Kurtz follows up on Scott Thomas Beauchamp; Update: Parody links added

posted at 9:57 am on July 27, 2007 by Bryan

Howard Kurtz interviews TNR’s Franklin Foer again re Scott Thomas Beauchamp. Foer once again mischaracterizes his critics. Either Foer doesn’t understand the scandal that’s swirling around him, or he has chosen defense by offense as a tactical response. Neither is heartening. Neither will lead to the truth.

As conservative bloggers yesterday continued to challenge the veracity of Beauchamp’s accounts, Foer said: “It is really unfortunate that someone like Scott, who was really only trying to tell his particular story, has become a pawn in the debate over the war and the Weekly Standard’s efforts to press an ideological agenda.”

Sigh. The long hard slog continues.

Where is the mass grave, then? Beauchamp’s “particular story” included details about an as yet unreported mass grave that, if it exists, needs to be documented for posterity and added to the charges of those Saddam henchmen who have yet to stand trial. Where is it?

And which unit on FOB Falcon allows its Bradley drivers to play smash-up with multi-million dollar equipment? If what Beauchamp says is true, we have a unit that’s out of control and needs discipline asap. Who is that unit’s CO?

Foer published a set of stories that are either smears or they’re evidence of wrongdoing that needs to be stopped. It’s not about ideology or just one man’s view of the war. Beauchamp’s “particular story” is about the honor of the unit that he wrote about.

Update (AP): Also, for the record:

The magazine’s editor, Franklin Foer, disclosed in an interview that Beauchamp is married to a New Republic staffer, and that is “part of the reason why we found him to be a credible writer.”

Update (AP): Incidentally, why didn’t Kurtz ask him about “gracie” getting canned? If it’s not true, that itself is news worth reporting.

Update (AP): While we wait for the verdict from TNR about Scott Thomas, war reporter, the verdict on Scott Thomas, litterateur, is already in. Here’s the anonymous parody site, here are Ace and his commenters sharing “mindthoughts” in the style of The Master himself, and here’s Sean Gleeson showing us amateurs how it’s done.

Update (AP): Dean sides with the boss contra Ace and me in arguing that this story is a big deal:

In running the Thomas Diarists, be they true or false or somewhere in between, The New Republic attempted to smear the soldiers who are serving honorably in Iraq. That’s the real story here. The New Republic offered up one eye-witness account from a soldier in Baghdad in its last issue; that soldier told stories of horrifying sociopathic behavior. There are tons of other soldiers’ stories from Iraq that more accurately describe what’s going on over there; none of them interested The New Republic. The real story here is the editorial decision making process that led The New Republic to have its own private embed in Iraq, a uniform wearing mole who went to Iraq with the apparent specific purpose of maligning the war effort.

I’m not sure what he means by that last part. If he’s saying they shouldn’t have picked a guy whom they knew was against the war, well, look: they’re a left-wing opinion journal. If NRO or Townhall was shopping for a Baghdad correspondent, they’d surely lean towards someone who supported it. Bias is relevant if the publication claims to be impartial; if it doesn’t, it’s not. I think Dean’s saying more than that, though — namely, that based on the pre-war atrocity fantasias on Beauchamp’s blog, TNR should have wondered if this was a guy in search of a scandal. Which raises an interesting question: what did they know about him before they signed him? Had they read the blog or did they just hire him on his wife’s say so? Would they have googled him and read the blog but for his wife’s say so? I’m reluctant to impose onerous background checks for authors on magazines, but (a) that one doesn’t seem so onerous and (b) the left was in very high dudgeon indeed when WaPo didn’t think to do an exhaustive plagiarism check of everything Ben Domenech had ever written before he was hired. This is a totally different case, though, I’m sure, as The Conscience of America, a.k.a. Glenn Greenwald, will no doubt soon be informing us.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Oh man, this was a CALCULATED, CONTRIVED, smear job against the military and our troops. It was designed BY the leftist TNR, orchestrated by the leftist TNR, produced by the leftist TNR, and any body who thinks that Foer, Reeve, and Beauchamp were not in chaoots from the very start is extremely naive.

