Sunday, September 19, 2004


It's pretty funny, really, how right-wing bloggers are serially breaking their arms patting themselves on the back for having exposed "Forgerygate." Actually, all they've really managed to prove is P.T. Barnum's famous adage, perhaps recast as "There's a blogger born every minute."

Have any bloggers actually yet proven definitively that the CBS documents are fake?

Well, no. All they've been able to produce so far is a great deal of speculation, much of it later proven to be entirely without substance.

Times New Roman didn't exist in 1972? It existed in 1931.

You can create a nearly identical copy with MS Word? Perhaps that's because MS Word was designed to replicate an IBM typewriter.

The signatures look fake? Actually, the signatures are the only thing that experts have been able to say conclusively are genuine.

And on and on and on.

Perhaps the most amusing of the "forgery" theories is the recent suggestion that the documents released by Bush in 2000 (and re-released by the White House this year) are also forgeries.

At least, that seems to be the conclusion reached by those mental wizards at WizBang, who have developed a theory that Marty Heldt (whose work I've featured here several times) has also been peddling forgeries. This by way of arguing that Heldt is the source of the CBS documents.

The only problem with that? Heldt's sole source for the documents was a FOIA request, a fact that's easily substantiated by others, mostly journalists at the Boston Globe and elsewhere, who received the identical documents. It's further substantiated by the fact that the White House re-released the exact same documents earlier this year.

The source for the accusations against Heldt?

"Brooks Gregory", a supposed Democratic "political consultant" who claimed on an Internet forum:
I bought the document package from Marty Heldt and we subjected them to the most thorough investigation one could imagine. Why? Because if there was anything there, we damn sure wanted to use it. But guess what? Only two of those documents proved to be authentic and they were not even related to the charge being levelled.

The problem?

"Brooks Gregory" appears to be a fictitious person. Certainly, there was no person by that name attached to the Janet Reno campaign, as the hoaxter claims. And Marty Heldt has confirmed to me that he "peddled" no documents to anyone in any campaign, gubernatorial or otherwise, and the only documents he dealt with at all were those he obtained through FOIA.

Now, exactly who is falling for a hoax here?

This has, of course, been the typical MO for right-wing bloggers dealing with the CBS flap: Wrack your brains looking for seeming logical flaws, find a tidbit that -- with the help of your own faulty logic -- seems to fit, and then pronounce "AHA! I'VE GOT IT!!!" Which then guarantees it'll be picked up by mainstream media morons who've proven incapable of discerning shit from shinola in this matter.

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