Bob Owens

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CNN has an article posted this AM about the on-going misery in Myanmar resulting from the recent cyclone that devastated the Irrawaddy delta and has left as many as 100,000 dead. The country's paranoid military dictatorship is hampering aid efforts, and as a result, is no doubt adding to the number of dead and injured.

In writing about the U.S. forces in the area poised to help if the dictatorship will only allow international aid, CNN makes the following curious claim (in bold):

It seems to matter little whether the location is Gaza or Baghdad. If there is a way to spin a story, Associated Press reporters will find it.

Today, American forces called in an AC-130 for support when they came under fire in the Kazimiyah district of Baghdad.

The Associated Press editorializes:

The AC-130, a lethal tool used by the military since the Vietnam War, can slowly circle over a target for long periods.

Human rights groups have criticized their use in urban settings where militants may be among crowded populations of noncombatants. The four-engine gunships were also used to support the U.S. attack that took the western city of Fallujah from insurgents in November 2004.

What the Associated Press does not mention is that the modern AC-130U is the most complex aircraft weapons system on the planet, and the reason for its complexity is that the aircraft's sensors, navigation, and fire control systems are calibrated to conduct exceedingly accurate surgical strikes. It is likely because of their precision strike capabilities that the AC-130U was chosen for this mission over other available means of attack.

MSNBC has refused to air a dishonest anti-gun ad:
The cable network MSNBC has refused to air an advertisement from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group created by New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg,on the grounds that the ad is too "controversial."

The ad, below, features each of the three leading presidential candidates pledging to make it harder to buy guns at gun shows, and images of three mayors urging viewers to call Congress and ask that a bill closing the "gun-show loophole" be passed.

The ad is airing on CNN and Fox, and on affiliates around the country, a Bloomberg aide said.

The bulletproof hoodie that has so many in the British press up in arms today is more than likely a cynical fraud by a company that obvious knows how to play up the easily excitable U.K. press, but who doesn't have much of a chance of following through with a product that can do what they claim.

According to the company's web site:

Bladerunner have now created " The Defender Hoodie " which is BULLET PROOF throughout the main body area.

This Hoodie is rugged and tough just like a normal Hoodie but this one has a removable Inner Shell that gives you Balistic Security at Level NIJ STD 0101.04

Number 1: Never trust your "Balistic Security" to a bunch of over-zealous fashion designers that can't spell "ballistic."

Number 2: There is no such thing as "bullet proof," just bullet resistant, a fact that any responsible armor designer will tell you that Bladerunner blows right past in a bit of self-promoting puffery.

District of Columbia v. Heller goes to the Supreme Court today, as a group of Washington, D.C. residents contend that the ban on operable firearms inside homes in the District of Columbia—including an outright ban on handguns not registered prior to 1976—violates the Second Amendment and is unconstitutional.

Robert A. Levy, co-counsel to Heller has an op-ed posted in today's Boston Globe that highlights the correct individual rights argument.

Predictably, the editorial board of the New York Times has an op-ed of their own against the individual rights perspective, which they seem to feel applies to the First Amendment, but not the Second.

They write, quote dishonestly: | photo by Kaare Sørensen/Avisen.dkIn rural parts of the country, it happens from time to time; a person appears uninvited on someone's property, and the landowner tells them that "elsewhere" is a better place to be. Typically these confrontations are benign in nature, even when on occasion either the property owner or the trespasser turns out to be armed.

Such was the case in Texas this past weekend when a Danish reporter wandered into the yard of an elderly Texas woman, and she shooed him off, a gun apparently in hand.

CNN's Ed Henry made quite a big deal out of the incident, promoting it as a near "international incident" writing in the lede that the Dane came "this close to getting shot."

He characterized the confrontation this way:

Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft shares the news of another possible election year meltdown at CBS News.

