Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Army private Scott Beauchamp — who wrote a supposedly eyewitness account of cruelty by members of the American military in Iraq — refused to defend his accusations when questioned by the editor of New Republic magazine.
But the Washington Post reports that editor Franklin Foer continues to defend the articles — and insist that other unidentified soldiers corroborate Beachamp's accounts. Foer also said that while Beauchamp refused to stand by his stories during their conversation — he did not recant them either. And he insists Beauchamp was under duress because a superior officer was in the room during their talk. He says Beauchamp defended his accounts in a subsequent conversation with no superiors present.
The official army report into the allegations says Beauchamp — "is not a credible source." It finds Beauchamp's account of soldiers mocking a disfigured Iraqi woman was — "completely fabricated." It says claims that Beauchamp and others targeted dogs with their armored vehicles were — "completely unfounded."
The assistant editor of the Jena, Louisiana Times says of the media covering the controversy over the charges brought against six black students who attacked a white classmate — "I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism."
Craig Franklin writes in the Christian Science Monitor that media replaced facts with myths — among them — the existence of a "whites only" tree at the high school. He writes — "students of all races sat underneath this tree."
Franklin also contends the school expulsion committee concluded the nooses allegedly intended to intimidate black students were actually a prank by white students aimed at other whites. And he says the beating of the white student by the six blacks was not a schoolyard fight as it was portrayed — but a carefully planned ambush and brutal beating.
While AIDS activists continue to paint the 25-year-old epidemic as out-of-control — epidemiologists from Harvard and Berkeley say that is no longer the case. Cybercast News reports the scientists say that while the epidemic is still serious — it is no longer raging out of control in most of the world.
Doctor James chin says the infection rates in Africa range from a high of around 20 percent in South Africa — to as low as less than one percent in Senegal. Infection rates in Uganda have fallen from 15 percent in the early nineties to around six percent now.
Experts say United Nations statistics in the past were often inflated — but new counting methods have forced the U.N. to quietly scale back its estimates.
On the Record
The new book by former CIA operative Valerie Plame contains conflicting accounts of the events leading up to the leaking of her name — and paints an unflattering picture of husband Joe Wilson.
Plame insists that she neither suggested nor recommended that Wilson go to Niger to investigate whether Iraq had been trying to buy weapons-grade uranium. But elsewhere in the book she relates how she wrote an e-mail to colleagues detailing her husband's qualifications and contacts in Niger.
She paints Wilson as given to wild emotional outbursts and hungry for media attention — and says the tension between them almost destroyed their relationship. She writes — "The frequent fights, seething accusations, hurtful words, and entrenched bitterness pushed us both to the brink ... It became obvious that our marriage was in deep trouble." The couple has since left Washington and live in New Mexico.
— FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.