Associated Press weighs in on the Beauchamp affair; Update: Expert who spoke to TNR contradicts Beauchamp?

posted at 9:29 am on August 9, 2007 by Bryan

I happened to catch an ABC radio news story about the Beauchamp story last night (the man’s name is pronounced “Beecham,” btw, if the radio reader got it right). This story is an AP piece published in the Washington Post, no less. So big media is taking note of the latest Winter Soldier tale. This one’s gonna leave a mark:

A magazine gets a hot story straight from a soldier in Iraq and publishes his writing, complete with gory details, under a pseudonym. The stories are chilling: An Iraqi boy befriends American troops and later has his tongue cut out by insurgents. Soldiers mock a disfigured woman sitting near them in a dining hall. As a diversion, soldiers run over dogs with armored personnel carriers. Compelling stuff, and, according to the Army, not true…

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.

The Weekly Standard said Beauchamp signed a sworn statement admitting all three articles were exaggerations and falsehoods…

Calls to Editor Franklin Foer at The New Republic in Washington were not returned, but the magazine said on its Web site that it has conducted its own investigation and stands by Beauchamp’s work.

Well, you know, they are on vacation over there at TNR. Of course they’re not answering the phones. I’m sure they’ll get right back to ya, AP.

While we’re waiting on the voice mail to pick up, let’s look at the ethics violations.

Bob Steele, the Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values at The Poynter Institute school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Fla., said granting a writer anonymity “raises questions about authenticity and legitimacy.”

“Anonymity allows an individual to make accusations against others with impunity,” Steele said. “In this case, the anonymous diarist was accusing other soldiers of various levels of wrongdoing that were, at the least, moral failures, if not violations of military conduct. The anonymity further allows the writer to sidestep essential accountability that would exist, were he identified.”

Steele said he was troubled by the fact that the magazine did not catch the scene-shifting from Kuwait to Iraq of the incident Beauchamp described involving the disfigured woman.

“If they were doing any kind of fact-checking, with multiple sources, that error _ or potential deception _ would have emerged,” Steele said.

He added that he was also troubled by the relationship between Beauchamp and Reeve, his wife, who works at The New Republic. “It raises the possible specter of competing loyalties, which could undermine the credibility of the journalism,” he said.

Paul McLeary, a staff writer for Columbia Journalism Review who has written about the matter, said The New Republic failed to do some basic journalistic legwork, such as calling the public affairs officer for Beauchamp’s unit.

“There is a degree of trust and faith editors have to put in their writers,” McLeary said. “If you’re on a tight deadline, you have to go as far as you can. The New Republic definitely didn’t go as far as it could in terms of checking out its stories.”

The AP, of course, has had its own problems using dubious sources with highly questionable motives in Iraq. Nevertheless, when your failure to do basic fact-checking, or even answer the phone, is noted by the AP and published in the Washington Post, you’ve got problems.

Vacation won’t last forever, TNR.

Update: I may have to borrow Ace’s flaming skull for this update over at Confederate Yankee. Just go read it. Here’s a taste.

In short, the TNR researcher did not provide the text of “Shock Troops” for Mr. Coffery [communications director for the company that manufactures Bradley Fighting Vehicles] to review, and only asked the vaguest possible questions. It seems rather obvious that this was not an attempt to actually verify Beauchamp’s claims, but was instead designed to help The New Republic manufacturer a whitewash of an investigation.

Feeling that a little context was in order, I provided Mr. Coffey with Beauchamp’s text from “Shock Troops” related to his company’s Bradley IFV:

Head over to CY to see how the story ends. Somebody’s vacation may have just become permanent.

(h/t on the AP article to Riehl)

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Vacation won’t last forever, TNR.

Should that be making me giddy with anticipation? Cause it is. Stay on it Bryan. Ya did good boy!

GoodBoy on August 9, 2007 at 9:42 AM

If a journalist doesn’t name his source then it is yellow journalism. It is cowardice and lacks all credibility. One could make up anything and doesn’t even need a real source when this kind of tomfoolery is allowed.

The press has become Pravda for the left.

