The Knuckleheads of the Day award
Today's winners are W. Thomas Smith, Jr., Kathryn Jean Lopez and the National Review magazine. Mr. Smith a retired marine and milblogger has written pieces for NRO's website titled the tank.
Last September Mr. Smith wrote the following.
ON THE GROUND IN BEIRUT – Arrived here less than two hours ago (after 25-hours of travel and layovers). Now relaxing here in the Al Dekwaneh neighborhood-offices of the International Lebanese Committee for UN SCR 1559 (more on that later).Only on November 30th did Mr. Smith correct himself. Michelle Malkin sums it up.
Between the airport and the committee's office, we (my escorts and I) passed by the sprawling Hezbollah tent city — some 200-plus heavily armed Hezbollah militiamen — positioned between the parliament and the Serail, basically the headquarters of the prime minister, his deputies, and all the cabinet members. Of course, today's presidential elections were thwarted — postponed until November — a result of recent assassinations and threats of assassination, as well as the fact that the assembled deputies failed to meet the required number to hold the election proceedings.
Beyond the Hezbollah camp, Lebanese soldiers can be seen guarding all major roads and intersections.
Time for food, sleep. More to come.
1) He claimed he had seen “some 200-plus heavily armed Hezbollah militiamen” at a “sprawling Hezbollah tent city” when, in fact, he hadn’t seen 200-plus heavily armed Hezbollah militiamen.Sounds something like the Scott Thomas Beauchamp /The New Republic debacle, doesn't it. NRO editor Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote to NR readers about the Smith scandal.
2) He reported that 4,000-5,000 Hezbollah gunmen had been “deployed to the Christian areas of Beirut in an unsettling ‘show of force,’” when, in fact, there is no evidence that a deployment of 4,000-5,000 Hezbollah gunmen to Christian areas of Beirut ever took place.
Bottom line: NRO strives to bring you reliable analysis and reporting — whether in presenting articles, essays, or blog posts. Smith did commendable work in Lebanon earlier this year, as he does from S.C. where he is based, as he has done from Iraq, where he has been twice. But rereading some of the posts (see "The Tank" for more detail) and after doing a thorough investigation of some of the points made in some of those posts, I've come to the conclusion that NRO should have provided readers with more context and caveats in some posts from Lebanon this fall. And so I apologize to you, our readers.I'm not going to compare NR's sins to TNR's. TFM reads and subscribes to both magazines. How many non-members of the MSM do that. I'm angry at both publications for letting me down. Note those who said TNR handled the Beauchamp affair worse, I'll note that NR knew they had a problem for over a month and never told readers. Kathryn Jean Lopez explained to Ed at Captain's Quarters(Who sounds very weird in his post. Ed writing 'For full disclosure, Kathryn has on occasion asked me to contribute to NRO for on-line symposiums on specific topics. I don't believe I've ever done anything for pay at National Review, although I may have.' Ed wrote something at sometime for a NR symposium, but don't know if he was paid for it? I'd know if I was paid by someone for my work. Ed comes off as sounding very wishy washy, and have to wonder why.) what probably happened. Sorry but I'm not totally buying it, the reasons are long. Including the elitist attitude NR editors take, in addition to the fact they just don't answer email. I've tried contacting Jonah Goldberg, his AOL mail never gets opened. Not opening email doesn't let a publication off.
I thank Smith for his good, brave work. He's a smart, reliable reporter with a great patriotic spirit and sense of service. We owe him and our readers better — we should have gotten you more context and information before a post or two went live. It's understandable how it happened — the nature of blogging being what it is — but given what an underreported tinderbox we're talking about, especially, we owed you more. We weren't blogging about Dancing with the Stars there.
So I'm grateful to the reporter who contacted Smith with questions. He brought them to my attention. We did due diligence. We've reported this back to him. And now we're reporting back to you.
In each case, TNR and Beauchamp and NRO with Smith, their shit stunk. Now learn your lessons, and don't do this again. But first, For failing readers with made up stories, W. Thomas Smith, Jr., Kathryn Jean Lopez, and the National Review magazine are today's Knuckleheads of the Day.
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