The Foer-Mapes Syndrome
Howard Kurtz interviewed The New Republic’s Franklin Foer (though he didn’t ask Foer about TNR’s firing of a staffer who leaked a fact about Scott Thomas Beauchamp’s marriage to a TNR staffer), and the portrait that emerges of Foer is not flattering. Playing the victim card a couple of times, Foer also admits the magazine is still trying to fact check Beauchamp’s allegations, and then whines:
“It is really unfortunate that someone like Scott, who was really only trying to tell his particular story, has become a pawn in the debate over the war and the Weekly Standard’s efforts to press an ideological agenda.”
As Beauchamp’s “particular story” involved attributing cruelty and possible crimes and indifference to cruelty and possible crimes to American soldiers, it isn’t an event with no consequences for others, as the Army’s very serious investigation suggests. Foer’s pre-publication editorial judgment may have been impaired because of nepotism, but there’s no excuse for his denial of the very obvious problems with the column and the legitimacy of the criticisms that have followed. Most of his critics like The New Republic, and respect the work of many of its members, but Foer is set on a course that is deeply damaging to the brand. He’s gone Mapes, and a new malady in the journalism world gets a name: The Foer-Mapes Syndrome: a stone-walling refusal to recognize even the most obvious breaches of journalistic practice and ethics.