Remember Rathergate? CBS News’ failed October Surprise that Dan Rather hoped would take down President George W. Bush. On a 60 Minutes episode aired September 8, 2004, Dan Rather revealed documents that proved, PROVED mind you, that George Bush as AWAL from the Texas National Guard!
These documents were dated 1977. There was just one problem: they were printed using a proportional font. A proportional font is one in which the word processing software knows that letters like ‘i’ take up less space that wide letters like ‘w’ and adjusts the spacing accordingly. There was just one problem: Word processing software didn’t exist in 1977. The documents could not possibly have been typed on a government-issue typewriter.
It did not take long for the story to fall apart. Dan Rather left CBS News in disgrace.