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Professor’s research nets hate e-mail

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If cyber-talk were a rope, Utah State University English professor David E. Hailey believes he'd be hanging from it by now.

According to Hailey, his crime appears to be his interest in researching the authenticity of documents critical of President Bush's military record.

CBS News anchor Dan Rather apologized Sept. 20 on air for presenting the four Bush memorandums in question as authentic.

"All indicators imply they are authentic," Hailey says on the USU Web link imrl.usu.edu/bush_memo_study/index.htm. The link leads to Hailey's 17-page paper titled, "Toward Identifying the Font Used in the Bush Memos."

By authentic, Hailey says he means the documents were created through a "mechanical" process, such as a kind of typewriter used by the military in the 1970s. Some suggest the memos were digitally altered.

Critics who have posted comments on Internet "blog" sites are calling Hailey a "fraud," alleging his findings are politically motivated.

Since posting his findings on the Web, Hailey has received hundreds of e-mails that he forwards to a file he created called "hate mail." The subject line of one e-mail reads, "In more ways than one, you are a fascist hack."