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.
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.
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...."
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.
In a recorded Sept. 6 conversation, the writer, Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp, said from Iraq that the controversy had "spun out of control" and had become "insane" and "ridiculous" and concluded: "I'm not going to talk to anyone about anything."
Nine years have passed since The New Republic came to grips with the fact that it had a serial fabulist on its hands in writer Stephen Glass. Now the liberal magazine is facing more scrutiny for more faulty reporting at the hands of Scott Thomas Beauchamp.
"I couldn't help but be struck by the similarities and differences at The New Republic, then and now," blogger Ed Morrissey wrote after viewing the 2003 film "Shattered Glass," based on the rise and fall of New Republic writer Stephen Glass. What's most damning, Morrissey argues, is that the Beauchamp scandal is much worse in terms of the gravity of the news material that was faked and the disparity in how the TNR editors have responded:
Appearing in the 7:00 a.m. half-hour of Thursday's "Fox & Friends," Media Research Center president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted that former "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather is in utter "meltdown" over the National Guard hoax "although it's been proven documentably, no pun intended, to be false."
Hot on the heels of Barack Hussein Obama claiming U.S. troops are "killing civilians", Yahoo! News runs a AFP picture (right) taken by Wissam al-Okaili showing a woman with two bullets that purportedly "hit her house" during a coalition forces raid.
I won't even insult you by pointing out what's wrong with this picture. One photographer on a forum asks "How would any photo editor ever allow such a photo to be published?" I offer two answers; 1. Because they want to believe. 2. Because they don't know the first thing about guns or bullets.
In a completely Clintonesque defense (depends what the meaning of 'is' is), some are claiming that the bullets could have "hit her house" -- had they been thrown at it. '
It appears the BBC condones faking...audience phone calls, that is.
In a not so stunning revelation, the BBC admitted to allowing employees to call in to shows either asking for audience involvement, or offering prizes, when the network wasn't receiving enough real feedback.
Gotta love it.
One truly delicious example occurred during Comic Relief back in March (emphasis added, h/t Tim Graham):
NB contributor Bob Owens has a great piece over at Pajamas Media on how he helped spot yet another instance of the Western press getting snookered by a fake news story promulgated by terrorists in Iraq. Once again, the media's desire to portray Iraq as a total disaster let them get tricked:
On Thursday, June 28, The Associated Press—and to a lesser extent,
Reuters, and a small independent Iraqi news agency—ran stories claiming
that 20 decapitated bodies had been found on or near the banks of the
Tigris River in Um al-Abeed, a village near Salman Pak, southeast of
By 8:10, Thursday morning, I’d fired off the first of a series of
queries to Multi-National Forces-Iraq (MNF-I) Public Affairs and
current and former liaisons with the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior
Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT) Public Affairs Office,
asking what they knew of this claim. I was immediately suspect because
of the dubious sourcing prominently noted in one version of the
original Associated Press story:
Remember when you were a kid and got caught telling a lie, but your excuse was that a pal "made you do it" and it was so hard to tell the truth anyway because of this reason or that? It didn't matter to your parents then, did it? Well, here we have Reuters revealing that they fell for a false story about 20 beheaded Iraqis that was planted by insurgents, but do they just admit it and take responsibility? No, they whine that it is "very hard" to get stories in Iraq because it is so dangerous for journalists there.
I can tell we are all rolling our eyes, aren't we?
On the 28th Reuters and the AP along with most major news sources recklessly reported that 20 beheaded bodies were found by "Iraqi Policemen" on the banks of the Tigris River near Salman Pak, 19 miles south of Baghdad.
I say recklessly because not one of these supposed professional news sources substantiated the story but merely accepted the "news" as fact with no corroboration. This is something we have seen dozens of times since we entered Iraq with these news services explaining away this breach of professional standards by saying that it is just too dangerous for journalists to be in those areas to do the leg work to make sure their stories are true before they publish them.
Someone at the AP must really like Stephen Colbert. A bait-and-switch June 3 article was supposedly about a new book by Afghanistan-born author Khaled Hosseini, but gave readers stealth fanboy journalism that wrote a play by play of Colbert’s shtick without discussing the book. From the reporting, the BookExpo America breakfast was more like a segment of the “Colbert Report” than a national book fair discussion. Instead of any information about the book, it was line after line of Colbert coverage, "That Stephen Colbert sure is funny, and he sure has some funny ideas about books. Just ask "The Kite Runner" author Khaled Hosseini."
In an April 30 "Public Eye" entry, CBS ombudsblogger Brian Montopoli wrote about CBS's quandary over CIA director George Tenet has a faulty memory regarding an exchange with Richard Perle that supposedly happened the day after 9/11 at the White House. The problem, Perle was stuck in France. He returned to the country on Sept. 15, 2001. So what to do with Web site transcripts of the April 29 "60 Minutes" segment?
Because of Tuesday’s testimony by former Army Pvt. Jessica Lynch, the media have renewed the stories about the government “lying” about Lynch’s heroism and only correcting it later, but the conservative blog American Thinker dug up that first article which supposedly gave the details of Lynch’s rescue and found the “government warned against this fight-to-the-death story line… at the time of the initial reporting by the media,” not later.
Writing at AmThinker, Ray Robison said that the Washington Post was the first to publish the super-soldier story, and even though they had been cautioned by the government, they ran with it anyway, adding a little paragraph that mentioned the warning but giving more prominence to the unnamed “US official” (emphasis added throughout; in this post, I changed AmThinker's highlighting and pointed out the AT's "emphasis added" text to differentiate from mine. Follow link to see original form):
Lynch, a 19-year-old supply clerk, continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds and watched several other soldiers in her unit die around her in fighting March 23, one official said...
