Quick notes on the Killian-memo brouhaha
20 September 2004
(For those of you who have been spending too much time engrossed in real life over the past two weeks: a couple of weeks ago, 60 Minutes released memos that were purportedly written by Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, Dubya’s commanding officer when he was in the Texas Air National Guard. If they were genuine, the memos would have proven that Bush disobeyed a direct order to attend a flight physical, and they also would have documented that friends of the Bush family were pressuring Killian to give Bush a non-negative performance review. Various members of the
101st101st Keyboard Brigade, not to mention rival news organizations, suspected that the documents were not genuine, and CBS is now calling their broadcast a “mistake.”)
- Memo to my comrades in Blogovia: don’t do Dan Rather’s homework for him! By treating the allegations of forgery as Lies That Must Be Refuted, you just tied your own credibility to CBS’s, and look where you are now. If the memos had been genuine, CBS had as much information to refute the “fact-check their asses” crowd as you did, and a heck of a lot more.
- No, Virginia, the Killian-memo saga is not further proof of the awesome power of the blogosphere. Every hack in the Republican party had an incentive to discredit the memos; every competitor to CBS had an incentive to put egg on Dan Rather’s face. If blogs didn’t exist, you can be sure that critiques of the memos would have been pushed through the “mainstream” media.
- Given the ineffectiveness of the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” ad campaign, I have trouble believing that all this fuss over the Killian memos will harm Kerry’s chances of winning the election.