The Right Coast

September 10, 2004
More Rathergate
By Tom Smith

The documents are fake. This explains it yet again.

Maybe this is one of those things you have to be in your forties or older to understand. Do people remember what a monumental pain in the butt it was to type papers in college? Erasing? White out? Fiddling around with the carriage to squeeze in letters or lines? Anyone who ever typed can tell by visual inspection that the documents in question are word processed. (I learned to type in high school in a class taught by the basketball coach; a guy so mean even the other coaches hated him. He finally left and all sighed in relief. Learned how to type, though.) Some old guy who didn't even type (his wife says he couldn't type) could not have produced such a clean looking document using a normal typewriter. As to the IBM selectric, come on. I was in college from 1975 to 1979, and nobody, even rich kids who would have had one, had a selectric. A grad student I knew got one in 1977 or so, but they were very rare. And they were no huge bargain to work with by today's standards. And the couldn't produce the proportionally spaced documents like those in question. Maybe there were some memory versions around, but the old army reservist was supposed to have one of these in his den in 1972. Doesn't anybody remember 1972? Hardly anybody had an electric typewriter back then for personal use.

All this makes this a weird story for me. I know enough about typing and such to know the documents are fake, I really don't have any doubt, but CBS apparently doesn't know that. But over the next week or so, it is just going to get clear beyond peradventure that the documents are forgeries. Then how will CBS defend not revealing where they came from? Very awkward for them. And I am used to the blogger news cycle, so it all seems to be happening in slow motion. Welcome to the new world, Kenneth. (The REM tune keeps going through my head.)

AND take a look at this. Now, ask yourself, what are the odds that anything produced on a typewriter could fit a Microsoft Word document so exactly? Time for us grown-ups to think for ourselves. The docs are in Microsoft Word, ergo are forgeries, ergo Karl Rove really is Svengali or the Kerryites are bunch of bumbling doofuses. I know where my money is.