“The editors” of the New Republic have managed to turn an embarassment — the publication of an egregiously false and defamatory column by its Baghdad Fabulist — into an institutional debacle. “The editors” have destroyed their own credibility by their faux investigative efforts and long silence. As Bob Owens has demonstrated, TNR’s purported re-reporting of the Scott Thomas Beauchamp “Shock troops” column is a pretense if not a joke.
Yet “the editors” continue the pretense that they are still in the midst of their investigation of Beauchamp. It is now two months since “the editors” last weighed in on the ongoing controversy over Beauchamp. At that time, Franklin Foer and his colleagues had already conceded, and apologized to their readers, for a significant factual inaccuracy in Beauchamp’s story — that the incident involving the disfigured woman had taken place in Kuwait rather than Iraq, though they’ve offered no evidence for this claim either, and the PAO at Camp Buehring, the scene of the alleged crime, has said on the record that the tale is nothing more than “an urban legend.” Although the factual inaccuracy, if that is what it was, destroyed the point of Beauchamp’s anecdote, TNR nonsensically offered up the purported factual inaccuracy as a “correction.”
But on August 10 TNR declared that it was still standing by its author despite a report from the Weekly Standard that Beauchamp himself was no longer standing by the stories. “The editors” claimed that the Army was “stonewalling” their investigation into the matter by preventing them from speaking with Beauchamp, and assured their readers that as soon as they could speak with their man in Baghdad they would report the results.
Since then TNR has said not a word about Beauchamp, and the Weekly Standard’s report that Beauchamp had recanted has not been challenged. Further, Beauchamp’s commanding officer, Col. Ricky Gibbs, told bloggers last week that Beauchamp “no longer stands by the stories.” And yesterday Bob Owens reported that TNR had, in fact, spoken to Beauchamp
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