What’s wrong with this headline: “New Republic Investigation Clears Military Columnist”? Well, for one thing, you’ll never know from it that it refers to what’s known as an internal investigation. Why not just announce: “New Republic Clears Itself”?
The dubious headline is from yesterday’s New York Observer piece on the Beauchamp affair, one of several that for all intents lets the New Republic off with nothing more stinging than a feather on the wrist.
The central issue remains the one error TNR has had to acknowledge — the fact that Beauchamp & Co.’s cruel treatment of the woman with an IED disfigured face and head occurred in Kuwait, before Beauchamp had ever stepped foot into the Iraq war zone. TNR editor Franklin Foer, whose credibility has plummeted to Alberto Gonzales levels, acknowledged to the Observer that “the error in location was ‘an important mistake.'” He added that “it would be extremely worrisome” if the rest of the article “hadn’t checked out.”
Foer, in between lashing out at critics to friendly reporters, is living in delusion. The article in question, “Shock Troops,” runs some 1,150 words on my computer. Of those, 481 are taken up by the column’s opening set piece that now turns out to have been based in Kuwait. Meaning, by TNR‘s own findings, 41.9 percent of the column is based on a lie. Foer doesn’t find that “extremely worrisome”?
We don’t need to cite Gresham’s law about bad money driving out the good. Just think back to your school days. To earn an “A” you needed to score roughly between 90 and 100; for a B, between 80 and 89; a C, 70 to 79. Anything between 60 and 69 earned a depressing D. Meaning, anything less than 60 earned you a big fat F. Where does that leave Beauchamp’s “Shock Troops” assignment? With a big fat 58.
I’d be worried, extremely worried if I brought home a grade like that. Especially knowing there’s no way to make it up.
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