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Time To Show Foer The Door

Tuesday, August 7, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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Posted by Generalissimo

Michael Goldfarb in the Weekly Standard has just broken news on the Weekly Standard that can only result in the firing of, at the minimum, Franklin Foer, editor of the once-respected New Republic. You simply cannot publish anti-military stories, inflammatory and controversial on their face, without subjecting the wild claims to the most strict fact-checking measures possible. Yet Mr. Foer, it now appears, did just that.

Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the husband of a New Republic staffer who previous to his military service posted anti-war material on a weblog, volunteered to recant the stories that were published in The New Republic on the very first day of the military’s investigation, according to sources to Goldfarb, the very day that Mr. Foer was simultaenously walking away from one proven Beauchamp lie and doubling down on the rest of the allegations in the three stories. Beauchamp’s recant was made under oath.

Now Mr. Foer is in a no-win situation. Either Beauchamp lied under oath to military investigators, making him a liar and destroying his credibility, and taking down the credibility of the editorial staff of the New Republic, and that of the magazine itself.

Or Beauchamp got caught in a lie by military investigators, and when confronted, agreed to recant, making him a liar and destroying his credibility, and taking down the credibility of the editorial staff of the New Republic, and that of the magazine itself.

Whichever is the case, Mr. Foer, as long as he remains editor of TNR, will be the Dan Rather of the political magazine world, a laughing stock caught up in trying to publicly maintain an obvious lie as truth. Mr. Foer complains that the military’s investigation process has hampered the magazine’s abiltiy to get to the bottom of the scandal and decide for themselves what veracity, if any, there is with Beauchamp’s claims, which raise questions that Mr. Foer does not have the standing anymore to be able to answer satisfactorily.

If the magazine didn’t get the fact-checking right the first time, how are we to trust that they will get it right the second time, regardless of whether or not the military is “interfering”? Since Beauchamp is now allegedly under oath admitting he fabricated most if not all of his claims, who was in charge of the fact-checking of the story? Who else in Beauchamp’s unit corroborated his allegations?

Transparency is the only thing that can save The New Republic, a trait that is not imbued in Franklin Foer as demonstrated by the way he has handled the Beauchamp affair from the beginning. It is time for him to go.

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