The CJR story concludes with a long section on whether the National Guard memos were forged. It goes out of its way to point out that no one’s admitted this yet.
Well, take a look at this and say it with me: The memo was forged. The document was created recently in Microsoft Word. (Even the lines breaks match.) The visual evidence alone is overwhelming and conclusive.
Rather himself said: “I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically.” That’s as close as we’re going to get to an admission that they are fake.
Unfortunately, journalists (in a false bid to appear objective) have a hard time calling a fact a fact. We need to quit calling the memos “apparently bogus” and start calling them what they are. With a criminal case, we can just wait for the jury trial. After the guilty verdict we can quit using “allegedly.” But, in some cases, there won’t be a jury trial and jouranlists just need to make a judgement.
(I notice the same effect with Osama bin Laden. Despite overwhelming evidence, many journalists insist on referring to him as the “suspected mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks.” Are they waiting for a guilty verdict?)
Hopefully, when CBS releases its (much delayed) report on the scandal, the authors will admit outright that the documents were forged. Then journalists can quit pretending that it’s debatable.