October 31, 2007

TNR's Publisher Responds

Along with at least one other person who contacted Canwest Global CFO John McGuire as part of the letter-writing campaign, I received an email from Elisabeth Sheldon, publisher of The New Republic.

Dear Mr. Owens,

Thank you very much for your interest in The New Republic . Your concerns were forwarded to me from John Maguire in our corporate offices.

While getting conclusive information on the Beauchamp file has been challenging, the editorial team posted an update on the website last Friday, October 26.

You will have a complete response soon.

From a business perspective, the Baghdad Diarist represented 3 pages of over 1,100 editorial pages published during the past year. Yet, it has accounted for a hugely disproportioned amount of time in trying to deal with the response.

Please be assured that we share your interest in transparency and in clarifying TNR's position as soon as possible.

Once we publish the final findings of our investigation, we hope that your confidence in The New Republic will be fully restored.


Elizabeth Sheldon

I responded to Publisher Sheldon and CC'd CFO Maguire:

Publisher Sheldon,

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond.

I do agree with you on a major point in your letter: getting conclusive information on the Beauchamp file has indeed been challenging, which is why, as an ethical publisher, you no doubt understand that when a part of a story, and entire story, or entire series of story contain elements that cannot be verified, it is incumbent on the publication to immediately retract some or all of those stories, even if conditionally.

We saw examples of how this should be addressed by publishing professionals last summer, when photographs taken by Adnan Hajj were discovered to have been manipulated on August 5, 2006. By August 7, after other discrepancies were found, Reuters "killed" all 920 pictures of Hajj's they had for sale, and by January 18, 2007 a top Reuters photo editor had been fired.

Reuters retracted the initial Hajj photo the same day it was discovered, and the next day disassociated themselves from the disgraced photographer after more evidence of doctored photos was found. 48 hours later, as a precautionary measure, they killed all of his work. A little more than five months later, Reuters fired the photo editor that let these manipulated photos slip into publication.

The comparisons between the Hajj case and the Beauchamp case are quite dissimilar.

When Michael Goldfarb challenged Beauchamp's story "Shock Troops" for the first time on July 18, his immediate responses came from soldiers in our military--experts, if you will--that strongly disputed the claims of the author, along with military vehicle experts. The New Republic had every reason to conditionally retract all three anecdotes in "Shock Troops" pending re-verification of the contentions of the author no later than the evening of July 18.

We all know, of course, that this did not happen. The story stayed up.

By July 20, it was proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that the author fabricated key elements of a previous story, "Dead of Night." In that story, the author claimed to have found a kind of pistol cartridge which does not exist. He also ascribes a murder to the Iraqi police because, "The only shell casings that look like that belong to Glocks. And the only people who use Glocks are the Iraqi police."

Had the editors of The New Republic made even a passing attempt at fact-checking this story, they would have quickly noted that there is no such thing as a square-backed 9mm cartridge. They would know that the Glock pistol chambers a standard 9mm NATO pistol cartridge, easily the most popular and reproduced pistol cartridge on planet Earth. They would also have known, if they had even bothered to try so much as a Google search, that the Glock, far from being a weapon only provided to the Iraqi police, is among the most widespread handguns in the country of Iraq.

Likewise, it was noted that the author's first story, "War Bonds" was predicated on the author meeting an Iraqi boy while pulling security for a Humvee that was having its tire changed on a urban patrol. Because of the threat of ambush, it is standard operating procedure to tow vehicles that are disabled. There is also the not so minor detail that Humvees are all equipped with run-flat tires, a fact published no later than July 25.

At this point a responsible publication should concede to grievous problems with the three stories they published by this author, conditionally retract all three of them, and explain that this was done to ensure that this was done out of a respect for the magazine's readers, and that an investigation would be conducted quickly and competently.

Of course, we know that didn't happen.

Instead, Franklin Foe claimed, and has claimed, that "Shock Troops" was "rigorously edited and fact-checked before it was published," a statement disproven by Foer when he had to shift the time of one key claim months into the past, and into another country. Doing so demolished the entire premise of the story, and again, should have necessitated a full retraction of this article. Once again, the editors of The New Republic failed their readers.

