The Bush "Guard memos" are forgeries!
The Columbia Journalism Review
|12-Sep-04||Kerning and pseudo-kerning. Digital signature copying.|
|13-Sep-04||Comparison of numeric 1 and lower-case L|
|15-Sep-04||The Selectric Meltdown|
|17-Sep-04||More about the Selectric Meltdown; Pixelization|
|18-Sep-04||The IBM Executive Typewriter; Chain of custody; Records retention cycles|
|3-Oct-04||The Hailey Connection|
|10-Oct-04||The New York Times Font|
|20-Oct-04||Some personal reflections on this whole experience.|
|11-Jan-05||Hailey's response to my work|
I was both amused and dismayed at the recent article published in the Columbia Journalism Review. I was amused because it is, like most of the attempts to justify the "validity" of the CBS memos, completely ridiculous, and like most such articles, written by someone without the slightest qualification to actually make such an assessment. I was dismayed because it was published in what appears to be a legitimate publication, and as such reflects the "best thinking" that should be represented by such a journal. This is very sad. If we think Dan Rather's being hoaxed by an inept forgery is bad, just wait until the people with the apparent quality of journalistic training this article represents get out there. Apparently, critical thinking is not held in high esteem. The School of Journalism should find this article embarrassing. (If they do not, then the University should be deeply embarrassed to have such a school).
It is worth pointing out that good reporter will listen, and learn, and do research to learn. Pein apparently takes the attitude that if he can't understand something with a superficial reading, it must be either wrong, or unworthy of any effort to understand. He is very much of the school "My mind is made up. Don't confuse me with facts". Is this what we are expecting our journalism schools to produce now?
When someone makes an assertion, it is expected that they will be able to prove their assertion. CBS made the assertion that these memos were authentic without any proof whatsoever. There was at least one person with whom I appeared on Fox News Network who was a professional document examiner, who informed CBS on Sunday (before the story broke) that she could not authenticate the documents. They chose to ignore her and claim them authentic anyway. The trick is apparently to keep asking experts more and more restricted questions until you find an expert who will answer "yes" to some tiny specialized query. Then expand the answer to cover the entire original question. Example: find a man who has written a book on signature analysis, in which he says it is impossible to authenticate a copy of a signature. Convince him to claim a faxed copy of a signature could have been authentic (he did not authenticate it; he merely said he could not exclude it from being authentic). Generalize from this that the documents are authentic. This seems to set a new standard for investigative reporting. Not to mention a new standard for "analytic thought".
Let me address some of my concerns with Pein's article. I'm getting a bit tired of this whole affair, so I tend to put more whimsy and sarcasm into this discussion than I would put in a scientific report. Otherwise, I'd find the whole thing a lot more tedious than it has become.
"On September 11, a self-proclaimed typography expert, Joseph Newcomer, copied the experiment and posted the results on his personal Web site"
True. In my defense, I must say that I am, indeed, a "self-proclaimed typography expert". The use of this term in the article, however, is to suggest that I do not have the credentials to make such a claim, and in fact the first thought that comes to mind when seeing this phrase is "yellow journalism". I will match my understanding of computer font technology against just about anyone except actual full-time font designers (I don't understand the minute details of the subtle hinting mechanisms that are used to make fonts scale properly and still look good, although I, like anyone else who read Don Knuth's work on typography a quarter-century ago, know that such mechanisms are necessary, and abstractly what they do). I have been working with computer typography for at least 35 years now, have published at least one major paper which describes my work (which I cited, but I'll cite it again, here: R. Reddy, W. Broadley, L. Erman, R. Johnsson, J. Newcomer, G.Robertson, and J. Wright, XCRIBL -- A hardcopy scan line graphics system for document generation, Information Processing Letters 1(6)(1972)246-251), I wrote one of the first programs for doing computer typesetting to what we now know as laser printers (although laser printers were actually the next generation beyond the XGP), and in 1996 wrote a 41-page chapter on Microsoft font technology for our book, Win32 Programming. My program, the Font Explorer, which is freely available on the Internet, was used to collect actual quantitative data on Microsoft fonts which shows my analysis substantiates the hypothesis that the documents are forgeries. I used scientific methodology to prove my points.
"Little Green Footballs delighted in the "authoritative and definitive validation", and posted a link to Newcomer's report on September 12."
Absolutely true in all counts. LGF was delighted. And I did my best to make the report both authoritative and definitive, so I certainly consider that praise. However, the use of quote marks suggests that Pein thinks it is neither, yet seems unable to provide any evidence of failure in my part to not be authoritative and definitive. Again, the subtle use of "yellow journalism".
Never forget that Charles Johnson of LGF produced the actual, definitive, conclusive, inarguable example which proved that the memos were forgeries, within hours of their release. Of course he was delighted that there was substantial scientific justification for his conclusion. Any researcher is always pleased when an independent scientist can reproduce his results using a different approach. What is sad here is that Jonhson's obvious simple experiment was denigrated by those who were incapable of logical thought. My mistake was to think that such people could be convinced by additional compelling evidence. This led me into this whole fray.
"Two days later, Newcomer -- who was "100 percent" certain that the memos were forged -- figured high in a Washington Post report"
Yes. Two days later I was 100% certain, and to this day I remain 100% certain, that these memos were forged documents, almost certainly produced in Microsoft Word, and using the default Times New Roman typeface. No one has come up with a better hypothesis (certainly not David Hailey, more about that later). A renowned type expert with impeccable credentials, who was retained by the Thornburgh panel, came to the identical conclusion.
"The Post's mention of Newcomer came up that night on Fox, MSNBC, and CNN, and on September 15, he was a guest on Fox News's Hannity and Colmes"
Apparently he missed my appearance the night before on Brit Hume's program. Ah well, do we want thorough fact-finding by an investigative reporter? To be honest, I found myself keeping company with a lot of conservative groups that I would not normally associate with. But I will not tolerate fraud of this proportion by any media, liberal or conservative, and in most cases I am not qualified to tell if fraud is being committed. But in this particular case, it fell deeply within my domain of expertise, and I was qualified, and had something to say.
