The Corner

Beauchamp takes a powder

No disrespect, Kathryn, but count me among those who raised an eyebrow over your five o’clock Scott Thomas Beauchamp post. It’s not about Beauchamp “confessing”. Given the alarm bells Beauchamp’s original piece set off among those familiar with the subject matter, and given that the anecdote on which the entire premise of the essay hangs has already been determined to have occurred in Kuwait rather than Iraq, all The New Republic had going for it were its editors’ insistence that (a) Beauchamp was standing by his story, and (b) the military were preventing him from speaking to them.

It has now been revealed that (a) Beauchamp declined to stand by his story, and (b) the editors spoke with him and knew this weeks ago. Presumably The New Republic’s readers are relatively relaxed about the editors colluding in slandering the troops at a time of war: only uptight squares get hung up on that sort of thing. But they ought surely to be concerned at the abuse of trust perpetrated by the magazine against its own readers.

The New Republic is currently owned by my old friends and compatriots, the Asper family. Back when I toiled for the company in Canada, David Asper publicly told one of his own newspapers to “put up or shut up”. He should have said the same months ago when The New Republic was bragging about its commitment to rigorous and open investigation of the matter. The magazine is unable to ”put up”, so it has shut up, and hopes that its silence will help the story die in the shadows. Beauchamp’s 15 minutes are up. The issue now is the magazine’s conduct, and the Aspers should recognize that and act accordingly.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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