In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 8, 2007 / 24 Menachem-Av, 5767

A million little piece of truthiness

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The curious case of a soldier/writer who penned dubious dispatches from Iraq about morally corrupt American soldiers continues apace.

Amid some light this week is much shadow.

Following two weeks of investigation, re-reporting and fact checking, it appears that the writer in question has not been precisely honest.

To briefly recap: Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp was writing stories for The New Republic (TNR) under the pseudonym, Scott Thomas — allegedly relating insider stories from the front lines. Some of Thomas' stories, appearing in TNR didn't ring true to close readers, some of whom had been in Iraq at the times and places where Beauchamp's tales supposedly took place.

When The Weekly Standard (WS) began questioning the reports, a battle of credibility ensued. TNR editors defended their writer, who under pressure made his identity public, while WS and various bloggers continued to insist on corroborating evidence. The Army, meanwhile, began its own investigation.

Among Beauchamp's reports were stories he either witnessed or participated in about ridiculing a woman — either a soldier or contractor — whose face had been disfigured by an IED; how one soldier enjoyed using his Bradley Fighting Vehicle to mow down dogs; and how another soldier wore as a cap a child's skull fragment that reportedly was lifted from a mass grave.

Red flags went up immediately among people who know something about mass graves, Bradleys and military order.

Days after TNR editors posted a statement on their Web site claiming that Beauchamp's stories had mostly checked out, the WS reported that a military source close to the Army investigation said that Beauchamp signed a sworn statement that he fabricated or exaggerated his stories.

The incident involving the disfigured woman, for example, took place (maybe) in Kuwait before Beauchamp's tour of duty began in Iraq — not in a mess hall in Iraq as originally reported — according to TNR's own editors.

Separately, Maj. Steven F. Lamb, deputy Public Affairs Officer for Multi-National Division-Baghdad, told the WS' Michael Goldfarb, who has been leading the charge against Beauchamp, that the private's allegations "were found to be false."

So, we have two reputable magazines telling two different, compelling stories. We also have a writer who wrote on his personal blog that he wanted to go to this "misguided" war "just to write a book." And we have an Army investigation in the midst of, not incidentally, a war. Fog, it seems, is everywhere.

To casual news consumers, the duel between two magazines may seem like much ado — or, perhaps, more of the same ol' same ol'. Thanks to such people as The New York Times' Jayson Blair and TNR's own Stephen Glass, fabrications are no longer considered unusual.

Truth isn't only unexpected, it has become fungible even to some readers. As one wrote to me following an earlier column about the dubious diarist, "It doesn't matter if Beauchamp's reports are true. These things are true somewhere in Iraq if not exactly where he said."

He's right of course. It's always cocktail hour somewhere and a stopped watch is right twice a day. Indeed, far worse things than those described by Beauchamp have happened in war. That war is morally and emotionally distorting, as TNR's editors described Beauchamp's tales of soldier angst, is as revealing as news that water is wet.

Possibly — even probably — Beauchamp witnessed events similar to those he described. But it does matter if what he wrote wasn't completely true. Truthiness, to borrow Stephen Colbert's word for "sorta true," isn't the standard for American journalism or for 99 percent of journalists — the ones who put their real names on their stories and take the heat if they're wrong.

That doesn't mean journalists don't bring their own biases to the table. But making a factual error, which is to be human, is not the same as inventing, which is to lie.

TNR editors took a chance with Beauchamp — a big one. The whole truth may never be known with certainty, but this much we do know: Beauchamp is not a journalist. He is a would-be author who was ambitious enough to join the Army and go to war for the possibility of a future book. Whatever yet transpires, it would seem that Beauchamp succeeded in revealing the morally and emotionally distorting effects of war he set out to illuminate.

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