Let's put the argument out there that the time and date on an email are stamped by whatever time and date are set on the sender's computer. I've accidentally sent out email dated 1/1/2000 on computers I've upgraded. But that's a longshot.
On the surface, this piece looks like a warning that such emails will be dismissed as hype. But the only person who the Times reached turns out to be none other than a Republican who said he was "testing" the Times. While it would be easy to admonish Democrats here, the Times should connect the dots and realize that a lot of this is nothing more than a typical Rovian attempt to discredit. The "Sincerely" at the end of each one is a tip-off. The misspellings are another.
The debate suffers from premature acclamation
On Tuesday and on Wednesday morning, The Times received more than 1,500 e-mails about Tuesday evening's Cheney-Edwards debate. The ones below - along with about three dozen others - were unusual, however, in that they came in before the debate began at 6 p.m. Pacific Time. They are printed exactly as they were received.
Sent: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 5:33 PM
Subject: John Edward was amazeing!
The debates were great and Edward clearly got the best of ol' Halliburton Dickie. I know the GOP will start to spin this as soon as they can to make it look like Cheney was [word missing].
Venice, CASent: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 5:55 PM
Subject: Edwards Won the Debate!
Edwards beat Cheney in the greatestest super-duper debate rout EVER! Kerry's victory is assured!
Finally, it looks like Democrats are back in power!
GO KERRY/EDWARDS 04!!!
Los Angeles, CASent: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 5:44 PMThe Times tried to contact the authors of these letters. Peter Blue did not return phone calls. Shay Enan did not respond to e-mail attempts to contact him. And Andy Taylor, whose real name turns out to be Andrew Schoppe, assured us that he had sent the letter as a test, just to see if we were checking. He said he was "very, very pleased" to find that we hadn't fallen for his prank. He said he was a registered Republican.
Subject: Letter to the editor
To the editor:
The debate between John Edwards and Dick Cheney presented Americans with a stark choice.
John Edwards shared an optimistic vision for the next four years: Genuine leadership in the war on terror. An economic growth plan that creates jobs and keeps them here at home. Affordable health care for every American. A plan to make America stronger at home and respected abroad.
But Dick Cheney had nothing to share but attacks and excuses. As the architect of four years of failed Bush administration policies, Cheney had a lot to answer for in this debate. But he failed to explain those failures, instead attacking John Kerry over and over again.
I want a plan for the future, not attacks and excuses. The vice presidential debate made it clear that John Kerry and John Edwards are the right choice.
The premature letters all favored John Kerry and John Edwards. The New York Times reported Wednesday that the Bush campaign had called on its supporters before the debate to "make your voice heard" by declaring Cheney the winner. Democrats sent a similar message to Kerry supporters last week.