TheSitRep on August 9, 2007 at 9:42 AM

“Red on red.”

What is best in Life?

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamenting of their women.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Subsunk

Subsunk on August 9, 2007 at 9:47 AM

You’re missing a “d” in the title.

amerpundit on August 9, 2007 at 9:49 AM

Vacation won’t last forever, TNR.

I wish theirs would.

amerpundit on August 9, 2007 at 9:50 AM

The only good thing to come out of all this is that people are starting to see the sort of garbage that passes for journalism these days.

Even with the constant drumbeat of ‘we’re losing, end the war’ there are signs that people are starting get it, that we can, and are, going to win this.

Keep it up, MSM! You are doing our work for us!

JamesLee on August 9, 2007 at 9:52 AM

Has a specific term been coined (yet) for a military-hater, a treasonous opportunist, who intentionally joins the military and seeks out combat so that he/she can later slander the troops from a position of “experience” (real or imagined) and “authority” (moral or otherwise)?

If not, there ought to be. Our favorite Jinjous Con Artist was just the first in a long line of similar artists, it looks like.

And with the U.S. engaged in more conflicts around the globe, opportunities for these kinds of stunts may be on the rise. So what do we call these artEEsts?

RD on August 9, 2007 at 9:56 AM

Vacation won’t last forever, TNR.

Then again, maybe this one will.

TheBigOldDog on August 9, 2007 at 9:56 AM

You’re missing a “d” in the title.

amerpundit on August 9, 2007 at 9:49 AM

It’s interesting that such small errors don’t “work” here. At Ace of Spades HQ, “typos” and misspellings are part of the bohemian charm.

Kralizec on August 9, 2007 at 10:04 AM

posted at 9:29 am on August 9, 2007 by Bryan

Bryan, I love the smell of freshly roasted MSM in the morning.

Kralizec on August 9, 2007 at 10:10 AM

What I find most important in this article, is that the AP has independent confirmation from the Army that his stories have been found to be false, and the investigation concluded.

amerpundit on August 9, 2007 at 10:12 AM

Not news: Not answering phone at home.
News: Not answering phone at the office.
TNR: “Going on vacation” and not answering phone at the office when fellow lefty journalists call for comment.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on August 9, 2007 at 10:15 AM

At the time myself and most others on this forum and on forums throughout conservative/military blogosphere weighed in and thought these stories were a bunch of BS and I’m just glad that it is indeed confirmed to be BS. I’m sure many on the Left would like for these stories to be true so they can use it against their own country and our efforts in Iraq but it just goes to show whose side they’re on.

Yakko77 on August 9, 2007 at 10:20 AM

Does Beauchamp have a website?

bnelson44 on August 9, 2007 at 10:21 AM

bnelson, yes, and yes.

The obligatory Scott Thomas Beauchamp parody site.

His real site, and my collection and dissection of his blog.

Bad Candy on August 9, 2007 at 10:30 AM

Oh, ho! Looks like one of his buddies purged their own blog! I wonder when Beauchamp wipes his own blog.

Bad Candy on August 9, 2007 at 10:32 AM

The Loons are still molting over at the rag formerly known as the New Republic:

HERE

corona on August 9, 2007 at 10:33 AM

I wonder if Media Matters is covering this story and urging readers there and elsewhere in the Nutroots-o-sphere to boycott TNR’s advertisers.

Buy Danish on August 9, 2007 at 10:39 AM

Oh, ho! Looks like one of his buddies purged their own blog! I wonder when Beauchamp wipes his own blog.

What do you mean?

bnelson44 on August 9, 2007 at 10:43 AM

[bnelson44 on August 9, 2007 at 10:21 AM]
and
[Bad Candy on August 9, 2007 at 10:30 AM]

Bnelson44, Bad Candy is right on the websites, but Beauchamp did not make these “claims … in his blog”, as AP quoted Timmons to say in an e-mail. I half wonder if this is even what Timmons wrote, because the claims were in stories published in the New Republic’s magazine and not posted in his blog.

Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 10:48 AM

I mean, this guy, one of Beauchamp’s buddies one used to have a few posts…not anymore. Beauchamp linked a piece on that blog, which I should have saved, but didn’t.

Bad Candy on August 9, 2007 at 10:49 AM

Has a specific term been coined (yet) for a military-hater, a treasonous opportunist, who intentionally joins the military and seeks out combat so that he/she can later slander the troops ……

Kerrywannabe.

fogw on August 9, 2007 at 10:50 AM

Dusty, they may have wanted to clarify statements on his actual blog, remember, he posted info about his deployment, among other things, plus the atrocity story.

Bad Candy on August 9, 2007 at 10:52 AM

the man’s name is pronounced “Beecham

I never met a Beauchamp whose name wasn’t pronounced Beecham. Anyway, the fact that TNR never revealed upfront that Beauchamp and Reeve were engaged (were they ever engaged?)and then eventually married is more than troubling.

Blake on August 9, 2007 at 10:53 AM

Which one are did you not save BC. I saved most of his posts and definitely have the ones mentoning Scott (or where Scott commented) and Iraq.

Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 10:53 AM

Blake I do understand that but I can appreciate TNR not telling us upfront their anonymous source is married to an employee.

Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 10:57 AM

Ha! Another one made his blog an invite only! Only a matter of time, but it doesn’t matter. Some people took screencaps, and I copied most of Beauchamp’s good stuff.

Bad Candy on August 9, 2007 at 10:58 AM

The post he linked from his friend, I didn’t bother to copy what his friend wrote.

Bad Candy on August 9, 2007 at 11:00 AM

Blake I do understand that but I can appreciate TNR not telling us upfront their anonymous source is married to an employee.
Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 10:57 AM

Dusty, You’re supposed to reveal conflicts of interest, not hide them. That he was married to an employee was a conflict of interest. They hid it until it was revealed via another source.

Blake on August 9, 2007 at 11:01 AM

Bad Candy,
His friends may just have been hassled too much

bnelson44 on August 9, 2007 at 11:06 AM

Oh, I’m sure that’s part of it, or they’re trying not to get caught in the sh*tstorm brewing over STB.

Bad Candy on August 9, 2007 at 11:09 AM

Blake on August 9, 2007 at 10:53 AM:
I never met a Beauchamp whose name wasn’t pronounced Beecham.

All the Beauchamps I know pronounce it “Beecham”. Thank goodness for the Weekly Standard, HotAir, Michelle’s site, and others who make sure this sort of stuff sees the light of day.

reine.de.tout on August 9, 2007 at 11:12 AM

I know that and agree with you, Blake. Still, I understand the reason TNR did not reveal it because it is, in effect, saying, ‘our anonymous source is married to one of 40 people we have listed on our masthead’.

Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 11:12 AM

Has a specific term been coined (yet) for a military-hater, a treasonous opportunist, who intentionally joins the military and seeks out combat so that he/she can later slander the troops from a position of “experience” (real or imagined) and “authority” (moral or otherwise)?

um, yeah: piece. of. crap.

juanito on August 9, 2007 at 11:17 AM

Even if Beauchamp’s stories aren’t factually accurate, we all know this sort of thing happens all the time in the military, every day, everywhere. We can’t dismiss these charges just because the evidence in this case isn’t complete.

Sincerely,

Dan Rather

saint kansas on August 9, 2007 at 11:27 AM

Here’s a link to an online articule from Newsweek. It puts a little different “spin” on exactly who’s right and who’s wrong so to speak.

I prefer one of the lines in the report: “Editors at the magazine say they had been looking for a GI who could write about his experiences in Iraq and felt that giving Beauchamp anonymity would free him to tell the truth without risking retribution. That sounds reasonable, given what whistle blowers often endure.”

I keep thinking, shouldn’t a whistle blower in the military be reporting to his commanding office???

HarryStar on August 9, 2007 at 11:29 AM

HarryStar on August 9, 2007 at 11:29 AM

[Bad Candy on August 9, 2007 at 10:52 AM]

Yeah, while the answer may fit the context of the AP’s inquiry to Timmons, I find it hard to expect the AP inquiry asked about either of those two points you make. I doubt AP even knows what was in the blog, if they know of it at all and may have become confused by some brief readings to get up to speed on the story.

