The Knuckleheads of the Day award
When the WWS and others first raised questions about the New Republic's Baghdad Diarist, the lefty blogs were mostly silent. Only one even mentioned the controversy, and that was to say the Beauchamp's story "has a faint whiff of bullshit about it."It isn't just one lefty blog. As I've pointed out on two occasions, there is this left blog and TNR subscriber also who's been critical of the magazine. In this post saying, he hated to be on the same side as Michelle Malkin, and in another saying that TNR Editor Franklin Foer was not on a list of people he'd trust.
Left flank trackbacked to TFM on two occasions and I linked back on two posts of mine also. I first discovered Left Flank via milblogger ROK Drop.
So its two or more blogs rather than the one Michael Goldfarb says. So I emailed him about the mistake. What is his reply? From an email I got Sunday a.m.
"I said lefty blogs "were mostly silent", clearly there were a few that spoke to the issue, am I required to link to every single one?"Yes Goldfarb said mostly silent but in the very next sentence wrote "Only one even mentioned the controversy". As you can see its at least two left blogs, therefore Mr. Goldfarb is wrong.
In spite of seven email exchanges beginning late Saturday evening and ending yesterday afternoon, Mr. Goldfarb has not corrected his blog.
What's one small mistake? You have to put it in the context of what Mr. Goldfarb is writing about. The New Republic and the validity of what its 'Baghdad Diarist' Scott Thomas wrote in three articles for the magazine. Mr. Goldfarb is hammering TNR(and I believe the magazine deserves it) for printing things that are in all likelihood false. Then at the same time Mr. Goldfarb can't correct one of his own mistakes.
Remember there is this post too of Mr. Goldfarb's. It mocked how the NYT and TNR went back and forth over the words 'certainty' and 'near certainty'. Funny how someone criticizes the choice of words of others, when he so careless in the use of them himself.
To paraphrase one blogger, You could say that Mr. Goldfarb's post has more than a faint smell of hypocrisy.
The trouble is, Michael Goldfarb's blogging sins run deeper than his failure to make one correction. Last Monday this letter from FOB Falcon appeared on blogs, including The Weekly Standard's.
I am a U.S. Army officer and have been stationed at FOB Falcon, Baghdad, Iraq since October of 2006. I am currently still here. The stories that "Scott Thomas" describes are completely fictional. From some of the things he talks about I am led to believe that this individual may possibly be in my unit since we are the only ones with Bradley Fighting Vehicles and I recall the child cemetery that was uncovered in our sector while constructing a Combat Outpost.The author of this letter asked to remain annonymous. Mr. Goldfarb posted it to his blog at 12:52 p.m. on July 23rd.
First: I have never seen a woman on the FOB that was disfigured. FOB Falcon is full of combat Soldiers (men). There are very few female Soldiers on the FOB. After being here a year surrounded by men, I can tell you what every woman on this FOB looks like. IF there had been a woman with burns covering her face, and IF some undisciplined Soldier(s) had done something like described in this guys story, he would have been dealt with swiftly and harshly. The dining facility here is small and usually crowded. Any NCO or officer that had heard or seen someone committing this type behavior would have immediately approached that group and reacted to that situation. Those Soldiers would have had UCMJ actions taken against them. No one I know, NCO, officer, or even lower enlisted, would have tolerated this.
Second: There was a children's cemetery unearthed while constructing a Combat Outpost (COP) in the farm land south of Baghdad International Airport. It was not a mass grave. It was not the result of some inhumane genocide. It was an unmarked cometary where the locals had buried children some years back. There are many such unmarked cemeteries in and around Baghdad. The remains unearthed that day were transported to another location and reburied. While I was not there personally, and can not confirm or deny and actions taken by Soldiers that day, I can tell you that no Soldier put a human skull under his helmet and wore it around. The Army Combat Helmet (ACH) is form fitted to the head. Unlike the old Kevlar helmets, the ACH does not have a gap between the helmet and the liner, only pads. It would have been impossible for him to have placed and human skull, of any size, between his helmet and his head. Further more, no leader would have tolerated this type of behavior. This type of behavior is strictly forbidden in the U.S. Army and would have made the individual involved subject to UCMJ actions.
