word processing software, and personal computers. They were not widespread until the mid to late 90's. Before then, you needed typesetting equipment, and that wasn't used for personal memos to file. Even the Wang systems that were dominant in the mid 80's used monospaced fonts. I am saying these documents are forgeries, run through a copier for 15 generations to make them look old.85
This was followed on the morning of September 9 by further attacks, mostly by bloggers with a conservative agenda, challenging the authenticity of the documents. These included stories on Powerlineblog.com86 and littlegreenfootballs.com.87 Finally, by about 3 p.m., Matt Drudge, the author of the widely read Drudge Report website, had joined the fray, and, thereafter, the onslaught of attacks on the authenticity of the Killian documents was unrelenting.
. . .
H. Political Agenda
The Panel is aware that some have ascribed political motivations to 60 Minutes Wednesday's decision to air the September 8 Segment just two months before the presidential election, while others further found political bias in the program itself. The Panel reviewed this issue and found certain actions that could support such charges. However, the Panel cannot conclude that a political agenda at 60 Minutes Wednesday drove either the timing of the airing of the Segment or its content.
Given that the Panel does not believe that political motivations drove the September 8 Segment, questions likely will be raised as to why these massive breakdowns occurred on this story at an organization like CBS News with its heritage and stated commitment to the highest standards of journalism. The Panel heard from many that the Rather/Mapes team was a formidable force at 60 Minutes Wednesday.
X. WHETHER THERE WAS A POLITICAL AGENDA DRIVING THE SEPTEMBER 8 SEGMENT
There has been widespread speculation in the media that the September 8 Segment was motivated, in whole or in part, by an anti-Bush political agenda. Thus, after the Segment was aired, the following types of comments appeared in print media:
Rather has long been criticized by some conservatives as being
emblematic of the liberal news media.116
Rather's involvement in the politically charged story has led some Bush allies to challenge the network's general credibility.117
"I'm really heartsick she made that call [to Lockhart]. It has the air of some kind of conspiracy behind it to help Kerry," said Sandy Socolow, a former executive producer of the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and his predecessor, Walter Cronkite. "She was trying to manipulate the political process in some way that's not clear to me."118
The question of whether a political agenda played any role in the airing of the Segment is one of the most subjective, and most difficult, that the Panel has sought to answer. The political agenda question was posed by the Panel directly to Dan Rather and his producer, Mary Mapes, who appear to have drawn the greatest attention in terms of possible political agendas. Both strongly denied that they brought any political bias to the Segment. The Panel recognizes that those who saw bias at work in the Segment are likely to sweep such denials aside. However, the Panel will not level allegations for which it cannot offer adequate proof.
The Panel does not find a basis to accuse those who investigated, produced, vetted or aired the Segment of having a political bias. The Panel does note, however, that on such a politically charged story, coming in the midst of a presidential campaign in which military service records had become an issue, there was a need for meticulous care to avoid any suggestion of an agenda at work. The Panel does not believe that the appropriate level of care to avoid the appearance of political motivation was used in connection with this story.
Diversifying the Media; Fairness is Not a Special Sauce.--
At GlennReynolds.com, Glenn comments on recent stories on objectivity and the media:
Elsewhere on this site today, Howard Fineman announces the death of the mainstream media as a political entity. He calls it "The American Mainstream Media Party," and says it began when Walter Cronkite spoke out against the Vietnam War, and ended in 2004, when people quit trusting the mainstream media.
I think there's a connection, of course: Political parties aren't noted for their honesty or lack of bias, and when the media became a sort of political party (which it denied for years, but which is now so obvious that Fineman can pronounce its death) it became less honest, though it's not clear that the press was ever as disinterested as it sometimes pretended. That's why when Fineman writes, "Still, the notion of a neutral, non-partisan mainstream press was, to me at least, worth holding onto," I think he's wrong.
The reality of a neutral, non-partisan mainstream press would be worth holding onto — if it had ever existed. But it didn't. What Fineman identifies as a golden age of neutrality was really a sham, and an artifact of two short-lived phenomena: First, Democratic/liberal political dominance so widespread at the time, at least among politicians and the press, that there weren't a lot of things to fight about; and, second, the inability of people who noticed bias and dishonesty to get the word out.
Neither situation obtains today. And rather than talk about the demise of neutrality and objectivity in news reporting, it might be better to note that CBS's problems, and the problems with Big Media in general, stem from an obvious and heavy-handed lack of neutrality and objectivity, coupled with a dishonest — and increasingly lame and obvious — effort to pretend otherwise.
Earlier this month, "CBS News president Andrew Heyward, along with Washington bureau chief Janet Leissner, . . . met with White House communications director Dan Bartlett, in part to repair chilly relations with the Bush administration."
While as an interim strategy, bending over backwards to be fair to those one opposes politically is reasonable for CBS, the longterm solution is to have about as many conservative producers and executives as liberals. If I were a CBS executive, I would go to a young, connected journalist like James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal and hire him or get ideas from him on whom to hire.
There are interesting stories out there that just don't get covered much by the MSM. It may be too late for the MSM to begin covering UNSCAM vigorously or the successes in Afghanistan. But there are other, newer stories: In the last few weeks, Diplomad has been detailing UN efforts to take credit for US and Australian relief efforts in Asia, and the UN's remarkable ineffectiveness in Aceh. What a natural for a big 60 Minutes or other newsmagazine story, sorting out to what extent these charges are or are not true! The point of fair reporting is not for CBS or other organs of the MSM to blunt criticisms of Bush, but just to report the interesting true stories, many of which will be embarrassing to the President, some of which won't.
For example, if you report the ultimately unsubstantiated suggestions that Bush might have been AWOL 30-35 years ago, as CBS did repeatedly, then report the substantiated reports that Kerry did not spend Christmas in Cambodia 36 years ago. Or reject both stories as too old to be relevant.
If last spring you report a letter signed by former military people that Bush is unfit to be Commander in Chief, then report the similar letter available at roughly the same time signed by nearly every person in the chain of command above Kerry in Vietnam saying that he was unfit to be Commander in Chief. Or reject both stories as probably partisan political moves cooked up for an election.
My point is that, with a politically diverse staff, being roughly fair will be much easier and will be a normal outcome of the process of choosing, reporting, producing, and vetting the stories. And the TV news will be more interesting, more true, and more trusted.
Fairness is not a special sauce that you pour over a story while you are editing it for broadcast.
UPDATE: Betsy Newmark comments insightfully on the same Howad Fineman column, particularly on GW Bush's efforts to bypass the press. She concludes:
This is a new world. And like all people in a trade that is growing obsolete from blacksmiths to telephone operators, Fineman is fighting against the tide. As Dylan would say, "The times, they are a-changing." If he doesn't want to sink like a stone, he'll change his ways.
Every time I pick up the New York Times, I am reminded both why the MSM will not die any time soon (there is an awful lot of great reporting in it) and why the MSM is likely to weaken as internet alternatives get stronger.