December 01, 2007

TNR Folds

It took fourteen pages--13 of those geared towards Franklin' Foer's attempt to keep his job--but here's the punchline:

When I last spoke with Beauchamp in early November, he continued to stand by his stories. Unfortunately, the standards of this magazine require more than that. And, in light of the evidence available to us, after months of intensive re-reporting, we cannot be confident that the events in his pieces occurred in exactly the manner that he described them. Without that essential confidence, we cannot stand by these stories.

Stay tuned. I'll have much more later, including why Franklin Foer said nothing to justify keeping his job.

Update: As promised.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at December 1, 2007 03:24 PM

without yourr efforts this wouldn't have happened at all.

everyone who respects truth and demands it from the MSM owes YOU a debt of gratitude.


Posted by: reliapundit at December 1, 2007 03:46 PM

This is (at best) strike 2 for TNR. Foer aside, I don't see how TNR stays in business after this. Your headline is very prescient.

Thanks for your perseverance.

Posted by: capitano at December 1, 2007 03:46 PM

Hope you lead the outrage against National Review for publishing the lies of W. Thomas Smith Jr. with the same vigor you showed against TNR! Let us know who advertises at National Review so we can start boycotting them!

Posted by: tachyon at December 1, 2007 03:48 PM

About freaking time. Nicely done, Bob. Kudos to Mike Goldfarb as well.

tachyon, you got a case to make?

Posted by: Pablo at December 1, 2007 03:53 PM

I'm always amazed at people demanding OTHERS cover stories they think are important. You can get a free blog, tachyon, so you can do this for yourself.

Posted by: Rob Crawford at December 1, 2007 03:54 PM

Shut up tachyon.

Posted by: Kaitian at December 1, 2007 03:55 PM

What the hell are you talking about?
A troll without bait is just an idiot mumbling to himself.

Posted by: open_channel_d at December 1, 2007 03:56 PM

Someone should do a word count, to see how long it took to get to what is the whole story

". . . we cannot stand by these stories."

Still disregarding the first rule of holes at TNR.

PS - nice try Tachyon, but have read NRO's statements?

Posted by: Interested Conservative at December 1, 2007 03:57 PM

Tachyon: Blogger offers free blogs.

Spew your hatred of conservatives there.

But be sure to tell me the name of your blog, so I can go there and post things like this post in your comments section to make you look like a complete fool... unless and until you ban me for making you look like a complete fool.

Okay, enough feeding the trolls.

Bob, congrats! Got a silver platter handy for Foer's head?

Posted by: C-C-G at December 1, 2007 04:08 PM

The final nail in the coffin for the phony tales of a real (disgraced) soldier.

I hope we have seen the last of these for this war. Too many phony soliers and phony and exaggerated stories all aimed at hurting the war effort. The saddest thing of all is that most of it originated not from the enemy but from our own side, or at least our own countrymen I should say.

Posted by: Sam at December 1, 2007 04:13 PM

Where are W. Thomas Smith Jr.'s lies, tachyon?

Please, enlighten me with a few. Otherwise, keep you unfounded ad hominem entertainment in your pocket.

Posted by: Steve Schippert at December 1, 2007 04:15 PM

You are THE MAN!

Posted by: vanderleun at December 1, 2007 04:19 PM

"Unfortunately, the standards of this magazine require more "
He REGRETS the allegedly high standards of his publication?

Posted by: jmurphy at December 1, 2007 04:22 PM

Keeping current on Foer's malodorous efforts to escape responsibility for TNR's self-induced Beauchamp follies reminds us that seditious libel and slander should entail moral if not economic or legal consequences.

By now, we're entitled to consider CanWest an accomplice in this sad-sack's ongoing campaign to deny the undeniable. Foer and his Know Nothing ilk deserve exposure at every opportunity. Your service is invaluable: Thanks.

Posted by: John Blake at December 1, 2007 04:23 PM

For the Smith controversy, see the statements by Mr. Smith and Kathryn Jean Lopez. That NRO's standards are much higher than TNR's will be evident to any fair-minded reader.

