September 10, 2007

High Noon for TNR

I'll ask all of my readers to please check out Pajamas Media after noon (Eastern U.S.) today [update: it's up now], and see what you think of my exclusive interview which should be coming online right about then.

In the meantime, Michelle Malkin and her team at Hot Air released a crushing "Vent" today, interviewing Michael Goldfarb, the writer for The Weekly Standard that broke the story with his post, "Fact or Fiction?" on July 18, and also paying a surprise visit to the offices of The New Republic to try to get in to see Franklin Foer.

Watch the whole thing.

All in all, this is going to be a very bad day for Franklin Foer and The New Republic, who by now, just wish this story would go away. What they don't seem to grasp is that at this point, they are the story.

We know that the events Beauchamp wrote about in "Shock Troops" were fabrications, and that has become something of a non-story at this point.

Now, what has become a far more important story is the devious means by which the editorial staff of The New Republic has sought to cover-up their own inadequacies. If they had simply admitted in the beginning that they did not adequately check Beauchamp's stories because they never thought that the husband of a staffer would so boldly and blatantly lie to them, then this would have blown over weeks ago, with minor consequences.

Instead, The New Republic launched an investigation "re-reporting" the story, and tried to justify the unjustifiable with a combination of willful deception and obfuscation. They've attempted to deceive or hide information their readers, fellow journalists, at least one of the experts they claimed supported the veracity of the story, the blogosphere, and the United States Army, in a pathetic attempt to justify a minor incompetence, and in the process, created a significant scandal.

In the end, if TNR owners CanWest Mediaworks hopes to retain any corporate credibility at all, a purge of the defective detectives that make up the editorial staff The New Republic is certainly warranted.

They've run out of second chances.

Update: Read all of my Beauchamp/TNR related coverage here. For those of you who have the means, please consider supporting citizen-journalism (specifically, mine).


Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 10, 2007 08:52 AM

Or they could have used the tried and true liberal response when caught flat out lying,


Semper Fi

Posted by: 1sttofight at September 10, 2007 09:46 AM

I have said it before and I'll say it again, TNR doesn't need to come clean, fire people, or do any of the things they rightly should do. They know who their audience is and their audience doesn't care one bit about truth. They care about the narrative. So TNR and their audience are in scynch here. That's all that matters to them.

Posted by: T.Ferg at September 10, 2007 10:25 AM

Bob -- Kudos to you, Michelle and Michael for staying on TNR's case. By all means keep up the good work.

However, at this point TNR has doubled-down twice in the Beauchamp affair and lost. For anyone who cares to know, it's clear TNR has once again fobbed off agenda-driven fables as insightful truths without fact-checking. Then they went on to lie about their fact-checking, their intended follow-up, and the Army's handling of Beauchamp.

At this point, what more does TNR have to lose? Why not continue to stonewall?

Posted by: huxley at September 10, 2007 11:02 AM

The really sad thing about this whole fiasco is the willingness of TNR to abandon legitimate journalism to propagandize.
What is even sadder is the fact that so many news and information journals are doing the same thing every day of the week.

Posted by: edward cropper at September 10, 2007 11:27 AM

Which raises the question -- was American journalism always this bad? Is the only difference now with the internet and blogs that the media get caught like this over and over again?

Posted by: huxley at September 10, 2007 12:10 PM

Huxley - My best guess would be yes and no. Yes, there were always some lazy reporters who made up details when getting the real story would have been too much work. In the past, the newspaper-reading public didn't have the tools to catch them, so exactly how many reporters "phoned it in" (or telegraphed it in) over the course of history cannot be known.

And no, not all reporters were like this. Look, for instance, at the WWII reporting. There were always good reporters as well, people taking the time (like Mr. Owens did) to get all the facts and get the story right.

In the end, it boils down to human nature, which never changes. There are heroes and there are zeroes, and there have always been both.

Posted by: Robin Munn at September 10, 2007 12:30 PM

Robin -- I've noticed since I was a teenager that newspaper accounts of events I experienced often got a lot of details wrong in a lazy or careless way.