It has gotten worse, of course.

On August 2, "The Editors" attempted to claim that in attempting to "re-report" this story they interviewed:

...current and former soldiers, forensic experts, and other journalists who have covered the war extensively. And we sought assistance from Army Public Affairs officers...

We know that multiple Army Public Affairs officers told The New Republic that the story was false prior to this publication, including Major Kirk Luedeke at FOB Falcon and Sergeant First Class Robert Timmons.

Since then, quite a few more experts have come forward to deny this story, as I noted earlier this week in a comment elsewhere:

Col. Ricky Gibbs, commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad. Beauchamp's CO. "He [Beauchamp] did admit to the investigating officer that the incidents did not take place."

Major John Cross, the investigating officer of the formal investigation which found all claims to be false.

First Sergeant Hatley, Beauchamp's Sgt, who stated from the beginning "not a single word of this was true."

Major Kirk Luedeke, FOB Falcon PAO.

Major Renee D. Russo. Kuwait-based PAO, called the burned woman claim an "urban myth or legend." Told that to TNR's Jason Zengerle months ago. TNR refused to print it.

William "Big Country" Coughlin, civilian contractor, Camp Arifjan Kuwait. Said such a woman never existed, other words unsuitable for print.

Doug Coffey, Head of Communications, Land & Armaments, for BAE Systems, manufacturer of the Bradley IFV. Debunked the physics/mechanics of the dog story. Also killed TNR's credibility when it was revealed TNR purposefully refused to provide him details of the story, in order to create their whitewash of an investigation with their "re-reporting."

Richard Peters, Iraq Veterans Against the War (formerly stationed at FOB Falcon in 2005-2006) who called Beauchamp's claims "elaborate lies" and Beauchamp himself a "loser."

There were, of course, more. There was a formal military investigation completed, and all of the claims made in "Shock Troops" we found false. Not just uncorroborated: false.

How have Franklin Foer and The New Republic defended their inaction to date?

They've failed to provide a single on-the-record statement by any expert or soldier to corroborate the author's claims. In fact, one of the experts interviewed by The New Republic, Doug Coffey, Head of Communications, Land & Armaments, for BAE Systems, revealed that The New Republic did not show him the claims made by Beauchamp at all, and once he did review the claims made in the story, found them highly unlikely.

In addition to failing to support the story, there is evidence that they have attempted to orchestrate a cover-up for the fact that they did not fact-check a single one of the author's stories prior to publication, even though claims made in those stories include acts of barbarity, cruelty, and even an spurious allegation of murder.

"Shock Troops" should have been conditionally withdrawn by the evening of July 18, and all three of the author's stories should have been withdrawn no later than July 20.

The Editors of The New Republic passed this point over three months ago. Since then, the editors in this story have only further dishonored themselves and the magazine as they concealed testimony, hid interviews, attacked the military, and other critics, and misused experts.

I would ask you, Publisher Sheldon, just how seriously you regard The New Republic's obligation to act within a framework of journalistic ethics, and to what standards you feel the editors of The New Republic should be held accountable.


Bob Owens

It will be interesting to note how she choses to respond.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 31, 2007 09:15 PM
It will be interesting to note how she choses to respond.

I'll put $5 on "she chooses not to respond, at least not directly."

Posted by: C-C-G at October 31, 2007 09:19 PM


I'm sure you noticed that your response from Elizabeth Sheldon was word for word the same as a response received by a commenter here.

As one of the primary investigators of this sordid little mess that TNR has dug up for itself, one might have thought TNR would do you the courtesy of a personalized response.

TNR knows who you are. CanWest knows who you are - they've been a-visiting here, so you've mntioned. And yet this is the response you get.

Sure seems completely dismissive to me.

Posted by: Justacanuck at October 31, 2007 09:29 PM

Well, yeah.

I'm just a little blogger, and they're a respected magazine. They've got nothing to fear.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at October 31, 2007 09:33 PM

Learn to use "who", "that" and "which" properly. It would help your writing.

Posted by: Jake at October 31, 2007 09:52 PM

I learned how long ago. Putting it into practice is admittedly spotty at times...

