October 25, 2007

Did I Mention Those Other TNR Investigation Documents?

My latest on the Beauchamp/TNR is up at Pajamas Media.

I'd also advise reading the latest from Michael Yon and Laughing Wolf at Blackfive. For all of his issues with the creative writing , Scott Beauchamp isn't the focus of this story any more, and more importantly, seems to be trying to earn back the trust of his fellow soldiers.

The New Republic, however, long ago ran out of second chances.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 25, 2007 02:19 PM

Not being familiar with the level of TNR complicity in the Steven Glass affair I could be wrong about this, Bob, but, technically, even if Foer et al. came clean, wouldn't TNR be on their third chance?

Posted by: Robert Stevens at October 25, 2007 05:38 PM

I very much agree with Yon. The kid is just a kid and it seems he is on his way to becoming a man. We should not get in his way.

On the other hand TNR would make a nice coon skin hat.

Posted by: David at October 25, 2007 06:25 PM

I think we still shouldn't mind looking over at Beauchamp and reminding him, "You really f*cked up." Don't many families do that about every Christmas at the get together?...
I think it is great he is trying to mend fences and make up, and I always believe in focusing on the future and what positive can be done in it. I honestly wish him the best. But, reminding ourselves (and some others) of their mistakes isn't exactly wrong and can help....or so my parents keep telling me....
I do think the recent turns this saga has taken have become very interesting....The whole Shattered Glass item has been flipped on its head...
There, the primary liar kept skunking around and ended up out of the business altogether only to write a book and become a lawyer....perfect....but the editors and others at TNR who came clean after been suckered for so long and went back really hunting for the other fabrications moved on in their careers.
This time around, the orignial liar is making amends and it looks like the big shot journalists are going to end up out of the business (I say with my fingers crossed...)

Posted by: usinkorea at October 25, 2007 07:12 PM
On the other hand TNR would make a nice coon skin hat.

OK, David wins the thread.

Posted by: Pablo at October 25, 2007 08:38 PM
WaPo: 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
Foer has claimed Beauchamp was being help incommunicado. He didn't admit the existence of the Sept. 6 conversation until the transcript was leaked. Now he claims (with no details) a second, unverifiable, conversation, as a counter to the documented one.

Foer's "other soldiers whom the magazine would not identify had confirmed the allegations" might just be anonymous emails from hotmail addresses written by Beauchamp, Elspeth Reeve, or others.

Posted by: davidp at October 25, 2007 09:10 PM
Foer's "other soldiers whom the magazine would not identify had confirmed the allegations" might just be anonymous emails from hotmail addresses written by Beauchamp, Elspeth Reeve, or others.

I think they're the same ones that gave Dan Rather the TANG memo. -LOL-

Posted by: C-C-G at October 25, 2007 09:28 PM


Over at PJM, you say that "Military sources have confirmed that these documents are legitimate." Does that include the transcript of the phone conversation between Beauchamp and TNR? Under what circumstances would the Army be taping a soldier's conversations? Did you make an FOIA request for such a transcript? Would it actually be ethical for them to grant such a request?

Posted by: JM Hanes at October 25, 2007 11:28 PM


yes, not sure, yes, and yes, as I think they are considered public records.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at October 25, 2007 11:45 PM

When one thinks about how this all played out, there really isn't much redeemable about Frank Foer's actions. His hyper communication freeze PR strategy that rivals that of any vulnerable corrupt politician TNR deems their duty to report on, his snarky unprofessional attack the messenger responses and manipulating pressure threats to the Private.

Just sitting here and putting myself in Foer's place in those earlier days I can think of more than a few steps he could have taken that would have at least protected the publication he is a leader among.

Think if Foer had decided to take the questions raised by skeptics seriously and instead of defaulting to immature rookie hour attacks, said he appreciated the seriousness of those questions and had appointed a removed TNR representetive to conduct an open and independent investigation - rather than pull in other TNR colleagues who had very little to do with the initial story to start RE-reporting? I mean many others like Jason Zengele got pulled in this mess.

Further, had he engaged those raising questions, rather than the really silly and defensive attacks with upfront assurances of answers and seriousness, he'd had bought himself enough time to a least address the role nepotism played in clouding their normal serious process of fact checking to a degree that would have mitigated some of the sentiment.