Posted by: Tom Veal at December 1, 2007 04:24 PM

After 30+ years in the newspaper business it still amazes me how childishly peevish journalists are when caught fictionalizing their accounts. His homophobic epithet thrown at Matt Sanchez is the sign of another lib who never graduated, emotionally, from 4th grade.

Posted by: Don Surber at December 1, 2007 04:26 PM

NOW they can't stand behind the story? NOW?

Posted by: MagicalPat at December 1, 2007 04:28 PM

Thank you for the continuing efforts that ultimately forced The New Republic to admit their negligence.

Unfortunately in journalism and politics (to name a couple of occupations) we are witnessing an increasing amount of lying in order to justify the desired ending.

It is dedicated people like you who are our heroes.

Posted by: Larry at December 1, 2007 04:40 PM

Hurrah for the Confederate Yankee!

Posted by: Looking Glass at December 1, 2007 04:46 PM

"Unfortunately, the standards of this magazine require more than that."

Would TNR please publish those standards?

I looked quite a bit at the time of the story's original publication and couldn't find them. Until such point the operative assumption is that they have none, or make them up as they go along.

Posted by: ajacksonian at December 1, 2007 04:52 PM

I plowed through the entire TNR story and it seems like they still can't quite believe a bunch of redneck good ol' boys enlisted in the Army could pull this over on them. I mean if they were smart, stayed in school and worked hard, they wouldn't be stuck in Iraq, right? So how did they pull a fast one on such obviously better-educated, sophisticated city slickers? Huh? I wonder if the staff spends most of the day answering emails from Nigeria just waiting for the millions to be wired transferred to their accounts. At best, they were gullible and careless beyond belief.

Posted by: jmurphy at December 1, 2007 04:53 PM

Woot. Good job, Bob!

Posted by: Grey Fox at December 1, 2007 04:53 PM


Perhaps a letter writing campaign to TNR's advertisers telling them what we think of its editorial practices might be in order? I sure wouldn't want my goods or services affiliated with such sloppy (at best) journalism practices...

If I put out a product like theirs, I'd be out of business before long. A word to the wise????

(and while we're at it, a letter to NYT advertisers too...) might be enuf to push both publications over the financial cliff...


Posted by: Andrea Shea King at December 1, 2007 04:54 PM

in 14 pages tnr makes numerous allegations about bloggers and other writers - where are the links to these bloggers & other writers. Does tnr expect us to just believe them because they say so without any evidence. My guess is that tnr does not want to use any links so that they 'hit & run' with their allegations.

Posted by: pippolino at December 1, 2007 04:59 PM

Sadly, leftists are pretty good at denial, even to themselves. So unless the head office sees otherwise good chance is Foer will pay any consequences for his bull headedness. The other question is of course what of Beauchcamp's wife? She was front an center as to the cause of this flap. Does she get away scot free?

Posted by: johnmc at December 1, 2007 05:00 PM

Thanks for the pursuit...

I noted that no comments were posted at TNR... Censorship-? Whatever. It's their website. I posted and urged them to read the MilBlogs-and PAY the milbloggers for their tales-After fact checking. That is -IF- they truly wished to report on the war in Iraq.

The question is not about keeping a job. The question is about maintaining a business. How many liars, fabululists, dreamers, wanna-be Norman Mailer drunks-and-wife-beaters, can they peddle and still meet payroll-?

There is a role for the Establishment Media to use their reach and expand the tales of truth and honest horror coming forth in the blogs. Read it and see America's youth in action. This generation of military is better trained, better equipped, better educated, smarter and better led than any military we have ever fielded before. These are amazing people... They are also the tip of the iceberg of a new type of American taking over the nation. These are the idealists. They are not motivated by money...

They value honesty very highly. They are cynical, skeptical, jaundiced and play by different rules. Their attitude towards authority is more respectful and rebellious-at the same time- than the Boomers. They value and respect honest integrity more than the Boomers ever did.

