“And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.”
— Edgar Allan Poe, “The Masque of the Red Death”
I lied to you, yesterday. OK: No I didn’t. But, in the interests of the sort of clarity that our “new media” and “old media” are now addicted to, you can have it both ways, either way, or no way at all. It doesn’t matter.
Because, hell, truth doesn’t matter. Only spin matters, only assertion matters, only fabulism about fabulists (the new buzzword of the neocons) and can I no longer can see this as a matter of “facts,” and “information.” Why buck popular opinion?
Rather, it is a literary festival, and should be approached as a literary critic. Fortunately I have the chops for this.
Remember Beauchamp? Welcome to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Beauchamp, an enormous balloon filled with helium and floated above the adoring fans as the Romney parade passes by. Hugh Hewitt, one of the Mittster’s biggest fans (and author of the quasi-official Mitt apologia A Mormon In The White House?) has PERSONALLY weighed in on his TownHall dot com blog (he usually leaves daily posting to lackey Dean Barnett).
Let us dip into the prose stylings of Hugh Hewitt, and ask ourselves the literary question … well, I’ll be back after the blockquote for that:
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Romney Ambushed By Anti-War Activist, Abetted By AP, To No Effect
Posted by Hugh Hewitt 6:47 PM
The AP, with lefty bloggers in tow, is trying to make an issue out of an ambush question at a Romney campaign forum today. Rachel Griffiths, a member of the “Quad City Progressive Action for the Common Good” asked the “why are your kids chickenhawks” question: “Thank you so much for being here and asking for our comments and I appreciate your recognizing the Iraq War veteran. My question is how many of your five sons are currently serving in the U.S. military and if none of them are how do they plan to support this war on terrorism by enlisting in our U.S. military? Romney responded:
AP left out both the text of the question and all of the italicized comments. Nice reporting, eh?
The Romney campaign quickly released the YouTube video of the exchange, though given the fundamental inability of the chickenhawk meme to move the average American voter, and the widespread rejection of such logic by the uniformed military, it might have been better to let the “controversy” play out a bit as a way of demonstrating how in the bag the AP is to the anti-war fringe.
A question for lefties in love with this meme: Have you denounced The New Republic’s and Private Beauchamp’s slanders? Have you talked up the virtues of serving in uniform in time of war? Or do you dispute that we are in a war, and find it convenient to focus on alleged war crimes and other misdeeds of the military? Do you accuse the Administration of fighting for oil, or of misleading us into war? Are you tearing down the military and yet condemning people for not serving in it?
Ah. So BEAUCHAMP is the reason that Mitt’s sons aren’t serving? Huh?
BRILLIANT argument, Hugh. Now, go and clean your bong. It must be clogged from all the use it got in ginning up THIS weird defense.
But, because this wasn’t enough for Hugh — who probably sobered up, read what he’d written and made a frantic phone call — evidently, he sent his lackey to post further “logical” arguments to defend Mitt this morning:
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Posted by Dean Barnett | 10:51 AM
SPEAKING OF CANDIDATES OF CHOICE, it’s been an interesting week for mine, Mitt Romney. Last Thursday, he went into talk show host Jan Mickelson’s studio and engaged in a heated discussion over “the Mormon issue.” I thought Romney came across great in that exchange, and so did most other bloggers and commentators. The YouTube has been viewed over 170,000 times, something that probably makes the Romney campaign very happy.
On a less sunny note, yesterday, at an “Ask Mitt Anything” session, Romney was asked to defend his five sons against the charge that they’re chickenhawks. Romney started out extremely well by saluting our volunteer army and mentioning his niece’s Reservist husband who had just been activated, and then concluded rather clumsily by saying his sons are serving the country by trying to help him get elected president. Generally speaking, volunteering and sacrificing for political campaigns is a noble thing and shows a level of civic involvement that most people respect. But there was something a little off about Mitt saying his sons were serving the country by serving his campaign, especially in the context of discussing military service. Listening to the tape, it seems Romney intended it as a joke and the crowd did laugh. But it wasn’t a particularly good joke, and it definitely was an ill-advised one. It was exactly the kind of comment that the press would replay as a “Gotcha!” moment. (Here’s the entire clip if you’re interested.)
Obviously this isn’t a big deal. The chickenhawk thing is a Democrat obsession, not a Republican one. And family members, even if they’re involved in the principal’s campaign, are widely considered civilians by everyone except the left-wing blogging community and sometimes Mike Wallace. I’ve never heard a single Republican complain that the Bush twins aren’t in Iraq….
OK. ‘Chickenhawks’ is meaningless. It’s OK to send other people’s children (like my son) to die, but you feel no patriotic need to send YOUR children. That’s what POOR people are for!
[For more go HERE.]
Again, no debate only smear and slur and insult and belittling. That’s where we’ve come to. The only serious task left is to criticize the literary aspects of the insults. OK: They’re not that good. As to being specious, well, they’re not too good.