But contextually for the AP story, it is irrelevant what is in STB’s blog. It is about TNR’s articles, three in fact, not one, as AP implies. The AP story is fraught with in minor accuracies which give, my guess is, a much different flavor to it for someone never hearing of it than with those of us who know all about it. I’d say Milburn and Simon clocked about 30 minutes learning about this story before writing it.

Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 11:30 AM

I know that and agree with you, Blake. Still, I understand the reason TNR did not reveal it because it is, in effect, saying, ‘our anonymous source is married to one of 40 people we have listed on our masthead’.
Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 11:12 AM

No, it is in effect saying that TNR is biased and has an interest in these articles being true. That is why they weren’t upfront with it. Do you think that if they had said that from the get go people would not have been even more suspect of TNR’s alleged investigation?

Blake on August 9, 2007 at 11:33 AM

[HarryStar on August 9, 2007 at 11:29 AM]

What sticks out like a sore thumb in that excerpt, which I hope is accurate, is that TNR is admitting they had preconceived plan to find someone in the military, in Iraq who would write things that would both paint, not the writer but the military in general and in an embarassing, if not defaming, way.

So all their previous innocent assertions as to their intentions were lies!!!

Great catch, Harry.

Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 11:38 AM

I never quite understand the phrase journalistic ethics. They are not a profession that requires a license to practice. They seem to just whip it out when it suits their purpose. Physicians and attorneys are required to reveal conflicts of interest under law and under their cannons of ethics. So, if journalism wants to tout that they are behaving ethically, they need to reveal any conflicts they have.

Blake on August 9, 2007 at 11:39 AM

Coulter weighs in:

…America’s imminent victory in Iraq and safety from terrorist attacks at home is driving them all crazy.

Great as usual.

MT on August 9, 2007 at 11:47 AM

Do you think that if they had said that from the get go people would not have been even more suspect of TNR’s alleged investigation? [Blake on August 9, 2007 at 11:33 AM]

We are talking past each other, Blake. There is a difference between understanding something and agreeing with/approving of it. I understand why TNR did not reveal that their anonymous source was married to “Elspeth Reeve, our new employee who first met her husband at Missouri University, which almost commuting distance from where in his later teens lived with his mother, Mrs. Beauchamp.”

Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 11:49 AM

TNR has provided the jounalistic equivalent of cut and run. The next time we get a glipse of Frankie he might be caught scurrying out of a mosque in a burqa.

swami on August 9, 2007 at 11:49 AM

Vacation won’t last forever, TNR.

That’s cold. heh.

BillINDC on August 9, 2007 at 11:53 AM

[Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 11:30 AM]

Ugh …
minor accuracies = minor inaccuracies

Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 11:53 AM

We are talking past each other, Blake. There is a difference between understanding something and agreeing with/approving of it.

You seem to have problems clearly calling it what it is: They did not reveal he was married to Reeves because it was a conflict of interest. To not reveal a conflict of interest is unethical. No reason to be mealy mouth about it.

Blake on August 9, 2007 at 12:04 PM

[Blake on August 9, 2007 at 12:04 PM]

I said I agree with you in my second response, Dude. Wasn’t that blunt enough for you or did you want it to be myopically so?

Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 12:27 PM

news story about the Beauchamp story last night (the man’s name is pronounced “Beecham,” btw, if the radio reader got it right).

I prefer to think of him in the original French name version.

Also,

Beau – a dandy; fop

champ – to mash; crush

Entelechy on August 9, 2007 at 12:40 PM

Dusty,

Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 11:30 AM]

Ugh …
minor accuracies = minor inaccuracies

Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 11:53 AM

I think you had it right the first time. Most AP articles are plagued with minor accuracies.

DrM2B on August 9, 2007 at 12:47 PM

One can only pray that DKos goes on vacation next. I would love to hear The Boss give them the “buh-bye”!

On-my-soap-box on August 9, 2007 at 12:49 PM

[DrM2B on August 9, 2007 at 12:47 PM]

LMAO.

