September 12, 2004
Dork Asshole Of The Week Month

Deep thoughts on the Killian forgeries from Max Sawicky (10:00 AM on September 11th):

Contrary to some, I do not assign zero probability to the possibility that if these are forgeries, they could have been meant to be debunked -- cooked up by Karl Rove as boob bait for the Democrats. The improbability of such an act being attributed to the GOP is an inducement for someone to do it. How nutty is that? I don't know. How nutty would it be for a political party with significant government influence to burn down its own parliament building, the better to blame it on the opposition?

Of course, the "improbability of such an act being attributed to the GOP" is in fact infinitesimal, or to put it more clearly, the probability is near 100%. We can count on the stupider and more dishonest members of the left to blame the GOP for things like this, no matter what the evidence shows or does not show.

By the way, nice Nazi comparison, Max asshole -- yet another thing we can always count on the left to provide. Of course, I am again referring only to stupider and more dishonest lefties.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at September 12, 2004 01:49 AM

I personally don't think it was a deliberate trap - because it's way too obvious, no one could have reasonably expected CBS to take the bait. As for the timing argument: besides the time-zone thing, if I had set this up as a trap, I'd have waited much longer than 3 hours before springing it, to gather more boobs in one net.

I think that more important than whether or not this was "boob bait" is that Rather, et. al., proved themselves boobs by falling for it. Does CBS have a political agenda? Let's see, they get documents that seem to support a Bush-bashing segment, and they don't even do a cursory look at the typeface and formatting before the broadcast. They just call in a handwriting expert to look at the signature (on a document that has been faxed or xeroxed so many times that stray dots are all over the page and the cross-bars at the top of many typed I's have become Y-shaped). There are only two possible explanations:

1. The entire 60-minutes staff is blithering idiots who have forgotten that word processors didn't exist in '72.

2. They liked what it seemed to prove that they didn't look a gift horse in the mouth. Or wonder about the long ears and braying, either...

Will this be the year that the "mainstream" news media finally realize that they must clean house and re-establish a reputation for fact-checking themselves before going public, or else become bloggers with a TV transmitter?

Posted by: markm on September 12, 2004 08:54 AM

Err, "They liked what it seemed to prove so much that"

Posted by: markm on September 12, 2004 08:56 AM

markm is right. These documents are far too superficially implausible to have been designed to be taken seriously, even as forgeries meant to be later exposed as such. No one would ever assume that CBS would be so completely clueless. (Er, well, maybe someone would now, but that's another story.)

I like the theory floated by a couple people at Asymmetrical Information (were you one of them, markm? I forget): that the material was never designed for wide public distribution at all, but by a bored teenager or a very junior Kerry staffer, either as a joke or as a ploy for personal advancement, and found its way to CBS through a chain of, roughly speaking, accidents. It seems more plausible than most of the alternatives.

Posted by: Michelle Dulak Thomson on September 12, 2004 01:10 PM

Agreed, the sheer amateurishness of the forgeries undercuts the Rove plot Kool-Aid flavouring. Someone trying to set up CBS would've made more plausible forgeries that would've taken more than 12 hours to prove were fakes.

But let's assume, arguendo, that Rove is behind them. How does that excuse CBS for doing a major Bush-bashing story based on (pretty obviously) fraudulent documents?!? Truly, stiff though the competition is, this may well be the lamest attempt at changing the subject the Left has attempted this whole election cycle. Small wonder Media Matters ran it.

Posted by: Dodd on September 13, 2004 06:44 PM

Dodd, I can't understand why they went for it; it's the single greatest mystery of this entire kerfuffle, including the mystery of who made this material and for what purpose. Even if the (still undisclosed) provenance of the stuff convinced them that, all appearances to the contrary, it was legit, why didn't anyone anticipate that people would question it? Why didn't they have ready answers to the obvious questions?

This one I really can't get my head around. I have trouble believing that major news organizations hire people as dumb as all that. But maybe belief will eventually be forced upon me.

Posted by: Michelle Dulak Thomson on September 13, 2004 07:05 PM

The old dependable, Max Sweaty.

I addressed this lunatic theory in my blog a couple days ago.

Essentially it boils down to, "We're easily duped."

