Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 7, 2007
WAR: Pants, Fire, etc.

By now you have seen, if you followed the story at all, that Scott Thomas Beauchamp has recanted and admitted to peddling false smears of American troops in The New Republic. Beauchamp himself is small potatoes, but TNR isn't, and given their history with prior fabulists, this is going to be very tough to come back from. The irony, of course, is that under Peter Beinart the magazine originally supported the Iraq War; it wasn't so long ago that Spencer Ackerman's strident attacks on the war's supporters, including the publisher of the magazine, got him canned. But it increasingly looks like new editor Franklin Foer got suckered into publishing Beauchamp due to a confluence of factors all coming together at once: Foer's youth and inexperience as a new editor and unfamiliarity with the military, his desire to pander to anti-war and anti-military factions that TNR had alienated, his willingness, even eagerness, to believe the worst of American troops, and plain old cronyism/nepotism of the Valerie Plame/Joe Isuzu variety (Beauchamp is married to a TNR reporter).

As usual in cases of this nature, the larger question is how many more subtle fabrications make their way under the radar; it takes little imagination to see in what direction they - like the ones that have been uncovered - would push the narrative on the war.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:14 AM | War 2007-14 | Comments (41) | TrackBack (0)

The degenerates on the fever-swamp fringe of the ultra-left slough of despond are suddenly activated and believe they can do a Hail Mary pass that will drag the US into the fever-bogs the EU is stuck in. Even a centrist DLC publication like the New Republic isn't immune.

Let’s remember that the new Managing Editor of TNR, Franklin Foer, is the degenerate spawn of one of the farthest left “historians” on the fake-history bash-the-USA academicide front. Papa Foer has won many historical prizes for consistently unmaksing the evils in America, especially during the Reconstruction, and still presides at Columbia U., where “left” means “centrist” and “centrists” don’t exist. Foer hates America as much as his Daddy did. Peretz should fire Franklin Foer's ass, before more hate-America spew stains TNR.

Evil Poppa begets evil son who enables evil chronicler. Just connect the dots. No fault on the left, as Mark Rudd told me decades ago when I was a deluded SDS volunteer. He smoked my dope & left me with the advice, "Dare to cheat, dare to win." Could be Columbia U's motto! At least when CSJ hands out Pulitzers!

Can you imagine what kind of mischief the Foers of the left will inflict on American policy if the Kossacks carry the field?

Posted by: daveinboca at August 7, 2007 10:17 AM

The degenerates on the fever-swamp fringe of the ultra-left slough of despond are suddenly activated and believe they can do a Hail Mary pass that will drag the US into the fever-bogs the EU is stuck in. Even a centrist DLC publication like the New Republic isn't immune.

Let’s remember that the new Managing Editor of TNR, Franklin Foer, is the degenerate spawn of one of the farthest left “historians” on the fake-history bash-the-USA academicide front. Papa Foer has won many historical prizes for consistently unmaksing the evils in America, especially during the Reconstruction, and still presides at Columbia U., where “left” means “centrist” and “centrists” don’t exist. Foer hates America as much as his Daddy did. Peretz should fire Franklin Foer's ass, before more hate-America spew stains TNR.

Evil Poppa begets evil son who enables evil chronicler. Just connect the dots. No fault on the left, as Mark Rudd told me decades ago when I was a deluded SDS volunteer. He smoked my dope & left me with the advice, "Dare to cheat, dare to win." Could be Columbia U's motto! At least when CSJ hands out Pulitzers!

Can you imagine what kind of mischief the Foers of the left will inflict on American policy if the Kossacks carry the field?

Posted by: daveinboca at August 7, 2007 10:17 AM

There is a reason things like this happen. Beauchamp's stories fit Foer's preconceived view of the military. An old saying in the newspaper business goes something like: "If you really like what a source is telling you then it is twice as important to double check." A leftist like Foer would already be really careful about publishing something positive from Iraq because he would be inclined to disbelieving. The trick is to be equally disbelieving in what you want to believe.

Posted by: largebill at August 7, 2007 11:26 AM

Judith Miller.

Posted by: jim at August 7, 2007 12:35 PM

I'm sorry, jim. Answers must be phrased in the form of a question.

