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Saturday, September 11, 2004

Dan Rather and CBS News/60 minutes “Spike” evidence that could contradict their predetermined conclusions – by Pastor Dick Helms

Friday evening I watched as an obviously shaken Dan Rather tried desperately to defend himself against concerns regarding the documents used in a CBS News/60 Minutes “Report” intended to impugn the character of The President of the United States.

In defense of the “report” Rather presented a single handwriting “expert” (unchallenged) who testified that the signatures on the docs could/possibly/maybe be Lt. Col. Killian’s signature. He then pontificated with Rather that all of the folks that questioned the docs were working from copies, faxes etc and therefore their conclusions were unreliable. Surprisingly, Rather then indicated that the CBS docs were also copies inferring that the “copies” CBS used were somehow more reliable than the “copies” used by those that questioned the validity of the evidence. Huh?

Rather then stated, again unchallenged, that the “superscript” concerns were invalid because one other doc (from a totally different, and official, source) used it. There was no mention that the use of superscript was very rare in the early ‘70s or that it was highly unlikely that an individual, let alone a local National Guard officer, would have access to what was then a very expensive ($5M-$15M) professional word processor for personal note taking.

Then, again unchallenged, Rather stated that the “Times New Roman” font used had been around for decades. There was no mention that while it was indeed used by printers, it was rarely, if ever, available on personal typewriters and even then the character spacing in the docs was not available output from the typewriters of the day.

Rather closed his defense with the definitive statement “If any definitive evidence to the contrary of our story is found, we will report it.” Sounds good huh? What he didn’t tell us was that he, and 60 Minutes, “Spiked” interviews and evidence that might call to question the authenticity of the documents and/or contradict the predetermined conclusions intended in the “report”.

What was spiked?

  • Statements given to 60 Minutes producers, prior to the “report”, by Lt. Col. Killian’s surviving wife that she believed the docs to be forgeries and that based on personal conversations with her late husband she knew that, contrary to the docs in question, he held then Lt Bush in high regard.
  • Statements given to 60 Minutes producers, prior to the “report”, by Retired CPT Gary Killian, son of Lt. Col. Killian that he too believed the docs to be forgeries together with discussions he too had with his father regarding the high regard in which the Sr Killian had held Lt Bush.
  • Statements by other Air National Guardsmen, referred to 60 Minutes by the family members, who served with Lt. Col. Killian and also believed, based on their personal knowledge of his command habits, that the docs were forgeries.
  • Evidence that their “star witness” Ben Barnes, a former Lt Governor of Texas, had not only partisan political reasons for revising the truth, but that he was also writing a book including his reinvented testimony and therefore had a substantial financial reason to lie. (Since the “report” Mr. Barnes daughter has said that based on previous conversations with him, she believed that her father was lying).

By way of an interesting side note, Information has since been revealed by family members that Lt. Col. Killian was a very poor typist and that it was highly unlikely that he would expend the effort or had the typing skills to produce the perfectly typed documents used in the “report”.

It seems from the information excluded from the 60 Minutes report that the presentation was highly selective and intended to support a predetermined political conclusion.

Again I call on Dan Rather and CBS News to come clean. They owe President Bush a major apology, but from the tone of Mr. Rather’s defensive rhetoric and continuing selective reporting I doubt he’ll get it.

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