Posted by: H.D. Miller on September 14, 2004 07:36 PM

If you quote somebody, you should quote accurately and honestly, which means including the link you left out on the tactics of Karl Rove:

Posted by: Vincent O. Veritas on September 15, 2004 11:00 AM

Only an asshole like Max or 'Vincent' -- assuming for the moment that they are not the same person -- would think that that particular link was important. I was too polite to rub it in, but, since 'Vincent' brings it up, I will note that it is yet another instance of Max's dishonesty. Here are the pertinent parts, for anyone too lazy to follow the link Max and 'Vincent' provided:

The case of the purloined videotape is far from over, but fingers are already pointing at Karl Rove, Gov. George W. Bush's chief political strategist. There's no proof that Rove or any other of the Bush campaign insiders sent the tape of Bush preparing for his upcoming debate to an ally of Al Gore's two weeks ago. But many pundits are suggesting Rove did it, pointing to a 1986 bugging incident at Rove's office to bolster their allegations.

In October of 1986, Rove was working for Republican Bill Clements in his race against then-Gov. Mark White. A few days before the candidates were to debate, Rove discovered a listening device that had been planted behind a needlepoint picture of an elephant hanging on his wall. The FBI investigated. Accusations and counteraccusations were made. But no charges were ever brought, and the matter slowly dissipated, amid general speculation that Rove had planted the bug himself.

In other words, not only is there "no proof" that Rove was responsible for planting the bug (or the forged memos, for that matter), there appears to be no evidence, either, to judge from Max's own link. To put it another way, the evidence that Karl Rove is responsible for the latest forgery is that he has previously been accused, also without evidence, of fraudulently planting a bug in his own office. I suppose the latest accusation will be used in future years as 'evidence' of his guilt in other cases. All you need is 'general speculation'. Nice work if you can get it, 'Vincent' -- and Max.

Posted by: Dr. Weevil on September 15, 2004 12:23 PM

Gee, why am I not surprised? The IP of 'Vincent O. Veritas' ( belongs to the Economic Policy Institute, employer of Max Sawicky. Whether 'Vincent' is a helpful colleague, Max's intern (that must be the suckiest job in the world), or Max's sockpuppet hardly matters. For his URL, 'Vincent' gave an obscenity, which I have edited for improved accuracy. Listing EPI would have been more honest, and this little deceit doesn't really suit complaints about others people's accuracy and honesty, does it?

Posted by: Dr. Weevil on September 15, 2004 12:42 PM

Good catch on the IP. The fact remains you didn't include the link, Mr. Honesty. How meaningful it is, your claque of readers can judge. In general, your game is to make hostile literalist interpretations that you find easier to transform into moral outrage. Have a ball. As for decorum, I'd say 'eat me' is a reasonable rejoinder to 'a**hole.'

But thanks for reading and writing!

Posted by: Max 'Asshole' Sawicky on September 15, 2004 02:44 PM

Max Sawicky pretends that he was just walking down the digital street minding his own virtual business when I called him an "asshole". What he was doing was smearing Karl Rove and comparing Republicans to Nazis. This is at least the fourth time I've caught him making shit up: he likes to pretend that warbloggers all "worship" Ollie North, that the Klan all voted for Bush, that the 1989 invasion of Panama made things worse in that country, and now that Karl Rove should be suspected of planting the forged CBS memos, despite the lack of evidence, because he has been previously suspected of fraud without evidence.

He also pretends to have forgotten our last encounter last December (start here and follow the links). I had demonstrated that he was wrong about the effects of the U.S. invasion of Panama, and he replied by calling me an "a-hole", my brother a "half-wit", and my readers "stupid". He smeared these insults all over his site without giving my name or any link, even when one of his readers asked him twice to say who 'Bugsy' was and what he had done to piss him off so much.

He had long since banned me from his site, but continues to think he has some kind of right to post comments on mine, even after I have pointed out just how arrogant such an attitude is. I don't know anyone else who posts on sites whose owners they have banned from their own.

Criticizing me now for failing to give a link that he thinks is pertinent (it's not) shows that he is not only an asshole but a hypocrite and a fool, since he has omitted far more necessary links than that. Further comments from him and his sockpuppets will be deleted, or edited for content, depending on my mood at the time.

Posted by: Dr. Weevil on September 15, 2004 09:19 PM

Christ, Sawicky, you couldn't do a better job of proving what a liar you are. Good plan on a ban there, Weev.

Posted by: Robin Roberts on September 17, 2004 10:27 PM

Well, Sawicky, the good news is that Dan Rather has pushed you off the top spot for most humiliated man on the web. The bad news is, of course, that was your best chance at being best at anything.

Posted by: mikem on September 18, 2004 06:02 AM

About Mr. Sawicky's Nazi allusion:

Wouldn't it be nice if the discussion-ending property of references to Nazis were recognized outside of Usenet?

Posted by: Michael Brazier on September 19, 2004 03:13 AM

Best theory I've heard yet: someone mistakenly faxed the rough draft of the forgeries, before the other guy came back with a 30-year-old typewriter.

Posted by: markm on September 20, 2004 12:08 PM