Can I get an "argh"?
As detailed here, "Abu Omar al-Baghdadi" was long-ago outed as a figment of al Qaeda-in-Iraq's imagination, a transparent attempt to give a home-grown flavor to the foreign-controlled AQI operation by claiming that the non-existent Baghdadi, supposedly an Iraqi, was AQI's leader.
But despite the debunking of the bogus Mr. Baghdadi, the environmentally-sensitive Reuters recycles him today in its story "Al Qaeda-linked leader orders Iraq bombings".
Can I get an "argh"?
It took fourteen pages--13 of those geared towards Franklin' Foer's attempt to keep his job--but here's the punchline:
When I last spoke with Beauchamp in early November, he continued to stand by his stories. Unfortunately, the standards of this magazine require more than that. And, in light of the evidence available to us, after months of intensive re-reporting, we cannot be confident that the events in his pieces occurred in exactly the manner that he described them. Without that essential confidence, we cannot stand by these stories.
Stay tuned. I'll have much more later, including why Franklin Foer said nothing to justify keeping his job.
Update 20:18. As promised, here's the full context.
You report to the international news agencies that 11 of your family members in Iraq have been slaughtered!
Reporting news in third-world countries like Iraq can be a difficult task, especially for Western journalists who are unfamiliar with the language and the culture of the region. As a result, many times the media get tricked by terrorist sympathizers who want to make America look bad. Things are further compounded by the left-wing bent of most Western journalists which makes them, like Dan Rather and his Burkett documents, suceptible to believe false stories they want to be true.
Fortunately, anti-American lies don't always get as far as the Haditha "murders" did. Witness the tale of Dia al-Kawwaz, a jihadist supporter journalist who falsely claimed (h/t Gateway Pundit) that some of his relatives were massacred, even going so far as to hold a fake funeral service for them. Kawwaz's plans were foiled, however, when his family turned up, very much alive:
The angry family of an Iraqi journalist went on local television on Wednesday to blast him for claiming they had been massacred three days ago by Shiite militiamen in Baghdad.
"We are still alive. Thank God!" the sister of the journalist said, before bursting into tears.
1/18 Infantry, Second Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division, rotated out of Iraqi several weeks ago to their home base in Schweinfurt, Germany. This included noted fabulist Scott Thomas Beauchamp. Whether Beauchamp is still in Germany or has been allowed home on leave is rather irrelevant; he matters quite little now that he has established that he will not support his dark fantasies on the record. What does matter is that Franklin Foer and The New Republic have lost yet another excuse in their continued failure to account for the actions of the magazine's editors since "Shock Troops" was first questioned July 18, over four months ago. Now that Beauchamp is out of the war zone and back in western civilization, Foer is unable to claim that he military is muzzling his communication or that of his fellow soldiers. Rumor has it that Franklin Foer is presently attempting to pen his final justification of the story, and that it will be published in a December editor of the magazine.
First published in Human Events on November 27th, 2007.
Wash, spin, rinse, spin. Phone, spin, report, spin, poll, spin. The similarities between the work of the mainstream media and a laundry machine are striking. Yet there is nothing about the cycle -- the spin-report-poll-spin cycle -- that does for political events what detergent does for your boxers or briefs.
The media, as One, spend days or weeks bashing someone or something they do not like. They then conduct a poll to prove to you that they were right all along. In a campaign season, their one-sided coverage is calculated, then executed to produce a result. It’s not about reporting the events, it’s about changing the prevailing view.
And the polls -- such as the ones by the media, which are not independent surveys like those undertaken by the likes of Rasmussen or Gallup -- aren’t intended as much to gauge the public view of a candidate or events as they are to reinforce that which they have “reported”, or provide the media guidance on how effective their spinning of the news has been.
The famous picture of a terrified Mohammed al-Dura hiding behind his father enraged millions of Muslims and became such an iconic image of Palestinian martyrdom and Israeli occupation that it caused violent rioting, inspired some UK Muslims to commit to radical Islam and was even used in suicide bomber propaganda.
It took a defamation case to get France2 to fork over the raw footage, but Media Backspin reported portions are missing (bold mine throughout):
On CBS’s "Sunday Morning" this past weekend, reporter Martha Teichner did a profile of recently deceased ultra left-wing author, Norman Mailer, who she described as "... a hell of a big man for a short guy, scrappy, brilliant, controversial. Slugging away at life and letters until the very end." Of course, this was the same Norman Mailer that said of the World Trade Center in October 2001: "Everything wrong with America led to the point where the country built that tower of Babel, which consequently had to be destroyed."
Later Teichner remarked that "Mailer was unapologetically liberal, anti-war, anti-Nixon, anti-establishment." Well, he certainly was "anti-establishment" when he said to a "London Telegraph" reporter in February 2002, "America has an almost obscene infatuation with itself...The right wing benefitted so much from September 11 that, if I were still a conspiratorialist, I would believe they'd done it."
At another point, Teichner observed that "Norman Mailer loved playing the political provocateur." That proved true when in 2003, Mailer asserted to the "London Times" that, "Bush thought white American men needed to know they were still good at something. That's where Iraq came in...."
Scott Beauchamp doesn't matter.
He's a twice-AWOL serial liar with a pending mental health evaluation who can't write believable military fiction EVEN WHILE IN THE MILITARY. He's powerless, has been tried, found guilty and punished, and at this point, a distraction. We've been focusing on the wrong things.
What matters is the New Republic's advertisers. No, not their editors, their advertisers. [see below the fold for a list of same]
It's one thing for an editor to stubbornly defend a reporter whose story has come under fire when the reporter in question vehemently insists he is telling the truth. It's quite another when an editor stands by a discredited story that even the writer responsible for refuses to vigorously defend.Such appears to be the case with The New Republic's Franklin Foer.