by John Hawkins | August 9, 2007 4:00 am
Over at Slate, I ran across this bizarre, yet all too typical of the thinking on the Left, comment about the New Republic being burned by Jayson Blair imitator Scott Beauchamp,
“Last night, the Weekly Standard declared victory by claiming that Beauchamp had recanted, quoting an anonymous military source claiming his reports “were exaggerations and falsehoods–fabrications containing only ‘a smidgen of truth,’ in the words of our source.” Military spokesmen in Baghdad declined to confirm this or provide any more details to me about their investigation, saying only that interviews with Beauchamp’s unit found that “no one could substantiate his claims” and that this was a closed issue for his unit to handle administratively.
The New Republic’s editors countered the Weekly Standard’s attack with a bland statement on Aug. 1, a position by which they continue to stand. The magazine’s investigation found that sources in Beauchamp’s unit could in fact corroborate his stories but also determined that the dining-hall scene took place in Kuwait, not Iraq. The New Republic’s conclusions rested on anonymous corroboration from five other soldiers in Beauchamp’s company, a unit of about 150 men, as well as statements from outsiders.
In other words, both the Weekly Standard and the New Republic claim that their versions are now confirmed by anonymous military sources and by the same Army public affairs officer. In some circles, this could be called a draw.”
There’s no “draw” here. Even the incredibly gullible journalists at the New Republic caught Beauchamp telling a huge whopper about the woman with the “disfigured face” once the NR crowd started doing some real fact checking — which unfortunately, began after the story had been published and conservative bloggers had started shooting holes in Beauchamp’s tall tales.
Additionally, the military has done the fact checking the New Republic should have done in the first place and then some — and then some more — and they concluded that Beauchamp lied through his teeth,
“The Army said this week it had concluded an investigation of Beauchamp’s claims and found them false.
“During that investigation, all the soldiers from his unit refuted all claims that Pvt. Beauchamp made in his blog,” Sgt. 1st Class Robert Timmons, a spokesman in Baghdad for the 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley, Kan., said in an e-mail interview.”
Now, who are you going to believe? The military or the suckers at the New Republic who’ve already been duped by Stephen Glass? But oh, wait, the New Republic claims that they have anonymous soldiers (No, no, they can’t tell you who any of them are) backing up Beauchamp’s account.
Well, newsflash: friends of Beauchamp can lie to the New Republic without consequence and it would be the easiest thing in the world for them, after the fact, when the New Republic started really looking into it for the first time, to have gotten together, coordinated a story, and backed up their pal, especially since they’ve been promised anonymity.
It’s not as easy to lie to the military because they know everybody involved, they interviewed them all, and if they catch you lying, they throw you in the brig. Honestly, any soldier would be much better off admitting that he ran over a dog or mocked a contractor than lying, when getting caught lying to the military means going to the pokey.
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