THE NEW REPUBLIC has been standing behind the stories from their Baghdad Diarist, Scott Thomas Beauchamp, since questions were first raised about their accuracy over the summer. On August 10, the editors at TNR accused the Army of “stonewalling” their investigation into the stories by preventing them from speaking with Beauchamp. The DRUDGE REPORT has since obtained the transcript of a September 7 call between TNR editor Frank Foer, TNR executive editor Peter Scoblic, and Private Beauchamp. During the call, Beauchamp declines to stand by his stories, telling his editors that “I just want it to end. I’m not going to talk to anyone about anything really.” The editors respond that “we just can’t, in good conscience, continue to defend the piece” without an explanation, but Beauchamp responds only that he “doesn’t care what the public thinks.” The editors then ask Beauchamp to cancel scheduled interviews with the WASHINGTON POST and NEWSWEEK.
For those who have not followed the Scott Thomas Beauchamp “Shock Troops” story, Bob Owens has had the best coverage and just wrote the following on Monday:
Details will continue to trickle out revealing just how deceptive the editorial staff at The New Republic has been to its readership and critics alike, and once those details are made public, I very much doubt that Franklin Foer, Peter Scoblic, and Jason Zengerle will be able to survive the coming purge.
I hope Bob is right.
Update: I just finished reading the entire transcript of the phone call Beauchamp had with the NR editors. Read it all. It is incredible that they could do anything less than a full retraction after that conversation with Beauchamp. Here is one rather odd quote from the call where Foer relays a message from Beauchamp’s wife.
Foer: “Ellie sent me an email to tell you that it’s the most important thing in the world for her that you say that you didn’t recant.”
Update II: Bob Owens has known about the phone call and documents for quite a while now, but was not able to report them. Read his most recent post HERE.
Update III: Michael Goldfarb, who was the first to seriously question the Shock Troops story, weighs in at Weekly Standard.
The documents posted by Drudge reveal that the New Republic’s editors have known for several weeks that the central anecdote of the story was untrue, that the other anecdotes were deeply suspect, and that the author was no longer standing by his work. And yet they remained publicly silent even though they had long ago promised to be open and forthcoming on the matter. Worse still, they asked Beauchamp to cancel pending interviews with the Washington Post and Newsweek, lest their complicity in Beauchamp’s slanders come to light.
Foer attacked his magazine’s critics as “reckless” and “ideologically motivated,” at one point even demanding an apology from the bloggers who did so much to advance this story and find out the truth of the matter. He now has more than a little ‘splaining to do.
Update IV: Drudge has taken down his links to the documents (I have heard due to server problems or something similar), but The Jawa Report has them posted, and also has a great post on the story.
Update V: Michelle Malkin has an excellent post with extensive quotes from the documents and reminds us that Shattered Glass will be playing twice on the Indendent Film Channel Friday. The movie is excellent. It seems to me these documents might just be enough material for a sequel.
Crossposted at the Media Mythbusters blog.
Jay Tea adds: Fortunately, I grabbed copies of the files, and have uploaded them to Wizbang’s server. Here are the links:
We make no claim as to their authenticity, but this is the age of “fake, but accurate,” after all…
Update VI (Kim): Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner confirms that the documents are accurate:
I’ve talked to Jonathan Chait at TNR and he doesn’t dispute the accuracy of the documents but he does dispute the analysis that was on Drudge.
What she means is that Chait doesn’t think they are a confession.
Ace also writes that he believes the documents are real:
TNR’s spin is that the documents “aren’t as damning” as they appear, not that they’re fake.
Seriously, chill. From what I know, and I do know all this, the documents are quite real and come from trustworthy sources. I know the direct source to be trustworthy and I know (or at least “know” to a very high likelihood) his source in turn to be trustworthy.
Update VII (Kim again): Michelle Malkin reiterates the significance of the leaked transcripts:
I repeat Ace’s distillation for those who have only superficial knowledge of this scandal: Remember: TNR Hid The Existence Of This Phone Call From The World.
To paraphrase the Clintons: It’s the cover-up, stupid.
And TNR’s sliming of The Weekly Standard.
And TNR’s false allegations that the military was censoring Beauchamp.
And TNR’s pathetic attempts to wrest control of the story from Beauchamp as he attempted to tell other media outlets that he was not being gagged, use Beauchamp’s wife as a wedge, and refusal to acknowledge the truth of their journalistic malpractice.