Posted by: abe at August 7, 2007 3:07 PM

I am losing the ability to persuade myself that at least some of the so-called journalists on the left side are merely exercising 1st Amendment rights. It is beginning to look like the whole Beauchamp article was what a cynic would characterize as a right wing satire of the left, except that it's true and not concocted. What I mean is that it is so egregiously untrue, that only a right winger seeking to make the left look traitorous would ever have written it. Beauchamp is obviously a lying so and so, and TNR is irresponsible at best, and just as libelous at worst.

The largest problem is to expose the left as the traitors that they truly are in a way that doesn't allow them to use their media control to characterize factual contradiction as McCarthyite smears. For me, the truth speaks for itself. But, I guess they'd just dismiss me as simplistic and easily manipulated by Bushitler and Haliburton.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at August 7, 2007 3:15 PM

abe apparently needs it spelled out: So if a journalist on the right completely fabricates info (or writes stuff fed to her without critique) that's fine? Just making sure that things are as I expect here.

Posted by: jim at August 7, 2007 3:38 PM

Why is everyone faking being upset about Beauchamp and the TNR story? It just is amazing that the highest level of the Military and administration's can fake the details of the Jessica Lynch story for PR and not a peep. Then falsely award the fourth highest military award The Silver Star to Pat Tillman. Then cover up the details of his death before Congress claim no responsibility, once again not a peep from the conservatives.

But I guess you still wonder why people will think the bad of our troops. The main reason is people who choose to pick when they are outraged. In the military leadership starts at the top.

Posted by: Javaman at August 7, 2007 3:56 PM

Reply to daveinboca:

While Franklin Foer has two famous brothers and a mother and father who are both accomplished (mother a former Press Secretary for McGovern & father a head at an antitrust think-tank in D.C.) neither is " on the fake-history bash-the-USA academicide front." Nor are either of them associated with Columbia University to my knowledge.

I assume the Columbia professor you are refering to is Eric Foner. Now, while I disagree with certain political positions of Dr. Foner's, he is regared as one the preeminant historians on American Reconstruction.

I agree with Crank and the other posters that TNR and Foer acted irresponsibly. I just found it a bit ironic that a poster ranted and raved about subjects/things (i.e. Columbia Univ., the "Left") in which he had a preconceived notion, he fell in the same trap of communicating false information that he so vehemently criticizes the"ultra swamp left" for.

An article from The Observer on the Foer Family:


Posted by: Phanatic at August 7, 2007 3:58 PM

Incredibly, TNR is sticking to its story. It posted a statement on its website that begins: "We've talked to military personnel directly involved in the events that Scott Thomas Beauchamp described, and they corroborated his account as detailed in our statement." The statement then goes on to say that it could not get confirmation that Beauchamp signed a statement acknowledging that he made the whole story up. Thus, TNR seems to be still asserting that Beauchamp is telling the truth because i) TNR verified the story, and ii) after making one phone call (see link below) TNR could not confirm that Beauchamp signed a statement admitting that he lied.

The maxim that comes to mind is "When you are in a hole, stop digging."

The entire statement is here:

Amazingly, one of the comments after the TNR statement says that "The difference between TNR and [the Weekly Standard] is that at least TNR will bring an inaccuracy to light as soon as it knows." That may have been true with Stephen Glass, but it certainly isn't here.

Posted by: WD at August 7, 2007 4:34 PM


Amen brother.

Posted by: jim at August 7, 2007 5:17 PM

Sorry Jim, the Judith Miller analogy won’t hold.

She’s hardly a member of the VRWC.

And, Judith didn’t fabricate stories which she alone was reporting; even Bill Clinton believed that there were WMD in Iraq.

But, most important, in any event, the problem here with your excusing Mr. B by saying that those whom you misidentify as Rightwing journalists do it, is that two wrongs don’t make a right. If Tillman or Jessica got a medal for the wrong reasons, & it has come out, I don’t see VRWC publications or bloggers standing by the original story.

Furthermore, with the Jessica/Tillman events, there was no Scott B present; the Army officially reported on the facts or lies. Here TNR is saying “our reporter saw the events he described & except for that unfortunate detail that he was not in Iraq when he saw the disfigured lady, it’s true & we admit no wrongdoing.” So far as I know, no publication or Blog which is a member of the VRWC ever said that "X, our reporter saw these Jessica/Tillman things & we stand by him".

