Ayatollah Ali Khamenei still not dead

Richard Miniter of Piddle Pants Media gives the The New Republic some tips on fact checking:

Scott Thomas Beauchamp was not a staffer; he may not have ever stepped foot in The New Republic’s two-floor rabbit warren of offices. But he was an insider, through his wife.

Perhaps the fact-checkers believed that they didn’t have to check his work thoroughly because they knew and trusted his wife, who they affectionately called “Ellie.”

The New Republic’s fact-checking department may be structurally flawed. At the magazines with the best reputation for fact-checking, The New Yorker and Reader’s Digest, fact-checking is a career. At The New Republic, it is an entry level job known as “reporter-researcher.” It is a stepping stone, a dues-paying drudgery endured so that one can become a full-time writer. Even the job title is revealing. The “reporter” part comes first. Often the fact-checkers are busy writing items of their own for The Plank, the magazine’s weblog, or the magazine itself. (Elspeth Reeve has written a number of pieces; one was about Bob Tyrell’s book party at Morton’s.) So it would not have taken much for one of the fact-checkers to skim, not scrutinize, Beauchamp’s “Baghdad Diarist” pieces.

But The New Republic cannot control the story. An insider-turned-whistleblower and the fabricator’s former fiancée, as well as other sources, have spoken to PajamasMedia.com—providing a plethora of new details that raise new questions.

Those questions include: Did the fabricator’s wife, Elspeth Reeve, fact-check her husband’s articles? Did her staff position make other fact-checkers go easy on him? Why didn’t Reeve’s knowledge of Beauchamp’s character and history make her skeptical of his work? (Remember the old journalist saw: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”)

Oh. Wait:

A source close to Pajamas Media has learned that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has apparently succumbed to the cancer that hospitalized him last month, as exclusively reported by Pajamas Media, at age 67. He has been Iran’s most powerful figure since replacing Ayatollah Khomeini in the role of Supreme Leader in 1989.

UPDATE: Some sources, evidently including a family member, are reporting that Khamenei, in grave condition, was alive as recently as yesterday. Our source reported that he died today. More to come. It is the middle of the night in Iran.

MORE: Farideh Vafai – spokeswoman for Reza Pahlavi, the son of the former Shah of Iran – made the following comment to PJM Washington Editor Richard Miniter: “We cannot confirm this news. We have heard rumors but so far have no confirmation.” Ms. Vafai was reached at Pahlavi’s Secretariat in Falls Church, VA.

Banafshef Zand-Bonazzi runs Iran Press News, a New York-based non-profit service which translates the output of Iran’s television, radio and newspapers. When I reached her at home, she seemed confident that the reports of Khamenei’s death were not exaggerated.

“I have looked around the Iranian (Farsi-language) press and have not yet found a confirmation of Khamenei’s death. This does not surprise me, given the atmosphere of the recent elections that highlights the explosive factional tension among the various mullah cliques. Michael Ledeen, who broke the news, has rarely if ever, reported anything incorrectly. I trust his sources. My feeling is that if Khamenei is not yet dead, he will be soon. Rumors of his illness have been circulating for a long time and certainly the way he has been conducting himself recently came across as someone who is putting his affairs in order. He did not show up to give his usual Eid speech last week—this is unprecedented.”

The Eid speech is traditionally given at the end of the pilgrimage (or hajj) season. It has long been a set piece of Persian propaganda efforts and, until this year, only had one star—Khamenei himself.

She added: “I think that after Khamenei’s demise, various factions will be scrambling for the power. It could very well be the beginning of a gangland style battle which leads the Islamic regime to self-destruction. “

Reporting the killing of a dog in Iraq? Unleash the hounds of “fact-checking”.

Reporting (EXCLUSIVE!) the death of Iran’s Supreme Leader and breathlessly pointing out how it may lead to a “gangland style battle which leads the Islamic regime to self-destruction”. Even Richard Miniter’s mother doesn’t love him enough not to laugh at that.

(Added): For the record…bookmark this.

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