Was CBS hoaxed again?

When 60 Minutes II ran its story based on crude forgeries of Texas Guard documents, the humor site, Sharp as a Marble, ran a mock story entitled, “Dan Rather: Nigerian Mail is Authentic. Will be Retiring After Money is Transferred.”

Dan Rather, of CBS News, is reported to have tendered his resignation from 60 Minutes after receiving a letter informing him of a sum $45M US due to him from Nigeria. Mr. Rather, who is well known for exposing President Bush’s lack of honorable service while in the Texas Air National Guard, has agreed to transfer funds from the impoverished nation into his own account.

Many typography experts questioned the validity of the mailing saying that the image provided on CBS’s web site looks like a font not found in Nigerian versions of Microsoft Word. Rather went on record stating unequivocally that the letter is authentic. . . .

When asked about the possibility that the typefaces are too similar to those found in common web browsers, Mr. Rathers responded “This is real. Those who are trying to say that this is some sort of scam are mostly Internet writers who have an agenda. I am taking my $45,560,000.00 and leaving this job and doing anything that doesn’t involve having my judgment questioned by men who write in their pajamas. Besides, I had a handwriting expert agree that this is not handwritten and therefore authentic”.

Is life once again imitating art?

According to Ratherbiased.com, guest posted at Rathergate.com (tip to Instapundit), last night on the CBS Evening News reporter Richard Schlesinger used fake documents to spread an internet rumor that has been long debunked. The document, which CBS showed on the screen much as it had the phony Burkett Guard documents, purports to be an email from someone in the Department of Defense, but it is actually a chain email hoax letter.

In order to scare voters, particularly the young, into voting Democratic, there have been emails circulating that point to HR163 and S89, bills proposing national service for both men and women. Both bills are proposed and co-sponsored solely by Democrats, a fact that the emails fail to mention. Although some commentators have suggested that “members of both parties have introduced bills to reinstate” the draft, I have not been able to locate any introduced by Republicans in the current Congress by following the links to the supposed evidence (perhaps others who know of any current Republican-sponsored bills to reintroduce the draft can help me on this). The most that has been pointed out so far is the statement of one Republican Senator (Chuch Hagel) favoring a draft, no actual Republican bills.

These emails usually, however, go further, sometimes claiming that there are plans to call up both men and women on June 15, 2005 and that “The administration is quietly trying to get these bills passed now,” which is flatly false. The emails also report that the budget for the Selective Service office has been increased substantially for next year, which FactCheck claims is an outright falsehood.

CBS noted that both campaigns denied any intent to reintroduce the draft, which is obviously a dead issue for both sides, but if you read the transcript, by showing phony documents and repeating phony facts, the email hoax is presented as plausible. Nowhere do they report that this is an already debunked email hoax. Nowhere do they report that there are official statements from the relevant government officials denying this hoax.

If CBS would fall for the forged Burkett Guard documents and the phony draft emails supposedly from the Department of Defense, can the Nigerian funds transfer letter be far behind?

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