Friday, October 26, 2007

TNR Stumbles On: Are You Shocked?

Remember The New Republic’s “Shock Troops” story this past July? American troops in Iraq were alleged to be doing some awful things but when the fact-checking started the allegations began to be proved false.

But TNR refuses to concede it passed unchecked to readers what turned out to be bogus reports.

So now, like Dan Rather refusing to concede he used phony documents in the 60 Minutes II TANG story, New Republic editors stumble on refusing to concede they made critical mistakes.

Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee has been in the forefront of those exposing the “Shock Troops” bogus claims. Today he provides an update on where matters stand.

Bob begins:

Franklin Foer, Peter Scoblic, Jason Zengerle and other senior editors at The New Republic can't quite seem to get their hands on enough information to complete their investigation into the Scott Thomas Beauchamp "Shock Troops" story published in mid-July.

As someone who has had a bit of success in separating the facts from the fiction in this and other instances of questionable media content, I can offer them some free consulting advice to expedite their final report.

In yesterday's Washington Post interview with Howard Kurtz, Franklin Foer made the following claim:
Despite the contentious conversation, Foer continued to defend the article days later. He did so again yesterday, reiterating that other soldiers whom the magazine would not identify had confirmed the allegations.

While Beauchamp "didn't stand by his stories in that conversation, he didn't recant his stories," Foer said in an interview. "He obviously was under considerable duress during that conversation, with his commanding officer in the room with him."
We'll overlook the fact that his commanding officer was not in the room. We'll also overlook the fact that the enlisted squad leader actually sided with Foer and Scoblic in their argument that TNR should be allowed to control the narrative and cancel interviews with both Newsweek and the Post.

And we'll overlook that the only obvious duress in the transcript was Foer using the emotional blackmail regarding Beauchamp's wife and the further strong-arm tactics of reminding Beauchamp that if he recanted, any future career of his as a writer is over.

We'll ignore all that for now, because want to get to the truth.

So let's focus on this part of the claim:
...reiterating that other soldiers whom the magazine would not identify had confirmed the allegations.
There are 58 pages of sworn statements currently under legal review at Central Command's FOIA Office in Tampa that seem to directly disagree with that assertion, so let's get the facts as we know them out in the open.
Bob goes on to gets the fact “as we know them” out to you in a major post that’s a must read for anyone following the TNR “Shock Troops” story.

Message to Bob Owens: Great investigative reporting.

Message to MSM news organizations: Why aren’t any of you doing the kind of investigative reporting on this story Owens and other bloggers are doing?


Ralph Phelan said...

First Stephen Glass, now this. Why does anyone even bother reading TNR anymore, when any given piece they publish has a decent probability of being total fiction?