Propaganda consumes valuable time

Rather than update my previous post on the Scott Beauchamp affair, I just thought I'd note here that it has been abundantly confirmed that the Beauchamp allegations were utter bunk. Glenn Reynolds has a roundup here.

Beauchamp's tales seem to have been accepted on faith, and I agree with Bill Quick:

None of the MSM challenged Beauchamp's fantasies when they were first published. And why would they? Scott's lies fit the the story they want to believe, and tell. The challenge came from the right blogosphere and, once again, the blogosphere was the New Media venue that got it right.

The biggest mystery to me is why the mainstream media has any credibility left at all. Maybe its users aren't looking for credibilty any more. Just reinforcement. Perhaps the MSM has become a cult, supported on faith alone, little more than the latest incarnation of the Holy Church of the True Believer.

Notice that despite Beauchamp's own retraction, TNR has still not retracted the story. QandO notes that they're on vacation!

In a comment I posted in response to criticism, I questioned the manner in which TNR claimed to "verify" Beauchamp's claim of dog torture:
I don't like to speculate about unverifiable anecdotes which devolve into propaganda along narrative lines, but unless Sanchez has invented the claim about the military's investigation, Beauchamp's allegations have been found to be bogus.

I can't help notice the way they're trying to "prove" the dog torture by linking an unverified video of a injured dog having nothing to do with Beauchamp or his unit, and by asking the manufacturer of the Bradley fighting unit whether it is capable of running over a dog! Amazingly, it is! This is "confirmation"? Are you kidding? Might as well claim that I run over dogs by checking with Toyota to find out whether my car is capable of it!

The Beauchamp story strikes me as squalid partisanship, and has the clear aroma of blatant anti-military propaganda. It seems designed and calculated for no other purpose than to inflame American sentiments against the war. Yet, like much propaganda, it has nothing to do with the war, and I'd prefer to ignore it. It's just that unfortunately, it's become too loud to ignore.

Nothing that Beauchamp said would have changed my mind on the war one way or the other. But it's irritating to think that lying antiwar propaganda managed to get spun as legitimate journalism.

Unfortunately, ignoring propaganda doesn't make it go away.

My hat's off to many debunkers -- bloggers like Ace -- who don't ignore it, so that I can.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds has more, including reports that TNR is trying to weasel its way out of Beauchamp's earlier retraction.

Ann Althouse examines both sides and concludes "there's a big fight on."

I guess there always is. I predict that few if any minds will be changed.

Propaganda wars don't work the way they once did.

MORE: "Why is there a market for lies?" Don Surber asks. As he explains, it's what some people want to hear. (Via Glenn Reynolds, who has another roundup.)

"Affirmation, not information," says Tom Maguire.

Here here!

posted by Eric on 08.07.07 at 12:19 PM










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