"Newcomer gave the press what it wanted: a definite answer"
And a definite answer is a Bad Thing? If the definite answer had said "these are authentic" the press would have been just as happy. Apparently "the press" is a term Pein uses to lump together conservative, liberal, moderate, and for all I know, every other group of people of every persuasion who report news. What he might have said was that my definitive answer appealed to the conservative press. Had I given a different answer, it would have appealed to the liberal press. However, do we expect precision from an investigative reporter, such as actually identifying which segment of "the press" is relevant? It appears not. So he is free to lump everyone into the single, vague term "the press". Actually, it isn't just "the press" that would like definite answers; most people like definite answers, particularly when the question is important. For example, "Doctor, am I HIV positive?" can be an important question. Which answer would you like: "Analysis of your blood by our certified laboratory indicates definitely not!" or "Several people who have not looked at you, and two people who once had a biology course in high school who saw your blood sample, think you might be, or maybe not". People like definitive answers to important questions.
"The problem is, is proof turns out to be far less than that"
This surprises me. He obviously hasn't read the proof. It is very compelling, and furthermore anyone who has the slightest ability to do critical reasoning will see that I have done my best to be very precise in what I have done. A physicist would immediately recognize my methodology (I was trained as a scientist by a physicist).
"Newcomer's resume -- boasting a Ph.D. in computer science and a role in creating electronic typesetting -- seemed impressive"
More yellow journalism. He implies, with the word "seemed", that somehow I did not live up to what my resume claims. I believe that I do have the qualifications I claim, and furthermore, that I used them in a way consistent with performing good science.
"His conclusions came out quickly, and were bold bordering on hyperbolic"
Guilty. I actually produced my results on Thursday. I wrote them up on Friday and sent them to several news outlets. I wrote them as a Web page on Saturday, and the link was posted on Sunday. This suggests something: it is easy to demonstrate an obvious result. Nonetheless, I believe that even with the rapidity of my first draft, I honored scientific methodology. And "bold"? I simply stated flat out that they were forgeries. Everyone else was doing the usual media gutless approach of "alleged" or "suspected" or "questioned" or one of the other weasel-words so beloved so that when they are proved wrong they can back down without losing face. To me, it was obvious these documents were forgeries, and I had no fear of saying so. Thus far, no counter-evidence has been produced to show that any of my analysis is incorrect. Perhaps hyperbolic is a term a reporter uses when someone says something definitive and stands behind that statement. Perhaps Dan Rather can be accused of a similar position in staking his reputation on the authenticity of a forgery. Of course, I had to look this word up to be sure of its usage. (hyperbolic: 1. of, relating to, or analogous to a hyperbola 2. of, relating to, or being a space in which more than one parallel to a given line passes through a point 3. of, relating to, being a function related to the hyperbola as a trigonometric function is related to the circle). Perhaps he meant to say that my conclusions bordered on hyperbole (hyperbole: 1. extravagant exaggeration used as a figure of speech). I guess a flat statement of the truth is, by some, seen as "extravagant exaggeration". But to use the correct word, "hyperbole", when he meant exaggeration would require a certain degree of literacy, which apparently is lacking here. You might expect a computer geek to fail to use words correctly, but would expect someone in journalism to know how to use the language. And you even might expect a competent editor or proofreader to discover such an error. But I digress.
"The accompanying analysis was long and technical, discouraging close examination"
This I find a little peculiar. The accompanying analysis was long and technical precisely to encourage close examination. Anyone who read my site, or the subsequent postings, knew exactly how I obtained the results I obtained. No handwaving, no meaningless assertions, no questions. Anyone who actually read my site would have all the tools they needed to replicate the experiments themselves. This is what scientific methodology is all about: you tell everyone what you've done so thoroughly that they can replicate your experiment and get the same result you got. His own personal failure to closely examine everything I did says a lot more about his skills than it does about mine. Sadly, he missed this point entirely. Apparently he is like many others who don't want to bother with such mundane details as understanding what is going on, particularly when the result demonstrates that the facts violate their opinion.
"Still, his method was simple to replicate, and the results were easy to understand"
So where is the problem? I did what any good scientist should do: demonstrate a replicable experiment. And the results are easy to understand, and lead to only one conclusion: the memos were forged. So how is the use of a simple method with easy-to-understand results something bad? And guess what? If you have a simple method, easy to replicate, and which produces a result that is easy to understand, what part of "the resulting document appears to be identical to the CBS memos" does he not understand? Apparently "easy to understand" is not sufficiently easy for Mr. Pein to understand.
"Based on the fact that I was able, in less than five minutes...to type in the text of the 01-August-1972 memo into Microsoft Word and get a document so close that you can hold my document in front of the 'authentic' document and see virtually no errors, I can assert without any doubt (as have many others) that this document is a modern forgery. Any other position is indefensible"
Since this is a quote from my site, I cannot at all disagree with it. In fact, it does seem obvious. But he goes on
"Red flags wave here, or should have. Newcomer begins with the presumption that the documents are forgeries, and as evidence submits that he can create a very similar document on his computer"
And, Mr. Pein, exactly what part of "blindingly obvious" do you not understand? Scientific methodology works like this: Examine data. Form a hypothesis to explain the data. Use the hypothesis to predict some phenomenon. Perform an experiment that examines the data to see if the predicted phenomena are present. An experiment either proves the hypothesis, disproves the hypothesis, or gives ambiguous answers. If the experiment proves the hypothesis, the hypothesis may well be right. If it disproves the hypothesis, the hypothesis might well be wrong. If the answers are ambiguous, either invent new experiments, or determine what is wrong with the experiment in question, or reformulate the hypothesis. Note that the experiment itself may be flawed. For example, one correspondent reported to me that he typed in a sentence in Word, then typed it in on the next line, and pair-kerned the next line. Since there was no change in the sentence length, pair-kerning clearly had no impact on the appearance of a document. I explain how he chose a poor experiment. No one has demonstrated to me that my experiments are flawed, in particular, by coming up with an experiment which produces a result inconsistent with mine. I have already pointed out why David Hailey's experiments are flawed, and therefore allow him to arrive at erroneous conclusions; his experiments have a tendency to ignore actual data.
In the case of the CBS documents, the examination of the data screamed "Word forgery"; hypothesis is that the document is a Word forgery. Prediction: if I were to create a document in Word, it would be an exact match with the CBS document. The simplest experiment, one any 12-year-old with Word and a printer can perform, validates the hypothesis. It is very likely right. But I don't stop there. I then refine the experiments, saying "if it were in Word, I could use this theory to predict that the following is true" and I then proceed to do so. For example, if it were in Word with Times New Roman, I should see pseudo-kerning where Times New Roman has pseudo-kerning. I do. I hypothesized several places where it should be true, and tested them, and it is. If it is in Word with Times New Roman, the superscripts that come out should look like the superscripts that Word produces using Times New Roman. They are. So every experiment I attempt to validate the hypothesis comes out "true". Then, as people suggested counter-hypotheses, such as the Executive Typewriter, The Selectric Composer, and so on, I created experiments that would either verify or refute those hypotheses. The results from my analyses came up "negative", that is, the proposed hypotheses were inconsistent with the appearance of the documents.