As I noted yesterday, the swiftboating of Private Beauchamp and TNR has moved mysteriously to “fact” without ever becoming fact. Today, the AP piled on (as predicted) and, well, if you cared for the “truth” of the matter, don’t worry about it. It isn’t your ass on the line. It isn’t your home they’ll burn the cross on the lawn of. It isn’t your family that will be stalked. Go back to sleep. I know I intend to:
New Republic Iraq Stories Questioned
By JOHN MILBURN and ELLEN SIMON
The Associated Press
Thursday, August 9, 2007; 12:00 AM
NEW YORK — A magazine gets a hot story straight from a soldier in Iraq and publishes his writing, complete with gory details, under a pseudonym. The stories are chilling: An Iraqi boy befriends American troops and later has his tongue cut out by insurgents. Soldiers mock a disfigured woman sitting near them in a dining hall. As a diversion, soldiers run over dogs with armored personnel carriers. Compelling stuff, and, according to the Army, not true.
Three articles by the soldier have run since January in The New Republic, a liberal magazine with a small circulation owned by Canadian company CanWest Corp. The stories, which ran under the name “Scott Thomas,” were called into question by The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine with a small circulation owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The Standard last month challenged bloggers to check the dispatches.
Since then, Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp, of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry, has come forward as the author. The New Republic said that Beauchamp “came to its attention” through Elspeth Reeve, a reporter-researcher at the magazine he later married.
I guess I still wonder what that last crap is supposed to mean? That you DON’T get jobs in publishing through WHO you know and not WHAT you know? Thirty-one years in this business belies that bullshit. Publishing is nepotistic as hell, and any writer who would advance this as a “slur” obviously hasn’t had their head out of their ass for a long, long time. Besides, with so much to crucify Beauchamp/TNR with, why do they keep harping on THIS meaningless detail? And, more tellingly, HOW is it that the NYT, WashPo and AP stories all feature this fact, minus any context. Two words: Press Release. The AP story even quotes the “news” source of THE WEEKLY STANDARD as if it were some uninterested observer, and not the “official” blog driving the story.
Facts be damned. The story goes on:
The Army said this week it had concluded an investigation of Beauchamp’s claims and found them false.
“During that investigation, all the soldiers from his unit refuted all claims that Pvt. Beauchamp made in his blog,” Sgt. 1st Class Robert Timmons, a spokesman in Baghdad for the 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley, Kan., said in an e-mail interview.
We are now down to interviewing Sergeants. Long drop from Petraeus’ PR/psywar officer, ain’t it? (I’m still waiting for my “official” response from the Army, BTW.) The story lurches on …
The Weekly Standard said Beauchamp signed a sworn statement admitting all three articles were exaggerations and falsehoods.
Calls to Editor Franklin Foer at The New Republic in Washington were not returned, but the magazine said on its Web site that it has conducted its own investigation and stands by Beauchamp’s work.
Sgt. 1st Class Robert Timmons, a spokesman in Baghdad for the 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley, Kan., said in an e-mail interview.
Well, there you go. The AP has resolved the controversy, based on one of their reporters’ contact with a Kansas soldier that the Wichita, Kansas AP writer John Milburn knows — the tag reads “Milburn reported from Topeka, Kan.” The story lurches forward, like the undead collection of parts that it is (get the torch, Igor! IGOR!!)
The Associated Press has been unable to reach Beauchamp, and the Army said details of the investigation were not expected to be released. “Personnel matters are handled internally; they are not discussed publicly,” said Lt. Col. Joseph M. Yoswa, an Army spokesman.
Bob Steele, the Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values at The Poynter Institute school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Fla., said granting a writer anonymity “raises questions about authenticity and legitimacy.”
“Anonymity allows an individual to make accusations against others with impunity,” Steele said. “In this case, the anonymous diarist was accusing other soldiers of various levels of wrongdoing that were, at the least, moral failures, if not violations of military conduct. The anonymity further allows the writer to sidestep essential accountability that would exist, were he identified.”
Steele said he was troubled by the fact that the magazine did not catch the scene-shifting from Kuwait to Iraq of the incident Beauchamp described involving the disfigured woman.
“If they were doing any kind of fact-checking, with multiple sources, that error — or potential deception — would have emerged,” Steele said.
Well, now we have a pompous press guru weighing in. In a fictional note of historical (novel) irony, it was his preincarnation who weighed in, in Seville, Spain on August 8, 1498, regarding Chaim Levi:
If only he’d have accepted Christ and the Holy Teachings of the Church, Torquemada wouldn’t be forced to burn him at the stake. Clearly, Levi had every chance to stop this and didn’t.
