A little over a year ago, I wrote about a movie being made about Memogate, based on Mary Mapes’ book. Just to refresh your memory, Memogate was when CBS ran a story of supposed documents proving that George W. Bush skipped out on his Air National Guard Service. It became quickly obvious that the memos were forgeries.
The documents were such obvious forgeries that some of the liberal bloggers were the first to proclaim them as such. They were very evidently written on Microsoft office and printed on a laser printer. You can read Megan McArdle who goes point-by-point through CBS’s story and Mapes’ subsequent book pointing out that it was obviously a bad a story and any journalist who wasn’t sick the day they taught journalism in journalism school would have seen it.
When it came to the movie itself, I said this:
The thing is, I can confidently predict two things about this movie: it will be praised by the media and it will flop. This happens all the time with these liberal “issue” movies.
This movie will flop. It will make about a hundredth of what that shitty Shade of Grey movie is going to make. Because no one wants to see a movie about how poor poor Dan Rather and poor Mary Mapes were really the good guys when they put obviously forged documents on the air to try to influence an election. No one wants to hear their excuse-making about vast right wing conspiracies.
Still … it’s a good illustration of how the Left, including the Hollywood Left, are still suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome.
It’s a year later and they’re still suffering from it, having been stimulated into a relapse by the Presidential campaign of Jeb Bush. Last night, Rather appeared on Maddow’s show. After a 20-minute segment in which she said the issue of whether the documents were real or not was “never really resolved” and that nobody was ever able to really say whether they were fake, she had Rather out to say that the story was true and the documents have never been proven to be forgeries.
This is bullshit. McArdle again:
The defenses mounted by Mapes and others amounted to saying, “Well, there were machines that did proportional fonts, and you could order a ball with a ‘th’ key or solder one on, and maybe the kerning is an artifact of the faxing of the documents.” All of this is true, but … at some point, as a journalist and presumably as a movie producer, you start having to ask yourself: What’s the likely story? That a Texas Air National Guard commander who couldn’t type found a typist who had ordered a custom machine that just happened to match the defaults in Microsoft Word? Or that the document was typed in Microsoft Word? The best journalistic bet is the easy, likely thing, not the ultra-long-shot coincidence.
Exactly. As I noted above, liberal bloggers were among the first to recognize that the documents were obvious forgeries, ham-fisted forgeries. CBS’s own experts recognized that they weren’t real. The forgery was so obvious that I know liberals, to this day, who think that the Killian documents were faked by the Bush campaign to discredit the stories about his Air National Guard service.
Now I will grant Rather and Maddow that there no notarized photographs of Bill Burkett actually forging the documents. But the burden of proof was on CBS. And they failed spectacularly.
Now, I expect this from Maddow. She claims she isn’t a Democrat but she is an openly anti-Republican hack with an openly anti-Republican show who nurses old grudges against conservatives and Republicans. Fine. But Rather was … or at least claimed to be … a journalist. For him to still be backing this story proves that CBS was absolutely right to fire his narcissistic ass. Hell, they should fire him a second time just to the point clear.
(As for the movie, it just had a limited opening to good-but-not-great reviews (65% on Rotten Tomatoes) with some Oscar buzz for the leads. It will go wider soon. I expect it to flop. You can read McArdle’s follow-up review here.)