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Sensible and Even Handed


UPDATE: Matt Sanchez reports that Beauchamp’s Brigade Combat Team has issued a report indicating that Beauchamp’s stories have been “proven false”. Sanchez hasn’t given any citation for this report thus far, and he’s not exactly a reliable source (the con man allegations should be taken a lot more seriously than the gay porn stuff) but it would be fair to say that such a report would return the veracity of the diary to the status of “open question”. Intimidation has been the point of this little free for all, and I wouldn’t be utterly surprised to find that witnesses, or even Beauchamp himself, had been intimidated into silence. Check the comments at any given wingnut blog; half of them declare he should be court-martialed if the stories prove true… Nevertheless, worth a caveat until we know more.

…I would add that Sanchez’ post could be considered more trustworthy if a) anyone else had seen the report, and b) if he hadn’t added not one, but two requests for donations above the report.


Assuming both Foer and the spokesman are telling the truth, five guys in the squad are lying to someone. They all have a motive to tell the Army the incidents never happened given the trouble they’d be in for not reporting them at the time; assuming they’re all friends of Beauchamp and want to protect him from a career-destroying mistake, they also all have a motive to tell TNR that the incidents happened the way he said. (Although if they’re lying to TNR, why then dispute the location of burned woman incident? Why not just corroborate him on that detail too? Maybe because there are too many people at FOB Falcon who could disprove it?) Unless the Army comes up with compelling evidence disproving his story it’s going to end up as the military version of a he said/she said where each side simply believes whom they’d prefer ideologically to believe and leaves it at that

Sharon Weinberger, who happily linked to the most brutal, nonsensical attacks that the right had to make of the initial diary:

Howard Kurtz, the Washington Post’s media critics, has the most even-handed and sensible write-up of the whole affair.

I’ll leave it at that.

Go read Howie. I’ll wait….

Ok, done? Feel that was even-handed? This?

Asked whether the military had hampered his inquiry, Editor Franklin Foer said: “We feel like our re-reporting has corroborated the story. But we, as a magazine, would always like to know more — to ask everyone, every question a third and fourth time so as to pick up on any possible nuance — and that’s become impossible when the author and the subjects of the article are out of contact.”

Weekly Standard blogger Michael Goldfarb seized on the mistake about the location of the disfigured woman as a “blatant lie,” writing: “If this incident occurred at all, it only proves that Beauchamp was a vile creep to begin with.”

Indeed. Very even-handed. So even-handed, in fact, that it fails to note that virtually the whole of the right blogosphere erupted in a torrent of the most vile abuse and intimidation against Scott Thomas Beauchamp, based at first on the assertion that he didn’t exist, second on the assertion that he could not be part of the military, and third on the assertion that, even if he were in the military, he must have made it all up. I mean, seriously, do these people ever read Malkin? Or Blackfive? Does Howie ever click through to the fetid, nasty swamps that Glenn Reynolds regularly links to? Did Howie bother to note that the criticisms that Goldfarb initially made have been crushingly refuted?

No. No. No. No. And no, it’s never going to get any better. Right Blogistan has suffered what a sensible, even-handed person could only conclude is a crushing blow to its credibility, not only regarding the specifics of this case but also to the very manner in which it “thinks”. This blow won’t tell, though, because just like in the case of the WMD nonsense, and the Jamal Hussein fiasco, and the Al Qaeda in Iraq garbage, sensible, even-handed people like Howie Kurtz continue to take these morons seriously. Instead of actually trying to evaluate what went on here, or examine the critiques that the right actually made, Howie is content simply to relate the controversy, EVEN WHEN WE ALREADY KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.

It’s very simple, people. A TNR diarist wrote about a series of events. Righties freaked out, insisting that the stories couldn’t possibly be true. Lefties didn’t assert that it was true, but insisted that it could be factual. Battle ensues. It turns out that the story is, apart from an irrelevant detail, true. Righties claim victory based on that detail, and those who gave credence to the most brutal and idiotic attacks declare the affair over, without bothering to wonder how they got taken in by people who are obviously con artists, and stupid ones at that. TNR diarist, incidentally, is successfully intimidated and effectively silenced.

All in a day’s work, I guess.

UPDATE BY SL: As requested by a commenter, scroll down one post to remember the Kurtz Komedy Klassic when he cited two blogs with about 100 lifetime hits between them to gin up a Potemkin reaction to the Pelosi plane non-story.

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