Get it?

How about this analogy: If some obscure MLB stadium worker comes out & says “I saw ballplayers talking unlawful supplements routinely in the locker rooms”, I’d like to know that a Sports Mag or TNR would fact check his story, including whether he has access to a locker room. And if it develops that this guy had never been in a locker room before he wrote the story, I’d say that this was a clear example of someone creatively writing as truth, as fact, what we all, including me, think, repeat, think we know, for what that's worth. Time for a correction, no?

And it’s a red herring for anyone to say that the VRWC doesn’t admit that in the armed services there have ever, ever been bad people or even basically good people who do bad things while on duty.

Posted by: Tom Comerford at August 7, 2007 5:52 PM

So, if I read this correctly your more outraged by a magazine than Military officials and the Sec of Defense lying to congress and refusing to take responsibility. On a side note but important note, do you know how much investigation takes place to award one a Silver Star?

A true example of military leadership. If a Captain of a ship in the U.S. Navy has a mishap on his ship no matter where he is it is his fault, PERIOD he is relieved of command career is over. I guess those rules went out of the window with this administration and war. But keep the fake outrage over a magazine and veil your false support of the troops.

Posted by: Javaman at August 7, 2007 6:30 PM


Fabrications on the right are equally deserving of scorn as far as I am concerned. I guess it's no use to point out to you that there is an obvious difference between a propaganda coverup stunt like the Tillman stuff, versus sliming our soldiers with libel. This is same nonsense that Kerry put out in his Winter Soldier testimony. It is an out and out lie, with an obvious singular purpose: to make good and courageous soldiers look bad. TNR should just go away for a while if this is their best attempt at journalism.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at August 7, 2007 6:34 PM

So, your saying a magazine with a circulation of 60,000 is more important in smearing our Military than a failure of leadership in the Military? Do you understand how the military is designed to operate? Take a step back and think about what your saying. What again are we selling the rest of the world with this war?

RADM Mike Boorda, CNO committed suicide when it was discovered he had false awards in his service jacket. Our current Military leaders took no responsibility in a false Silver Star and your more concerned with the TNR and one soldier and not the state of the leadership of our military.

Posted by: Javaman at August 7, 2007 6:52 PM


Your problem is that you are unable to read and understand. I find your point about the Tillman coverup to be valid. I said so in my earlier post. I don't see any way that the validity of your point gets TNR of the hook. Let's put it on a kindergarten level: two wrongs don't make a right.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at August 7, 2007 7:01 PM

Just the latest in a long line of fake but accurate stories put out by the media. May hurt TNR's credibility, but not with the True Believers on the left and I would speculate they were the target audience for the piece.

Posted by: feeblemind at August 7, 2007 7:14 PM

The Military runs on leadership by example and no excuses in between. Beauchamp is a product of a failure of leadership at the top. When the senior leaders fail to take responsibility and fabricate stories, what will the troops do?

You have to solve problems at the root not one fly at a time. I should have just gotten straight to the point, I tried to lead you to the water. But , I think some here enjoy koolaid.

Posted by: Javaman at August 7, 2007 7:19 PM

An anonymous source supporting the idea that he "recanted", and no official response - you forgot to mention that WD.

Well then - let's believe the anonymous source from the Weekly Standard, without question. After all, an anonymous source is as credible as an unidentified soldier in Iraq. Certainly, that anonymous source has no axes to grind, or a personal point of view that he might be putting out there.

Wait - that's how we got into this, isn't it? You must love the irony though - The Weekly Standard, and many right wing blogs, go nuts over an anonymous writer. And then accept one to discredit him.

Posted by: Dave at August 7, 2007 8:04 PM

You are ignoring the official military response, which confirmed that Thomas' stories had been investigated and confirmed to be false.

Posted by: The Crank at August 7, 2007 8:12 PM


Asked & answered.


No one goes nuts over an anonymus writer.

Intelligent readers do question his facts. B, the soldier's, facts didn't pass what lawyers call the Hee Haw test.

Both of you stay focused. This is about a so-called reputable

Posted by: Tom Comerford at August 7, 2007 9:44 PM


Asked and answered. Stay focused.


Crank has answered you.