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at October 31, 2007 09:59 PM

I believe you have received their response. It think it's telling when she states "the baghdad diarist represent 3 pages out of 1,100 editorial pages." The company line will be "you right wing nutjobs are blowing this all out of proportion. Move along."

Posted by: Tim at October 31, 2007 10:00 PM
From a business perspective, the Baghdad Diarist represented 3 pages of over 1,100 editorial pages published during the past year. Yet, it has accounted for a hugely disproportioned amount of time in trying to deal with the response.

She seems to be mystified by this. How amusing. I will be surprised if she answers with anything more than yet another evasion. Good for you for keeping the pressure on!

Posted by: Teresa at October 31, 2007 10:12 PM

i agree with Tim, Bob. you have heard from the TNR folks all you are going to hear.

the only thing you will hear from that publication going forward is the sound of wagons circling.

THEY believe Beauchamp, and they believe the worst about the troops and the allied mission in Iraq. Thus you will not hear from them again, imho.

Posted by: mike d at October 31, 2007 10:23 PM

You're doing great work, Bob, bless you. I've personally gotten to the point where I don't care, anymore. I don't trust anything these people report, anyway, so why should it matter to me whether they retract this Beauchamp b.s. or hunker down and hope that it blows over?

Unfortunately, I think that they are hoping that all of us adopt the same attitude. So, I guess that the moral of the story is: Don't be like me. Keep fighting.

Posted by: SWLiP at October 31, 2007 10:45 PM
From a business perspective, the Baghdad Diarist represented 3 pages of over 1,100 editorial pages published during the past year. Yet, it has accounted for a hugely disproportioned amount of time in trying to deal with the response.

You can always use the classic "6 sigma" approach... So it's okay to have 3 pages of over 1,100 pages that are complete lies? I guess it's okay to have 3 patients die of mysterious causes in a hospital with 1,100 beds.

Of course, she also skews the stats by mixing pure opinion editorial content with this content which is pure narrative.

Posted by: JFH at October 31, 2007 10:48 PM

"Skip the rush to judgement, rush to boycott."

Er . . . what rush? Did you not understand a single word that Bob wrote? The entire point of his article is that the TNR editors have had three months to respond to these charges. That is far longer than Reuters needed to respond when Adnan Hajj's chicanery was exposed.

TNR's critics have been far more patient than the magazine deserves. Franklin Foer and his staff have failed to provide an appropriate response not because anyone is "rushing" them, but because Foer and company have chosen to stonewall, spin, and lie rather than admit that they screwed up.

How much longer is Bob obligated to wait, in your view? Another three months? Six months? A year?

Posted by: Pat at October 31, 2007 10:50 PM

Learn to use "who", "that" and "which" properly. It would help your writing.

Posted by: Jake at October 31, 2007 09:52 PM

This has to be one of Mr. Grammar/Spelling challenged by day - sock puppet by night Glenn Greenwald's editors I presume?

Posted by: Timber at October 31, 2007 10:51 PM

"Learn to use "who", "that" and "which" properly. It would help your writing.

Posted by: Jake at October 31, 2007 09:52 PM"

Snotty Jake here has his eye on the prize. It doesn't matter how strong, how dispositive your evidence.

What REALLY matters is making sure one uses "who", "that" and "which" correctly on a blog, where typically nothing is proofread..

Granted, I'm all for proper grammar and syntax.

But fer GAWD's SAKE, Jake, can't you offer any opinion about the article itself, instead of giving us prissy comments not about what the author said, but how he said it?

Posted by: fulldroolcup at October 31, 2007 10:52 PM

That was odd. The comment I was replying to disappeared while I was composing my response. What happened?

Posted by: Pat at October 31, 2007 10:53 PM

I agree with the above, Bob. These people have an entirely different concept of Truth. What advances their agenda, and makes them feel good about themselves is "truth." It was Rather, I believe, that in all seriousness advanced the notion that something could be false, yet accurate.

There is just no dealing with such people. Their time has passed, but they don't see it. Time, Newsweek, and the old, gray woman are physically shrinking before our eyes, and yet they still believe...something.

Ms. Sheldon,

Your goose is cooked, but you can't see that it is plucked, and so are you.