"She was fighting to the death," the official said. "She did not want to be taken alive."
Several officials cautioned that the precise sequence of events is still being determined, and that further information will emerge as Lynch is debriefed.
Putting aside the obvious question ("Why are you an LA Times reader?") for the moment -- Apparently you'll get closer to the truth of what's happening in Iraq by reading a Times columnist than you will by reading reports from Times reporters actually assigned to deliver that information.
An Iraq success story Once-violent Ramadi, which now enjoys relative calm, shows that Iraqis can achieve peace -- with our help. April 24, 2007
'A FEW WEEKS ago you couldn't drive down this street without being attacked. When I went down this street in February, I was hit three times with small-arms fire and IEDs." Col. John Charlton was describing Ramadi as we drove down its heavily damaged main street, dubbed Route Michigan by U.S. forces. Even though this was an unlucky day — Friday the 13th (of April) — we did not experience a single attack on our convoy of Humvees.
Unbelievably, disgraced newsreader, Dan Rather, claimed at a recent festival that American journalism "has in some ways lost its guts" and that the MSM has "adopted the go-along-to-get-along (attitude)."
As reported by CNETNews.com, Rather was a keynote speaker at the South by Southwest Interactive festival this past weekend where he gave a 2 hour talk on the shape of journalism and the Internet.
One has to wonder to which "gutless" American media he is referring? Is it the same media that was so weak-kneed as to leak damaging national security information, the same media that just "goes along" to undermine the war effort at every opportunity? Is it the same one that goes out of its way to malign the US and Israeli governments? It is that MSM Rather imagines has somehow gone soft?
As you'll see below, the alleged big news today of a Brit withdrawal from Iraq is not really news. It actually appears to be less than was planned months ago. And pardon me for yet once again pointing out what an idiot Glenn Greenwald, now at Salon, is while making the point.
In a statement obtained by this NewsBuster, a senior Bush
administration official has disputed a New York Times article, Jailed 2 Years, Iraqi Tells of Abuse by Americans that suggests
that the review process for detainees held by the U.S.
military in Iraq
is inadequate. The Times story is anecdotal, telling the story of Laith al-Ani,
an Iraqi Sunni who was released by U.S.
authorities last month. According to the Times story, "people like
Mr. Ani . . . are being held without charge and without access to tribunals
where their cases are reviewed."
Without responding to the specifics of Mr. Ani's case, the senior Bush
administration official told me that "the facts of our detention system
belie the themes of this article. We follow well-established standards of
review that go well above and beyond what the law requires. And we do so
in the face of a ruthless and determined enemy."
He offered the following overview of the review process:
Here's my question. How many people look at that picture and think the
polar bears were living on some ice and it melted around them and now
they are stuck?
And, yes, I realize a polar bear can drown...
if, say, it's exhausted and swimming over 50 miles. But basically,
these things can swim 15 miles easily, at a speed of 6 miles an hour,
and they use the edge of an ice floe as a platform from which to hunt.
Where's the photograph of the bear chomping down on a cute baby seal?
no, I'm not denying that there's global warming, even as I sit here a
double pane of glass away from minus 12° air. I'm just amused at human
behavior, such as the way it is possible to feel arguments at us.
In particular, we are susceptible to argument by animal. We love the
animal, if it's pictured right, in a way that pulls our heartstrings.
Always up for a Google challenge, I decided to take a look and can confirm that spitting and more did in fact take place. Stored on a government server found via advanced Google, there's this first person account - also available in pdf.
As long as it's not about violence in Iraq, the AP is willing to issue corrections, and in big letters.
Says the "new" caption:
Colombian soldiers escort former Colombian cabinet minister Fernando Araujo, with his arms up, as they arrive at a military base in Cartagena, Colombia, Friday, Jan. 5, 2007. Fernando Araujo escaped from six years in rebel captivity by fleeing through the jungle for five days after troops attacked the guerrillas who held him, he said Friday.(AP Photo/Ricardo Maldonado)
And so a major Associated Press claim in "Jamilgate" takes an apparently fatal hit.
According to Bill Costlow of CPATT (Civilian Police Assistance Training Team) in Baghdad, and as forwarded by Lt. Michael Dean of Multinational Corps-Iraq/Joint Operations Command Public Affairs, our now infamous police captain in Iraq appears to be definitively not Jamil Hussein.
Nor is his name Jamil Gholaiem Hussein as statedrepeatedly by the Associated Press Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll and other Associated Press employees.
Nor is his name Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim, as he has been called previously in other accounts. According to his personnel records at MOI, confirmed with BG Abdul-Kareem and then reportedly verified by BG Abdul-Karim Khalaf with AP's Baghdad sources, his name is actually Jamil Gulaim "XX".
The "XX" protects his second middle name and real last names, of which "Hussein" is not a part.
The Associated Press crowed on Jan. 4 that their controversial source "Jamil Hussein" did indeed exist, as it announced:
Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, who had previously denied there was any such police employee as Capt. Jamil Hussein, said in an interview that Hussein is an officer assigned to the Khadra police station, as had been reported by The Associated Press.
I've been in touch with Bill Costlow (the CPATT (Civilian Police Assistance Training Team) representative) since he has been back in-country and I have a few interesting developments on this story.
Despite the AP's claim that a Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf had confirmed Hussein's existance:
Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf never acknowledged that there was a Capt. Jamil Hussein assigned to the Khadra station, he confirmed to the AP that there was a Capt. Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim assigned there. Apparently he is the source for the AP even though he still, to this day (according to Bill Costlow), denies being the source.