by John Hawkins | October 25, 2007 8:06 am
Yesterday, Drudge unleashed a devastating document drop on fabulist Scott Thomas Beauchamp and his enablers at the New Republic.
For those of you who haven’t followed the story, Beauchamp is a solider who made up horrific stories about what he had seen in Iraq and then published them anonymously at the New Republic.
After bloggers smelled a rat, they started shooting holes in the story and from there on out, it was essentially Rathergate redux. The New Republic stood by their man and claimed that what he had written, with one exception, was true even as bloggers blew the story out of the water and a military investigation showed that Beauchamp was lying through his teeth.
The documents Drudge came up with yesterday were the piece de la resistance of humiliation for the New Republic and Beauchamp.
The most exceptional part of the transcript (.PDF file) featured Beauchamp being questioned by Franklin Foer, the editor of the New Republic, and Peter Scoblic, their executive editor.
In it, Foer and Scoblic tell Beauchamp that the New Republic’s reputation is being dragged through the mud and practically beg Beauchamp to give them an explanation for what’s going on. Beauchamp’s response? He admits that the army isn’t censoring him, but refuses to give any sort of explanation for the holes in his story. Here’s a representative sample of what he said,
“I sort of decided personally that I am really not going to discuss with any media outlet at all my military experiences, past, present, or future. And like, that would include anything I’ve written.
…I mean, at this point, I really don’t care what the public thinks. I just want to not think about this anymore and just basically do my job.”
That is the equivalent of this conversation between a lawyer and his client,
Lawyer: The police said you threatened to kill the victim and then, 15 minutes later, you were found in her house, standing over her dead body, covered in her blood, and holding the murder weapon. Can you give me anything I can use to defend you?
Client: I am really not going to discuss it. I mean, at this point, I really don’t care what the public thinks. Can I get back to work now?
Foer and Scoblic seem to realize this during the conversation and they tell him that they’re not going to be able to continue to stand by him because they, and everyone else, are going to have to assume that he lied.
Bizarrely, this conversation occurred back on September 6th and Foer is still out in the press, defending Beauchamp, even though the internal Army reports leave very little room for doubt about the veracity of Beauchamp’s story.
Despite the contentious conversation, Foer continued to defend the article days later. He did so again yesterday, reiterating that other soldiers whom the magazine would not identify had confirmed the allegations.
While Beauchamp “didn’t stand by his stories in that conversation, he didn’t recant his stories,” Foer said in an interview. “He obviously was under considerable duress during that conversation, with his commanding officer in the room with him.”
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.
…A transcript of the conversation was obtained by Internet columnist Matt Drudge, who yesterday also posted the internal Army report on the case. The report concludes that Beauchamp “is not a credible source,” adding: “Private Beauchamp desired to use his experiences to enhance his writing and provide legitimacy to his work possibly becoming the next Hemingway.” The investigating officer recommended that Beauchamp be given a “mental health consultation.”
At this point, it’s obvious that Beauchamp lied, that the New Republic’s editors know he lied, and that they’re foolishly hoping that they can stonewall their way out of this whole mess. Unfortunately for them, this story has not only destroyed Beauchamp’s credibility, it has shown that you can’t believe anything you read in the New Republic.
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