Mary Mapes Is Incompetent

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Mary Mapes was on CNN today, talking to Wolf Blitzer and Howard Kurtz.

She still maintains that Ben Barnes said he helped Bush get into the TANG. This is simply false: Barnes said he did not know if what he did helped Bush.

She still maintains she was entirely certain the documents were authentic, but she just can't prove it. That is: she has a religious belief about these documents, one that isn't warranted by the facts, that can only be accepted by faith.

She says she has a whole section in the book proving that proportional spacing existed in typewriters in the 1960s. Of course, all of us who followed the story know that only some people contested that proportional spacing did not exist; by the first day of the story, the argument had shifted to a more refined version of the argument, which was that the whole thing combined -- the spacing, the font, the superscript, all together -- did not exist on any typewriter that could have produced the memos in question.

After about a week of the story, no one heavily into the story was arguing that proportional spacing did not exist. Yes, proportional spacing existed, but none that looked like THAT. Yes, superscripts existed, but none that looked like THAT. Let alone putting it all together into one typewriter, let alone one that the TANG had access to.

That is, Mapes has a whole chapter attacking a straw man. Bravo!

She also claims Microsoft Word can't reproduce the documents, which is clearly false: it reproduces them perfectly, modulo the faxing and scanning and copying, unlike any existing typewriter anyone has ever found.

Howard Kurtz said to her that the story still has many problems, and that Mapes has not "come to grips with that." Indeed. She responded, "I disagree." Of course, she didn't answer the concerns he raised, because she has no answers.

I also saw Mapes on Good Morning America the other day, where she claimed that the "journalistic standard" is not to prove the documents are authentic, but for others to prove they are not. CBS responded, basically saying, "You heard what she just said. Do we really need to keep explaining why we fired her?"

Once again, she says, "I disagree." She won't actually address it.

She has no grasp of journalistic practices, let alone ethics. She is the most incompetent professional journalist -- even over Jeff Gannon -- that I've ever seen.

I know, this is an old issue, and a fairly sad one. But it interests me. Not enough to give Mapes any money, but she will be on Reliable Sources this Sunday, again with Howard Kurtz, and I will TiVo it.

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"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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