Posted by: Bill Smith at October 31, 2007 11:03 PM

...represented 3 pages of over 1,100 editorial pages published during the past year...

Only 1097 pages left to fisk. I wonder how many more errors we will find.

Posted by: MagicalPat at October 31, 2007 11:12 PM

Reading that "3 [out of] 1100" comment I couldn't help thinking (I don't know why) of John Wilkes Booth and Abraham Lincoln. After all, Wilkes' bullet was just one out of millions fired by those supporting the Southern cause, yet "it accounted for a hugely disproportioned [sic] amount of time in trying to deal with the response." Sometimes size is irrelevant to importance.

Also, I'm with Jake on the grammar. It can make a huge difference in giving a professional appearance and can carry one a long, long way in getting taken seriously. It's not too much to ask when writing to a magazine to make an effort to get the grammar (and spelling) 99.9% correct. It's in any writer's best long-term interest.

As an example, Ms. Sheldon needs to bone up on the difference between "disproportioned" and "disproportionate". (As well as the difference between good journalism and shoddy journalism.)

Posted by: kcom at October 31, 2007 11:12 PM

Three of 1,100 leaves 1,097 stories still waiting to be fact-checked.

Posted by: J. Roth at October 31, 2007 11:24 PM

Nifong tried the same game. He said he had "evidence." And, the defense wasn't allowed to have this presented to them in an organized manner.

Instead, one defense attorney, buying a book on reading DNA, sat with these thousands of entries, spread out on a conference table. To decern what Nifong tried to hide.

For this reason, in RULES OF EVIDENCE, the defense can have their own experts.

It might not look like a mistake, now. But the US ARMY did have control of Beauchamp. And, he was not made available to TNR. Then? Well, you get the Nifong presentation. You can buy it. Or not.

But for the US Army's PR machine to go after TNR, and ask them to surrender; overlooks the fact that our army should not be engaged in destroying liberal magazines. That's just a difference in points of view.

So far, this Iraqi engagement has cost us $3-trillion dollars. Maliki doesn't like Mr. Bush. And, we have troops in harm's way; among arabs who wouldn't mind killing our kids. We've had to learn protective measures.

This should not include going after a publication. Not without giving Franklin Foer the first thing he asked for: ACCESS. ACCESS DENIED. IS JUSTICE DENIED.

Posted by: Carol Herman at October 31, 2007 11:37 PM

aside: Is calling her 'Publisher Sheldon' the appropriate way to start your letter, Blogger Owens?

Might be, but it sounds pretty funny :).

Posted by: Kevin at October 31, 2007 11:45 PM

I see that Ms. Herman hasn't been paying attention.

Posted by: Mark A. Flacy at November 1, 2007 12:19 AM

Oh, Ms. Herman has been paying attention, but Ms. Herman is attempting a bit of misdirection, and chaff flinging.

Bob has TNR nailed, and everybody knows it. What Nifong did, how Maliki feels, and the U. S. Army did NOT do, Ms. Herman, has zip to do with the facts presented.

Ms. Harman is trying the Rather defense: Our facts were wrong, but WE are right.


Posted by: Bill Smith at November 1, 2007 12:56 AM

Carol - The U.S. Army is not making allegations against TNR. Their only actions were against Beauchamp. Check your facts.

If TNR has already 100% fact checked and rechecked the articles as they claim, they should not even need Beauchamp to prove the veracity of what they printed. Let them lay out their case. There is nothing they should be waiting for based on their prior statements.

Posted by: daleyrocks at November 1, 2007 01:07 AM

But the US ARMY did have control of Beauchamp. And, he was not made available to TNR.

Er, no, Carol. The only claim that "Beauchamp was not made available" was made by Franklin Foer. In every one of Foer's claims about this case that has been subject to independent examination, from "fact-checked before publication" to "we have been unable to speak...", Foer has been demonstrated to be lying.

The only things that Foer, TNR, and this Sheldon broad have come up with from their side are anonymous (nonexistent?) sources and unsourced and unverifiable allegations.

Stephen Glass at least tried to dummy up some evidence when he started TNR down the path of fabrication upon which others (serial fabricator Eve Fairbanks and now Foer hisownself) have kept the magazine.

They talk about the Army stonewalling, but consider the secrets they kept:

* the Beauchamp-Reeve connection
* the absence of pre-release fact-checking
* the phone call
* Beauchamp's refusal to stand by the story(!)
* Their own (Scoblic) conclusion that this merited retraction(!)
* Scoblic's backpedaling from involvement with the story (throwing Foer under bus?)
* the threat to Reeve's job in the phone call
* the subsequent execution of the threat
* the names of their corroborators (if any)
* the names of their military experts (ditto)
* the date, time and content of the FOIA filing (if any)

Transparency, my eye.

As an editor, Fabricating Franklin is a phony facsimile. In the phone conversation (which Fabricating Frank kept secret), Peter Scoblic says that Frank's reputation has been dragged through the mud. Sure it has, but only by Frank.

If you lie, you get a reputation as a liar. Ms Sheldon seems to think this terribly unfair. As she climbs down into Franklin Foer's mud.

Posted by: Kevin R.C. 'Hognose' O'Brien at November 1, 2007 01:10 AM

I think your letter to Ms.Sheldon was too long. A shorter one would be:


Apparently when the "Weekly World News" ceased publication, you figured that the market niche for a publication that everybody knows is false had opened up. This is the only conclusion that can be drawn from your refusal to fire Franklin Foer so that his replacement can try to rebuild the shattered reputation of "The New Republic".

Posted by: Mark in Texas at November 1, 2007 01:33 AM

How many of the 1,100 pages are advertising?

Perhaps they can rebrand themselves as publishers of war porn fiction. A lurid picture of a dog being run over by an M1A1 should be good for their first cover. Sad eyes with an "I know I'm going to die" look would be perfect.

I think (given the TNR attitude) that there is a big market for this stuff.

Throw in a couple of "no shit, I was there when it happened" type phrases and you have a real winner.

Posted by: M. Simon at November 1, 2007 05:17 AM


You are usually much better informed than you comment above indicates.

Either some one has stole your nic or you are losing your touch.

I vote for stolen nic. The above is too short for a real Carol Herman bit.


Posted by: M. Simon at November 1, 2007 05:28 AM

"...represented 3 pages of over 1,100 editorial pages published during the past year...hugely disproportioned amount of time..." If those other 1097 pages had nothing but stories about alien abductions, predictions from Nostradamus about polar bears and chickpeas and Hollywood celebrity nonsense glitter, Beauchamp would have just been more background static.

Posted by: Kerry at November 1, 2007 05:53 AM

Yet, it has accounted for a hugely disproportioned amount of time in trying to deal with the response.

In other words, "You people with nothing better to do are wasting our valuable time."

To which I would respond, "And how much time was wasted investigating these scurrilous lies by an Army unit that has far more important things to do than you will ever, EVER have in your empty little lives?"

Posted by: DaveG at November 1, 2007 06:13 AM

FYI, for anyone that is a long-time reader of Captain's Quarters, the above poster is not Carol Herman. The posters comments were a) completely understandable though deliberately false and b) she did not attempt to tie the topic in to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

The real Carol has a distinctive style that is a challenge to follow and indicative of a person who has experienced things that most of us have not. This Carol Herman is a drably ordinary inverse sock puppet troll.

Posted by: Immolate at November 1, 2007 07:27 AM


"The real Carol has a distinctive style that is a challenge to follow"

You got that right in one buddy.

It usually takes me a couple complete readings to unravel a real Carol Herman posting.

Posted by: memomachine at November 1, 2007 09:44 AM

The Publisher mentioned an editorial error rate of three-tenths of one percent. One may look at business operations and be extremely happy that 99.997% of transactions are correctly processed.

I am a shareholder of a $2.2 billion dollar company with $2.0 billion in expenses. The 3/10 of 1% error rate applied to expenses means $6 million was not correctly processed. That is alot of shareholder money not sitting in my bank account.

Posted by: john43085 at November 1, 2007 10:31 AM

I respectfully disagree with commenters that believe TNR "screwed up" or "made a mistake" and should just admit it.

