Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Phantom Baghdad Diarist?

Although we hate to publish anything emanating from the liars and traitors at the NY Times, they are the source for this story. Any one who remembers the movie, “Shattered Glass”, knows the story of the liberal, but highly respected by all, regardless of political affiliation, New Republic, a hard-hitting news magazine. Stephen Glass, the reporter the movie was named for, was a person with serious emotional problems who made up several fascinating stories and then covered his tracks during the magazine’s fact-checking process, and so delighted his editorial board with his story-telling that they were enticed to publish lies.

There seemed to be no political bias in the New Republic’s publication of these fake stories, but, alas, the same is probably not the case in the current brouhaha. It appears that the New Republic will have to join the Associated Press and the BBC on the list of once-respected news organizations which have reported fiction from Iraq and Israel for political reasons. If so, we hope that this time the New Republic will not survive this betrayal of the public trust and perversion of its special status under the First Amendment.

Doubts Raised on Magazine’s ‘Baghdad Diarist’
By LOUISE STORY, July 24, 2007, New York Times

Just who is the “Baghdad Diarist”?

It is a question that many people are asking The New Republic, the Washington political magazine that has been running articles attributed to an American soldier in Baghdad.

The author, who used the pen name Scott Thomas, has written three articles for the magazine since February, describing gruesome incidents in Iraq. Last week, The Weekly Standard questioned the veracity of the New Republic articles and invited readers with knowledge about the military or Baghdad to comment.

Since then, several readers and a spokesman for the base where the soldier is supposedly based have written in, raising more questions.

“Absolutely every piece of information that’s come out since we put that call up has cast further doubt on that story,” said Michael Goldfarb, the online editor of The Weekly Standard. “There’s not a single person that has come forward and said, ‘It sounds plausible.’ ”

Franklin Foer, the editor of The New Republic, will not reveal the author’s identity but says the magazine is investigating the accuracy of his articles. In the late 1990s, under different editors, the magazine fired an associate editor, Stephen Glass, for fabrications.

“Now that these questions have been raised, we’ve launched an inquiry. We’re putting the full resources of the magazine to look into the story,” Mr. Foer said. “It’s taking me a little bit longer than I wish it did. The author, not to mention some of the participants in the anecdotes he described, are active duty soldiers and they’re on 20-hour active combat missions sometimes, and it’s very difficult for me to get them all on the phone to ask them the questions that I’d like to ask.”

The diaries have described some shocking incidents of military life, including soldiers openly mocking a disfigured woman on their base and a private wearing a found piece of a child’s skull under his helmet.

The magazine granted anonymity to the writer to keep him from being punished by his military superiors and to allow him to write candidly, Mr. Foer said. He said that he had met the writer and that he knows with “near certainty” that he is, in fact, a soldier.


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