Rather Addresses '60 Minutes' Documents Controversy

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - CBS News anchor Dan Rather on Friday's newscast addressed the controversy surrounding the memos at the center of a "60 Minutes" news segment questioning President George W. Bush's National Guard service, which was first reported by CNSNews.com on Sept. 9.

"Today, on the internet and elsewhere, some people, including many who are partisan political operatives, concentrated, not on the key questions of the overall story, but on the documents that were part of the support of the story," said Rather.

"They allege that the documents are fake. Those raising questions about the CBS documents have focused on something called superscript, a key that automatically types a raised 'th.' Critics claim typewriters didn't have that ability in the 1970s, but some models did," he added.

"In fact, other Bush military records already officially released by the White House itself show the same superscript," Rather said, pointing to a document he reported was from 1968.

"Some analysts outside CBS say they believe the typeface on these memos is New Times Roman, which they claim was not available in the 1970s, but the owner of the company that distributes this typing style says it has been available since 1931," Rather said.

Rather said document and handwriting examiner Marcel Matley analyzed the documents in question for CBS News.

"He [Matley] believes they [the documents] are real, but is concerned about exactly what is being examined by some of the people now questioning the documents, because deterioration occurs every time a document is reproduced, and the documents being analyzed outside of CBS have been photocopied, faxed, scanned and downloaded and are far removed from the documents CBS started with, which were also photocopies," Rather said.

At the end of the news segment on the memo controversy, Rather read a statement similar to the one issued by CBS News.

"The '60 Minutes' report was not based solely on the recovered documents, but on a preponderance of evidence including documents that were provided by what we considered to be solid sources and interviews with former officials of the Texas National Guard," Rather said.

"If any definitive evidence to the contrary of our story is found, we will report it. So far there is none," he concluded.

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