"60 Minutes" recently aired the claim that former Alabama governor Don Siegelman went to jail not for corruption, but because he belong to the wrong political party, and that the investigations that landed him in jail for bribery were politically motivated.

One of the most explosive claims made was that Karl Rove was involved in an attempt to entrap Siegelman:

Back in 1986, Time and other news organizations attempted to whip up hysteria about a new firearm on the market, the Glock 17, attempting to state that it could pass easily though airport metal detectors, and therefore become a favored weapon for terrorists or hijackers

The manufactured Glock hysteria was of course false; the barrel, slide, sights, and of course the pistol cartridges themselves are made of dense metals, and the promised "new guns made entirely of plastic" have never materialized on the consumer market.

Yesterday I ran across another attempt to create a false hysteria, this time about painted guns. Yes, really. (video below page break)

The blogosphere began buzzing yesterday afternoon because of a Cuban flag superimposed with a picture of Che Guevara that was flown in an volunteer, unofficial office for Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama in Houston, Texas, captured by a local Fox News affiliate.

Allahpundit likened it yesterday to be the equivalent of flying a Timothy McVeigh flag in a John McCain office, and noted that if that had occurred, media outlets would have more than likely made more of an issue of it than they have in this instance.

I don't however, share the condemnation heard yesterday of the Obama campaign itself over this particular story from some of my friends on the right. I think James Joyner's take on the issue is even-handed, in that:

Agence France-Presse (AFP) the oldest news agency in the world and the largest French news agency, has been caught recycling two-year-old Congressional subcommittee testimony as current news.

On Sunday, AFP released an article, "US Qaeda strategy fatally flawed; analysts," which opened:

In an article previewing the possible damage to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as a result of the Winograd Report into Israel's 34-day war with Hezbollah in the summer of 2006, AFP's Ron Bousso echoes a questionable claim about the 2006 Israeli War against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon:

It is expected to focus on Olmert's controversial decision to order a massive ground offensive in south Lebanon 60 hours before a UN-brokered ceasefire agreement was due to take effect on August 14.

Thirty-three Israeli soldiers were killed in the offensive launched just one hour after the final version of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 was presented to Israel.

Major Tomer Buhadana was one of those wounded during the last 48 hours of war, which in all killed 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

The Lebanese killed were "mostly civilians?"

The Daily Telegraph noted during the conflict:

Cross-posted at Confederate Yankee.

After the article "Shock Troops" in The New Republic had been challenged by critics , a documentary filmmaker/blogger by the name of JD Johannes narrowed down the search of the author to Alpha Company, 1-18 Infantry, Second Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division on July21.

Three days after that on July 24, the military began a formal investigation, which included taking statements from soldiers in Alpha/1-18IN.

Scott Beauchamp gave his initial statement on July 26, published here for the first time.

There is one current story in Iraq that has attracted the full attention of the Associated Press, and that is the case of Bilal Hussein, an AP photographer and terrorism suspect. The AP report on Hussein's hearing yesterday leaves out the fact that Hussein was arrested with a known al Qaeda terrorist... one of but many troubling aspects of the news organization's decision to forego objective news reporting in favor of self-serving advocacy in a clear and pervasive conflict of interest.

The Associated Press, as an involved party in this case, should recuse themselves from reporting on Hussein's trial.

According to The Associated Press Statement of News Values and Principles:

The TNR saga is slowly seeping into the media, with posts this morning at the Washington Post and the New York Times, in addition to last night's mention in the New York Observer.

Not a single one of these outlets discusses the fact that Franklin Foer spent the better part of 13 pages alleging a military conspiracy spanning four bases in three countries involving dozens of soldiers, from privates to colonels.

I guess they didn't want to discuss how nutty that explanation sounds.

Nor did they mention that Foer and The New Republic refused to apologize to those soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait they accused of atrocities.

Not a single one them acknowledges that Foer was being deceptive when he claimed back in July "the article was rigorously edited and fact-checked before it was published."