So that Foer deemed himself chief "controller" and this mis-contolled this puppies to disastrous proportions really demonstrates this ego ain't capable of serious leadership or a loyalty to his colleagues and people that work for him.

Jason Zengele, who to my knowledge, had very little to do with the initial diaries got sucked into a re-fact checker role -- tainted by association. And so Foer has know tainted many young talents.

All because Foer has not the maturity, experience or humility to act like the editor post he was given.

He's a gutless wonder because he was afraid of loosing what little credibility he had in the lefty internet community, like the fake pandering we see from the elected Dems.

The lefty of the blogosphere has stifled truth. Foer is as much a victim of honesty as the private due to the left blog truth haters,

Posted by: Tipper at October 25, 2007 11:54 PM

Thanks Pablo, victory lap.

Posted by: David at October 26, 2007 12:18 AM

If TNR and Foer are unwilling to do the only right thing - apologize profusely immediately - and reveal the rest of the cards they are clearly hiding,

And/or if TNR / CanWest Global Media is not going to take action against Foer and show him the door for a clear breach of journalistic ethics,

Then hasn't the time come to use our final weapon - educate and inform the financial supporters of TNR, namely the remaining five advertisers, of TNRs malicious coverup of a smear against the military they enabled and continue to hide?

If TNR won't do the ethical right thing and send Foer and anyone directly involved in this debacle packing, then they need to be hit in the pocketbook, and HARD.

A FAQ on the web would be a simple thing put forth using only the information now available in the public domain.

If Foer's scalp isn't on a plate in short order, I believe this is something that needs serious consideration.

Posted by: Justacanuck at October 26, 2007 09:41 AM

Under what circumstances would the Army be taping a soldier's conversations?

Purely speculative, here -- Foer claimed back end-of-July / early-August that he talked to Beauchamp, and represented that Beauchamp had said certain things. If Beauchamp told the army that Foer had misrepresented those conversations, and asked higher ups to help him out by providing witnesses when he talked to TNR, then that's the sort of thing that I imagine they would be happy to help out with.

It would also fit in with Foer's "Beauchamp is being held incommunicado" spin. If, instead, Beauchamp refuses to talk to TNR without witnesses, then it's obviously a lot more trouble to have a call than just picking up the phone. If first time that TNR wants to call the sargent is busy, and then the next time Scott is busy, and then next their best stenographer is busy, and then the next time both the sargent and Beauchamp are busy... Spin that through the left-handed looking glass, and it's the army's fault that TNR can't talk to Beauchamp.

Posted by: cathyf at October 26, 2007 10:36 AM

Foer's behavior has been absolutly Nixonian.

Posted by: DirtCrashr at October 26, 2007 11:35 AM

TNR has a new post up:

A Scott Beauchamp Update

Posted by: Justacanuck at October 26, 2007 11:41 AM

If Beauchamp really did reconfirm to TNR, the laying off the kid that Yon urged needs to be ignored.

Posted by: Laddy at October 26, 2007 12:05 PM

Notably absent from TNR's post linked above by justacanuck?

1) Any explanation of what Foer was doing asking Beauchump to cancel interviews with the other media.

2) Any explanation of what Foer was doing using Beauchump's wife to in effect blackmail him.

Well, that's what struck me anyway.

The wife thing really bothered me in that transcript and if you ask me the way Foer uses the wife really makes him a scumbag beneath contempt. Maybe you'd have to have been military and been away from home a bit in that situation to know how much of a sucker punch that wife crap would be to someone serving.

Posted by: DaveW at October 26, 2007 12:20 PM

TNR now wants us to believe that Foer had a private, unrecorded, subsequent telecon with STB and we should give credence to his account as opposed to the transcription of 6 September? OK-- let's assume Foer tried to play journalist for once. Let him answer these questions: Did he take notes? Will he show anyone those notes? Did he consider recording the conversation? Did STB refuse a request for recording? Why did he not come forward with this revelation months ago? Why did he not insist on having others present (on either or both ends) during the telecon for corroboration? Simply stated, I'm not buying the Army coverup line TNR's pushing.
Call me a skeptic, but since STB said he's not talking any more about this whole mess, Foer may be gambling on STB honoring his word, which means FF could make up/mischaracterize the whole private conversation, and not be called on it.
PS-- TNR could help its cause by releasing a copy of the FOIA request it claims it made. That would at least show us when they asked for documents and what they asked for.

