(photo: Michael Foley Photography/flickr)

Remember how the right wing ginned up the “Rathergate” hoo-ha to take down Dan Rather and pave the way for George W. Bush’s coronation?

Guess what — in 2008, eight years after the fact, the key guy behind the political hit admitted the argument used to do it was bogus:

The first person to publicly question the memos was an Air Force officer in Montgomery named Paul Boley, who posted on the conservative online forum Free Republic under the handle TankerKC. Boley’s comment popped up while the program was still going on.

But the man officially credited with inspiring a fusillade of blog attacks was Harry MacDougald, known on message boards as Buckhead, a GOP lawyer in Atlanta who missed the segment but downloaded the Killian documents from the CBS website later that night. He specifically claimed that the memos used proportional spacing and superscripts that didn’t exist on typewriters of the early seventies.

[...]

In any case, MacDougald’s arguments about the documents turned out to be inaccurate. He acknowledged as much in an interview with me in 2008. And in a speech given that same year, Mike Missal, a lawyer for the firm that CBS hired to investigate its own report, said, “It’s ironic that the blogs were actually wrong. . . . We actually did find typewriters that did have the superscript, did have proportional spacing. And on the fonts, given that these are copies, it’s really hard to say, but there were some typewriters that looked like they could have some similar fonts there. So the initial concerns didn’t seem as though they would hold up.”

In other words, the Killian memos can’t be debunked using the “fonts” argument.

Shout the lie, whisper the correction. And Dan Rather’s career is still in ashes.