It took fourteen pages--13 of those geared towards Franklin' Foer's attempt to keep his job--but here's the punchline:

When I last spoke with Beauchamp in early November, he continued to stand by his stories. Unfortunately, the standards of this magazine require more than that. And, in light of the evidence available to us, after months of intensive re-reporting, we cannot be confident that the events in his pieces occurred in exactly the manner that he described them. Without that essential confidence, we cannot stand by these stories.

Stay tuned. I'll have much more later, including why Franklin Foer said nothing to justify keeping his job.

Update 20:18. As promised, here's the full context.

1/18 Infantry, Second Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division, rotated out of Iraqi several weeks ago to their home base in Schweinfurt, Germany. This included noted fabulist Scott Thomas Beauchamp. Whether Beauchamp is still in Germany or has been allowed home on leave is rather irrelevant; he matters quite little now that he has established that he will not support his dark fantasies on the record.

What does matter is that Franklin Foer and The New Republic have lost yet another excuse in their continued failure to account for the actions of the magazine's editors since "Shock Troops" was first questioned July 18, over four months ago. Now that Beauchamp is out of the war zone and back in western civilization, Foer is unable to claim that he military is muzzling his communication or that of his fellow soldiers.

Rumor has it that Franklin Foer is presently attempting to pen his final justification of the story, and that it will be published in a December editor of the magazine.

The media had some rather interesting takes on Fred Thompson's November 12 speech at The Citadel in Charleston, SC, or at least takes different than my own.

Jim Davenport of AP keyed in on the size of the military that a President Thompson would champion. Jeremy Pelofsky of Reuters parroted the same sentiments.

I saw the first half of the speech, and then Roger L. Simon and I were fortunate enough to have Senator Thompson alone for an interview that will run on Pajamas Media Thursday.

I was impressed with the military numbers that Thompson favors, but found his call to engage the will of the American people in winning the "long war" to be a far more compelling story.

Twice in Thompson's speech, he referred to the synergy needed between civilian will and military might needed to win wars.:

I had every intention of letting "Cheney Flag-gate" go uncommented upon as a non-story. Vice President Cheney went pheasant hunting at an exclusive preserve in Dutchess County, New York yesterday, and the hunt itself left only pheasants hitting the ground. It was a local interest story for the most part, until a sharp-eyed photographer and a self-promoting blowhard turned this local interest story into a national non-story when it was discovered that the inside of the back door of a garage at the hunt club was draped in a Confederate battle flag.

There is precisely no evidence that Cheney or anyone on his staff saw the flag, but that didn't keep the Daily News from running straight to Al Sharpton. The story ended in lots of hot air being spit by a man in love with the sound of his own voice, and many people fruitlessly wishing they had a way to somehow blame the Vice President.

I only mention this story at all because of the eye for detail it reveals in our media. Consider this a "teachable moment" for media fact-checkers.

Below is the flag photo, as captured by a Daily News photographer.

Scott Beauchamp doesn't matter.

He's a twice-AWOL serial liar with a pending mental health evaluation who can't write believable military fiction EVEN WHILE IN THE MILITARY. He's powerless, has been tried, found guilty and punished, and at this point, a distraction. We've been focusing on the wrong things.

What matters is the New Republic's advertisers. No, not their editors, their advertisers. [see below the fold for a list of same]

Drudge scooped me (arrgghhh!) with two documents related to the Beauchamp/TNR story. I had asked for in a FOIA request submitted more than a month ago to the U.S. Army. Those documents including a transcript of the call between Scott Beauchamp, TNR editor Franklin Foer, and TNR executive editor Peter Scoblic on September 7. I first wrote about the conversation itself previously.

The other document was the Army's official report, which I first discussed with the investigating officer, Major John Cross, on September 10.

Knowing the documents exist is one thing; having them is quite another. Now that they have been posted on the public record, these disclosures should end careers at The New Republic.

Have at it: