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September 12, 2007

What Else Remains

At this point in the Scott Beauchamp/The New Republic scandal, only two questions really matter:

  1. Have the editors of The New Republic spoken with Scott Beauchamp since his July 26 statement outing himself?

  2. If so, does Beauchamp still stand by his stories as he then claimed?

There are several reasons to ask this question now, starting with the fact that we know Scott Beauchamp has very recently been available for interviews.

It was quite easy to verify this: I sent in a request for an interview with Private Beauchamp several weeks ago. When he turned it down this past week, it verified that he had returned from COP Ellis to FOB Falcon. His log-in to his MySpace page on September 6 also corroborates his return.

Under intense pressure to provide support for the stories that have tarnished the magazine's image, Franklin Foer was no doubt first in line to try to speak with Private Beauchamp once he returned to FOB Falcon. It would also be reasonable to assume that because of their previous relationship, Beauchamp would choose to speak to Foer or other editors of The New Republic if he chose to speak with anyone at all. Could we interpret the magazine's continuing silence to mean that Beauchamp himself has backed away from his previous claims?

If Franklin Foer cannot get Scott Beauchamp to provide supporting evidence for the claims he posted, then Foer has an obligation and a duty to retract all three of Beauchamp's stories.

The problem with doing so, however, is that the retractions would also show that "the Editors" previous claim that "the article was rigorously edited and fact-checked before it was published" to also be a dishonest fabrication, and that deception would demand editorial resignations at TNR as well.

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Update: I made a few minor tweaks o the text above, but nothing substantial.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 12, 2007 02:00 AM
Comments

Bob thanks for continuing to put this issue up on the screen. I concur with an earlier comment on an earlier article: although it is true that Foer et al, don't care about the truth and are just pandering to their like-minded core readership, your efforts are not at all in vain. They are outed and their credibility is being eroded. Rightly so. Those readers who do have some integrity are going to feel defrauded even if they agree with the "narrative" in general. People will stop citing TNR's articles. At least some writers, even on the left, are not going to want to be associated with it and will sell their wares elsewhere. No matter how accurate some of their reporting may be, no one can ever really be sure whether or not its been fact checked and/or whether its being made up if its published in TNR. The truthers and other rabid lefties won't care. This is a similar situation to what happens when a small-town police department allows one low-life bar or club to remain open for business in a bad part of town, knowing that it is full of criminals, prostitutes and drug dealers. They could shut it down but don't because it serves purpose; at least they have them all concentrated in one place and you can keep tabs on what they are doing. TNR can now become the low-life pseudo-intellectual lefty hang-out, full of oblivious "insiders" who don't have a clue what they look like to the "outsiders." CY is doing great work now in getting them identified for what they really are and helping them move into their new role. The more the public is reminded of what they are, the better.

Posted by: Stephanie at September 12, 2007 06:23 AM
Could we interpret the magazine's continuing silence to mean that Beauchamp himself has backed away from his previous claims?....The problem with doing so, however, is that the retractions would also show that "the Editors" previous claim that "the article was rigorously edited and fact-checked before it was published" to also be a dishonest fabrication, and that deception would demand editorial resignations at TNR as well.

Both these things might be true, but, as it stands, this is speculation built upon speculation and then published with the aura of fact--after all, you have a goal of holding the "MSM" to a rigorous standard of veracity. Isn't this kind of "if...then" guesswork the kind of thing you'd bust TNR for if they tried it?

Posted by: nunaim at September 12, 2007 08:17 AM

With TNR and STB staying silent all there can be from this point forward is speculation. Although their silence is damning....I speculate.

Posted by: T.Ferg at September 12, 2007 09:08 AM

Nunaim,

It is not published as fact. It is speculation and clearly stated as such. And T.Ferg makes another very clear point as to the protracted silence from TNR. There is nothing wrong with having a contrarian around here but you often go to such pretzeled lengths to take issue that you look silly.

Posted by: rbnyc at September 12, 2007 09:25 AM

Bob,

Well done.