What is fascinating is that the people who begin with the presumption the documents are not forgeries do not seem to be able to come up with any experimental data that proves that they could not be produced by Microsoft Word, or that there actually existed a device capable of producing output so indistinguishable from Microsoft Word output that the results of my analysis (and the analysis which preceded mine, by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs) are invalidated. I discount David Hailey's feeble attempts to demonstrate this, because his methodology is completely bogus, and his results are consequently without merit.
"This proves nothing -- you could make a replica of almost any document using Word."
Oh dear. This is a person who has obviously never tried to do this! You might be able to make a replica of some documents using Word, provided you had available the appropriate type fonts, but you would not do it in five minutes, with the default Word settings and the default Word font. He makes this statement as if it were true, without actually demonstrating that it could be done, or how long it would take. Sort of like a policeman saying, as a hypothesis of how the crime was committed "the thief could have climbed up the side of the building, used a thin steel blade to jimmy loose the window, and taken the jewels" when the window is caulked solidly shut and the front door is smashed in. Pein's ability to reason about the capabilities of Word, or perhaps just to reason, are brought to light by this one sentence. It means he knows little, if anything, of Word, or the difficulty of doing what he claims is possible. It is almost as bad as Hailey's reasoning, which is readily paraphrased as "the font resembles a different computer font than Times New Roman, so consequently the document must have been typed on a typewriter" (read his paper and tell me if I have misrepresented his reasoning--since he removed it from his site, I'll be happy to send anyone who asks a copy of the edition I downloaded. This falls under Fair Use, in case you are wondering).
"Yet Newcomer's aggressive conclusion is based on this logical error"
What logical error? I see no logical error here! Examine data: looks like a Word document. Hypothesis: the document is a Word forgery. Prediction: I can duplicate it in Word. Experiment: I can replicate it in five minutes using the default settings of Word. Conclusion: Hypothesis proven. Looks like sound logic to me (I should point out that I not only had undergraduate courses in logic in the Philosophy Department of my undergraduate school, but took several semesters of various math logic courses in graduate school, including a course from the noted Peter Andrews. I had to pass a Ph.D. qualifier in logic. I understand something about logic, and scientific method, that apparently Mr. Pein does not. So like much of Hailey's work, his conclusion is without foundation and without merit.
My conclusion is not "aggressive" as much as it is "proven beyond shadow of a doubt".
"Many of the typographic critiques were similarly flawed. Would-be gumshoes typed up documents on their computers and fooled around with the images in Photoshop until their creation matched the originals"
Let me see if I follow this logic: if someone fakes up a document in Photoshop and claims it matches the Bush Guard memos, that proves what? Oh yes, it proves nothing at all. Now let's follow that a bit more: David Hailey has apparently done exactly this. And Pein is about to assert that Hailey's results are meaningful. Just remember this sentence when you read Pein's discussion of Hailey's work. Note that Pein is incapable of remembering from one paragraph to the next what he claims constitutes valid work and what he claims constitutes fraudulent work.
As far as I followed, no one "faked up" results in Photoshop and then claimed that they proved the memos forgeries. Jeff Harrell certainly cut and pasted entire lines produced by the IBM Selectric Composer. But if the IBM Selectric Composer were the true source of the memos, he would have proven that the memos are authentic. Instead, in doing another excellent piece of scientific methodology, Jeff proved that the Selectric Composer could not have been used to produce the memos. Oh dear. Another case where the actual data contradicts the fond wishes of someone, so the experiment must be wrong.
Has anyone noticed something about this whole controversy? Anyone who claims the memos are forgeries, based on the typography, is able to back their claims with solid evidence. Everyone who claims the opposite lacks the evidence, and often merely uses wishful thinking as the basis of their conclusion. Pein seems to think that wishful thinking trumps solid evidence. He has never been in a court of law. Or for that matter, ever watched a good police trial show on TV.
"Someone remember something his ex-military uncle told him..."
I am not aware of this issue, so I can't comment on it.
"...others recalled the quirks of an IBM typewriter not seen for twenty years"
Could he perhaps be referring to Jeff Harrell's experiment? Jeff didn't recall the quirks; the quirks were recalled by Gerry Kaplan, of www.ibmcomposer.org, who actually has, right now, working instances of those devices. Furthermore, Gerry actually made his living for several years using these devices, and some of the quirks you never forget, even after twenty years. Furthermore, Gerry typed out actual output on one of these devices, and Jeff proved the output couldn't match!
Before Jeff posted his experiment, I had already done a theoretical analysis of the IBM Selectric Composer, based on actual IBM Selectric Composer manuals which are available on the Internet. In the first I show that the ratios of the characters are different in the two types of fonts. Some readers reported that this seemed rather obscure, so I simplified it. In the second, I show that under the metric of font-relative character width values, the equivalence classes of characters on Microsoft Times New Roman are inconsistent with the equivalence classes of the IBM Selectric Composer. Consequently, it is mathematically provable that the IBM Selectric Composer could not have created the documents. When solid mathematical analysis disproves a hypothesis, the hypothesis can be discarded.
Of course, Pein himself would not commit the errors he accuses others of. For example, he would never accept as evidence the vague recollections of someone he would consider barely qualified to offer an opinion. Right? Sure. Yet watch him commit an egregious error of this nature just a little later in his very own article!
Oh, yes, I expect that when I use a phrase such as "font relative width values" and "equivalence classes", that I am communicating well-understood typographic and mathematical concepts. I would suggest that anyone who does not understand the sentence is not qualified to say that it is wrong. But then, I'm probably being long and technical again. Anyone who does understand the sentence is free to argue with me about it. Note that in my essay I explain it a lot more simply. Perhaps Pein, if he took the time to read either of my two analyses, and had any technical competence, would have understood this. But he apparently finds the reading of facts to be overly challenging (he said this, remember. I'm not making an unfounded accusation, I'm merely repeating what he claimed).
"There was very little new evidence and lots of pure speculation."