Third: When the U.S. Army takes to the streets on patrols we do it deliberately, with task and purpose. "Thomas" describes the Bradley slowing down and 'jerking' suddenly to hit dogs. This just isn't possible. If he is slowing down, then the vehicles behind him are slowing down, and there is a gap created between him and the vehicles in front of him. This would violate standard operating procedure (SOP) and make the convoy more susceptible to attack. While no one that has been to Baghdad can deny that there are large packs of wild dogs roaming the streets, to think that that is all a Bradley crew is worried about is absurd. The streets are also filled with IED's and EFP's. They line every street and and every corner. They are the number one killer in Iraq. When we travel in convoys, dogs are not our concern. We watch the streets, we look at curbs, we look at rocks, we look at windows for snipers and trigger men, we don't look at wild dogs. Also, if this guy is driving a Bradley, how is he marking his "dog kill count" in a green book. Again, any leader would have corrected this action immediately, not only because it is subject to UCMJ action, but mainly because it endangers the lives of every man in that convoy.
In a final note I would like to say this. The U.S. Army today is the most disciplined and professional Army in the history of the United States. This is the only war in our nations history where we have not instituted the draft to fill our ranks. Every man in the service today is there because he volunteered. The stood up in the face of danger, knowing we were at war, and said "I'll go". Most of these men are on their second deployment in support of the War on Terrorism, some are on their fourth and fifth. After five years of war with an increasing number of casualties, longer and more frequent deployments, and no end in site, these brave young men continue to volunteer their services, many of them reenlisting. No other Army in our history has been able to do that without the draft. Our military men and women today are true professionals, they are truly America's best and bravest. While there are some bad apples and non-conformist in our ranks, we are quick to identify them and remove them from the service. The author of this story is a bad apple. He is trying to get attention by telling wild stories. He too will be identified and removed from the service.
However I knew about this soldier as early as the Sunday evening July 22nd. I knew of the letter Mr. Goldfarb published over an hour and a half before he even published it. How is that?
There's a blog, Blue Star Chronicles. The blogger's first name is Beth. While talking about the Blue Star blog, I'll use Beth's name.
Beth and I have traded a few emails over the last year or so. She has Open trackback festivals I always link to.
On Sunday night, Beth saw one of my posts on Scott Thomas and The New Republic. She was angered by it, and said she knew someone at FOB Falcon. I wrote Beth on Sunday night.
The story says the woman was a contractor. I"d suggest you write about what you know of Falcon at your blog, and then send a link to The Weekly Standard Attention Michael Goldfarb and say you have a friend at Falcon in the header. Here's the email-That's exactly the email I sent Beth, with two minor fixes. To protect the identity of the soldier. Those parts are in bold. Beth replied back to me both Sunday night and on Monday morning. Beth's Monday email, time 10:51 a.m. says
If he or she can do any of this, even better. Drop me a note if you write anything too. I'll link over to you.
I got this response to my email with permission to post it on the condition his name and email are not published. I prefer he not be identified (soldier's identity deleted)- just on the outside chance someone would want to cause problems for him.In that same email Beth sent me a link to her post containing the above letter from FOB Falcon. Note- There's no time stamp on Beth's post to prove it was published before Mr. Goldfarb's but I have copies of both Beth's email to me, and the soldier's email to Mr. Goldfarb which included a CC copy to Beth. Michael supplied me with that copy.
I didn't immediately blog about the soldier's letter, but did blog about it on Tuesday morning.
What I'm getting to is Michael Goldfarb didn't link to Beth in his Monday June 23rd post, even though she was the proper source of the soldier's email. In an email from Mr. Goldfarb to Beth, he promised to link to her blog. He didn't, which Beth wrote to me about in a Tuesday June 24th email.