And congratulations to you and the Mrs.

And yes, nunaim is a troll.

Over and over again there are contrarian commments for their own sake, adding nothing to the discussion.

Sorry.

It's just the way it is.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: MTT at September 12, 2007 12:53 PM

If Beauchamp's position is that he lied to TNR when heís talking to the army, and that he lied to the army when heís talking to TNR, he's home free. After all, itís not a crime to lie to a magazine and it's in the magazine's interest to believe he lied to the army. So everyone is happy and the whole thing drops from sight.

Posted by: Fred at September 12, 2007 12:58 PM

nunaim -- Beauchamp and TNR have made damaging claims about the military both in Beauchamp's articles and in TNR's indignant counter-attacks after Beauchamp's articles were questioned. It is their responsibility to demonstrate that the articles are true and that they were indeed fact-checked as claimed. So far they have done neither.

Bob Owens has been quite transparent about what he knows and how he knows it. There is no moral equivalence here. Beauchamp and TNR are not conducting themselves with good faith; Bob Owens is.

It's strange to have to explain things like this.

Posted by: huxley at September 12, 2007 01:00 PM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 09/12/2007
A short recon of whatís out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by: David M at September 12, 2007 01:24 PM

One of the most interesting aspects of this affair - indeed, to my mind, now the crux of it - is the mysterious statement of recantation supposedly signed by Private Beauchamp, but not released by the military due to "privacy concerns."

Somebody apparently leaked the fact that such a statement exists, but so far the recantation remains unpublished.

I wonder if there is anybody with legal standing to sue the military and force the release of the statement, if it does, indeed, exist?

If he did recant, it would certainly resolve this issue in the minds of most observers.

Posted by: Bill Quick at September 12, 2007 01:53 PM

I could be mistaken but I think Beauchamp himself could ask the Army to release it.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at September 12, 2007 01:57 PM

My opinion and clearly stated as such is that

TNR doesn't give a rats a** if the Scott Beauchamp stories are true or not. TNR has a small but loyal readership they have to satisfy. Doing this requires they print stories that fit a certain narrative with which their SBLR can agree.This makes the readership feel superior to all the rest of you rubes because only they have the brains, taste, and discrimination to read and understand the content of TNR. I used to feel the same way about Mad Magazine.

Posted by: Glenn at September 12, 2007 02:18 PM

AH Yes, He could ask for the release.....you know much as could Kerry have asked for "full and complete" release of his records!

Har!

Posted by: Duke DeLand at September 12, 2007 02:18 PM

In answer to Bill Quick, I deal with privacy matters on a regular basis at a university. I don't claim that the Army and the average university are the same, but I do know the law (written with regard to universities, private employers in the US, etc) generally protects privacy information from lawsuits by outsiders. There are always exceptions, and I suspect the law is some different for the military. That said, I'd be surprised if a lawsuit could shake loose any statement that Pvt. Beauchamp signed.

Posted by: Steve White at September 12, 2007 02:22 PM

When I was about 12 years old

Posted by: Glenn at September 12, 2007 02:22 PM

Hmmm.

*shrug* I believe also that Beauchamp could ask for copies of the documents he has signed and then send them to TNR or anybody else.

Posted by: memomachine at September 12, 2007 02:23 PM

Hmmm.

I assume that TNR is done with their summer vacation?

Or are they onto the super secret double vacation?

Posted by: memomachine at September 12, 2007 02:26 PM

It appears that Beauchamp did indeed recant - but what he recanted was his first signed statement to the Army in which, apparently, he said he hadn't been involved in the stories.

Later that day he signed a second statement acknowledging he was 'Scott Thomas', along with other stipulations we aren't privy to.

Posted by: molon labe at September 12, 2007 03:08 PM

I think a much more interesting question is: given that TNR's "fact checking" appears to have been done in bad faith, just how many people at the magazine knew it was fake all along?

Posted by: Daryl Herbert at September 12, 2007 03:19 PM

I can predict the future. This is the future what I can see in my magical eight ball:

SB will not talk until he is released from his military commitment, at which time TNR will let his "true story" be made public.

