RatherGate: Another View
Here's a rather bizarre spin
If there was a problem, it would seem to be with CBS's self-defense, not in the initial broadcast. Even after months and with resources sufficient to draft a 220-page report, Thornburgh and a team of lawyers were not "able to conclude with absolute certainty whether the [documents] are authentic or forgeries." That being the case, how can they possibly fire a news reporter operating under extreme time pressure and institutional pressure to get a scoop, for failing to do just that. Still, "[T]he failure to obtain clear authentication of any of the [documents] from any document examiner," is the very first charge in the report.
Look, this is just silly. Thornburgh & Company probably decided that establishing to a complete certainty that the memos were faked was a fool's errand. It was apparent that the memos were highly suspicious, and therefore they should have been vetted more carefully. If they had been, and if Mapes had not been so anxious to air the story, in all probability CBS would have decided against using the memos.
Others have commented that it is possible to determine whether some documents are bogus. For example, if somebody claims to have a copy of an email message from Jesus Christ to the Apostle Paul, we can safely assume that's phony. But what if they claimed to have a photocopy of a handwritten letter from Jesus to Paul? It would be very, very difficult to prove to a 100% certainty that the photocopy was bogus. So it is with the "Killian" memos. A lot of bloggers have pointed out that the memos could be produced in Word quite easily. But of course this is not the same thing as proving they could not be produced on a typewriter as well. In order to prove they could not be produced on a typewriter, you'd have to try many different brands and styles of typewriters, and even then you could not be certain that you had not missed one.
Mark Kilmer has a similar take