We understand the need for anonymity in sources & in writings. But that does not mean that we check our brains in a lock box when a writer publishes anonymously. We still question his facts & we still ignore those which do not pass the Hee Haw test. And we question if he is writing about what he saw/heard or, is writing hearsay, or fiction disguised as fact.

Both of You

We, those who you would call names rather than engage substantively, believe that B's facts amount to flights of fancies & that TNR enabled him to publish his flights of fancies as facts.

You want to change the subject.

Or make it unimportant, though, I suspect that you would be ranting if a conservative publication published this stuff.

Can we move on now?


Posted by: Tom Comerford at August 7, 2007 10:02 PM

After eight years in the Military I know how the military operates. From the first day of boot camp till the day you leave the military, you are taught a few things. The first thing you learn is chain of command, then responsibility and accountability. These are the things that our military is built on. When senior leadership fails at the foundation of what makes our military great, dirtbags like Beauchamp are given the light of day. If you have never served, you will never understand the importance of leadership by example. Most people are to caught up in the conservative vs liberal debate to understand the root cause of this issue.
The biggest crime a Officer or Senior NCO can commit in the military is a failure of leadership. But, most here think that does not matter as you ring the TNR/Beauchamp rally cry.

Posted by: Javaman at August 7, 2007 10:43 PM

Dave: It goes well beyond an anonymous source. People have been questioning Beauchamps veracity for a while because a lot of his allegations were implausible. For example, he wrote of a disfigured female contractor in a Forward Operations Base, but females usually aren't permitted in combat areas. He told of individual soldiers driving Bradley vehicles over stray dogs for fun, but Bradleys must carry a commanding officer and other crew members.

Other bloggers with contacts in Iraq tried to verify Beauchamp's story and found out that the incidents claimed by Beauchamp likely didn't happen. But TNR kept standing by the story even after its own investigation revealed that some of the facts simply weren't true. Further, it turns out that TNR discovered Beauchamp because he was dating, and then married, a TNR reporter. Now, the military forces have investigated the claims and they weren't true. Still, TNR is standing behind the story.

Javaman and jim: Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that Judith Miller, as well as the military officers reporting on the Tillman and Lynch incidents, intentionally lied, beat their kids, cheated on their spouses, smoked dope, performed ritual sacrifices to their evil god Karl Rove, sniffed glue, and had carnal relations with farm animals. Then let's assume that Crank, Bob Novak, Bill Kristol, George Will, and every other person who ever even thought about voting Republican knew this and never said a word in protest, and, instead, laughed their butts off about the whole situation. That does not change the fact that The National Review failed to check its facts and, as a result, got fooled because it was a little too eager to believe what Beauchamp was peddling.

Posted by: WD at August 7, 2007 10:57 PM

It is sad some here claim to support the troops but refuse to look at the big picture. Did the TNR fail, duh yes. Now what example did of leadership was Beauchamp given? I get it, to admit a massive failure of senior leadership would weaken you guys overall argument about the conduct of this war.
I guess from most of the comments here most of you have never served. Just providing empty support. Hopefully I am wrong.

Posted by: Javaman at August 7, 2007 11:43 PM

"You are ignoring the official military response, which confirmed that Thomas' stories had been investigated and confirmed to be false."
I'm doing nothing of the sort - I'm taking on the Weekly Standard's anonymous sourcing that he has recanted. I fully accept that the military has not been able to corroborate anything, and until TNR comes up with something about how their corroborations contradict the military report, I believe their statements (about their support and review) are tainted.
My apologies if it looks as if I came out in defense of him or TNR - now I look at my post, it looks like I'm swiping at the article as a whole. I really should have said "partially discredit".

Hugh Hewitt supports my skepticism of Anonymous sources. Please note their is no check of "do we think this statement valid" - there is only "do we trust the source."
"Forget for the moment that the curious have no way of confirming this soldier’s bona fides and just have to take TNR’s word for them".
(his statement after is about a discrepancy, not believability). Just as any lawyer can find a supporting "expert witness", any slanted article can find a supporting "anonymous source". I feel this way about everything I read, slant regardless.