TNR and the NYC/Hollywood Establishment (media and entertainment) do them a tremendous disservice by portraying them as a continuation of the Vietnam era cultural battles. It fits a familiar pattern. It's comfortable. The outcome is known. The good guys are identified and the bad guys are the same... BUT that was yesterday's war... This is a new world. New enemies. New dangers. New weapons. New potential unpleasant outcomes.

They say that "Generals always fight the last war"... It looks like the whole Eastern -Yankee- intellectual establishment is fighting a war that was over 35 years ago...

Boomers are no longer the center of attention. Squawking and whining, lying and deceiving, will not change that...

Keep up the good work...

Posted by: AndyJ at December 1, 2007 05:15 PM

Well done, Bob, (and can't forget Mike Goldfarb). The two of you owned this story, and you've pwn3d Foer so thoroughly that Jesse Jackson will be advising him on filing a slavery-reparations lawsuit against you.

Did you notice, in the IM exchange selectively released by Fabricating Franklin, the charming nickname Fab Frank uses for the (nonexistent, actually) disfigured woman? "The Crypt Keeper."

Given that Foer was perhaps the only man on Earth who still believed in the existence of a scarred, unhappy woman, the nickname is a beacon into the mineshaft depths of his character. Only in a world where Scott Beauchamp is a brilliant author, could Franklin Foer be a class act.

Another little detail worth noting is Foer's belated admission that using Ellie Reeve to "factcheck" Scott was an issue. Uh, ya think? Foer, in fact, did all he did to keep this "fact" from being checked by anyone outside the cozy embrace of TNR-dom, including a spite-firing of the employee who disclosed it.

Class act, squared. (Compounded by apparently making Reeve walk the plank in Foer's stead).

Can we go for a cube? Sure we can. Remember the Foer hissy outrage (amusing, like a drag queen emoting over a broken nail) when someone dared to release the transcript of discussions with Scott I-Wanna-Be-Hemingway that showed that Foer had been dissembling about his "investigation?" Upset over publishing fabrications: nil. Upset over people unearthing his carefully buried evidence, evidence that he knew he was standing behind fabrications: boundless. Irony: priceless.

And let's just throw one last one in there. How about the "re-reporting" which was exposed as, having Ellie Reeve and the TNR "fact checkers" call and mislead people into giving quotes that could be misrepresented as supporting Beauchamp. Class act to the fourth power, that's Fabricating Franklin Foer.

I can honestly say I haven't followed a link to TNR on any subject since this broke. Why should I? Who can trust them not to just make stuff up like Glass, Eve Fairbanks, Beauchamp and Foer have systematically done? It's not like there aren't alternative sources of opinion on the net -- any random blog chosen by lot is likely to have higher standards than Peretz/Zengerle/Foer.

I particularly salute you for wading in that cesspool for all these months, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Posted by: Kevin R.C. 'Hognose' O'Brien at December 1, 2007 05:18 PM

So, do we know for certain if Foer's job is actually in jeopardy here? I know it should be, at least in a sane world.

Of course, in a sane world, Dan Rather would have been fired for journalistic incompetence (not to mention crappy ratings) sometime around 1985.

Posted by: OregonMuse at December 1, 2007 05:21 PM

Notice what Foer did not say in his fourteen pages of rambling.

- He offered no apology to anyone.

- He mentioned no plans for disciplinary action against anyone on the TNR staff. Apparently they are all blameless victims who were overwhelmed by Beauchamp's Jedi mind tricks. None of this fiasco is their fault.

- He promised no corrective measures to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. (Yes, he did say "we've imposed new rules to prevent future fact-checking conflicts of interest." But he provided no details. This amounts to nothing more than "Trust us, we've fixed the problem.)


Posted by: Pat at December 1, 2007 05:29 PM

While it's nice to have closure and confirmation that TNR has finally caught up with what independent blogs had concluded for quite some time, there's still the matter of accountability for TNR's material breach of journalistic ethics (not to mention its unsubstantiated damage of the U.S. army and other institutions).