Reeve is 2007′s Valeria Plame. Like Plame, Reeve is going to be feted as the other woman who took down the Iraq war.

Remember TNR in the aftermath of Vietnam:

The New Republic told its readers that the ouster of Lon Nol should be of no concern, since “the Cambodian people will finally be rescued from the horrors of a war that never really had any meaning.” Jeff Jacoby, 4/30/1998

Now TNR is leading the charge to begin hating the troops. I personally will not stand for this.

georgej on July 27, 2007 at 5:01 PM

The guy CAN’T WRITE!
What was the chance of Mr. Can’t-Write-Nobody landing ANY writing job at ANY newspaper or magazine with HIS portfolio? It’s quite the coup for someone with his ability to mangle a phrase to land a “Iraq Diarist” regular feature at such an august *ahem* publication as TNR.
How did he even get in the proverbial door, much more a column? He knew someone AND he wrote exactly what they wanted to hear.
Perhaps, MAYBE the guy CAN write, but has AFFECTED FUNCTIONAL ILLITERACY to lend credence to the Left’s favorite Southern Military stereotype: “simple soldier High School drop-out grunt” – dispatch from the field fraud.”

Ya’ll know how no red-necks cain’t read nuh wrate. But they shoot bucks from the truck winder and throw beer cans at dirty-faced kids scruffing around amongst pappy’s chickens.

naliaka on July 27, 2007 at 7:09 PM

It’s been maddening, to say the least, to see the plausibility of events that I witnessed questioned by people who have never served in Iraq. I was initially reluctant to take the time out of my already insane schedule fighting an actual war in order to play some role in an ideological battle that I never wanted to join. That being said, my character, my experiences, and those of my comrades in arms have been called into question, and I believe that it is important to stand by my writing under my real name.

So, Thomas does know how to use a period and commas, and caps after all. No run-on sentences … quite a bit different than his “Diarist” style.

naliaka on July 27, 2007 at 7:18 PM

The real story here is the editorial decision making process that led The New Republic to have its own private embed in Iraq, a uniform wearing mole who went to Iraq with the apparent specific purpose of maligning the war effort.

I would say rather than maligning the war effort, the bastard went with intent of maligning the entire military. One of two things need happen NOW; either the units, troops, events and CO’s are named, thoroughly investigated, and held accountable, or ScottyBoy needs to be brought up on charges, court martialed, and sent to Kansas for a long time.

oldleprechaun on July 27, 2007 at 7:56 PM

What was the chance of Mr. Can’t-Write-Nobody landing ANY writing job at ANY newspaper or magazine with HIS portfolio?

[naliaka on July 27, 2007 at 7:09 PM]

I don’t know, I haven’t seen his portfolio. If I had to judge his writing skill based on his blog, I would agree with you that his skill is poor. I’m not willing to judge his ability solely on that, though.

His blog may be neither part nor representative of what his portfolio contains. Heck, he may not have one. As for TNR’s decision to pay him, maybe they didn’t put much weight on that skill as it was likely a temporary arrangement and unique arrangement which, I’d add, wasn’t regular.

You might be right about the speculation that you bolded. It will be interesting to find out if it’s accurate. More information could show that, like a lot more of his college work.

Dusty on July 27, 2007 at 8:11 PM

You might be right about the speculation that you bolded. It will be interesting to find out if it’s accurate. More information could show that, like a lot more of his college work.

Dusty on July 27, 2007 at 8:11 PM

Yeh, think time will tell. Makes more sense than writer loser hooked up with actual profesional writer – the mismatch is grating. But if he’s posing as a rube, then … hmmm.
Remember, Missouri is the “SHOW ME” state.

naliaka on July 27, 2007 at 9:16 PM

Comment pages: 1 2