My statement about going nuts was not calling names, so I apologize if you took it that way Tom - it was about the immediate response(actions and writings) after these stories appeared, including denying that he was a soldier. You can take any descriptive statement you want - on fire, exploded, etc. - my normal one is 'going nuts'. I honestly haven't paid much attention aside from knowing something was being batted back and forth.

And yes, the left blogs will routinely drag out incident XXX, and the conservative blogs will routinely drag out incident YYY. While I would not be ranting, there would be plenty enough who would - mistakes will last a lifetime, it seems, if for no other reason than to jab at someone and reduce their credibility. I can move on just fine - but I think this will pop up again by people who don't.

Posted by: dave at August 8, 2007 1:10 AM

Tom, This clearly became somewhat of a dead horse over night, however you can cast Ms. Miller off as a singular incident but it reinforces the point that you don't care if stuff is made up as long as it fits your agenda. This Administration has had innumerable stories manufactured from whole cloth. Remember the former male prostitute turned White House correspondent for a fake news outlet Jeff Gannon/Guckert? Columnists who took cash to print pieces that favored the Admin's policies and positions? If you could provide us with your notes on your outrage over such incidents it would be helpful. The whole liberal media thing is so sadly overplayed and when it comes with a heaping helping of liberals are terrorists and anti-Americans it makes it all the more pathetic.

Posted by: jim at August 8, 2007 10:59 AM


A correction to your note about Mike Boorda. Mike was an Admiral (4 stars) not a Rear Admiral (2 stars). That was a sad story all the way around. I didn't know him very well, but always thought he was a straight shooter. Obviously, the stress of the job left him unable to handle the attack on his character and integrity. We often forget how stressful some of these high level jobs can be. Personally, I'm surprised we don't have more people succumb to the pressure.

Posted by: largebill at August 8, 2007 11:12 AM

javaman's rantings about leadership responsibilities are sound enough generally, but misapplied in this instance.

A PVT looks up the chain for leadership examples, but not too far. Unless javaman has some information about the NCO's, SNCO's and Officers in PVT Beauchamp's platoon and company that he hasn't shared, what he's posted here comes across as disrespect to them.

To indict senior level officers engaged in strategic decisions for the failing of an individual private with purely tactical responsiblities may be superficially satisfying, but it's not wise. To see it spouted by a veteran, and accompanied by an apparent smear of more junior personnel, is disheartening.

And lest javaman see fit to indulge the "chickenhawk" insult: I started on the light side, I moved to the dark, and I've seen it. If he's done any of that, he'll know what I'm talking about.

Posted by: seamus at August 8, 2007 11:12 AM


(Sorry for hitting the post button too soon on the incomplete draft)

I too served in the military. The Military makes mistakes. You don’t like the Top Brass or this war.
Now that we have gotten these things out of the way, let’s try to focus on the issue here: are this guy’s stories true or even basically true, mostly true, true except for some immaterial details?

For good reasons, including common sense, a basic knowledge of physics, weighing the author’s facts as presented, TNR’s non-defense, & now the Army’s findings that this was all rubbish, many, including people who serve or have served in the military, have concluded that Beauchamp & TNR have failed to tell the truth, the whole truth, & nothing but the truth? Why do you feel the need to attack them rather than their conclusion or the reasons therefor?

And why does it surprise you that, in view of Beauchamp’s basic glaring errors, some would initially question whether he was in fact a soldier?

And why would you consider this initial reaction your trump card when it has become obvious that he was not a real soldier, just a writer-in-being putting some time in the military?

Note, I’m not suggesting that he, as a writer-in-gestation is thus disqualified in any from writing about the Army any more than a disgruntled employee is disqualified about writing about his employer, be that GM, The Church, or the ACLU. Just that his comments, his details, his conclusions have to pass the Hee Haw test.

As do yours.

Posted by: Tom Comerford at August 8, 2007 11:28 AM


Try to stay focused.

Newsflash: all administrations make things up out of whole cloth, & their favorites in the press regurgitate it. Do you think that only Republicans do this? And do you think that this is some 21st Century phenomenon? So Boo! Hiss! to politicians and press flacks.

But we’re talking about the supposed “unflack” press here. If the conservative press has published stories like these with faux facts (as opposed to printing what you may think is bad reasoning from real facts or facts based on intelligence relied upon by the Clinton Administration), please call it to my attention & I’ll deplore it if I haven’t done so already.