The immediate termination of Foer and TNR editorial staff is mandatory. Foer placed the responsibility for fact-confirmation on a highly controversial and potentially disparaging story lacking normal controls into the hands of the writer's spouse. Corporate governance standards (and I'd presume TNR's corporate policy statement on the behavior of its officers) normally dictate that these controls, separation of duties, etc. be administered by management, and the failure to oversee these management controls is grounds for termination.

It's CanWest's governance responsibility now to remove these managers and clean house.

Posted by: redherkey at December 1, 2007 05:31 PM

Congrats, Bob!

Alas, I still don't think it will do that much good. With one little clarification, I still stand by my prediction:

* Foer will issue some weasel-worded statement to the tune of "We have not been given any information to change our original assessment of the story. The U.S. military continues to stonewall on releasing the results of its investigation, and Beauchamp is not free to speak. Beauchamp stands by his account, but because we cannot corroborate every minor detail of his story, we must adhere to our ever-so-high journalistic standards and withdraw our support (although, c'mon, you know they're really true)." The departure of lower-ranked TNR employees will not be mentioned. [Check!] Foer will keep his job. [TBD]

* Beauchamp will continue his "no comment" policy, and will more or less keep his nose clean while in the Army.

* At some point in the future, Beauchamp will receive an honorable discharge. When he is beyond the Army's reach, he will loudly proclaim that his stories were true, dammit, and that he was being coerced by evil superior officers to keep silent.

* Vast numbers of left-wing true believers will take up his cause, and he will become yet another hero who Speaks Truth to Power. The media will report his drivel without criticism; if they mention the controversy over the TNR articles' veracity at all they will attribute it to "an attack squad of far-right-wing bloggers." Beauchamp will write a book and an op-ed piece for Newsweek.

I wish it weren't so, but that's how I believe this will play out.

I will say, though, that I didn't anticipate Foer's "Our critics are gay!" defense.

Posted by: Mike G in Corvallis at December 1, 2007 05:39 PM

Bob, I join all the others who have congratulated you on all the hard work in covering this story.

I can't help noticing the actions of one of Mr. Foer's predecessors, Andrew Sullivan, and his reaction to all of this. In the past 24 hours he has put up three posts attempting to draw direct parallels between this TNR real scandal and the faux NRO scandal. He put up today at 5:30PM, per his timed blog post, another item that provided Links to his prior three posts on the NRO "story." He fails to note one major difference (among many) between the TNR and NRO situations. Nearly 5 months after issues are raised, TNR puts out these 14 pages of mush. Within hours of being apprised of potential problems with material posted on their blog, NRO issue this:

"We owe him and our readers better we should have gotten you more context and information before a post or two went live. It's understandable how it happened the nature of blogging being what it is but given what an underreported tinderbox we're talking about, especially, we owed you more. We weren't blogging about Dancing with the Stars there."

Readers of TNR have yet to see even a tiny scintilla of such an apology for their demonstrated editorial and fact-checking deficiencies, not to mention outright lies.

Posted by: Terry at December 1, 2007 05:43 PM

How can you say this clown didn't "justify his job"? A boring, oblique, logorrheic 7,000-word hedge that not one in a million outside the wonkosphere will bother to read or understand is a masterstroke! The guy is brilliant and deserves a raise.

Posted by: Dan Friedman at December 1, 2007 05:45 PM

Congratulations and a big well done to you, Bob.

Posted by: Sara at December 1, 2007 05:47 PM

I was expecting Foer to conclude with, "And if it wasn't for you meddling milbloggers we would have gotten away with it too!" Fine, fine work, Bob!

BTW, we've have a screen capture of Franklin retracting his support for Beauchamp:

Posted by: Exurban Jon at December 1, 2007 05:54 PM

Thanks again for all your work, Bob.

