Skip to comments.Bloggers' hoax theory over Bush military service memos ...challenges mainstream media
Posted on 09/13/2004 1:07:41 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
When history books are written, bloggers' real contribution to the 2004 election may well turn out to be in providing leagues of amateur sleuths to fact-check political controversy.
Over the weekend the internet has been abuzz with bloggers' claims that the memos about President Bush's time in the National Air Guard publicised by CBS were actually a hoax. Keepers of online journals around the country have been analysing the memos in excruciating detail, comparing the notes' typography to the technical specifications of early 1970s typewriters
The result? It's too early to say whether the bloggers calling "hoax" have won the day. But they have certainly helped drive questions about the veracity of CBS's "60 Minutes II" report last Wednesday night to the highest levels of the major media, and in so doing have helped shape what could be one of the most explosive - or simply weirdest - stories of the political season.
"Blogs have been characterised as places where people just go to mouth off, but what this brings out is the ability of blogs to actually help report a story," said Paul Grabowitz, professor of new media at the University of California at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.
The incident could help legitimise the role that blogs and other non-professional online writers are already playing in the everyday business of news reporting.
Even traditional reporters working online have had to struggle to win credibility over the past decade. But non-traditional sources such as blogs - which run the gamut from high-school journal entries to war reporting from Iraq - have often had an even harder time being taken seriously.
The Drudge Report was one of the first to break into the consciousness of the mainstream media, largely by scooping the stories of old media publications before they hit the street. The report's publication of Monica Lewinsky's name before Newsweek ran its story on the Clinton affair catapulted the report and Lewinsky into national headlines.
But unlike the report's writer, Matt Drudge, bloggers rarely call themselves journalists. Many focus as heavily on community and discussion as on original reporting. From this can come startling insight and well-reasoned analysis, or on-the-spot news posted faster than most news outlets can manage.
The Bush memo story has shown the internet's broader power of linking thousands of readers together, as much as it has demonstrated the intrinsic power of blogs themselves.
Not long after CBS aired its story on "60 Minutes II," dealing with memos that allegedly showed President Bush's Texas National Guard superiors raising questions about his service, a pseudonymous message board posting on the conservative FreeRepublic.com website called the documents a hoax.
This kind of rhetoric is common on that site's message boards, but the author asserted that the typewriter font used in the CBS memos was anachronistic and would not have come into common use until after the alleged date of the memos.
Thursday morning, while most news services were still catching up to the CBS story, Minneapolis attorney Scott Johnson posted a link to the FreeRepublic claim on his conservative-leaning Power Line blog. The item sparked an eruption of email from readers, ranging from former military officers to an IBM typewriter repairman, many doing detailed, expert-sounding analysis of the memos' typography. Johnson posted excerpts from the messages, most of which said the memos were likely to have been forgeries.
John Borland writes for CNET News.com
Los Angeles Times No Disputing It: Blogs Are Major Players.
I'd Rather Be Blogging CBS stonewalls as "guys in pajamas" uncover a fraud.
*** . If it turns out that the Killian memos are indeed forgeries, the Internet will have played an invaluable role in exposing the fraud much faster than the 18 months Mr. Camacho had to twist in the wind. Free Republic, a Web bulletin board, raised early warning signals about the memos within hours of last Wednesday's "60 Minutes" broadcast. Powerlineblog.com, a site run by three lawyers, reposted those comments, which were amplified by indcjournal.com. Then design expert Charles Johnson, who blogs at littlegreenfootballs.com, retyped one of the memos using Microsoft Word and showed them to be a perfect typographic match.
A defensive Dan Rather went on the air Friday to complain of what he called a "counterattack" from "partisan political operatives." In reality, traditional journalism now has a new set of watchdogs in the "blogosphere." In the words of blogger Mickey Kaus, they can trade information and publicize it "fast enough to have real-world consequences." Sure, blogs can be transmission belts for errors, vicious gossip and last-minute disinformation efforts. But they can also correct themselves almost instantaneously--in sharp contrast with CBS's stonewalling. *** FR post
Bloggers' hoax theory over Bush military service memos
Online web community challenges mainstream media reports
[Full title and subtitle]
(18 USC 494) Falsely Making, Alerting or Forging a Public Record.
(18 USC 494) Uttering or Publishing a False Public Record.
"When history books are written, bloggers' real contribution to the 2004 election may well turn out to be in providing leagues of amateur sleuths to fact-check political controversy."Only one of many contributions. You see--bloggers will write history. They're writing it now.
Clio loves the internet.
"they have certainly helped drive questions about the veracity of CBS's '60 Minutes II' report"They have helped drive questions about the veracity of CBS! (Of course CBS made the job easy.)
"From this can come startling insight and well-reasoned analysis, or on-the-spot news posted faster than most news outlets can manage"John's been reading the posts on Free Republic.
Matt Drudge was right!
So much for the hollow claim of the NYTimes to be "the newspaper of record". What a laugh! Clio hates that propaganda rag!
The internet is the newspaper of record.
What is Sen. Kerry HIDING in his 3.5 years of military records of which he's RELEASED SIX PAGES of? In 3.5 years of Naval Reserve service the paper trail is MORE than SIX MEASLY PAGES!
His secrecy is deafening.
If you Google "18 USC 494", the first word that pops up is "Clinton's". LOL!!
Nope, it is an established fact.
"John Borland writes for CNET News.com
Expect to see the liberal press to use this phrase for the next two months.
Hoax? Okay if they want to play word games.. how about Harkin's Hoax?
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