Please accompany any submission with a statement of yours deploring this TNR stuff.

And stop putting clichés in my work. I never said, intimated, whatever that “liberals are terrorists and anti-American.”

Posted by: Tom Comerford at August 8, 2007 11:59 AM

Tom, I never meant to imply you went to the liberals are terrorists card but it is in this thread placed by others and in spades. I should have clarified that this thread included those sorts of ponderous insinuations but were not written by you. I would hope you do not share those outlandish sentiments.

I think the editor of the TNR, should this pan out to be 100% true, should be fired immediately. How's that? I think any paper that holds itself up to be a credible source of news should meet, hold and be accountable to strict journalisitic standards. (Of course FOX recently won, on appeal, a case in which they were allowed to dismiss employees that they pressured into reporting news known to be false to them.)

This Admin holds all records for completely making stuff up and "creating" news and "creating" "journalists". Your outrage over the TNR is mitigated by the position that you either do not see that or do not care that this Admin has and continues to sell us a false bill of goods with "media" sources that are all too happy to print whatever they are fed.

Posted by: jim at August 8, 2007 12:21 PM


I've already answered the point in your last paragraph.

And I asked you to

"Please accompany any submission [to me] with a statement of yours deploring this TNR stuff."

So I will have to end our exchange, acknowledging to Crank, of course, that this is not my Blog.



Posted by: Tom Comerford at August 8, 2007 12:58 PM

Jim, just to pick one obvious point - you are aware, are you not, that the whole complaint about Jeff Gannon was that he was permitted to ask questions at press conferences?

Posted by: The Crank at August 8, 2007 1:21 PM

Tom, Umm paragraph 2 of my last entry seems to cover your request.

Crank, come on. Gannon had over 400 visits to the White House, was clearly a plant designed to lob softball questions to Bush and did not work for any sort of media entity that deserved to have WH press credentials. Not to mention his previous background that was something short of journalistic in nature. Are you really going to essentially defend Gannon and the White House's clear manufacture and use of him?

Posted by: jim at August 8, 2007 2:40 PM

Jim: What is the FOX case that you are referring to? I never heard that and would be interested to read it.

Posted by: WD at August 8, 2007 3:54 PM


I found your condemnation of TNR to be rather iffy, & taking an unnecessary, irrelevant shot at FOX, but, OK, maybe I'm being too hard. Baby steps.

In any event, I've answered your irrelevant analogies by pointing out that they're irrelevant. Try to stay focused. Crank has added to that.


Posted by: Tom Comerford at August 8, 2007 6:05 PM

Tom, Sorry. I have tried to be nothing but polite here and you are clearly operating on a completely agenda based point of view. I don't know what could be more relevant than saying that if the charges leveled prove to be true that the individual(s) in question should be fired. What more would you want? For them to be shot? Tortured? Should they be fired/shot/tortured before any of this is 100% substantiated?

Also you question my analogies yet looking back in the thread I have made no analogies. Perhaps you are confused.

Here is one of numerous links to the FOX/reporter lawsuit. Of course it is irrelevent since I mentioned it and provided the link so don't go to it or read it. Read Tom's posts instead, except if you want to know what an analogy is.

Posted by: jim at August 8, 2007 8:00 PM


I think that I have also been polite. But I also think that asking me to “produce my notes” on “my outrage” over some irrelevancies is impolite on your part.

Anyway, I’ll try again. When asked about TNR, you reply that Fox, Judith Miller, & The Administration are liars. You are thus the one making the analogies. Or trying to make analogies. Or let’s call them familiar parallels. Only none of your parallels are parallel. Just an attempt to ignore the point at issue or arguing beside the point.

Which point is, oh I get it: you want me to keep repeating what I think the point is so that you can say that I’m ignoring your beside-the-point arguments.

Sorry. I must politely indicate that I don’t find this useful.

Posted by: Tom Comerford at August 8, 2007 10:10 PM

Thanks, Tom it was fun chatting with your ego.

Posted by: jim at August 9, 2007 11:35 AM

Dangerous stuff, jumping to conclusions.

But hey, when looking for distractions from a failing illegal occupation, beggars can't be choosers.

Posted by: Freezerburn at August 17, 2007 1:29 AM
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