New evidence? You don't need new evidence! All the evidence of forgery is right there in the documents themselves! There is new analysis which confirms the original hypothesis, but since we have no new documents from CBS, we have no way to get new evidence. Perhaps Mr. Pein cannot distinguish "new evidence" from "new analysis". Scary in an investigative journalist, don't you think? Be glad he isn't a policeman!
Sadly, every attempt to derive information from the documents to prove they are authentic tends to ignore the actual document evidence. Hailey, for example, makes absurd assertions that "all" instances of the documents exhibit some characteristic he wants to prove. But for some reason, when I look at the actual documents, I find massive amounts of evidence that contradict his conclusion. He has the exact same evidence, yet he is able to ignore any evidence that does not support his hypothesis. In science, you can't do that. You have to account for all the evidence, not just the couple pieces you like. "Your honor, I believe the accused is guilty because I believe he committed the crime. We must discount the plane tickets, hotel receipts, and witnesses that place him 800 miles from the crime, including the 500-odd people who saw him present a paper at that conference at the exact same time I know he committed the crime". This is the David Hailey method. I can disprove most of his claims for type damage just by examining multiple instances of his "damaged" characters in a single memo. And you can see the same thing yourself. You don't need some high priest of typography to interpret the data for you, you can just look at it yourself! In my "long and technical" explanations I tell you exactly how you can do this. Yet Hailey believes he can see uniform damage. Furthermore, he sees this damage at a detail level smaller than the Nyquist Sampling Limit would allow (remember the scene in My Cousin Vinny in which Vinny asks the elderly woman how many fingers he's holding up, fifty feet away? A fax machine has very blurry vision. But Hailey sees, in the artifacts of the faxing, details far to small to have survived faxing at all. And he ignores the massive number of inconsistencies that do not support his hypothesis).
Most of the pure speculation is on the wishful thinking side of the argument. For example, Pein's assertion "you could make a replica of almost any document using Word" is a piece of pure speculation, particularly because he makes no attempt to quantize the effort involved, or the feasibility in general.
"The very first post attacking the memos ..." and the paragraph that follows apparently thinks that if anyone associated with the Republican Party makes any claim about the memos being faked, they are obviously wrong, just because they are Republicans. Note how consistently the "these are authentic" group associates credibility of someone's opinion with their political affiliation. Nobody mentions the fact that I stated, in my first postings, that I do not like George Bush. In fact, I voted for Kerry based solely on the fact that he was not George Bush, because I do not like what Bush has done, nor what he stands for. This did not stop me from saying that the CBS memos are forgeries. It put me in the odd position of apparently supporting someone I disapprove of. But in fact I disapprove of forgery, and media forgery, a whole lot more. Pein seems to care far less about the validity of the opinions, and a whole lot more about the politics of the people who post them. Now tell me, Mr. Pein, if the world was as fair as you think it is, do you think I could have gotten my results posted on an anti-Bush Web site? Note that I host my own Web site which has no political affiliation or interest. The fact that my results were spread across conservative blogs merely indicates that they were of great interest to that group. So we can immediately dismiss all arguments that because thus-and-such a site is run by, or funded by, a Republican, that this ipso facto is proof that everything posted on them must be a lie. Or in my case, because I am quoted on a Web site run by a known card-carrying member of the Republican Party (Let's see: if Congress persecutes and blacklists people because of their political affiliation, this is Evil, but if journalists do it, this is apparently the practice they were taught. Am I missing something?) This form of ad hominem argument is very poor style, would not survive a simple high school debate, but apparently represents the best of what the Journalism School teaches. It certainly appears to be consistent with Mr. Pein's ability to separate fact from fiction. But perhaps this is what modern journalism schools teach: if you don't have facts, impugn the integrity of the person you are criticizing by showing their affiliation with a group you believe is in disfavor.
"In order to understand "Memogate", you need to understand "Haileygate"."
ABSOLUTELY! In fact, I strongly suggest that everyone should read David Hailey's analysis. Then read my analysis. Then decide which of us gives a scientific proof of the hypotheses, and who does meaningless handwaving. The fact that Hailey's analysis has been removed from his Web site is very sad in this regard. His paper is so bad that if I were writing a spoof of scientific methodology for a humor magazine, I would use his methods. I have recommended to several professors that they use Hailey's paper in their classes, just to see how many of their students can spot the fundamental errors in his analysis. It is without a doubt one of the finest examples of bad science I've found in a long time. To me, picking apart his arguments is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel; it is just far too easy to show the massive holes in his logic, the flaws in his experimental methodology, and the complete lack of scientific approach to a problem. But in that regard, it should be read by everyone, and they should read it with critical analysis. I'd love to turn a classroom of college students loose on it to find all the holes. It would also substantiate my claims about the flaws if a bunch of 18-year-old engineering majors could see the same flaws I do (this is what is called scientific experimentation, also. Observation: Hailey's results are inconsistent with the observable data. Hypothesis: Hailey's results are flawed. Prediction: anyone with training in scientific thought can find the holes. Experiment: see how many other people see the same defects in his paper).
Hailey's diatribe about my criticism of his work is equally amusing, and far less coherent. It, too, has been removed from his Web site. However, you can read some of my comments on it here. If anyone wants to see a copy, I can email you one (this falls under Fair Use, a concept he also does not appear to understand).
"David Hailey, a Ph.D. who teaches tech writing at Utah State University..."
For the first time since this started, I went and read Hailey's resume. He appears to be a tech writer, an artist, and a Web page designer. Nothing in his resume suggests any skills in computer typography. Now, if he were competent to do the analysis, this would not be an issue. But given how poor his analysis is, he demonstrates that as a scientist, he is best characterized as a teacher of tech writing. Nothing wrong with teaching tech writing, of course. But he has ventured into an arena where he has demonstrated he is poorly-equipped to play, but played anyway. When his analysis hit the Internet, it was like a neighborhood pickup soccer team coming up against a World's Cup team.
The odd thing is that until a couple weeks ago, he had not responded to any of my criticisms, or refined his experimental technique based on the feedback of those who have read his report. We've told him what is wrong. A good scientist would correct the flaws in his methodology. Instead of a reasoned response to the numerous criticisms I made of his work, at some point he replaced his Web page with some random incoherent ramblings, many of which I couldn't follow, most directed against me. But I've responded to many of them here.
"...--not a professional document examiner...
Neither am I. The difference is that I know how to do science. At least I haven't authored a book on how to tell the libido of a woman by her handwriting, and from that claim that I am a qualified handwriting analyst (one of the "experts" CBS used was not a certified handwriting analyst, but had written such a book). On the other hand, it is amusing that a qualified document examiner of impeccable credentials, retained by the Thornburgh panel, arrived at the same conclusions I did.
