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July 26, 2007

Fake/Sting By TNR?

The buzz at the Corner, which hasn't linked me for Liberrocky's scoop, posted first here (thanks!), is that the wedding announcement might be fake.

Someone has purportedly discovered that Beauchamp is engaged to a New Republic staffer because of an Internet wedding registry. I'm not linking to it because, after looking through it, I think it's spurious — only six gifts are sought, no one's bought any of them, and there are no other items registered in their names at any other wedding site. If someone is now manufacturing bogus wedding registries to prove something — even to expose a relationship that actually exists — then there's a lot more lunacy attaching to Beauchamp's tales besides the details of the tales themselves, true or untrue.

That "someone" would be this site, J-Pod. Come on now, you've linked here before. What is up with this?

If you read the post, you'd also know that I had a source telling me this for two or three days now. And that source was in a position to know this. And he never suggested I check the weddingchannel -- in fact, he told me specifically that trying to google the names on the TNR masthead would produce no results at all.

Allah picks up this worry and frets this is some elaborate sting to get bloggers.

I am less worried.

For one thing, my source was personally vouched for by another blogger. Unless this other blogger, who I have internet-known for years, is lying or in on the scam, then this guy or gal is who he or she says she is.

Not sure why I'm protecting the identity at this point. I'll stop.

I was to call in today to talk to him to confirm who is myself.

When I called, I was told he no longer worked there and had been dismissed "yesterday." Actually early this morning, of course. This accords with what "Gracie" tells me, and posted on blogs.

Now, if TNR is setting this all up somehow to embarrass bloggers -- well, 1, isn't that childish, and 2, why should we be embarrassed about being deceived by stories and information they were deliberately planting?

If the White House tells a reporter a scam story which casts itself in a bad light -- and creates a fake bit of internet background information to support it -- and the reporter verifies the story and runs with it, is the reporter to be blamed for running with the scam fed to him by the White House?

Look, I know the guy's name, I called the TNR offices, what TNR told me conformed to what I had been told by the source. If they're "setting us up" by creating false information, honestly, I don't see the embarrassment of posting their false information. In this scenario, they're pumping this false information out there themselves; am I supposed to not only gather the information that's being leaked but then somehow confirm it isn't part of an elaborate disinformation campaign?

I mean, honestly. If someone wants to plant evidence on the internet that shows them in a less than flattering light, and also wants to send put-up fake sources out there to falsely frame themselves... well, I guess that itself would be a pretty big story.

Oh, And... Another blogger already had figured this out based on the information provided. In fact, left TNR a message last night asking about the name, specifically, of "Scott Thomas Beauchamp." And then today TNR outs him themselves.

Did TNR really feed this other blogger the name through a shill?

Seems... doubtful.

The Lack of Gifts Registered Explained: SW writes:

This morning I checked a few of the guy's comments on his MySpace page. The "majmaj" comments interested me so I clicked over to majmaj's page and scrolled down to find a May 19 comment from Beauchamps saying he was stuck in Germany, needed help getting back, and had just gotten married the week before.

I'm checking that out now. Assuming it's true (which I do), it explains the lack of gifts bought for the October wedding: The wedding was moved up and already happened. The weddingchannel.com information is outdated. But still probative.

Unless, again, this is all some elaborate Mission: Impossible con designed to discredit Ace of Spades HQ and discarded lies.

Podhoertz On A Bender:

The issue with Scott Thomas Beauchamp isn't how he came to be published by the New Republic, or who his girlfriend-fiancee-wife might be. If TNR chose to publish his work because he had a relationship with someone on staff, so what? People are e-mailing things to me about this as though there is some dark conspiracy because social relationships may have played a role in professional advancement. The staffer whose name is being floated in connection with Beauchamp is guilty of nothing, and it's creepy that people are intimating she might be — and are already so invested in proving the truth of it that somebody may have concocted a spurious wedding registry for the two of them.

The only issue here was, and remains, whether the stories Beauchamp told in his Diarist (and in the two that preceded it) were matters of fact, or embellishments of tales he had heard around the base, or were invented out of whole cloth.

Um, yeah, the main issue is whether the stories are true, but given the fact that TNR is taking its sweet old time confirming what ought to have been confirmed before, it's worth noting that 1) this guy was chosen not for any obvious credentials, but because he was the easiest guy to find, and 2) further was chosen, likely, because his previous wannabe-Hemmingway blogfarts demonstrate his strong partisan commitment against the war and anyone who supports it. "Chickenhawks," he calls all war supporters, apparently including actual war veterans in the "chickenhawks" category.

So, let's recap:

1) No obvious experience of credentials to recommend him above anyone else

2) Except the ease of recruiting him

3) A strong, previously-known record of strong partisan and anti-war animus

4) A passionate supporter of Howard Dean, who was anti-war before anti-war was cool.

None of these actually prove his reportage is false. They do, however, suggest that Foer was very sloppy in assigning this guy to be the Baghdad Diarist, seems to have hired him out of expediency rather than as the result of a long, careful candidate search, and deliberately picked a strong partisan who could be expected to reliably churn out anti-military pieces.

All of which, incidentally, suggests that Foer was especially derelict in not fact-checking this guy's ass.

Lost in all this is the fact that this all should have been fact-checked before hand. I'm a fucking blogger and I fact-checked. But TNR, with two cases of previous fabulists on its record (Shallitt, Glass), doesn't bother?

There is this ABSURD idea that if Foer can NOW fact-check and prove that these stories are somewhat or arguably true or at least true-ish, that absolves TNR.

BULLSHIT. The fact-checking should have been done before. What the fuck is this? I feel like someone just skull-fucked me with the crazy-stick. Are people really suggesting that if TNR somehow manages some light, arguable confirmation after the fact that absolves them of their sin of not checking beforehand?

What?

Huh?

Did someone just beat the fuck out of you with a moron-bat?

What kind of kindergarten bullshit is this? Run the story then bother to see if it's true? Especially when you're TNR, The House That Glass Built, for God's sakes?


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posted by Ace at 04:33 PM

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