Monday, December 03, 2007

What TNR’s “Let’s Go” Tells Us

This is a 1, 2, 3 post

1) Excerpts from blogger Bob Owens’ (Confederate Yankee) concerning The New Republic’s retraction of Scott Thomas Beauchamp’s fables from Iraq.

2) Excerpts, via Michelle Malkin, of TNR readers’ comments on TNR’s 14-page Beauchamp “explanation” ( It’s mostly self-excusing and blame-shifting.).

3) My comments.


1) From Bob Owens:

It takes him fourteen pages, but Franklin Foer finally makes an admission regarding Scott Thomas Beauchamp’s posts in The New Republic.
…in light of the evidence available to us, after months of intensive re-reporting, we cannot be confident that the events in his pieces occurred in exactly the manner that he described them. Without that essential confidence, we cannot stand by these stories.
Foer’s opus begins 13 pages earlier and attempts the impossible feat of justifying his editorial leadership at The New Republic from the lead up to the publication of Beauchamp’s work to the retraction above.

Through it all, Franklin Foer has made it painfully apparent that he is incapable of admitting his own ethical and editorial shortcomings, and refuses to answer many of the key questions that still hang over The New Republic like a gallows.

As editor of The New Republic, Franklin Foer allowed Scott Thomas Beauchamp to publish three stories that were not competently fact-checked. At least one of those that was assigned to [Beauchamp’s] wife to fact-check even though that was a clear conflict of interest.

All three of those stories—not just"ShockTroops"— had significant “red flags” in them. These red flags range from the changing of a tire of a vehicle equipped with run-flat tires in "War Bonds," to several obvious and easily verifiable untrue statements, including the claim of a discovery of a kind of ammunition that do not exist, and absurd evidence for allegations of murder "Dead of Night" that could have been (and were) debunked in less than 30 seconds with a simple Google search. […]
2) - At Michelle Malkin’s blog she offers the following samples of reader comments at TNR following Foer’s opus:
“When I last spoke with Beauchamp in early November, he continued to stand by his stories. Unfortunately, the standards of this magazine require more than that. And, in light of the evidence available to us, after months of intensive re-reporting, we cannot be confident that the events in his pieces occurred in exactly the manner that he described them. Without that essential confidence, we cannot stand by these stories.”

So you took 15 PAGES to say that you were WRONG, and even then lacked the courage to actually confess to error. You long ago added intellectual cowardice, to the usual helpings of intellectual dishonesty, but did you really have to take 15 pages to so clearly prove the points made by your opponents?

Could you not simply have said — “We screwed up. We apologize?” Guess not.

| Posted by brooklyn red
5 of 72 | warn tnr | respond

so you lied?

| Posted by Joe Humphrey
6 of 72 | warn tnr | respond

After four and a half months of utter nonsense about recanting and re-recanting and hearing from many thousands of honest warriors you spend countless words across 14 oages to finally admit that you are standing down from drom the Beauchamp fables. Amazing, simply amazing! You should be ashamed.

| Posted by Chris Christner
7 of 72 | warn tnr | respond

You broke every rule of journalism and in the process slandered our military.

At the very least you owe them an apology.

If you had a shred of integrity and respect for the reputation of TNR, you’d also submit your resignation.

It’s obvious that you waited until the last possible moment to retract Beauchamp’s stories, only doing so now because the new TNR book on Election 08’s just come out. However, regardless of your blame-the-messenger retraction, the Beauchamp affair is still going to hammer your book’s credibility along with that of TNR. As it should.

| Posted by George Croft
8 of 72 | warn tnr | respond

The real culprits are your editors and your management. The anti-soldier stories were “just too good to check” and you eagerly went to press with pure garbage from an anonymous, lying, neophyte writer.

Don’t dare blame it all on Beauchamp. He just created the garbage. YOU SERVED IT UP. George Croft Argyle, TX

| Posted by Suspended Disbelief
9 of 72 | warn tnr | respond

Congratulations. You’ve reached the conclusion that the rest of us reached months ago. Good luck with the upcoming staff purge and loss of advertisers.

3)- Comments:

From the beginning TNR knew it was dealing with a soldier who was anti-war and anti-Bush.

It had absolutely no experience with him that would give it confidence in his news-gathering skills or his integrity.

And TNR knows how easy it is for a source to make things up.

Given all of that, a group of responsible journalists would've said to each other something like:
We need to be extra cautious here.

What he’s saying will besmirch and damage our military’s reputation.

The incidents he’s describing will disgust the American people a la Abu Ghraib and weaken support for the war.

That will encourage those fighting our troops in Iraq and discourage Iraqis who want to side with us if they can count on the United States to stay the course.

And we’ll be giving a propaganda “hammer” to those who want to bash America.

We must fact-check and re-fact-check every detail of what Beauchamp claims.

Anything else would be reckless.
But that didn’t happen. Instead, TNR said, “Let’s go!”

TNR’s “Let’s go” tells us just what kind of journalism its editors practice.

Four’s 14-pager is his best effort to convince people they don’t.

Sensible people won’t be fooled.

I’ll do a follow-up post later today acknowledging bloggers who took the lead in exposing TNR’s Beauchamp fables.

If you want to read everything Foer says it's all here.


Anonymous said...

The Bush-haters will stop at nothing to harm him and if, in harming him, they also harm our nation's armed forcers, so be it. Dan Rather is the poster boy for this new journalism and all the networks and the so-called news media are complicit with it. Is anyone surprised?

Ralph Phelan said...

Loads of fun at Amazon!

Election 2008: A Voter's Guide (A New Republic Book) (Paperback)
by Franklin Foer (Editor)

From the 1st reader review:

"For example, I didn't know that McCain's "Straight Talk Express" bus has small silhouettes below the driver's window, keeping tally of the conservatives he's thrown under the wheels. Or that Mike Huckabee once killed 930 people by baptizing them in poisoned grape Kool Aid. Or that Ron Paul was a German concentration camp guard in WW2."

Go there & read further. It only gets better.