August 9, 2007

‘Please Don’t Read This’ Headline Leads Incomplete AP Beauchamp Story

One needs to look no further than the Associated Press’s story on the Scott Beauchamp saga to understand why the general public not following the news closely doesn’t “get” just how biased and antagonistic towards the war, the military, and American soldiers Old Media outlets are.

In the case of Scott Beauchamp, now that their brethren at The New Republic (TNR) have been caught red-handed publishing made-up stories, John Milburn and Ellen Simon of the Associated Press appear to be doing everything they can to cover for them — first, with a headline (probably determined elsewhere within AP) that fails to communicate anything resembling the essence of the story, and second, by struggling mightily in their reporting to make it appear that this is a “he said, she said” dispute, instead of a situation where Beauchamp and TNR have been thoroughly discredited.

Here’s the headline:

Army denounces articles written by GI

Trouble is, Paragraphs 4 through 7 of the story make it clear that this is no mere denunciation — it’s a complete repudiation that the person the Army is supposedly only “denouncing” agrees with:

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.

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 website that it has conducted its own investigation and stands by Beauchamp’s work.

This is rich — TNR is standing by work its author has refuted.

And even the paragraphs above aren’t right. Separately, and before the statement ascribed to Timmons, The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb (who, quite rudely, isn’t named by AP) didn’t merely “say” that Beachamp recanted (as if it were just a rumor). Goldfarb had, and has, at least two sources (bold is mine):

Beauchamp Recants

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned from a military source close to the investigation that Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp–author of the much-disputed “Shock Troops” article in the New Republic’s July 23 issue as well as two previous “Baghdad Diarist” columns–signed a sworn statement admitting that all three articles he published in the New Republic were exaggerations and falsehoods–fabrications containing only “a smidgen of truth,” in the words of our source.

Separately, we received this statement from Major Steven F. Lamb, the deputy Public Affairs Officer for Multi National Division-Baghdad: “An investigation has been completed and the allegations made by PVT Beauchamp were found to be false. His platoon and company were interviewed and no one could substantiate the claims.”

Although a deeper look at Google News shows that the deceptive headline in USA Today is not being universally used, it is at multiple places. The following shows Google News results as of about 2PM on a search for the words in the USAT headline (“Army Denounces Articles Written by GI,” without quotes):

GoogNewsBeauchamp080807

Note the use of an old picture of someone not at all related to the story — military poseur Jesse MacBeth, who was exposed as a fraud year.

Now here’s a Google News search on “Army denounces 3 articles written by GI” (also without quotes) done at about the same time:

GoogNewsBeauchamp3head080807

A general Google search on USAT headline above (again, without quotes) shows that the following other outlets are running with the deceptive headline accompanying the AP story:

Surely more outlets will carry the deceptive headline as the day wears on, accompanied by the weak coverage follows it. The story, presented as it is in non-compelling fashion, won’t most likely no make the evening news or the top-of-hour radio broadcasts.

So most of the 85% of the country not paying close attention to the news will be no wiser to the real truth of the Beauchamp affair. AP’s mission would appear to be accomplished.

Jerome Who? ‘Crashing the Gates’ Co-Author Getting an Old Media Pass

Filed under: Business Moves,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:53 am

Imagine if a leading light of the right side of the blogosphere had the SEC come down on him like it just did on Jerome “Pump and Dump” Armstrong of MyDD and “Crashing the Gates” co-authorship fame (excerpt is from SEC announcement; HT Drudge, whose story refers to a New York Times blog story that is now behind the TimeSelect firewall):

August 7, 2007

On July 26, 2007, the Honorable John D. Holschuh, U. S. District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio, entered a Final Judgment as to defendant Jerome B. Armstrong (“Armstrong”).

….. The Commission’s Complaint, filed on April 14, 2003, alleged that beginning on March 6, 2000, Armstrong touted the stock of BluePoint Linux Software Corporation (“BluePoint”) by posting unsubstantiated, favorable buy recommendations on the Raging Bull internet site. Armstrong posted over eighty such recommendations during the first three weeks that the stock of BluePoint was publicly traded. According to the Complaint, Armstrong praised BluePoint’s investment value and encouraged investors who were experiencing trouble having their orders filled to keep trying. The Complaint further alleged that the promoters of BluePoint were secretly transferring stock in three other companies to Armstrong at prices below the then current market for those three stocks and that Armstrong made at least $20,000 by selling the shares he received from the promoters of BluePoint. The Complaint alleges that Armstrong did not disclose in his internet postings that he was being compensated for making the postings.

I’ll bet there would be more coverage than this (UPDATE, 1 PMThe same Google News search now shows a story at Watching The Watchers.org and still no Old Media coverage):

GoogNewArmstrongSEC080907

Drudge appears to have used a whitewash word from the Times blog in his headline: “Daily Kos Co-Author Fined $30K for Unethical Stock Tout.” What Armstrong allegedly did is illegal insider trading, and is not merely unethical.

Pajamas Media notes some other pointed thoughts at other right-of-center blogs:

  • RedState is waiting for the PR offensive promised when the story first broke a year ago (maybe a Kos diarist calling Drudge a “famous self-hating closeted homosexual and right wing propagandist” is Kos-Armstrong’s idea of a defense).
  • Blue Crab Boulevard reminds us that Kos demanded that other leftist bloggers not mention Armstrong’s issues a year ago — “They obediently complied. Funny how the left likes to charge that the right are doing that sort of thing but ignore confessions of that on their side of the aisle.”
  • Roger Simon and Mickey Kaus thinks Armstrong owes the public, and his readers, an answer. Here’s Kaus — “But if Armstrong doesn’t owe the SEC an admit-or-deny answer, doesn’t he owe it to everyone else–his allies, his readers, his colleagues? Is it true, Jerome?”

