Thursday, October 25, 2007
The New Republic Doubles Down Again
Apparently, Franklin Foer is a Blake fan. Yesterday, Drudge showed and then withdrew links to two transcripts of conversations various editors at The New Republic had with the Baghdad Fabulist, Scott Beauchamp and the Army report of its investigation into his writings, which slightly dissed his fellow troops. The withdrawal caused some headscratching. Were they fakes? Had Drudge been had?
No. Here is what editor Franklin Foer told unprepared Howard Kurtz: [Beauchamp] didn’t stand by his stories in that conversation, he didn’t recant his stories...He obviously was under considerable duress during that conversation, with his commanding officer in the room with him.
While the discussion “was extremely frustrating and engendered doubts,” Foer said, Beauchamp defended his story in a subsequent conversation that was conducted with no superiors present.
That's not saying the transcripts are fake. Indeed Foer is saying they are real and accurate.
However, the editors are sticking with the stories, based on that second telephone call they had with Beauchamp when we wasn't so intimidated, and on the unnamed other corroborating soldiers: 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.
Please show us the transcript of that second conversation. Please identify the soldiers who told you what Beauchamp wrote was true. Please conclude the investigation and tell us ALL you found. Some time during this year would be nice.
Although I'm not a pilot, I'm told that there is a time when an airplane stall becomes an unrecoverable dive. That time for the TNR appears to be about now.
Anyone who's actually read those documents knows that the duress wasn't a one-way thing:
"You're obviously in a very uncomfortable position in that your wife is involve in this and I wish she wasn't involved because I, I ... trust her. I care for her. I don't want her to get hurt in all this."
Was there pressure from the military? Absolutely. Beauchamp swore out an affidavit that he had lied in contravention of regulations. Try filing a false police report, then swearing out an affidavit that the report was false, then having someone ask you to publicly recant the affidavit. The pressure is entirely appropriate.
Threatening the man's wife to get him to say what you want him to say? That's low even for a reporter. And as the Bobby Calvan story from yesterday shows, that's low indeed.
For reference, if you haven't seen the Calvan thing, here it is.
I know what Knight Ridder is and I still laugh at the stupid name. I'm still less of a jerk than Bobby Calvan, who must take a bath in arrogance juice.