"...but a former Army illustrator --studied the CBS memos"
Hmm. My ability to perform a trivial experiment and reason about it causes Pein to say "Red flags wave here", but a work done by someone who has no background in fonts, no background in document analysis, and what is painfully obvious from reading his paper, no scientific training at all, passes by Pein as a perfectly reasonable person to do a detailed scientific analysis of a questioned document. Do we see some inconsistency here? Pein denigrates my credentials, but Hailey doesn't even have any to denigrate. I guess that's why Pein never said anything bad about him.
"His typographic analysis found that, contrary to widespread assumptions, the documents may have been typed"
Yes, absolutely, they were typed! They were typed into a computer that was running Microsoft Word. What Pein obviously meant to say, but seems to have been unable to say coherently, is that Hailey offers the opinion that the documents may have been produced on a 1972-era typewriter. Unfortunately, as I have demonstrated in my dissection of Hailey's work, just about every attempt he makes to show this is deeply flawed. Furthermore, because he does not give us enough information to reproduce the experiment, he sees things that aren't detectable (type wear), he ignores actual facts (he examines a few selected characters that bolster his conclusion and ignores the hundreds of characters that contradict it), he shows images in his documents that are clearly unrelated to the actual documents in question (for example, his characters in his Figure 14, that is, the Figure 14 that follows Figure 15, not the Figure 14 that precedes Figure 15, shows characters with gray edges, and in those gray areas, he claims to see defects that prove type wear. How he gets gray edges from a black-and-white fax is not explained. I got gray artifacts in a TIFF export but I knew not to derive conclusions based on such artifacts) and he does not understand how to reason in a scientific fashion.
In fact, there are both serious allegations that his methodology consisted of generating some documents and working with them in Photoshop until they matched the CBS memos; in one case, as shown in Hailey's very own Figure 7 (on page 13 of one of the drafts of his document), this is exactly what he claims to have done. Yet Pein dismisses with contempt people who would use such a technique, while apparently accepting Hailey's work without question. This sounds like one of those "our forgetful authors" column fillers in the New Yorker.
Apparently, meticulous research and detailed scientific exposition, confirmed by experimental data, are now suddenly "widespread assumptions", but Hailey's slovenly approach to the study is not even discussed or criticized; just the fact that it apparently conforms to Pein's preconceived notion of what ought to be true is sufficient to validate it.
"(He points out, meanwhile, that because the documents are typed does not necessarily mean they are genuine)"
Yes, but since they are obviously not genuine, making statements like this seems pointless.
"Someone found a draft of his work on a publicly accessible Web site, and it wound up on a conservative blog, Wizbang"
And this proves what? If you put a document up on a publicly accessible Web site, you obviously intend that people should read it. Once the existence of Hailey's document was pointed out to me, I went to his Web site and downloaded it. So did many other people. As far as anyone could tell, he had published a work in a public place with every intent that it be read. Yet Pein seems to think that there is something wrong with people noticing this. Perhaps Pein could explain how it is that a document on a public Web site is somehow supposed to be treated as a secret? If you want to create a document and not have it available on the Internet, you do not create it in a directory that is publicly accessible. A publicly accessible Web directory is not an accident; you have to deliberately set it up as a known link to your Web server. Hailey had obviously done this, which means that he intended it to be read.
I may be forgetting something, but what showed up on the blog site was a discussion of the Web site, not the Web site itself. But I will state that I may be trusting my memory on this, and someone who is interested in doing actual fact-checking should verify if this statement is really true.
Even Hailey, in his incoherent ramblings, accuses people of "stealing" his files. He published his files on a public Web site. You can't "steal" these files any more than you could "steal" one of those free entertainment papers most cities have. Or, in a perhaps more familiar analogy, it would be likened to stealing a Green Sheet or PennySaver. When you put something out on a public Web site, you have published it for all to see. If everyone sees it and downloads it, that's obviously what was intended by placing the files in a public directory.
And would Pein think there was something wrong if this same document had appeared on an anti-Bush Web site? Oh, sorry. I forgot. Political affiliation matters more than truth. My error.
"The blog, citing "evidence" that it had misinterpreted, called Hailey a "liar, fraud, and charlatan"."
I had heard of this, and heard of the evidence. I find some of the evidence suggestive. However, I do not think, having read several different drafts of Hailey's work, that one can accuse him of committing fraud. However, one thing you absolutely cannot accuse him of is committing science. His analysis and conclusions fail based solely on his inability to reason in a scientific fashion. Never ascribe to malice what you can account for by incompetence. Hailey makes so many methodological errors in his analysis that his conclusions are completely without merit. But I deeply suspect that Mr. Pein does not understand methodological issues.
"...Of course, cautious voices tend to be quieter than confident ones"
Hmm..."cautious" is the opposite of "confident"? Is this a new question in the Miller Analogies test: "Cautious is to confident as black is to ____ (a) white (b) gray (c) chicken soup"? People who are confident are often cautious. People can also be timid and right. Hailey is not cautious, in that he has not done science, just grabbed a set of random facts, and gives the illusion of reasoning from them, to reach a conclusion he apparently prefers. Yet if I, or anyone else, takes exactly the same evidence from the CBS documents that Hailey has, we can actually disprove most of his conclusions. Some of his other work is equally suspect (the type wear issue). I made a very simple statement: the documents are forgeries. I did not make a loud statement, but I made an important one. And I made it after doing enough analysis to make that a scientifically substantiated claim. I was then, and still am, confident in my assessment.
"Hailey wasn't the only one to feel the business end of the blog-mob"
This is another example of yellow journalism. If a large number of people stand up and say "This fact is wrong", and can back it with scientific evidence, they must be a "mob" because a "mob" is a Bad Thing. If a lot of people write letters to their Senator or Congressperson, are they therefore a "mob"? According to my dictionary, a mob is a "large, disorderly crowd; a criminal set". So a carefully reasoned post, such as mine, constitutes a mob action? Or am I a criminal? Which is he suggesting? If I write a nasty letter to Arlen Spector, or Rick Santorum (my Senators), am I to be arrested for mob action because a lot of other people wrote similar letters?
