There comes a point at which denial drifts into delusion, and Mary Mapes has crossed it. Incredibly, she is out with a Huffington Post piece calling the assertion of the irrefutable fact that the Rathergate documents were blatant forgeries a 'lie.'
It's one thing to say those who claim forgery haven't made their case. But to call their assertions a 'lie' is affirmatively to assert the authenticity of the Rathergate documents. Mapes thus lurches one giant step deeper into delusion. Her accusation also shifts the burden of proof. If indeed the documents are authentic, why then: prove it, Mary.
"Page Six [of the NY Post] restates the conservative canard that our report 'was found to be based on forged documents.' That is just not true, no matter how many times Page Six or the Washington Times or some bitter conservative blogger repeats it."
"[Critics] claimed that CBS used forged documents and they repeated that lie so often that it stuck. The mainstream media picked it up, repeating bloggers' criticisms without making any serious effort to investigate the story."
"As for document analysis, it is a mind-numbing and arcane discipline, an imperfect undertaking reserved for courtroom use, not for headlines or Internet political battles. Document analysis is certainly not meant to be done at 11 o'clock at night by someone with no training or experience sitting in front of a glowing computer nursing a grudge and spoiling for a fight. But that's precisely how the right's attack against Dan Rather and CBS News was launched."
"That first anonymous analyst (who turned out to be a Republican activist lawyer) raised questions about the memo using only a single shot of a faxed document digitally transmitted to his computer screen. Those kinds of transmissions radically change the way a document looks. His analysis was worthless.
"The laundry list of problems that critics claimed they saw in the memos has turned out to be bunk. There never has been any definitive proof that they were forged or falsified in any way, despite a multi-million dollar investigation into the story by Viacom. The reasons we put them on the air remain valid: the content of the memos was corroborated by people familiar with Bush, his unit and his commander; the dates, times and details intricately matched what we know of the record; and two experienced and respected document analysts, who examined copies that had not been faxed or digitally recreated, concluded that the papers showed every indication of being real.
"I don't believe we will know the truth about the memos until after the Bush team is out of office and people with information are no longer afraid to come forward."
To summarize: the allegations of forged documents are a 'lie', ginned up at night by pajamadeen lurking in the green glow of their computers. Their analyses are 'worthless' and there is no definitive proof the documents were forged.
What can I say? Mary Mapes is deeply disconnected from reality.
Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the award-winning public-access TV show 'Right Angle.' Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org