Thursday, 9 September 2004

Forge it real good

This post is by request from a reader. Never let it be said that Signifying Nothing is indifferent to its audience.

Interesting: it seems that at least some of the documents that are raising questions about George W. Bush’s service (or lack thereof) in the National Guard are forgeries (☣ Little Green Footballs).

Incidentally, I duplicated the experiment here with my copy of Word 2002 SP 3 at work, and also came up with an identically laid-out memo. (The date is indented four inches, if you want to try it yourself.) What may be most interesting about this experiment is not the typeface*—although the “smart ordinal” feature is something of a giveaway—but the default margins, which are 1.25 inches on each side in Word, a size that is relatively atypical.

Does this mean the whole story is fake? Probably not. But it does mean that Democratic operatives need to catch up in the forgery department to the French intelligence services.

* Times New Roman is pretty much a carbon copy of the original Times font, with equivalent letter spacing and the like, so it’s plausible that a 1971 typewriter or phototypesetter would produce an indistinguishable typeface with the right type (I believe by 1971, high-end phototypesetters were available that worked on the modern raster principle of page generation; one suspects National Guard units did not have this equipment on hand, however).