Hundreds of people wrote emails to me, many accusing me of everything from betrayal of intellectual freedom (my daring to say that Hailey was wrong) to membership in the Nazi party. I did not feel a victim of a mob attack; these were all individuals, acting independently. Of course, many emails were also supportive. And a large number of emails asked important questions, which I then responded to by increasing the scope of my analysis. Funny thing is, most of the emails opposed to me questioned my politics (irrelevant!) or my motivation (I did it to prove CBS was party to massive fraud, not to get Bush re-elected, nor was I being paid by Carl Rove, to deny the most frequent allegations).
In the case of Hailey, I think his work demonstrates that he is incapable of reasoning about the topic. Many others felt similarly. Because of what appeared to be an attempt at fraud (I think it was just incompetence), he was accused of much worse. The correct response of a University, of course, is to decide if the facts substantiate the accusations, and investigate accordingly. This happens very often in science; a researcher who fakes his or her data is usually exposed fairly quickly. A researcher who demonstrates an inability to do science eventually stops getting grants and, if tenured, usually ends up with nothing to do; if not tenured, tenure is denied. Hailey's research demonstrates a profound inability to commit science, but I think that the allegations of fraud are probably unfounded; I believe he just didn't know that what he was doing wasn't science. What surprised me was that so many people felt he was being persecuted for promulgating an unattractive hypothesis. I was certainly attacked for promulgating an unattractive hypothesis. What Hailey was largely being confronted with was the fundamental errors of his analysis, at least by the rational correspondents. And both of us were subjected to a fair amount of attack by the irrational correspondents.
One of the best of the irrational attacks I heard of recently was the following, although I do not know the source; it was sent to me by a friend:
On September 11, a self-proclaimed typography expert, Joseph Newcomer, copied the experiment, and posted the results on his personal Web site.
Columbia has forgotten about: Joseph "Newcomer," an obviously fake name. He copied the experiment 9-11, the anniversary of the Pinochet coup! Who did the coup? The CIA, with made-up names. I wonder where Mr. "Newcomer," if that is his name, was, in 1973?!?
For some reason, my name seems to strike some people as phony; I've never quite understood why. The Newcomer family is well-known in Latrobe PA, my home town. My sister did genealogical research that traced the family back to some time around the Revolutionary War; a land grant to what is now the family farm was signed to a Newcomer family member by the son of William Penn, although I no longer recall the date. I am known to probably thousands of people who have met me in person. Where was I in 1973? Carnegie-Mellon University, working on my Ph.D. What was I doing in 1973? Having just finished helping lay the precursors for the field of desktop publishing (remember, our work was finished before Xerox started doing research in this area), I was starting research that contributed to the founding of the field of automatic compiler generation (our work received an award as one of the 50 most influential papers in the first 20 years of the PLDI conference. It was presented at the first such conference in 1979). It would be interesting to find out what the poster of this comment was doing in 1973. I had never thought it would be necessary to prove that I exist. To see some other things this nonexistent person has done, try Google with the string "joseph newcomer cmu -bush -cbs".
I quote here from a book called "The Pedant and the Shuffly: A Fable", by John Bellairs and Marilyn Fitschen (a truly delightful story, by the way). At least in the story the logic is deliberately spoofed logic:
At some point in dialectical process, Snodrog would turn with a ghastly grin that looked like the ragged hole in the top of badly opened beer can, and he would say:
"Well, if A, therefore B"
"And if B, then certainly C"
"Then," (here Snodrog's voice would begin to rise in pitch) "if C, why in the name of Heaven not D????"
"No reason why not." Here the victim usually smiled blandly.
"WELL THEN, I don't suppose you'd have any half-witted foolish dopey oafish objection to the inescapable conclusion that D implies E, would you??"
"None at all"
At this point Snodrog's voice would get very snarky and mysterious, and he rubbed his hands together so hard they burned like anything.
"W-e-e-l-l then-e-n, I would imagine that even you, with your chocolate pudding brain, could not fail to see that E, when considered in the light of
a.) The angle of the solar ecliptic
b.) Your shoe size--15 Triple E,
c.) The fact that Jupiter, Saturn, and Topaz Minor are in trine, terce, bi-sextile, and yearly returns amounting to over six hundred million dollars,
d.) The number of Americans killed in highway accidents,
E, as I say, in the light, as it were, of all of these, proves YOU DON'T EXIST!!!"
Perhaps I have inadvertently met Snodrog.
"...The specific points of contention about the memos are too numerous to go into here"
Which I translate as "I'm not going to discuss any of the facts because it would only confuse you, and weaken my case that the various proofs of the memos being fakes should be ignored"
"One, the raised "th" character appearing in the documents, became emblematic of the scandal, as Internet analysts contended that typewriters at the time of the memo could not produce that character. But they could, in fact, according to multiple sources"
I have yet to find a source that demonstrates that a typewriter of the 1970s could produce a superscript "th" that was absolutely identical to the "th" produced by Microsoft Word. Pein demonstrates the same sort of ignorance of typography that the other wishful thinkers demonstrate; he once read that someone remembered that someone told them that a superscript "th" could be produced (remember, Pein thinks that someone who remembers features of an IBM Selectric Composer has a faulty memory, but now someone who remembers a superscript is Valid Scientific Evidence). No one has yet demonstrated the existence of a superscript on any 1970s era typewriter that is identical to that of the CBS memos. The only example found is a ligature. However, this distinction is apparently lost on Pein, and others. They seem to think that anything from the 1970s that resembles a superscript means the memos must be authentic. Surprisingly, he later titles another section "The Double Standard". Yet he clearly applies two standards here. Someone who can demonstrate conclusively that a superscript on an IBM Selectric Composer is both inconsistent with the CBS memos, and inconsistent with any possible scenario of the creation of the document, should be dismissed as incompetent, but a military officer who merely states, 32 years after the fact:
"The typewriter can do that little 'th', sure it can"
without any actual analysis of what it looks like, is clearly a sound opinion.