The editors of TNR are fully vested - emotionally, financially and politically, in their own country losing a war. Accordingly, we MUST lose the war. Period. Beauchamp's articles fit the narrative. Why check them? The ends justifies the means. Plus, the Franklin Foers of the world just KNOW that the US Military is full of the types of people depicted by Beauchamp. Fake but accurate.

TNR and the rest of far left that control the DNC will stop at nothing short of taking up arms themselves and fighting our troops to ensure that we lose the war. They just tried to alienate Turkey, a key ally, didn't they? They consistently lie about the war and our military don't they?

The MSM are the enemy. That may be emotionally unpleasant for some Americans, but its the truth.

Posted by: BDT at November 1, 2007 11:04 AM

M. Simon, nobody stole my "nic." As a matter of fact, I can prove to you that it is ME. Because you once sent me in search of BASIL LIDDELL HART. Remember?

As to TNR's silence, I'm not so sure it isn't a winning device.

Here. Let me show you why.

One of the hardest things to do in selling, is "THE CLOSE." And, when people learn how do do it, well. They learn that as soon as THEY CLOSE, the shut up. To talk, is to weaken your position. And, you lose the sale.

SO. No matter how long it takes. You don't say a word. ALL THE WORDS THAT FLOW FROM OTHERS; are on the losing side. You just hold your pen, available. SO you can get the contract signed.

TNR? They asked to speak directly to Beauchamp, when the PR machinery of the Army went into full gear.

Sure. This could work if a judge was incipid. If he didn't know what happened to Nifong, from a hole in the wall. And, he didn't know that in America, under the US Constitution, we have an ADVERSARIAL posture. So, the prosecution "rests." And, the defense is entitled to have ALL the information being used to "convict." As well as the opportunity to have their own experts.

Beauchamp wasn't made available, though.

So, TNR just "shut up."

Some day, ahead, things will calm down enough; other issues will rise up. (Like the troubles Condi is having at State, now. With rebellion from diplomats who don't want to be forced into Baghdad.) Whole other issue. But it's out there.

Seems Irak ain't paradise. And, more than dogs in the streets get run over. (Do arabs even have dogs? They hate them so. Being a dog in Irak must be awful business.)

By the way, one thing we won't have from Irak, is either Paris. Or Saigon. And, the saud's aren't entertaining our troops, either. How come? Aren't the arabs supposed to be generous with hospitality? How come the saud's can treat our troops like crap. As if all they are ... are ass wipes for the Saud's grand plans ... without having a day of comeuppance?) You think I'm kidding?

Oh, I'm not the only American fatigued by Bush's crappy maneuvers. And, Rice? I hope she gets it good right on the grounds where she's "da boss." She's certainly not respected!

Rice or Beauchamp? Whose respected least? Nah. I don't care whom you choose.

Posted by: Carol Herman at November 1, 2007 12:34 PM

You know, it's true. Most Americans don't like to read.

Heck, to write a best selling book in our world, all you have to do is sell less than one hundred thousand copies. (And, some of those go to libraries. Stuck up on shelves. Going unread.)

Posted by: Carol Herman at November 1, 2007 12:36 PM


If this thing with TNR was a 'business deal', you are completely correct in your analysis. However, since it is not, your 'closing' argument is based on fallacy and is, therefore, just as false.

As for the rest...huh? What the *bleep* does that have to do with this topic other than being a nice distracting segue?

Posted by: Mark at November 1, 2007 12:46 PM

Keep at 'em Bob! Those that can not see the importance of holding TNR to account are simply ignorant of duties of the journalist, editor, and publisher. The fact that these people are earmarked by the US Constitution as bearers of our information indicates there is a responsibility. The fact that journalists, editors, and publishers/producers have shirked their responsibility to manufacture ani-US and Anti-Bush information is what this Beauchamp story and the TNR's refusal to retract is all about.

Posted by: mekan at November 1, 2007 12:54 PM

Bob, have you seen this?

It looks like Beauchamp may not have made up the dog story out of whole cloth.

Posted by: Grey Fox at November 1, 2007 12:55 PM

"Beauchamp wasn't made available, though."

I know it's pointless to respond, but, yes, in fact, he was. At first he, himself, refused to talk to TNR, or anyone else. A bit later on, he evidently DID talk to TNR (although they never let on that such a conversation had taken place.) You perhaps have seen the transcript of that conversation? (If not, check out: ) And Foer claims there was at least one more conversation.