One thing that gets lost, after so long, and since so much hard work was required to drag this grudging admission from Foer, is that those folks, veterans mostly, who insisted from the get-go that the stories just didn't ring true, were not deluded, lying, fooling themselves, Pollyannish, or even partisan. They were, to put it simply, correct. They knew know more about our troops in Iraq, because they know more about our troops. And that so many knew so quickly, even before the indisputable case was so carefully made by Bob, shows how out-of-touch Foer & Co. were and are with what is really happening in Iraq, and how our military actually operates, and for that matter, what combat actually DOES do to change a person.

Posted by: notropis at December 1, 2007 06:12 PM

Great job, Bob! And YES, TNR did used to have high standards and I wrote for them. But I have written for them in awhile and there's a reason.

Posted by: Michael Fumento at December 1, 2007 06:13 PM

Yes, congrats. I re-linked your interview on the BFV in my take at Protein Wisdom.

Posted by: Karl at December 1, 2007 06:23 PM

Agree with you, Dan Friedman. I slogged through the entire piece wondering when it would come to a conclusion stronger than, "DID NOT!".

I have been truly shocked at the depths to which some formerly decent and honorable (though mistaken) cultural/political opponents have sunk.

I will be in error someday ;) and this whole episode has further confirmed the essential character trait of humility. Please God, let me be right. But if I can't be right, let me be righteous.

Posted by: Trish at December 1, 2007 07:04 PM

Thanks, Bob. You and Goldfarb did something that I couldn't, forced the people trying to besmirch the honor of the young men (and now women) wearing the uniforms that we used to wear.

Posted by: Peter at December 1, 2007 07:09 PM

I think that my favorite part was his description of the conversation with Major John Cross: "Bradleys, he told us, unintentionally hit dogs. Indeed, dogs flock toward Bradleys. We weren't sure what to make of these statements." Um, yeah, ok -- Foer thinks that if he can prove that dogs really do get hit by motor vehicles (*gasp* who knew?!?) that this would bolster Beauchamp's credibility?

Posted by: cathyf at December 1, 2007 07:21 PM

Good thing you weren't a porn star in a previous life.

Posted by: Patrick Carroll at December 1, 2007 08:02 PM

In your earlier note (TNR's Last Stand?)
you said
> Foer's story needs to include only three key elements to be successful, and without these three elements Franklin Foer's career and the integrity of The New Republic is shattered.

Big Fail on all 3. He mostly ignored the skull wearing. He tried to justify the Dog-killing Bradley stories by finding soldiers who said that a dog might have been run over. Big diff between a dog getting run over and a driver TARGETING dogs and killing many. (others have covered the mess hall incident)

Posted by: Arthur at December 1, 2007 09:11 PM

Thank you for the link to TNR's 14 page pusillanimous explanation of why, through no fault of their own, they can no longer stand by the Beauchamp stories. They have obviously been a victim in this whole saga.

What a crock of BS they are trying to peddle. Time to grow up Franklin. You screwed up, other people didn't screw you.

Great job and persistence on this Bob.

Posted by: daleyrocks at December 1, 2007 10:04 PM

Daley, Daley, Daley... the core of the lefty worldview is that lefties are never wrong, it's always someone else's fault, thereby making them the innocent victims. This actually started before George W. Bush was elected, he just provided a convenient new bogeyman for their blame-seeking.

So, Foer is just doing what he's been taught to do through decades of being a lefty.

Posted by: C-C-G at December 1, 2007 10:33 PM

Congratulations, Bob. This is as big a victory for you as it is for anyone else. You deserve a lot of credit for keeping the pressure on these guys and keeping us all informed.

I admit, I never thought I would see the day they...but your fortitude has been well rewarded!

Posted by: T.Ferg at December 1, 2007 10:49 PM

I read through a good portion of the piece. It reads like a sob story. Hey, he pulled the wool over my eyes too... don't fire me! It also looks like he is still trying the fake but accurate line in regards to what war does to ones sense of humor.

Jim C

Posted by: Jim C at December 1, 2007 10:57 PM

Franklin Foer mentioned you specifically, and not with what you could call fondness. Consider this a compliment of the highest order. Although with FF's lengthy self-justification fluffing up the article, you may have to excerpt it yourself and mail it to your mom.