Remember, Pein dismisses the work of others (which he either never read or was incapable of understanding) by stating, earlier in this same article
"...others recalled the quirks of an IBM typewriter not seen for twenty years"
But Pein accepts without question the memories of someone who is clearly remembering something from thirty-two years ago, and someone who has not made any attempt to do a quantified study of the issue. Hodges was a high-level supervisor, not one of the typists in the pool, was not presented with any of the other analyses, and offers an opinion that the typewriter could do a little "th", which is fine (it is a completely honest answer), but that has no relevance to any of the arguments. By using bogus logic (perhaps Mr. Pein had read David Hailey's discussions of logic), he presents hearsay as if it is as meaningful as quantitative scientific analysis. According to Pein's logic, this works out to
A says X
B says not-X
which is a form of syllogism that most logicians would not recognize. What the actual logic is, however, is
A proves by scientific analysis and quantitative, reproducible methodology X
B offers a vague, 32-year-old memory which I interpret as not-X
or, to give a better example of his logic
A proves by an inarguable example, X (Charles Johnson shows the memos are forgeries)
B proves by scientific analysis and quantitative, reproducible, methodology, X (I show the memos are forgeries)
C, a certified expert, proves by scientific analysis and his vast experience, X (Tytell shows the memos are forgeries)
D offers a vague, 32-year-old-memory which I interpret as non-X (Hodges has a vague memory of a typewriter)
therefore not-X (the memos are authentic)
this leads to more of Pein's logic:
A is a Republican
A says X
A says X
A is quoted on a blog site run by a Republican
I'm sorry, but I simply cannot follow the logic here. But logic has apparently never been a strong point of the "these are not modern forgeries" people. Excuse me, I should be consistent with Pein's terminology: The "these are real" mob.
All you need to do is read my analysis of the superscripting typewriter issue to see that, while a superscript-like little "th" could indeed be created, it is not the same as a superscript, nor is it consistent with the CBS memos.
And he does not cite any of the other "multiple sources" he claims exist, nor rate their credibility, or point out that how many of them used the vague-memory or wishful-thinking approach to proof of this assertion. Not one of these sources that I am aware of was able to produce a single piece of credible evidence that such a typewriter actually existed. Apparently scholarship no longer requires citation. Or perhaps he is not committing scholarship.
Now, let's take another report, one that just came out today, from Appendix 4 of the Thornburgh panel report. First, let's take a look at the qualifications of the individual involved in the opinion: I won't cite all of his qualifications, which go on for several paragraphs, just those that appear to me to be fairly compelling.
According to the resume that he provided to the Panel, Tytell is a diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners, a member of the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners, a member of the Questioned Document section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and the current Vice-Chairman of the Questioned Documents Subcommittee of the American Academy of Testing and Materials' Committee on Forensic Sciences. He studied the examination of documents under his parents, Pearl and Martin Tytell, both of whom had been licensed by the University of the State of New York to teach Questioned Document Examination and Identification.
Sounds like the man knows what he is doing, right? Now, let's look at his first reaction to the documents when he saw them:
The September 10 CBS Evening News featured a report in which Dan Rather referred to a previously released TexANG document from 1968 that contains a superscript "th" in the text. See Attachment A. Tytell told the Panel that he watched the broadcast that evening and determined "within 5 seconds" that the superscript "th" on the Superscript Exemplar had been produced by an Olympia manual typewriter, and that it was materially different from the superscript "th" on the May 4, 1972 Killian document that had been shown on the September 8 Segment. The "th" on the Superscript Exemplar did not rise above the adjacent number and was underlined, while the superscript "th" in the May 4, 1972 Killian document rose well above the adjacent number and was not underlined. The May 4, 1972 Killian document is Exhibit 2B to the Panel's Report . [emphasis added-jmn]
|"111th" from the CBS memo dated May 4, 1972||The "Superscript Exemplar" from the Bush military records, typed at TANG.|
I have not included the full report, which you can read for yourself, but what Tytell means by "the Superscript Exemplar" is from the documents released by the White House, that is, the documents which the wishful-thinking crowd use to say that my superscript argument is flawed. What he is saying here (and you can download the appendix and the attachments yourself) is that the Bush military record "th" was done on an Olympia typewriter, and that it is different from the instance of the "th" found in the CBS memo dated May 4, 1972.
So his reaction was similar to mine: the CBS memo superscript in the May 4, 1972 document was not produced on a typewriter. However, with his considerable expertise on typewriters, he immediately identified the brand of the typewriter in the Bush military record! And note that I had pointed out months ago that the superscript did not rise above the adjacent number while the superscript in the CBS documents rose well above the adjacent number. I did not mention the underlining, which seemed irrelevant at the time, given the compelling evidence of the superscript itself. But there's more. First off, you have to remember that Mary Knox, Killian's secretary, stated that the only typewriters present at TANG were some IBM Selectrics and her "manual Olympia".
Note that Hodges's claim that "the typewriter can do that little "th", sure it can" is referring to the image on the right. Under simple visual comparison it is clear the two examples of "th" are quite dissimilar. But it has occurred to me that perhaps Mr. Pein is visually impaired and did not actually "look at" the pages, but used a text-to-speech converter to "read" my Web site, and I would not fault someone with such a problem from failing to see the obvious in the pictures.
Tytell provided the Panel with a typestyle "strikeup" chart that he created using an Olympia SG3 manual typewriter with Elite 87 typeface. He also provided the Panel with a separate chart that he created to compare various portions of the Superscript Exemplar with corresponding passages of the Superscript Exemplar that he created using the Olympia manual typewriter. Tytell explained to the Panel that, as shown on the comparison chart (Attachment C), the Olympia manual typestyle appears to match the typestyle used on those portions of the Superscript Exemplar (including the line containing the superscript "th"). Tytell also explained to the Panel that the Olympia manual typewriter was the only typewriter available in the early 1970s that he knows of that had the superscript "th" key as a standard feature. [emphasis added-jmn] He provided the Panel with a copy of the Olympia manual keyboard layout; the "th" key is on the right hand side. See Attachment D . For all of the foregoing reasons, Tytell concluded that the "th" on the Superscript Exemplar was produced using an Olympia manual typewriter.
I'd say that this pretty much deep-sixes all the alternative superscript hypotheses. The "th" in the Bush military records, so fondly claimed to demonstrate the authenticity of the CBS memos, is completely unrelated to the "th" found in the CBS documents themselves. Had Pein actually read my analysis, he might have seen that the superscripts were incompatible. Instead, he dismisses factual analysis and relies on hearsay, a practice he himself condemns! I think this is a sad commentary on the state of contemporary investigative journalism.
But there's more!
