The entire Baghdad Diarist / TNR / Weekly Standard / U.S. Army debacle is proving to be quite a back and forth.
Weekly Standard calls TNR out.
TNR says “we’ll look into it.”
TNR stands by its man.
Weekly Standard snaps back.
Weekly Standard says Beauchamp admitted under oath that his reporting was faulty.
Although this generated the most headlines yesterday, TNR is, more quietly, trying to tell folks, “Not so fast.”
On its website, TNR editors have issued the following statement, which seems to suggest that they’re not yet ready to call this a “Stephen Glass” moment:
We’ve talked to military personnel directly involved in the events that Scott Thomas Beauchamp described, and they corroborated his account as detailed in our statement. When we called Army spokesman Major Steven F. Lamb and asked about an anonymously sourced allegation that Beauchamp had recanted his articles in a sworn statement, he told us, “I have no knowledge of that.” He added, “If someone is speaking anonymously [to The Weekly Standard], they are on their own.” When we pressed Lamb for details on the Army investigation, he told us, “We don’t go into the details of how we conduct our investigations.”
Foer talked to Howie Kurtz:
But New Republic Editor Franklin Foer is standing his ground. “We’ve talked to military personnel directly involved in the events that Scott Thomas Beauchamp described, and they corroborated his account,” Foer said. The magazine granted anonymity to the other soldiers it cited. … Foer said the New Republic had asked Maj. Steven Lamb, an Army spokesman, about the allegation that Beauchamp had recanted his articles in a sworn statement, and that Lamb had replied: “I have no knowledge of that.” Before going incommunicado, Beauchamp “told us that he signed a statement that did not contradict his writings for the New Republic,” Foer said.
“Thus far,” he added, “we’ve been provided no evidence that contradicts our original statement, despite directly asking the military for any such evidence it might have.”
But the Weekly Standard isn’t backing down either.
But Weekly Standard writer Michael Goldfarb said: “We have full confidence in our reporting that Private Beauchamp recanted under oath.”
To be sure, this is not the last we’ll hear about this. Our hunch says that TNR still thinks that the bulk of Beauchamp’s reporting holds up and they’re going to fight to prove that. The military says that Beauchamp’s reporting is false, but, when it comes to specifics, their on-the-record statement pales in comparison to Foer’s detailed statement from a few days ago.
To be continued, for sure…