Shorter FF: "And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for those meddling kids!"

Posted by: Mitch at December 1, 2007 11:42 PM

Where have I been? Just got caught up on the controversy regarding Smith's reporting at The Tank. So, I owe an apology to tachyon.

Whatever the discrepancies - appears to me Smith embellished a bit what he saw - I do not think them intentionally misleading but rather the anxious mind in a dangerous spot translating what the eyes saw reinforced by people he trusted.

That and the fact that Smith was describing the enemy he saw in possibly inflating terms (he appears to have seen a 'tip' and his sources and March 14 protectors described an 'iceberg' which he ran with), while Beauchamp and TNR were writing outright fabrications denigrating our own servicemen.

tachyon makes an important point about treating all sources with the same standards.

With these two examples, however, let's just not go crazy and suggest they are equal in scale and scope. It isn't even close.

Posted by: Steve Schippert at December 2, 2007 12:28 AM
With these two examples, however, let's just not go crazy and suggest they are equal in scale and scope. It isn't even close.

And we also see an example of how you should act when you've got a story with problems. You come out and correct it, and apologize where applicable. You don't attack the people who point out your failings.

Push the button, Frank.

Posted by: Pablo at December 2, 2007 05:09 AM

While it's nice to have closure...

Closure would be Foer in the unemployment line.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at December 2, 2007 08:03 AM

Congratulations Bob,

Your work on TNR and Foer should be used in Journalism schools as an example of what can happen to you in this age when you resort to using your paper/blog/show to deceive the public on what is really happening in the world.

As for Foer's 14 page manifesto, that was nothing but mental masturbation on his part - "I was lied to, and made bad decisions, but I'm speaking TRUTH TO POWER". If TNR's parent company has some balls, Foer would be cleaning out his desk today, and they would be closing up shop by the end of the month. Foer and Beauchamp can stand proudly next to Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, Jayson Blair and the other "stalwarts of journalistic integrity" that have been pwned over the last couple of years.

Bob - you need to have some theme music. How about "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen?

Posted by: fmfnavydoc at December 2, 2007 10:17 AM

Great work, Bob! I look forward to your upcoming contributions to the Thomas Smith scandal brewing at NRO!

Posted by: dogbot53 at December 2, 2007 02:43 PM

Dogbot is a good name for you, since you're following the pre-programmed instructions coming from your lefty friends.

Mr. Smith, and Ms. Lopez, the editor, have done something Mr. Foer took 4 months to do: admitted error and apologized. Lopez did so here, Smith did so here.

Please read those two posts very carefully. That's how you take care of a published mistake, not the way Mr. Foer has been handling it.

In short, your feeble attempts to draw parallels between the two incidents is failing the logic test, not to mention the laugh test, miserably.

Posted by: C-C-G at December 2, 2007 03:52 PM
I look forward to your upcoming contributions to the Thomas Smith scandal brewing at NRO!

Brewing? It's not brewing. Errors were made, acknowledged and corrected. Apologies to all were issued.

That's how it ought to be done. No one expects perfection. We do expect honesty.

Posted by: Pablo at December 2, 2007 05:56 PM

I look forward with real regret to the demise of the New Republic. It was a good magazine under Marty Peretz; although I usually disagreed with almost everything they wrote, I enjoyed it.

In Foer, they have sent a boy to do a man's job. I hope he joins the unemployment line soon.

Posted by: miriam at December 2, 2007 10:46 PM

14 pages of fairbanksing.

My comments at TNR are posted as 'Shooter' from Mr. Right. At least, I was the only person using that handle before making this comment here.

How on earth anybody can compare this to the National Review deal is beyond me. But, David Weigel at Reason hipped me to a point, that Smith's work is in question and he is still posting in "The Tank". I am not convinced that this is a valid point, especially since his posts since this came up have been about the Army/Navy game and comments on news articles.

Posted by: Guy Montag at December 4, 2007 06:52 AM