Dusty on August 9, 2007 at 12:51 PM

ConfederateYankee pwns TNR again!

Bad Candy on August 9, 2007 at 1:08 PM

Dear Mr. Foer:

Can I get me a fact-chucker’s license here?

Sincerely,

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on August 9, 2007 at 1:33 PM

I did talk to a young researcher with TNR who only asked general questions

Who might she have been?

Nosferightu on August 9, 2007 at 1:36 PM

In order for the scenario described to have taken place, there would have to have been collaboration by the entire crew.

Mr. Coffery [communications director for the company that manufactures Bradley Fighting Vehicles]

That pretty much reveals the true intent of the stories. All three incidents were witnessed by several people so the message sent was the incidents must be “normal”.

Here at the end of the story (please, please let it be the end) the basic way to refute the story is to point out that the witnesses would not have just gone along. My fear is that in focusing on the factual errors of the story we have bought into the idea that the events are thinkable.

Beauchamp may normally be pronounced “Beecham” but in this one singular case it works better as “Boy Chump”.

TunaTalon on August 9, 2007 at 2:13 PM

I disagree with one of CY’s assumptions:

Once more, we have to question the accuracy and the integrity of The New Republic’s editors, who ran an investigation apparently designed to provide merely cover instead of facts.

The above assumes they actually have some integrity to question. It’s pretty clear now that they don’t.

thirteen28 on August 9, 2007 at 2:19 PM

Hugh Hewitt interviewed E. J. Dionne about TNR and Beauchamp. Dionne defended Frankie Foer: “I’ve known Frank Foer for a long time, and he has an awful lot of integrity, and I think they’ve shown in what they’ve put out so far, and in re-reporting those stories, a lot more transparency than, say, the administration has on some issues.”

Dionne, like the rest of the MSM intend to go to the wall to defend Foer, TNR, and Beauchamp. Dionne HAS no integrity himself, so the fact that he thinks he recognizes “integrity” in Foer ought not to be surprising. After all, it’s what the child molesters at NAMBLA do all the time, justify the behavior of their “peers.”

Dionne goes on: “I know the Weekly Standard posted this anonymously sourced thing saying he’d recanted. I don’t believe that’s true. And if it is true, then we’ll deal with it then.”

And when Hewitt refers to the statements of Major Stephen F. Lamb categorically denying the incidents, Dionne says: “But I’ve got to say, you know, as I say, I’ve known Frank for a long time, and I think this is a person of a lot of integrity. So watch out what you say about him, because…”

And then Dionne adds: “I think that Mr. Beauchamp should be given a chance to speak for himself, and then we can judge the whole thing.”

If you read the blog entry in it’s entirety, several things jump out: Truth is relative to Dionne and all liberals. That discrepancies with reality can be explained away by appealing to the supposed integrity of liberal editors, and if you repeat a lie long enough (i.e., that Foer has high integrity) you can defuse the issue.

I think it’s call a “bunker mentality.” Certainly, Dionne is hiding deep in denial.

If columnist Dionne wasn’t a known lying propaganda shill for the left, one could almost hear Mark Anthony’s refrain from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “But Brutus is an honorable man” when he says that Foer is a person of high integrity. One could almost believe that he’s being sarcastic.

But he’s not. He means EVERY WORD of his defense of Foer and TNR. He will be the very last so-called “journalist” to ever admit that Foer used TNR to deliberately lie to his readers. And if he ever does admit that his friend Foer is a liar, he will JUSTIFY it as being necessary to bring down the Bush administration and to end the war.

This is *NOT* just E. J. Dionne’s personal failure as a human being. And the story is not about Can West’s (owner of TNR) track record of hiring deliberate liars to run their so-called “magazine.”

This is about the Associate Press printing FABRICATED stories, originating from Al Qaeda/Ba’athist stringers claiming atrocities that never happened. It’s about a Reuters story in the last two days about the massacre of 60 people — that never happened according to the MNF. It’s about using the POWER OF THE PRESS to manufacture truth out of wholesale lies, and use that to manufacture “consent” to surrender in the war against the Jihadists.

Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman wrote a piece titled “Manufacturing Consent,” that accuses the media of allowing their corporate owners to dictate truth. The irony is that the media is, indeed, dictating truth — but not at the behest of their corporate owners, but at the behest of the liberal ideologues managing the news, whose hearts are filled with hatred and treason.

One final point. My wife just bought a collection of Frank Capra movies on DVD. The other night, we watched the movie “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.” As Senator Smith (Jimmy Stewart) filibusters to defend his honor, his corrupt enemy, played by Edward Arnold, uses his power and the media he owns to run a smear campaign that ultimately resorts to violence in preventing any “pro-Smith” reporting to reach the people back home. I had forgotten this part of the movie and that Capra was CONDEMNING the media as being corrupt special interest “gatekeepers” even before WWII.

If it wasn’t for the Internet and the two-way communications paradigm that embodies it, the “old” media would have gotten away with it, as they did in glorifying John Kerry. Well, times have changed, and the MSM no longer has a monopoly on information dissemination. Further, Beauchamp is not Kerry and WILL NEVER be Kerry because there will always be people to expose him as the outright scumbag liar he is.

georgej on August 9, 2007 at 3:19 PM

georgej on August 9, 2007 at 3:19 PM

Another great commentary georgej! Thank you.

fogw on August 9, 2007 at 3:43 PM

Let’s not overlook this part:

Paul McLeary, a staff writer for Columbia Journalism Review who has written about the matter, said The New Republic failed to do some basic journalistic legwork, such as calling the public affairs officer for Beauchamp’s unit.

“There is a degree of trust and faith editors have to put in their writers,” McLeary said. “If you’re on a tight deadline, you have to go as far as you can. The New Republic definitely didn’t go as far as it could in terms of checking out its stories.”

Yes he has written on the matter — to attack “know-nothing Michelle Malkin’s (sic) of the world.”

I guess McLeary has decided to join the know-nothings, now that he knows what they knew all along.

Karl on August 9, 2007 at 3:51 PM

Beauchamp is not Kerry and WILL NEVER be Kerry because there will always be people to expose him as the outright scumbag liar he is.

georgej on August 9, 2007 at 3:19 PM

It’s true that Beauchamp will no longer be able to follow the path created and illuminated for Kerry and countless others by the MSM. That’s an indicator of some real progress. On the other hand, the ranks of all of our country’s most powerful institutions are populated by this viral class. Their power may have peaked, but hardly receded. And as they come to feel increasingly cornered, they’ll become more dangerous than ever. Their Tet offensive isn’t far off. Time is not on their side and they will be forced to play their hand forcefully in the immediate years ahead.
While this ideological clash is now mercifully visible to many, it is still agonizingly frustrating watching from the sidelines and not knowing how to contribute more than simply write comments, contribute $ to the right places, and vote.

JiangxiDad on August 9, 2007 at 4:16 PM

Wow, I didn’t even think about the fact that the track doesn’t move. That makes it impossible to “drag” the dog along, right? Because even if the dog somehow got caught under the track, it would simply be “uncaught” once the track lifted up off the ground.

Wow. So the “expert” not only did NOT confirm that the Bradley could do what Beauchamp claimed, but based on what he said, it’s not possible.

Yeah I think TNR’s break needs to be permanent.

apollyonbob on August 9, 2007 at 4:18 PM

Also:
http://scottthomas.us/archives/another-slight-error-on-my-part/

That guy is great XD

apollyonbob on August 9, 2007 at 4:23 PM

Hopefully TNR will go on a permanent vacation after people stop buying their magazine and they go out of business.

SoulGlo on August 9, 2007 at 7:53 PM

Wow. You would think that TNR would be extra careful of their facts given their past, wouldn’t you? Weren’t they the mag that had the Stephen Glass fiasco? Who in the hell would ever read that rag ever again after that? Oh, right. Libtards. Not very bright.

foxforce91 on August 9, 2007 at 9:24 PM

I’m not making this up.

The rag formerly known as The New Republic keeps digging.

corona on August 10, 2007 at 3:01 PM