The "true story" will be that he has been telling the truth the entire time but that pressure from the military had kept him from saying so, and it is not cowardly to shrink in the face of the power of the American Military Industrial Complex.

Great applause and celebrations on the left side of the street for his heroic truth-telling-to-power ensues.

Posted by: Anga2010 at September 12, 2007 07:13 PM

This is another "fake but true" narrative along the lines of the Mary Mapes story on George Bush and the National Guard.

Even if its not "exactly" true, well, you know that is what happens to people when they go off to war. So, to a liberal, it must be true, because they have been told that it is true, that US soldiers are war criminals, and it is up to TNR and other "heros" of the anti-war movement to bring these beasts to task.

Look at the bevy of anti-military movies now in the pipeline, and it is quite obvious to me that the Left has now decided to attack the military itself, having had no real success in its attack on Bush and his allies. They are now in the business of slandering the military in an effort to turn the American people against the war on terror.

They may succeed. But, if they don't, I would hate to be in their shoes. In my mind some of them have now entered the realm of traitor, and they should be punished as such.

Posted by: templar knight at September 12, 2007 07:34 PM

To: Naysayers, namecallers, wankers and other haters up above:

You're wrong. The question I raised goes to the heart of what CY is trying to do here.

There has been a lot of complaint at this and other right-leaning sites about the bias and loose reporting of the "MSM." The blogosphere has been suggested as the antidote, the future of reporting. To that end, CY has spent what I'm assuming are countless hours emailing people and tracking down facts to correct shoddy reporting. He then presents the corrected facts here.

That work seems to me to be undone when raw speculation (and let's be honest: biased speculation, because it puts only the most anti-Beauchamp interpretation on things) is posted side-by-side with factual reportage. At least newspapers have a section labeled "Op/Ed," so you presumably know what you're getting there.

Is this the brave new world of reporting that we're told the Internet will bring to us? Isn't this further blurring the distinction between fact and fancy?

Also: Beauchamp has not issued a statement denouncing pedophilia. Can we assume from his silence that he is a pedophile?

Posted by: nunaim at September 13, 2007 08:39 AM

No. As of now there is no reason to believe that he is a pedophile. Your logic it quite poor.

Posted by: rbnyc at September 13, 2007 09:39 AM

Hmmmm.

@ nunaim

Completely wrong there, but nice hysteria. It suits.

*shrug* the simple fact is that TNR went out on a limb over Beauchamp and now have nothing. That is an essential fact. And because of that TNR needs a positive defense that requires Beauchamp's active involvement. That Beauchamp is handling TNR with a 20' pole is clearly indicative that Beauchamp has learned that exaggerating doesn't come without cost.

Posted by: memomachine at September 13, 2007 11:11 AM

Hmmmm
Hmmmm
Hmmmm?

*shrug*
*pick nose*
*belch quietly*
*scratch butt*

It's a sad world when a call for consistency, transparency and clarity are mistaken for hysteria.

Posted by: nunaim at September 13, 2007 07:33 PM

nunaim, most people with functional frontal lobes can tell the difference between what TNR attempted to do and what CY is attempting to do.

Why can't you?

Posted by: C-C-G at September 13, 2007 07:41 PM
It's a sad world when a call for consistency, transparency and clarity are mistaken for hysteria.

Perhaps you should have done that instead of whatever it was you were attempting. The only way things could be any clearer, more transparent or consistent would be for STB to do an in depth interview to clear his name.

He's not interested. What more do you need to know?

Posted by: Pablo at September 13, 2007 09:23 PM

Anga2010 Said:

Great applause and celebrations on the left side of the street for his heroic truth-telling-to-power ensues.

Aren't you forgetting the book deal and possible movie deal? I mean, that's what this has been about all along isn't it?

Sorry, blatant speculation there. Is that allowed?

Posted by: Dougie_Pundit at September 14, 2007 12:21 PM