Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Proof Negative Update

So last week I lamented that liberals seem increasingly to believe that they can prove negatives. This week Dan Rather confirms my suspicions by inverting the standards of normal journalism.

If you haven't been paying attention, Rather is under fire for reporting that recently discovered memos indicate that George W. Bush did not fulfill his National Guard duties. By my count, there are over a dozen different indications that the memos are forgeries. See here for bunches and bunches of indicators.

Perhaps most damning was the set of equivocal, Clintonian denials Mr. Rather has executed in the past week followed by CBS's experts backtracking and denying that they were authenticating the documents.

Normally, journalists would be expected to be able to prove that the documents were legitimate before the show would air. It would then only take a couple bits of dispositive evidence to have the story retracted. Rather has inverted this standard: having aired laughably bad forgeries, he now demands absolute proof that they are forgeries before he will retract.

As he told The Washington Post: "Until someone shows me definitive proof that they are not [genuine], I don't see any reason to carry on a conversation with the professional rumor mill".

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