(No word on whether Nifong was present at any of these phone conversations, however....)

Posted by: notropis at November 1, 2007 12:58 PM

john43085- It's worse than you state. 1,097/1,100= 99.73% correct. You are correct in stating that 3/10th of one -percent were incorrect, but that means that 99.7% were correct, not 99.997%

Posted by: Dave S. at November 1, 2007 01:02 PM

You deserve a big pat on the back for your efforts, and keeping us updated on your blog - thanks, Bob.

And in a world of words like "prioritize", "orientate", and "effectuate", I think you can be forgiven for your few grammatical lapses.

Posted by: Andy Robson at November 1, 2007 01:12 PM

IMO, at least a part of the explanation for TNR's behavior is marketing.

TNR's historically been a magazine of the liberal / left. Where Bush is concerned, though, TNR didn't succumb to BDS as quickly as its audience (and it paid a price for its apostasy).

As I recall, on taking his post, Foer let it be known that he intended to "re-connect" TNR with its historical audience. Printing the Bea-chump stuff was just part of that 'reconnection'.

So here's what's happened / happening:

They ran with the stories initially because Foer, et al. knew they'd be welcome / prove popular with their target audience . . . consider them a "mea culpa" for being late to the party.

Then they blew up in Foer's face. Now what? Given his business plan, TNR's painted itself into a corner: not only will the target audience welcome (and swallow whole) Foer's "Army coercion / stonewall" claim - in fact, I suspect Foer thinks it will ultimately be 'good for business' - they also know/believe TNR will be punished by the same audience if it "backs down."

By Foer's calculations, the people who are offended by the fraud perpetrated by TNR don't read the magazine in the first place, so he's going to play to his audience. And that means continuing to insist it's true & accusing the Army of coercion / cover up.

Posted by: BD at November 1, 2007 01:13 PM

Memo to Elisabeth Sheldon, cc: Franklin Foer

Here's how to deal with a contributing writer exhibiting a now obvious lack of accuracy in the assertions they've published using your good name.

It's something I thought I'd never post about HuffBlo, but here it is: Kudos Arianna.

Posted by: Justacanuck at November 1, 2007 03:32 PM

Only 3 of 1100, eh?

Good thing she doesn't run an airline.

"Only 3 of 1100 flights have resulted in crashes. Aside from those, our safety record is perfect."

Posted by: Scott R. Lucado at November 1, 2007 05:32 PM

I can't get TNR to cancel my subscription and return my money. Feel free to use my online access:, pswd: trashit

Posted by: M. Phillips at November 1, 2007 05:37 PM


@ Grey Fox

It looks like Beauchamp may not have made up the dog story out of whole cloth.

Take it from someone who has spent a lot of time inside of armored vehicles.

There's a HUGE difference between a hummer and an armored vehicle.

So no. That link doesn't actually do anything to support Beauchamp. Sorry.

Posted by: memomachine at November 2, 2007 02:12 PM

I think the point of the post was that troops occasionally run down dogs for fun. Hence the "whole cloth" comment. I think it has been pretty well proven that they couldn't run down dogs in the way Beauchamp described, so he was still making stuff up. And, running down dogs was the least of the things Beauchamp claimed, so it hardly validates Beauchamp even if every word concerning dogs was true. I just though that Bob might be interested.

Posted by: Grey Fox at November 2, 2007 03:20 PM

Michael Yon had an opportunity to interview Mr. Beauchamp but declined. Mr. Beauchamp was offered a chance to leave Iraq but declined according to Michael from an interview with his CO. Thus Mr. Beauchamp has stayed to face his fellow soldiers and continue the fight. Good for him. That could be a story in itself. He has more guts than TNR management in this situation.

Posted by: amr at November 2, 2007 09:17 PM

AMR, you are correct. Beauchamp does deserve credit for making up with his fellow soldiers and finishing his tour of duty.

Beauchamp seems like a guy who got in over his head and is now working on setting things straight.

Therefore, and for that, I salute him.

Posted by: C-C-G at November 3, 2007 08:29 AM