But Dan Rather and his producers wanted them to be real, so they ran with the story anyway.
ABC News joins the AP, Fox News, and CNN in checking out the memos:
Emily Will, a veteran document examiner from North Carolina, told ABC News she saw problems right away with the one document CBS hired her to check the weekend before the broadcast.
“I found five significant differences in the questioned handwriting, and I found problems with the printing itself as to whether it could have been produced by a typewriter,” she said.
Will says she sent the CBS producer an e-mail message about her concerns and strongly urged the network the night before the broadcast not to use the documents.
“I told them that all the questions I was asking them on Tuesday night, they were going to be asked by hundreds of other document examiners on Thursday if they ran that story,” Will said.
But the documents became a key part of the 60 Minutes II broadcast questioning President Bush’s National Guard service in 1972. CBS made no mention that any expert disputed the authenticity.
“I did not feel that they wanted to investigate it very deeply,” Will told ABC News.
A second document examiner hired by CBS News, Linda James of Plano, Texas, also told ABC News she had concerns about the documents and could not authenticate them. She said she expressed her concerns to CBS before the 60 Minutes II broadcast.
“I did not authenticate anything and I don’t want it to be misunderstood that I did,” James said. “And that’s why I have come forth to talk about it because I don’t want anybody to think I did authenticate these documents.”
A third examiner hired by CBS for its story, Marcel Matley, appeared on CBS Evening News last Friday and was described as saying the document was real.
According to The Washington Post, Matley said he examined only the signature attributed to Killian and made no attempt to authenticate the documents themselves.
At the heart of the dispute is whether any typewriter existed in 1972 that could have produced the documents, with their distinct type style, even spacing, and the tiny raised “th” known as superscript.
Two experts told ABC News today there was no such machine, not even the IBM Selectric Composer, the most advanced typewriter available in 1972.
“This machine is not the culprit for these documents,” said software engineer Gerry Kaplan.
Other new questions were raised today by National Guard officials who told ABC News that some of the language and abbreviations in the documents were not in use at the time.
These aren’t even good forgeries. The refusal of CBS News to admit its mistake is arrogance of the highest order.
Or maybe it’s part of a deliberate smear campaign after all.
Just heard from a very reliable source that CBS is looking into the political donations of document examiner Sandra Ramsey Lines, fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, who assessed the memos for CNN and for the Associated Press.
Did some digging myself, and found in a database maintained by the Center for Public Integrity, a campaign finance watchdog group, Lines has donated a little under $600 to the WISH List, a fundraising organization for Republican women candidates. Ah. Well, she must be lying, then. (eye roll)
(Keep in mind that Ben Barnes, the central figure in Rather’s report, has raised more than a half million dollars for Kerry’s campaign.)
All of the document examiners consulted by the mainstream media who say the documents look like fakes are putting their partisan allegiance to the GOP over their professionalism? Every last one of them?
Apparently that’s what they believe at CBS News.