Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Checkmate! TNR Endgame: Foer must go

Normally, Marcie would be dealing with this, but she's asleep, and I'm the one up wandering the halls with another bout of insomnia. It is now confirmed by Michael Goldfarb at The Weekly Standard: Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp lied his @$$ off when he wrote the three Baghdad Diarist pieces for the New Republic. (Put another notch on the blogosphere beating stick, TYVM.)

(HT: Generalissimo Duane over at Hugh's site.)

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned from a military source close to the investigation that Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp--author of the much-disputed "Shock Troops" article in the New Republic's July 23 issue as well as two previous "Baghdad Diarist" columns--signed a sworn statement admitting that all three articles he published in the New Republic were exaggerations and falsehoods--fabrications containing only "a smidgen of truth," in the words of our source.

Separately, we received this statement from Major Steven F. Lamb, the deputy Public Affairs Officer for Multi National Division-Baghdad:

An investigation has been completed and the allegations made by PVT Beauchamp were found to be false. His platoon and company were interviewed and no one could substantiate the claims.

According to the military source, Beauchamp's recantation was volunteered on the first day of the military's investigation. So as Beauchamp was in Iraq signing an affidavit denying the truth of his stories, the New Republic was publishing a statement from him on its website on July 26, in which Beauchamp said, "I'm willing to stand by the entirety of my articles for the New Republic using my real name."

The magazine's editors admitted on August 2 that one of the anecdotes Beauchamp stood by in its entirety--meant to illustrate the "morally and emotionally distorting effects of war"--took place (if at all) in Kuwait, before his tour of duty in Iraq began, and not, as he had claimed, in his mess hall in Iraq. That event was the public humiliation by Beauchamp and a comrade of a woman whose face had been "melted" by an IED.

By publishing the stories without checking their truthfulness and veracity, and by lying to their readers that they had checked the facts, and deemed them credible, Frabnklin Foer must now go. there's no arguments about this. He must resign, or the board must remove him. This is journalistic malfeasance at it's worst, and is very reminiscent of the Stephen Glass fiasco from 1998 when The New Republic was nailed for printing fabrications.

This is a disaster for the New Republic. They spent years trying to distance themselves from Glass, and rebuild their credibility, and now this occurs. While I know a good deal of milbloggers and soldiers would love to have five minutes alone in a room with Private Beauchamp, I'd rather have five minutes alone with Franklin Foer. I'm guessing that even Foer didn't believe the stories passed on by Beauchamp, and yet he did nothing to stop him. Instead, he embraced the unbelievable, and ran with the story.

This shows how far the MSM has fallen. (It also gives me a column idea. Stay tuned to see if we carry that one out for the 16 August edition of Common Conservative.) This also speaks volumes for the inherent anti-military bias of many of the Left's predominant news publications. They are willing to run with a story that doesn't come close to passing the smell test, yet they demonize their own when they present good news. Bad pool, old boy.

But the fault lies at the feet of the editor in charge of the New Republic. It's time for him to face the ax. He perpetuated slanderous lies about our troops. He ran with a story that wasn't even close to being fully corroborated.

I'd like to point out that while bloggers may seem to be amateurs in many people's eyes, we try to nail the facts down as best we can at the time we publish. When we make a mistake, as Marcie did Monday morning, it's corrected,/li>. No if's, and's or but's about it. Our reputation is dependent solely on our readers and whether or not they know they can believe what we present. The moment we screw up, and refuse to acknowledge it (as Franklin Foer did), or try to spin it away as nutter rantings from the pajam-clad on the 'Net (as The New Republic tried to do with the Beauchamp statement last week), then the credibility is gone. Your site isn't worth the pixels used to create it. We bloggers live and die by our cedibility. If we don't have any, why waste the time typing?

Franklin Foer should have at least paid attention to that when it came to journalistic ethics. Swallow your pride, admit you didn't do the full fact-checking necessary, and do the deed as a follow-up. When discrepencies pop up, don't dig in and spin. Admit the mistake. Franklin Foer didn't do that. He circled the wagons. But this is "Custer's Last Stand" now. He's got nothing left. No leg to stand on, and zero integrity. Time to cut the old boy loose, and save what's left of The New Republic's public integrity, if there ever was any.

Publius II


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