But I don't remember the "news" news so propagandized as it is today, where editorializing creeps in everywhere and even fabricated evidence like Beauchamp or Rathergate or the Lancet study on Iraqi deaths are used to bolster agendas.

Perhaps I should look back and see.

Posted by: huxley at September 10, 2007 01:00 PM

I personally think the media has always been this way. Its just the explosion of information technology combined with the radicalization of our political discourse that makes it seem so bad now.

Congrats on the interview CY. You really hammered it home.

In the end it won't matter though. TNR is just a third tier declining rag now. They aren't going to clean this up because their audience doesn't want them to and from what I can tell they have no personal or organizational integrity pushing them to Do the Right Thing. They're just hunkering down waiting for it to go away.

Posted by: DaveW at September 10, 2007 01:39 PM

Gentlemen, as a former managing editor of a newspaper, let me assure you that the quality of news reporting has declined measurably over the past 20 years, and most of the blame can be attributed to liberal J-schools, who are turning out agenda-driven graduates as brainwashed as students in a Pakistani madrassa. That is why you see little if any reaction within TNR, as they are convinced that they are telling the truth even when they are lying. They are nothing but brainwashed propagandists. Sickening, really.

Posted by: templar knight at September 10, 2007 04:59 PM

Thanks for weighing in, TK! That's my sense of it too.

Back in the eighties, I was your basic San Francisco leftie. While I was often unhappy with the balance of news coverage, the editorials on the editorial page, and the accounts of what government officials said, I never had the impression that the media itself was foisting outright propaganda disguised as news.

Not that long ago, I think the staffs of most newspapers and magazines would have been deeply ashamed if they were caught pushing a story based on fabricated evidence. That's not true today. Mostly they brass it out, like Rather, Mapes and now Foer.

Posted by: huxley at September 10, 2007 06:53 PM

Assuming that the comments above are correct, that TNR has no reason to come clean because they are giving their subscribers exactly what they want, what leverage does Bob or anyone else have to get the truth out or to make anyone pay a price?

Posted by: Mark at September 10, 2007 06:59 PM

One wonders where the usual lefty suspects are...

Posted by: C-C-G at September 10, 2007 07:24 PM

>...what leverage does Bob or anyone else have to get the truth out or to make anyone pay a price?

Exactly. I don't see it happening. I enjoy watching Michelle Malkin's ambush attempt in the TNR office and I appreciate Bob's continuing efforts to cut the ground out from underneath TNR, but these people seem shameless.

Rather, Mapes and CBS never apologized or even acknowledged using forged docs on 60 Minutes, why should TNR and Foer apologize for Beauchamp?

Posted by: huxley at September 10, 2007 07:53 PM

There are still a number of people in the newspaper business who were trained prior to the J-school madrassas, many in positions of authority. The recent outrage in Seattle, I believe it was, where the reporters in the newsroom applauded the resignation of Karl Rove is a case in point. The editor, who was obviously trained at another place and time, took control of the situation. One such as he is rare in the media these days, but these are the ones we appeal to for justice.

Posted by: templar knight at September 10, 2007 09:03 PM


The price that Bob and others are forcing TNR (CBS, etc.) to pay is very high--trust in the publication. Ultimately that is death--once a majority of readers/viewers believe that the publication can no longer be trusted, fewer will read it and even fewer will risk ridicule citing it.

CBS understood that calculus very well when they dumped Dan and Mary Mapes. TNR clearly does not understand it at all.

Posted by: iconoclast at September 11, 2007 10:41 AM


Old-school journalists appear to be a dying breed. At least at the major dailies. In ten years that editor will be gone and the newsroom would cheer at an assasination attempt of their politial enemies.

I still don't really understand what is so special about a j-school degree. A college degree would be useful--general knowledge, ability to learn, and abilty to write/speak--but a good english or history degree with science distribution would accomplish that quite nicely. All the rest should be learned via mentoring, training, ojt. Wrong?

Posted by: iconoclast at September 11, 2007 10:46 AM

It is now obvious that the editors at TNR have now teamed up with OJ in the quest for the truth.

A truth that can be found in any mirror.

Posted by: Neo at September 11, 2007 01:07 PM