By now, I'm assuming that readers of this blog are aware of PVT Scott Thomas Beauchamp.
If not, go over Michelle Malkin's site and keep scrolling.
My post is a bit of a follow to Grim's post on bloggers and journalists.
What we see here is something similar. Beauchamp has a story in his head and he got to tell it, but unfortunately, he confused his reality (or truth? or fiction?) with actual facts and incidents and mundane and boring things like that.
I think he's going to get a big dose of reality pretty soon though. Check out his 1SG and Captain, here: A/1/18 INF
It was a workable plan: Join the Army, serve in Iraq, return to civilian life and then be able with "absolute moral authority" make shit up. And become some "authentic voice" of the Iraq war, and be a writer and do that whole bohemian writer thing.
But, PVT Snuffy screwed it up by prematurely ejaculating his fictions. If he'd waited to get out, in a year or two, things could have been--would have been--more difficult to refute or verify or whatever. It would have worked. But maybe the moment would have passed too, by then, since it appears that Hollywood is set to start its Freidenssturm this fall with Anti-war movies, probably as a spoiling attack at influencing the 2008 presidential election. (Or so they think--me, I think their movies will fail miserably.)
Anyway, going back to that idea that "journalists" have their own truth or story that they want to tell, we see that The New Republic badly wanted to tell a story that PVT Beauchamp fitted perfectly into. And so they did. 10 years ago they would have go away with it. Not anymore.
And that's a good thing.
bthun finds an actual email from A/1/18's 1SG here at "the Foxhole"
1SG Hatley pretty much confirms what I thought.
I had occasion to visit Oklahoma City last weekend, and saw two things worth mentioning in this Hall.
Something to see: the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. I cannot too highly recommend this. I have never seen a musem so well balanced for a family visit. We didn't enter the children's exhibit (which had a building all to itself), but we did see the rest of it. Mrs. W. especially liked the western art gallery - I liked best the rooms dedicated to postbellum military life and ranching history, but thanks to Grim's posts, I didn't neglect the section dedicated to Western movies, and prominent actors and stuntmen. I have an idea that some of our regular visitors would simply take the whole family to the arms collection (which is half Colt, half "everyone else") and spend a few hours there.
Something not to see: the Oklahoma City memorial. As you likely know, this is dedicated to the Oklahoma City bombing. You can see large displays of the timeline, and hear a recording of a water board meeting that was taking place at the time of the explosion, and you can see collected items from the rubble (including a box of children's shoes). However, as the lady at the front desk explained, they didn't want to focus on "him", so you won't actually hear anything about the perpetrator, not even his name, nor learn his fate. The missus noticed a large group of schoolchildren there, and cogently asked, exactly what lesson were they going to take away from this? That dying in a terrorist attack is sad?
After six hundred fifty days, a soldier comes home:
[O]ur two buses were joined by escorts from the State Patrol, and a couple of dozen motorcycles from the Patriot Riders and the American Legion. As we crossed every county line in Minnesota, we picked up a new escort from the local sheriff. Just outside of Owatonna, our procession turned into a parade with hundreds of motorcycles leading us, and thousands of people lining our route. Our luxury coach bus included tinted windows, so I'm not sure if the folks we passed saw us waving back, or how many of us had to turn away as we were overcome with emotion.Via Fuzzy.
When we finally arrived at the Owatonna Armory, we had to wait a few minutes as the crowd of hundreds made way for our buses. Despite our extended absence, we are still soldiers and we still had to do what soldiers do-stand in formation. After a wonderfully brief blessing from the chaplain, and the equally short remarks by our commander, we heard the word we were waiting for-
In the chaos of the huge crowd it took me a few minutes to find my family. I had to call my wife on her cell phone before we could find each other. Most of the next few minutes are a blur in my mind even now, but hugging my kids and kissing my wife are memories that will stay with me until I am old and gray. The sacrifices and hardships of the last two years seemed at once a small price when an older gentleman in a VFW uniform, WWII or Korea Vet by his age, shook my hand with a tear in his eye and thanked me for keeping his family safe.
I recently wrote a piece at B5 in response to an article from Harpers, in which I offered an education for journalists into the nature of blogging.
I must admit that today I got something of an education, as a blogger, into the nature of journalism.
Here's my advice: If you do an interview with a journalist, don't expect the journalist to be there to tell your story. The journalist gets paid to tell her own stories which you might or might not be a part of.I find I honestly don't know quite how to describe my thoughts about that.
I don't want to say that it's treason, because that has political connotations I do not intend. And yet that is exactly, precisely the correct word. It is treason -- not against a political order, or a people, or a country, to be sure.
It is a betrayal, nevertheless, of the thing to which a journalist was supposed to be devoted, to which their loyalty was alleged to belong. For years we have heard their proper loyalty was not to country, but to the reporting of the truth:
Immediately Mike Wallace spoke up. "I think some other reporters would have a different reaction," he said, obviously referring to himself. "They would regard it simply as a story they were there to cover." "I am astonished, really," at Jennings's answer, Wallace saida moment later. He turned toward Jennings and began to lecture him: "You're a reporter. Granted you're an American"-at least for purposes of the fictional example; Jennings has actually retained Canadian citizenship. "I'm a little bit at a loss to understand why, because you're an American, you would not have covered that story." Ogletree pushed Wallace. Didn't Jennings have some higher duty, either patriotic or human, to do something other than just roll film as soldiers from his own country were being shot?Now comes Ms. Penelope Trunk to assert that she has, and feels no one can or ought to have, any loyalty even to "reporting the truth." It's not about the story they are watching unfold in front of them; it's about the story they brought along with them. A journalist who comes to interview you isn't there to tell your story, she says; she is being paid to tell hers, which you may not be a part of.
"No," Wallace said flatly and immediately. "You don't have a higher duty. No. No. You're a reporter!" Jennings backtracked fast. Wallace was right, he said. "I chickened out." Jennings said that he had gotten so wrapped up in the hypothetical questions that he had lost sight of his journalistic duty to remain detached.
To what, then, is a journalist meant to be loyal? It is not country; they have no "higher duty" to country. It is not to the story unfolding in front of them; they cannot be loyal to that, she asserts, and ought not to try to be. It is to their own story, to the story in their head.
They should be loyal, in other words, only to themselves.
This seems right and proper to her.
I don't know how to deal with people like that. It's a shocking admission, or at least, it ought to be.