web counter Media Lies: It ain't over 'til it's over

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

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It ain't over 'til it's over

Editor and Publisher reports that Marcel Matley, one of the document examiners that CBS used is for the Bush Guard document story not at all happy with the Boccardi-Thornburgh report and is demanding corrections.
"It is professional defamation," Matley, a 20-year document expert, told E&P, from his home in San Francisco. "When you are in a court of law, it can make the difference between being considered credible or not."

He said the report has already hurt his professional reputation, claiming it was mentioned last week during his appearance in a Modesto, Calif., courtroom on a probate case. "Someone brought it up that I was the one who made the mistake in the '60 Minutes' case," he said. "I've already had this thrown at me."

Matley told E&P he had yet to hear back from CBS or Thornburgh about the e-mail. "They have not acknowledged my existence," he declared. "They have not even replied."
CBS treated their document experts pretty shabbily during the Rathergate affair, and it wouldn't surprise me to see them continue the treatment.

But I don't get the impression that Matley will go gently into the good night.
In his e-mail, Matley said there were some "excellent qualities" in Thornburgh and Boccardi's report, but he also cited 18 separate examples of alleged inaccurate or defamatory statements in the 234-page document, which the panel released on Jan. 5.

He claims he asked the review panel to tape-record its interview with him, which he says the investigators declined to do. "The panel bears the burden for all lapses in accuracy due to lack of a verbatim record," his e-mail states. He also complains that several findings in the report were based on unnamed sources, which he would like revealed.

Among his 18 examples of alleged inaccuracies or defamation:
  • Two statements that indicate Matley is not a typography specialist, which he contends is false.

  • A statement that Matley used the unclear phrase "consistent inconsistencies" to explain why he believed signatures from different documents matched. He claims he never used such a phrase, which appears to refer to the unusual ways in which the signatures were similar.

  • Stating that "60 Minutes" should "maintain a list of document examiners who are qualified to provide opinions as needed," which Matley says implies he is not qualified. He also cited a statement in the report that "there was no effort to find the best examiners possible" as hurting his professional reputation.

  • Statements in different parts of the report that describe Matley as both "timid" and "hostile" at times. "That is a subjective judgment that is entirely false," his e-mail says.

  • A statement in the report of Dan Rather's impression that Matley had authenticated all the documents. "I do not gainsay the honesty of his personal impressions," Matley writes in the e-mail. "But I assert categorically that I never stated nor intended to imply anything beyond my 'carefully circumscribed' observations and opinions as expressed in my written notes of eight points."
This seems to me to be a man who is serious about protecting his professional reputation. It should be interesting to watch this story develop. (Hat tip to Greyhawk.)