Jonah Goldberg

I don't want to overstate the extent of my glee over the Dan Rather imbroglio now known as "Memogate." But, it may well be the Greatest Story . Ever (apologies to the Comic Book Guy from "The Simpsons"). If this story were a street urchin, I would take into my home, give it my name, and raise it as if it were my flesh and blood. If Monty Hall gave me the choice of picking this story or the coolest thing ever to reside behind Door No. 2, I would pick this story without a moment's hesitation. Cancel Christmas, suspend Hanukkah, blot out the sun with copies of the forged memos, and I will be perfectly happy.

Okay, I'm exaggerating . a little. But this story is truly God's Own Pi??, you can bash it from any angle and nothing but sweet, sweet goodness flows out. (Note: This analogy only works if you assume God is vexed with Dan Rather in particular and liberal media bias in general, which, truth be told, is a pretty big assumption.)

By now you know the basic outlines. To a great deal of fanfare, Dan Rather - Dashboard Saint of Liberal Journalists Who Won't Admit They Are Liberal - joined in what appeared to be a coordinated barrage against George W. Bush. Coinciding, deliberately or not, with a new ad campaign targeting Bush's service in the National Guard, Kitty Kelley's new book, and the Boston Globe's latest expose, Rather's "60 Minutes II" ran a story that claimed to reveal new, damning facts about Bush's allegedly lackadaisical service toward the end of his stint in the Air National Guard. (Another note: I think the evidence supports the notion that Bush was lackadaisical toward the end of his Guard service but, I just don't think it's the big story Rather and so many others want it to be.)

Dan Rather, anchoring the segment, relied on the testimony of a hyperpartisan Democrat and former Texas politician, Ben Barnes, whose story about getting Bush into the Guard has changed numerous times. Because Barnes is a co-chairman of the Kerry campaign, Rather needed something better than Barnes' word. He thought he found it in four documents, which Rather claimed substantiated the report.

The only problem: The documents are almost certainly forgeries - if by "almost certainly" you mean "absolutely, positively." First on various internet sites and then in the mainstream media (particularly ABC News and the Washington Post), the memos have become a "What's Wrong With This Picture?" game for anybody and everybody who knows anything about the National Guard, 1970s typewriters, or the proper means of verifying a story.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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