Not noted at PJM — My Pet Jawa’s Good Lt. describes the Armstrong result as “When the SEC Crashes the Gates.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (080907)

General who? Apparently General Petraeus has been catching flak for having the nerve to go on Hugh Hewitt’s show in mid-July (transcript here). This makes Petraeus a political hack, doncha know.

Petraeus appeared Tuesday on the radio show of Alan Colmes, the liberal half of Hannity & Colmes (Hewitt has a reader’s transcription of the interview here).

Hewitt asks, “The folks who slandered the general for appearing on my show will now be writing what?” This would include faux “conservative” Andrew Sullivan and Salon blogger and erstwhile sock-puppeteer Glenn Greenwald.

The answer appears to be, “Not much, Hugh.” I didn’t find anything to link to at either place. Bluey at RedState elaborates on Greenwald.

____________________________________________

John Kerry, almost president, post-Vietnam history re-writer, and now confirmed useful idiot.

Gateway Pundit makes a convincing case that Soviet propagandists supplied Kerry with his raw rhetorical material: “…. what Kerry said in his 1971 Senate testimony was almost exactly like the disinformation line that the Soviets were sowing worldwide.”

The lesson, applied to today, from the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to have defected from the Soviet bloc — “The left is abetting America’s enemies with its intemperate attacks on President Bush.”

Further application to today, and something that will never happen: If the left really wants the war in Iraq to end, it ought to try shutting up for about 6 months. Oh, but that would mean a higher chance of it ending favorably. Can’t have that.

____________________________________________

Even with the Minneapolis bridge story getting the nation’s attention, Katie Couric’s CBS Evening News continued to crater, falling to 5.7 million total viewers, with only 1.7 million in the 25-54 demo. Total viewership for all three evening news shows, which fell below 20 million four weeks ago, is barely above that mark.

____________________________________________

Speaking of CBS, I “see BS” here in the wrap to this USA Today story last week on the growth of interest in business news:

“I’m not sure that Murdoch is looking at The Wall Street Journal newspaper as a big moneymaker as much as it is a legitimizer for him,” (Flatiron Communications’ Peter) Himler says. “He comes out of the tabloid world. … The big question (with Fox Business Network) is whether it’s going to be business news or business views.”

Uh huh. As if the guy who finally brought “fair and balanced” to television news over 10 year ago needs “legitimization.”

Going back to Paragraphs 8 and 9 of the same story, you see why Fox Business Network may, and hopefully will, do for business news what it’s done for general news:

The surge of interest in business news comes just a few years after a spectacular fall from grace. Business TV ratings, print circulation and ad sales for both plummeted after the Internet bubble popped in 2000 and the economy fell into recession.

The field also suffered from consumer disillusionment when it became all too clear that all too few reporters asked tough questions that might have exposed corporate scandals that disintegrated highflying companies including Enron, WorldCom and Adelphia Communications.

This happened because the business media at the time were cheerleading the Clintonian Golden Age and ignoring the warning signs — “little” things like totally unproven companies carrying billion-dollar valuations and ludicrously high P/E ratios at established companies. A little “fair and balanced” at that time would have been quite useful.

Positivity: The Inspiring Story of Danae Lu Blessing and the Smell of Rain

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

This came to me in an e-mail from Pundit Review’s Gregg Jackson. A web link to the story is at Snopes.com:

A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. Still groggy from surgery, her husband David held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news.

That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency cesarean section to deliver the couple’s new daughter, Danae Lu Blessing. At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor’s soft words dropped like bombs. ‘I don’t think she’s going to make it’” he said, as kindly as he could. ‘”There’s only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one.’

Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Danae would likely face if she survived. She would never walk; she would never talk; she would probably be blind; she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation; and on and on.

‘No! No!’ was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away.

Through the dark hours of morning as Danae held onto life by the thinnest thread, Diana slipped in and out of drugged sleep, growing more and more determined that their tiny daughter would live – and live to be a healthy, happy young girl. But David, fully awake and listening to additional dire details of their daughter’s chances of ever leaving the hospital alive, much less healthy, knew he must confront his wife with the inevitable.

David walked in and said that we needed to talk about making funeral arrangements, Diana remembers ‘I felt so bad for him because he was doing everything, trying to include me in what was going on, but I just wouldn’t listen, I couldn’t listen. I said, ‘No, that is not going to happen, no way! I don’t care what the doctors say Danae is not going to die! One day she will be just fine, and she will be coming home with us!’

As if willed to live by Diana’s determination, Danae clung to life hour after hour, with the help of every medical machine and marvel her miniature body could endure But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana.

Because Danae’s underdeveloped nervous system was essentially ‘raw,’ the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort – so they couldn’t even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Danae struggled alone beneath the ultra-violet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl.

There was never a moment when Danae suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there.

At last, when Danae turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months later – though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero.

Danae went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted. Today, five years later, Danae is a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She shows no signs, whatsoever, of any mental or physical impairments. Simply, she is everything a little girl can be and more – but that happy ending is far from the end of her story.

One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Danae was sitting in her mother’s lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin’s baseball team was practicing. As always, Danae was chattering non-stop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, ‘Do you smell that?’

Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, ‘Yes, it smells like rain.’ Danae closed her eyes and again asked, ‘Do you smell that?’ Once again, her mother replied, ‘Yes, I think we’re about to get wet, it smells like rain.’ Still caught in the moment, Danae shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, ‘No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest.’

Tears blurred Diana’s eyes as Danae then happily hopped down to play with the other children. Before the rains came, her daughter’s words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Danae on His chest – and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.