Posted by: kyle at October 26, 2007 12:39 PM

Couple of points to make, first, it's pretty clear that the Beauchamp stories are part of policy at TNR. If they weren't and if there were any grownups at TNR Mr Foer and Mr Soblic would have had one or two of them ( the grownups) in their office sometime ago for a me talk, you listen, show me all you have, about the stories. If ownership were really honorable people and the stories were true they would have someone they could quote on the record. That may happen in the future and we'll have egg all over our collective faces but I don't think so.
TNR looks more and more like a sort of hobby for rich left wing dillitantes who use it to be "better than those proles". Lot of that going around these days.

Posted by: glenn at October 26, 2007 12:47 PM

Re Beaucamp's wife: If Foer picked up Beaucamp on his wife's recommendation, and published his BS without factchecking it because it fitted Foer's editorial stance ... how is this Elizabeth's fault? Isn't it even more Foer's responsibility that he violated basic journalistic ethics and practices out of nepotism as well as political predjudice?

Open message to TNR: put on the man pants and accept responsibility for your deeds.

On the same note, and as far as Scott goes- I have nothing but respect for Yon, but my ethos denies forgiveness to someone who won't work to earn it. Yes, Scott is doing a brave thing by staying in Iraq- but he HASN'T recanted, and he HASN'T apologised publicly to those he wronged publicly. Until that point there is no forgiveness.

Posted by: DaveP. at October 26, 2007 01:02 PM

I agree with Yon but it's under one condition. Scott comes clean, completely and openly and NOT to The New Republic, it needs to be out in the open.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at October 26, 2007 01:34 PM

Bob -

Thanks for the clarification.


I think Foer has no idea that the duress on display in the phone transcript actually looks a lot like it's coming from his side of the speakerphone.

Posted by: JM Hanes at October 26, 2007 05:35 PM

Sure. The Army has an excellent PR machine.

All Foer wanted was to go to Beauchamp, to CONFIRM.

This was "DENIED."

Lots of bloggers know well what "access denied" means.

And, Foer never changed his story.

He said TNR would INVESTIGATE. But to do so, they needed more information than a shell game, that said "57 unit members" have said Beauchamp's story is false. And, then never provided said paperwork. Because it's "secret."

By the way, Foer, by now knows that Beauchamp PLAGIARIZED the story of the deformed woman. It shows up in fiction. Something he must have read.

But the PR Machinery of the US ARMY missed this.

And, no. I haven't checked it out. I just remember reading that the story that went from Irak, to Kuwait, was NOT a n urban legend.

Foer, however, has kept repeating, that as a journalist he deserves access to his "source."

While the ARMY's PR machinery is in high gear.

And, all the other major media outlets stay as quiet as mice.

Foer never capitulated to the US Army.

And, what if the whole idea is to stand his ground? He's not fired. And, all you know is that the major media, who must dislike the strangle-hold of PR machinery ... is just not firing off any of its guns.

While Michael Yon? If I were in his shoes, I'd have asked for an interview with Beauchamp. Before advertising him as "one brave fella."


Because Yon shouldn't let the PR machinery co-opt his views on Irak.

Do you think lots of Americans are just clueless about Irak?

Wasn't the "most favorite guy" status given to Baghdad Bob? Maybe, Baghdad Bob can write a book?

Posted by: Carol Herman at October 27, 2007 01:51 PM

The comments about The New Republic's Shock Troops article posted to Confederate Yankee show how far a main stream publication will go to smear the effort in Iraq, and how ignorant anyone on their staff are of military matters.

By simply reading Private Beauchamp's description of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle used to kill two dogs, at the same time looking at a picture of a Bradley, Beauchamp's lies slap you in the face. You can see that the driver, who sits at the forward left, never could see a dog approaching at a walk from the right rear. Further, it is physically impossible for a Bradley at dead slow to pivot quickly enough to the right to hit an unseen dog. Of course, the fact that the right track would have to be stopped just to attempt the maneuver raises the degree of difficulty to a point much higher than making a hole in one (on a 350-yard par 4).

It would seem a professional publication would employ competent fact checkers, if they really wanted truth to will out.

Posted by: Major Mike at October 27, 2007 07:01 PM