I’d like to thank Sister Toldjah for naming me her “Moonbat of the Week“:
8/4/2007 – 2:59 pm
Moonbat of the week: “Harto”
Didn’t have one for the week before, believe it or not, but we’ve got a live one for this week >:)
In response to my link to his post at the Democratic Daily blog about the revelation that TNR screwed up big time with their ‘military blogger’ Scott Thomas, blogger Hart Williams writes:
Your thesis is laughable — that an “internal investigation” reported through a blogger who claims “insider connections” to know the outcome of the investigation before any official information has been released.
Oh, and it clears the Army and discredits Private Beauchamp (who you didn’t believe was a real person when Goldfarb began this witch hunt on July 21?
Sure. THAT’s credible.
Your question is a rhetorical monstrousity. The only persons who “believe” that way are the straw men you’re obviously trying to set up. So let me ask YOU a question:
ince you want to ignore the various ‘military lies to us’ scandals, WHY did you decide to endanger the life of a soldier fighting in the sandbox? Because you didn’t like what he said? Is THAT “supporting the troops”?
Or are you still laboring under the delusion that we’re “spreading democracy” and that endangering MY son because you don’t have an exit strategy, refuse to discuss an exit strategy, and would rather be right and watch more of our soldiers die than admit that this war has been a disaster and end it?
Must be amazing to know it all. Kinda makes you like God, don’t it?
Naw. It’s not about being a “know it all” (we leave that to the Democratic ‘leadership’ in Congress) – it’s about knowing how to spot liberal demagoguery that people try to pass off as being the ‘real truth’ a mile away. Careful, Hart. Yours and the left’s transparency on ’supporting the troops’ is starting to show.
Kinda sad when people who claim to ’support the troops’ in reality are hoping that the negative stories they read about the military are true, and furthermore go out of their way to try and spin them as true, even when it turns out they’re not. These same types of people want us to give accused murderers here at home the benefit of the doubt, but don’t extend that same courtesy to the men and women who put their lives on the line so they can have the right to spout their idiotic, troop-hating nonsense.
Scratch “sad.” It’s actually sick. Very sick.
Well, me being “very sick” and all, no one should mind that Sister Toldjah still hasn’t figured out what “Scott Thomas”es’ actual name is. After all, she has all the facts. She and her yowling band of baboons have been having quite a bit of fun debating arguments that they’ve hallucinated I made. You can check it out HERE: Moonbat of the week “Harto” responds. (But please don’t bother commenting or defending me in any way. Your words would be wasted on them anyway– at least the multi-syllabic ones. Enjoy the bar-b-que!)
And, finally, Confederate Yanker and “sore winner,” Bob Owens weighs in on The Democratic Daily to “debate” my last post in that polite manner that this whole “Baghdad Diarist” matter has been conducted in (even as he “piles on” to his own story, just in case Beauchamp/TNR hasn’t been stomped into the mud completely. I’m honored that he could take time from his busy character assassination schedule to pay attention to l’il ol’ moi):
# Bob Owens Says:
August 9th, 2007 at 4:41 am edit
I’m still trying to figure this out. Are you shooting for a sophisticated parody like the guys over at “Blame Bush,” or are you really serious?
If you are serious… well, then I’m a bit concerned for your psychological well-being.
Either way, I’ll reveal my big secret: I made contact with a PAO some months or a year ago (I don’t even remember which one or what the story was), and asked intelligent questions no one else was asking. From that, I was able to network a little bit, with the old, “Captain Smith, I got your name from Major Jones at FOB blah-blah-blah…”
I’ve also been able to contact some civilian contractors, some Iraqi citizens, and some NGO officials and journalists in both countries. That is how I get my info; good old, old school, rubbing elbows and establishing relationships, like reporters have done for decades… but digitally, of course.
You could probably make the same sort of contacts yourself if you were willing to, but it takes a tremendous amount of personal time to do so, and you’d have to stop running the half-baked conspiracy theories in every other post.
Gee, if I was an Army PAO with a full plate of media requests sitting in front of me and a very limited amount of time in my 12-hour day, who do I choose?
Do I go with the the guy who says he knows m buddy Steve and who has a reputation as being fair with what we give him,
Do I respond to the crank that last week accused General Petraeus of running a “rogue operation” and is batty enough to think that the President is running a media campaign through a small blog run from a La-Z-Boy sofa in Raleigh, NC?
Try hard, harto, and you might just see why you aren’t taken very seriously, or why some don’t even know if you’re trying to be taken seriously.
Keep up the great work, “Superfan.”
I love that “respectfully” part. It sort of floats there like an anti-turd in the septic tank punchbowl of rightie discourse. You’ve got to admit that, after writing a comment like that, it takes a supreme degree of unselfconsciousness to cap the slurs with “respectfully.”
Hate to think of what Bob would have said if he WASN’T being respectful. (Or actually knew what that word means).
Mitt Gott Spin. Hugh Hewitt Gott an amenuensis. Harto Gott slammed. Truth Gott zip.