August 15, 2007

Shock E-Troops

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have a hunch. Right off the bat, we’ll admit that we may be wrong about it. But it just rings true to us.

Perhaps, dear reader, you have heard about the whole Scott Thomas Beauchamp brouhaha. If not, there’s a good chance that you’re reading this “post” by banging two rocks together. (And, if so, good for you—you’re very resourceful, aren’t you?)

Mr. Beauchamp, a private in the US Army, penned a handful of anonymous columns for the moderate liberal magazine The New Republic. These short pieces offer a brutal picture of American forces in Iraq, highlighting their dubious and alarming conduct.

The articles, having appeared in the pages of TNR, led some readers to cry foul. To them, they just didn’t ring true. After lots of spirited banter on right-wing “weblogs,” the editorial staff at TNR offered a second round of fact-checking, to make sure that the pieces were up to snuff.

As it turns out, the US Army completed its own investigation and has come to the conclusion that Mr. Beauchamp’s articles are chock-a-block with fabrications. Even so, TNR claims that the articles—with one rather glaring exception—are the capital-T Truth.

Accordingly, one can imagine that Al Gore’s Internet will continue to be abuzz about the Private Beauchamp fiasco. Is Mr. Beauchamp the latest Stephen Glass? Is he the military’s Caucasian version of Jayson Blair? &c.

And here’s where our hunch comes in. If you ask us, this whole Beauchamp business has given lots and lots of free publicity to The New Republic. We’d imagine that plenty of folks who had never heard of TNR would now recognize it on the newsstand.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that the Beauchamp brouhaha has greatly increased—or even somewhat increased—the circulation of TNR. Overall, the story doesn’t paint a terribly flattering portrait of the editorial acumen of TNR. Further, many of those most interested in this Beauchamp business are hard-line right-wingers who don’t care a jot for TNR.

Still, a story of this magnitude can only increase the visibility of TNR, and it has probably compelled a fair share of lefties to defend the magazine. So, if you ask us, their seeming gaffe actually aided TNR.

Which leads us to wonder: What kind of gaffe could we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” make that would catapult our humble “weblog” to the World-Wide Web stratosphere? We’d love to rocket into e-superstardom for one horrendous faux pas. But what could it be? Surely putting the phrase faux pas in italics won’t suffice.

Got any ideas? E-popularity beckons.

Posted at August 15, 2007 12:01 AM | TrackBack