I sometimes think I’m a compulsive note taker. I almost always have a pad and pen (or pencil) nearby so I can scribble down some thought that crosses my mind, an observation of the way the world works, a commentary on my own quirks and desires (including “wish lists” of specific books, DVDs and products I might like to have), ideas for screenplays, thoughts about movies as well as scenes and images from projects I’m already working on, including scripts and my so-far unnamed fantasy epic. And in the past nearly eighteen months, I have jotted down numerous ideas for posts to this blog, some of which I have realized, most which remain just germs of an idea, awaiting some effort to bring them to life in a form which better services to communicate the ideas to others (than a random scribbling on a scrap of paper).
Whenever I sort my notes, I come across numerous such ideas, blog posts not realized. Some I may return to, others have become dated by the time I review the verbal record of my brainstorm. Perhaps, if I have time (which I doubt) in the coming weeks, I may address a few of these ideas. For while the inspiring event may have been a few weeks — or months — in the past, the passage of time has not diminished the importance theme I wished to address.
In one such note, likely from late November (or early December of last year),* I wondered at Mary Mapes’ insistence that the documents she relied upon for a celebrated September 8, 2004 60 Minutes II piece on the president’s National Guard service were genuine. In the immediate aftermath of the program, bloggers raised questions about the authenticity of these documents. CBS was forced to retract the story. And the subsequent Thornburgh-Boccardi report established that the documents, in the words of Powerline’s Scott Johnson, were “pathetic frauds.” (In this January 29, 2005 Weekly Standard column, Johnson offers a good summary of the story.)
In my recently rediscovered note, I wondered why, if Mary Mapes believes that the documents are indeed authentic and remains convinced that that then-Lieutenant George W. Bush received preferential treatment in his Guard service, she doesn’t (now that she’s unemployed) use her free time and reporting skills to authenticate the documents. She could go down to Texas to try to connect the documents to Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Killian, Bush’s then-commanding officer. And review (and debunk with facts and arguments) her critics’ claims.
After reviewing this note, I did a little Internet sleuthing and even with my limited knowledge of the story, found a few details which could help Ms. Mapes in her detective work (some in online excerpts of her own book). For example, Bill Burkett, the man who gave her the documents, said he got them from a Lucy Ramirez in a Houston Holiday Inn. If Ms. Mapes really believes the documents are genuine, she could go down to that Holiday Inn and see what she could learn there, especially given that Ms. Ramirez gave Burkett a “specific room number.”
I highly doubt Ms. Mapes will find anything, given that (among other things) Little Green Footballs‘ Charles Johnson created an exact copy using Microsoft Word, technology not available when the documents were first written. That said, by doing everything in her power to authenticate these documents, Ms. Mapes would prove that her belief that they are genuine is not based on animus against the president, but instead on a commitment to uncovering the facts of the case.
I’m pretty sure I had first scribbled this note late last fall when Ms. Mapes book came out. One issue from this story remains relevant even today — that if a critic of the president really believes his or her allegations are accurate, that individual should put her money where her mouth is — and do what she can to prove her case. Ms. Mapes is one among many in the MSM (and on the Left) who has made substantial allegations against the president, yet fails to address the points critics make in calling those allegations into question. This is why (I believe) her failure to follow through remains relevant even today.
Ms. Mapes contends the documents are authentic. To prove that she’s doing more than just taking issue with her critics, she needs to undertake the legwork necessary to prove them wrong. Unless she shows a commitment to authenticating these documents, she will reman just another celebrated individual afflicted with B.D.S. — Bush Derangement Syndrome. And a poster child for the bias — and decline — of the MSM.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
* Usually I date my notes, but this one lacked a date.