William,What do you call a blogger who promises to link and doesn't. Or takes material another blogger helped supply but doesn't give credit to? Alot of word come to mind, liar is one. Thief is another. There's a third word that is a big sin in journalism. It starts with a P. This was the second bone I had to pick with Mr. Goldfarb and what prompted my original letter last Saturday evening. One of the replies I got from Michael is below.
Thanks for the link from your story :) Michael Goldfarb seems to have forgotten that he told me he'd link back from his story (grrrr). Oh well. I see that email is getting picked up all over the place.
I don't understand what I'm supposed to be looking at…I don't understand what you think I've done wrong, and I don't understand how I could have stolen an email that was sent to me, but I'm not sure there's anything more I can do here to demonstrate that I acted in good faith.He promised a link to Beth, who without her help would have never gotten the email directly to start with, then didn't fufill his promise. I see lots of bad faith and lies or broken promises. How about you?
Near the end of our email exchanges, Michael did change course if briefly.
I'll meet you half way…I've added the link to Blue Star where the letter appeared, as perhaps I should have done when I first posted—I forgot to do so at the time, as I told Beth I would, and for that I apologize.Michael supplied the link on Sunday afternoon. For a while I considered letting the matter drop. He made the fix etc. The trouble is, I felt as if I was making a deal with the devil. It bother my conscience, so after telling Mr. Goldfarb I wouldn't blog any more, I informed him again Sunday night I would.
Feel free to state your opinion on my course reversal. I did at least inform Mr. Goldfarb in advance, whether you agree with it or not.
Yesterday I wrote this post to mark a milestone at The Florida Masochist. In that same post, I gave a small preview of what I'm writing today.
A few hours later, I got a blog visitor via technorati. The person was from Boston Massachusetts area, where Mr. Goldfarb lives. Note- TFM is rarely a hotbed of web activity, I normally get 20-40 visitors an hour when my blog is busy. It's easy to note one single visitor when I'm online.
So I sent him another email, to remind him I will give him today's award. This is the reply I got in return.
I'll delete the link to bluestar so you can make your case more fully.Rather childish in my opinion. He isn't hurting me, but Beth at Blue Star. Then alot of Mr. Goldfarb's actions are questionable.
From my earliest days I started blogging, I've given credit to other bloggers when due. I freely hat tip some blogs many times a week, Stuck on the Palmetto and Outside the Beltway more often than any other non-Open TB blogs around. I think I been more than fair when giving credit, though I did have this dust up with blogger Florida Cracker. Click here, here and here to read about it. I'll let you pass judgment.
Beth deserved credit, Mr. Goldfarb promised to link, didn't do so for over five days in spite of his promise, than unlinked less than 24 hours after linking. All because he's pissed at me. What does that tell you?
Bottom line- What I see here, and I've seen it before from bloggers right and left, are people with an agenda. Facts that disprove what they say are ignored or twisted. Mr. Goldfarb has a problem with TNR, heck I have one too. The difference is I didn't leave a post up or not correct one, that is misleading and untrue. How hard would it be to make one small fix to the post? Very simple but Michael isn't doing it and I've got a snagit copy of his webpage and his emails to prove it.(and all are available for anyone to see) This is a person who will lie to make a point, and won't correct it when caught. What does that tell you about Michael Goldfarb? Maybe your reply would be 'Color me unimpressed", which this Michael stated in reply to this journalist's misguided article and followup reply. Only others journalistic mistakes are worth noting to Michael, because he's never wrong. Ha!
Note- TFM has been wrong plenty of times, probably more so than Mr. Goldfard. I'll admit to them, correct my posts or leave the person's rebuttal up in my comments section. Click here and here for examples.
For lying, journalistic hypocrisy, plus broken promises and bad faith to another blogger, Michael Goldfarb and his employer The Weekly Standard are today's Knuckleheads of the Day.
Linked to- Amboy Times, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Conservative Thoughts, DragonLady, High Desert Wanderer, Is it just me?, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Third World County, Webloggin,