As explained above, Tytell concluded that the Killian documents appear to have been produced in Times New Roman typestyle . He explained to the Panel that, according to his research, Times New Roman was designed in 1931 for the Times of London newspaper and became commercially available in 1933 . However, he told the Panel that Times New Roman was only available on typesetting and other non-tabletop machines until the desktop publishing revolution in the 1980s. Therefore, he concluded that Times New Roman could not have been available on a typewriter in the early 1970s and the Killian documents must have been produced on a computer. [emphasis added-jmn]
and it gets even better:
In summary, Tytell concluded that the Killian documents were generated on a computer. He does not believe that any manual or electric typewriter of the early 1970s could have produced the typeface used in the Killian documents. He believes the IBM Selectric Composer "Press Roman" typestyle is very close to the typestyle used in the Killian documents but has noticeable differences . In addition, he told the Panel that the IBM Selectric Composer did not have the ability to produce the superscript "th" and the "#" symbol as a standard feature, and he believes it would have been unlikely for a TexANG office to have had those features customized on the machine. Therefore, he doubts the authenticity of the Killian documents because in his opinion they could only have been produced on a computer in Times New Roman typestyle that would not have been available in the early 1970s. [emphasis added-jmn]
From a scientific methodological viewpoint, Tytell arrived at the same conclusion I did by a completely different path. When more than one experiment, from independent experimenters, using different methodologies, arrive at the same conclusion proving a hypothesis, this strengthens the credibility of the hypothesis.
The rest of Pein's article is more hearsay presented as if it were evidence. However, he does quote "Maurice Udell, the former commander of the 147th Fighter Intercept Group" as "saying the memos were 'so totally false they were ridiculous'", which is the only conclusion one can reach after actually doing a scientific analysis of the memos. But apparently Udell's opinion is tainted by rumors of how he left the military; that is, if you state a fact, you cannot possibly be right if someone once accused you of something that was never proven, most especially if the something you are accused of has nothing to do with the opinion you are offering. He also seems to think that anyone who denies the authenticity is influenced by politics. Of course, not a single one of the "these are authentic" mob has the slightest interest in politics, and therefore cannot be influenced by politics. But at least he shows that he is consistent in his form of logic.
A says X
A was once rumored to have been involved in questionable behavior
I deny the authenticity of these memos. And I have absolutely no political axe to grind. My politics are the opposite of what my conclusions would suggest. But fraud is fraud, and the proof of fraud is important. I certainly have an axe to grind, although it is not political. It is "do not ever lie to the American public", and in this case I can prove that CBS was party to an inept hoax.
"Dan Rather trusted his producer; his producer trusted her source"
Isn't the point of investigative journalism to actually validate facts? If you are a journalist, and given something that suggests that, say, the Mayor is "on the take", it directs your work to substantiate that allegation? Perhaps even get a photo of the Mayor with the Head Of Company Who Won The Bid exchanging a large wad of money? Fact checking is part of journalistic responsibility. If Rather claims to be a journalist (as opposed to, say, a talking head who is fed his lines by others, which currently seems to be Pein's suggested defense, that Rather trusted others to feed him his lines), then is it not his responsibility to raise such questions? The answer, of course, is "yes". It is further his responsibility to evaluate the answers he gets, and to take responsibility for the decisions he makes. He did take responsibility for his decisions; he apparently said he staked his reputation on the authenticity of these documents. His reputation suffered because they are proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, by scientific methods which anyone can reproduce, to be forgeries. His reputation did not suffer because of mob rule, or any other conspiracy theory you would like to invent. His reputation suffered because he acted in a very irresponsible fashion for someone who claims to be a journalist.
"When the smoke cleared, mainstream journalism's authority was weakened. But it didn't have to be that way"
And I think that is the whole point. Mainstream journalism (by which I assume he means CBS News; sort of like his use of "the press") was definitely weakened, and it deserved to be. CBS behaved irresponsibly, and suffered the consequences. It didn't need to be that way at all. The slightest effort to have someone who knew the technology validate the memos would have revealed they were forgeries; CBS could even have broken the story as "We recently received copies of memos that purport to prove many of the allegations made about George Bush's military career. We can say with great confidence these documents are forgeries". Or, having screwed up, the only valid response should have been "We are aware now that there are serious questions raised about the authenticity of these memos. We are investigating those allegations right now, and we will determine if we have been hoaxed". This is responsible journalism. Irresponsible journalism is to say "We are right, and all you people who think we are wrong are a pack of fools or worse".
What I find sad about this is that an article in a journalism review did not actually address the ethical issues that a journalist should face when such evidence comes to light, and how it should be handled. Instead, the opinion seems to be that those of us who proved the documents are forgeries are still some sort of nut cases, and everyone who thinks they are authentic has good reason to believe so. And that truth resides solely in political affiliation; all Republicans are liars, and all others are clearly pure as the driven snow. Note that if you discriminate against someone, irrationally, because of the color of their skin, or their religion, or their ethnicity, this is considered a hate crime. But Pein clearly discriminates against anyone with Republican leanings, or in my case, anyone who doesn't conform to his notion of the way the world should be, and this is called "journalism". Have I missed something here? The real issues of journalistic responsibility were not addressed. Instead, hearsay, denial, ad hominem arguments, and distortion of facts are used to deny actual facts. It is hard to tell if this is how he was trained in journalism, but a publication titled "Columbia Review of Journalism" should not publish an article that says that the way to do investigative journalism is to ignore facts, insult scientific analysis, praise hearsay, and by all means ignore any fact that threatens your cherished opinion.
Fact: these memos are forgeries. Any attempt to deny this had better be backed by solid evidence, the kind you can present in a courtroom. I've been an expert witness in several legal cases; I know what standard must be adhered to in order to produce valid evidence. I could hold my own against any counter-hypothesis presented. I could hold up under cross-examination in a court of law. I believe that most of my document could stand up under serious scrutiny, and that the parts where I was a bit sloppy in my methodology (not saying exactly which letter I used from which memo, for example, because I didn't realize that anyone could question the obvious) would be easily remedied by simply repeating the experiment with a bit more care. Any experiment I did can be repeated, by anyone, and they will see the same results I did. That's science, and that's what I did in my analysis. Any counter-analysis needs the same scientific credibility to survive.
As I was reading Pein's article, I was wondering how a competent editor could have allowed a clearly sub-standard student paper to get printed. A competent journalism instructor, I believe, would have given such a report a "D" or "F". Actually, an only moderately competent English teacher would give this writing a "D" or an "F". A good editor should have spotted the immense logical flaws in this meaningless article. Then I got to the end. It says "Corey Pein is an assistant editor at CJR". Scary, isn't it?
Special thanks to friend and colleague Edward N. Dekker for comments and suggestions for this page.
Please feel free to quote this material, use any of my images, etc. if you are reposting. I do ask that you provide a link to this page.