The TNR saga is slowly seeping into the media, with posts this morning at the Washington Post and the New York Times, in addition to last night's mention in the New York Observer. Not a single one of these outlets discusses the fact that Franklin Foer spent the better part of 13 pages alleging a military conspiracy spanning four bases in three countries involving dozens of soldiers, from privates to colonels. I guess they didn't want to discuss how nutty that explanation sounds. Nor did they mention that Foer and The New Republic refused to apologize to those soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait they accused of atrocities. Not a single one them acknowledges that Foer was being deceptive when he claimed back in July "the article was rigorously edited and fact-checked before it was published." Nor did they mention that both of the author's prior stories made statements--at least one unequivocally false--that should have made them doubt his veracity from the beginning. Even Media Matters ripped The New Republic for their handling of this debacle, perhaps marking the first time in history the organization has every been to the right of major news outlets. No. I'm not kidding:
Essentially, what unnerved me is that a magazine like TNR was so completely divorced from the military that they did not even have one person on staff -- one single person -- who was personally connected to a career professional in the military (and Elspeth Reeve, an intern at TNR who is now married to Beauchamp -- himself not a career professional in the military -- doesn't count), who could have a) helped them screen what was being sent in the first place, and b) helped them figure out how to fact-check the guy (let alone, after the fact, help them figure out what was really going on). I mean, seriously, how is it that at this point the best de facto depictions of life in-country come ... in Doonesbury?! (The very liberal cartoonist Gary Trudeau is, in a strange twist of journalism, apparently far better wired in to real soldiers on the ground than is the editor of a major magazine? How did this happen?) Folks, we are six freaking years into a war now. Regardless of how you or I or Eric or anybody feels about the causality of these wars, the fact of these wars remain important for all of us to understand. We are six years into a period in which the military and issues of war have been, like, you know, sort of central. How could TNR remain so divorced from anyone in the military for so long that they eventually fell for this?
Nor have the professional media sought to address, in any way, that The New Republic hid testimony provided to it by military personnel that contradicted their preferred narrative, and have flatly refused to provide the names of their anonymous civilian experts they interviewed, perhaps because the one that was found shows just how disreputable the magazine truly is. This story is far from over, folks.Cross-posted at Confederate Yankee.