Funny. After yowling like coyotes on a full moon, the literary micro-parsing has continued in the blogosmear. The New Republic and Private Beauchamp continue to be the favored whipping boy of the fake media, as the attempt to port the ‘controversy’ into the mainstream media continues, with Rush Limbaugh vacation fill-in host and ex-Canadian arts critic Mark Steyn writing in his syndicated column (From the Orange County Register):
Warm-mongers and cheeseburger imperialists
by Mark Steyn
… According to the Weekly Standard-, army investigators say Pvt. Beauchamp has now signed a statement recanting his lurid anecdotes.
Gee. The Rupert Murdoch-owned, William Kristol-edited Weekly Standard, whose blogger Michael Goldfarb’s anonymous confirmations and Army PR Officers’ emails seem to have provided the basis for both the Washington Post and the New York Times pieces? THAT Weekly Standard?
Well, suddenly and for the first time, Saturday, A DIFFERENT staffer posted a letter from Col. Stephen Boylan, General Petraeus’ InfoWar officer (the one responsible for making sure the right stories get in the right places, for “embedding” journalists, etc.)
Funny that the Weekly Standard continues to be the central clearinghouse for this story, after literally CALLING for the blogosmear to rip the THR/Beauchamp story to shreds. But I guess that they want to diffuse the personal vendetta against Franklin Foer, editor of the New Republic, whose head is specifically being called for as the specter of a scandal is raised that took place NINE years ago, BEFORE Foer ever had anything to do with the magazine? (The Stephen Glass scandal.) Er, how is he responsible, or culpable for a scandal that occurred before he began working for the The New Republic? Why they even got the story onto NPR (NationalPublic Radio) Thursday. Complete with reference to the Glass scandal. Hmmm.
And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, for the first time, ever,S OMEBODY else posted this excerpt from a letter to HIM from Colonel Boylan. Gee, the Times and the Post could only get Maj. Lamb, Boylan’s deputy to talk to THEM. And the AP could only get a sergeant that one of their reporters knew from Kansas. But The Weekly Standard‘s BLOG and private “Laz-Y-Boy” blogger Bob Owens get the Commanding General’s P.R. Deputy making semi-official statements on the case. What’s wrong with this picture?
Here’s from Saturday:
Posted by Bill Roggio
The Army Responds
I recently emailed Col. Steve Boylan asking for whatever information he could provide regarding the status of the investigation of Scott Thomas Beauchamp. Here is his response:
His command’s investigation is complete. At this time, there is no formal what we call Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) actions being taken. However … (sic)
Hmmm. The gist of it — aside from Boylan’s appalling use of syntax — is that Col. Boylan specifically denies The New Republic‘s statement of Friday that the Army wasn’t allowing Pvt. Beauchamp to speak with them. And, for the first time, SOMEONE else posted, perhaps to cover the tracks of a very personal-seeming vendetta. After all, the media shell game of quoting either the reviewer’s name or the reviewer’s newspaper is well known to all critics. The Weekly Standard sounds so much more authoritative than “Michael Goldfarb.” Or, now, his amanuensis du jour, Bill Roggio.
One, naturally wonders what “recently” means, since “recently” as in “I emailed Gen. Petreaus’ PR Officer as soon as TNR’s latest statement came out on Friday” would mean one thing. And if “recently” means “I received this reply but have been waiting for the propitious time to publish it,” I suppose that would mean something else.
And, Saturday, naturally, the piling on talking-point of the Rightie blogosmear was now about how the “liar” Pvt. Beauchamp was in the final phases of the kind of lying scandal the way that the Stephen Glass scandal had been played out and was refusing to answer his phone, the lying weasel. (The serpent bites its tail.)
(Oh, and that other talking point: Beauchamp will now get a book deal and a best-seller, which, by implication, had been his nefarious scheme, or, as has been noted before, the awesome spectacle of Republican ideologues being against capitalism, the free market, and the profit motive. If, as when Justice John Roberts used the same argument to prove two opposite conclusions in two cases at the end of the last Supreme Court term, surely “capitalists against capitalism” isn’t that much more of a stretch. Sort of like the anti-global warming “scientists against science.” In this case it’s that old Roman army tactic of killing the inhabitants, poisoning the wells and salting the earth so that no one could live there again. The campaign to destroy Private Beauchamp is now personal. Jules Crittendon deserves censure by all professional journalists for his most egregious attempt at this practice.)
No focused talking points. No specific targeting of Franklin Foer by the Weekly Standard‘s blog. Certainly no test run of a disinformation machine prior to a presidential campaign. That’s for damn sure.
But, as I said, having declared victory they will have to move on. The other half of Mr. Steyn’s column today is the gleeful and uncritical acceptance of the refutation of global warming last week. (Others have dealt at length with the “refutation”). This, naturally belies last week’s Newsweek cover story on the denial campaign.*
[* Since the late 1980s, this well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change. Through advertisements, op-eds, lobbying and media attention, greenhouse doubters (they hate being called deniers) argued first that the world is not warming; measurements indicating otherwise are flawed, they said. Then they claimed that any warming is natural, not caused by human activities. Now they contend that the looming warming will be minuscule and harmless. “They patterned what they did after the tobacco industry,” says former senator Tim Wirth … MORE]
Which, in turn, has nothing to do with the Weekly Standard‘s campaign against The New Republic, Michael Goldfarb’s stealth vendetta against Franklin Foer or the Army’s campaign (OK, General Petraeus’ campign) against Private Beauchamp.
Which remains a secret, according to their latest press release.
Denying Friday’s TNR statement that the Army was holding Beauchamp incommunicado.
Meanwhile, Beauchamp, who the Army’s TOP Information/Disinformation Officer in Iraq said could be reached for comment couldn’t be reached for comment.
Those are the facts, as nearly as I can recount them. Happily, if I made ANY errors, I’m sure to hear about them.
UPDATE: The National Review Online — which has been happy to go along with The Weekly Standard in this — has Col. Boylan’s letter excerpted today in their blog. The author? Mark Steyn.